knitpicking

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

cables and twisting and grafting, oh my!

First things first: anybody know the difference between macro and super macro? I discovered that my camera had a super macro function and thought, "well if macro is good, just imagine how much better SUPER macro must be!" But then I kept getting images that looked like this:

i suck at super macro

Super, it is not.

Annnnyway. Remember when I mentioned my deep desire for something cabley? Actually, the desire was much more specific. Inspired by Eunny's pretty pink top, what I really wanted was an intricate, delicate-yet-geometric cabled braid with each strand being one twisted stitch wide. Some charting and swatching led me to an 8-strand braid, with two 4-strand braids that intertwine with each other. I should maybe mention that my ambition got the best of me - I had never done any cables more complicated than the standard hold-3-stitches-to-the-front/back, knit 3, then knit the 3 stitches you were holding. But I figured that it couldn't be too much more complicated to pass knit stitches over purl stitches, or twisted knit stitches over purl stitches. Turns out, it wasn't too complicated at all.

twisted-stitch cable pattern

(That's before blocking, I tried to stretch it out a little in the middle there so you can see the pattern better.)

The really challenging part was figuring out how to get the band to be a circle. I didn't want to bind off and seam it, or use a provisional cast-on and a 3-needle bind off, because that would leave me with only one seam. For symmetry, I would have been okay with either 2 seams or no seams - but a seam on just one side would have driven me crazy. So I considered knitting two cabled bands, and joining them by 3-needle bind offs on both sides... but really, I knew I could do better than that.

Instead of casting on with the purple, I started with some scrap white yarn. Worked the first few rows of the pattern, switched to purple... and then at the end, I switched to green scrap yarn and worked a few more rows.

pre-op

The next step was to graft. Now, I'm normally very comfortable with grafting, but I have to admit, the idea of grafting twisted-stitch cables made me a little nervous. First I went through very loosely, just trying to follow the path of the white and green yarn.

mid-op

Then I went back and removed the scraps, and tightened it up.

post-op

Um... grafting? What grafting? *whistles and looks around innocently*

Last night I picked up stitches along one edge of the band and started working down in the round - it's going very quickly, and I'm loving every minute of it. (It better be going quickly, if I hope to finish the tanktop in time to wear it before next year!)

And now, the roommate knitting update you've all been waiting for: Before I left for vacation, I taught her how to knit and purl, with a brief comment about bringing the yarn to the front or back between stitches to switch within a row. I expected that when I came home, her square would be in exactly the same shape it was in when I left. So imagine my surprise to see that she had ripped the whole thing out, cast on again, and worked about 7" of perfect 2x2 ribbing!!

I may have created a monster.

3 Comments:

  • I must say, that's some EXCELLENT work. First timer? I have a project that calls for grafting, and I'm nervous--and it's all StSt...
    Loved your little narrative, though! I was ROFL

    By Anonymous EKnits, at 7:02 PM  

  • ***cat call***

    Yowza! good going there- that took some bravehearted concentration and a can-do attitude! I'm not surprised that with a teacher like you your roommie tackled ribbing behind your back.

    By Blogger Sarah, at 10:02 PM  

  • I'm so impressed with your cable design. Maybe someday I'll design cables too - but really, the grafting put it way over the top! I hope you plan to release a sweater design. Maybe you should stop publishing it so you can submit it places!

    By Anonymous blogless kim, at 6:07 PM  

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