Sunday, June 29, 2008

It slipped my mind

It's Afghan Sunday again and I've hardly touched the afghan in weeks, except to move the stack of finished squares around so the cat won't sleep on it. I did finish the Patt Tanton Hewitt square, which I was working on at the last meeting.

Hewitt square

I went down a needle size and this square still came out a smidge oversized (12-1/4”W x 12-1/2”H, after wet blocking). You can see it's a little taller than it is wide. It would have been even taller, except that I trimmed a few rows off. I ended the lower border with a RS inc row and then started the charts on Row 2 (instead of working a foundation row consisting of the last row of each chart, which would have meant two more rows). Correspondingly, I ended the patterned section with Row 2 of chart C, and incorporated the cables of Row 3 into the RS decrease row of the upper border.

Fidgety business: I found that the M1P’s distorted the reverse stockinette too much, so I replaced each with a backwards loop cast on in the previous row. And in Row 25 of Chart C, just to be consistent, I replaced the SSK and K2tog by P2togs by borrowing a purl stitch from each neighboring panel.

Here’s a hint I saw on Ravelry just after I finished: use two different-colored DPNs for the cable calisthenics. (By the way, Ravelry has a group devoted entirely to this project, and it's full of helpful and amusing people.) The tightness of the stitches while working those multi-strand cables made working this square physically tiring and hard on my wrists, but the high "ooh pretty" factor gives you a pretty high return on your investment.

I've almost finished the Salazar square, too. Here's a shot of the center section; I've got the borders done and sewn on now. Maybe I'll finally wrap up the chain stitching this afternoon.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Passing the bar

I've been deconstructing the humble bar increase lately. I'm talking about the one where you knit the front leg of a stitch without removing it from the left needle, then knit the back leg. The stitch you're working into gets a half twist, forming a little bump to the left.

In this earlier post I described how to work a less-prominent variation on the bar increase. Here's the structural difference between Kf&b and the variant: in the purple figure above, look closely at the twist. The horizontal-ish part lies on top. In the variant, the vertical-ish part ends up on top, as in the green figure. That's why the horizontal bump lies to the back of the fabric.

Once upon a time, I was working on a pair of gloves with bar increases for the thumb gusset, and it bothered me that the increases weren't symmetrical. Yes, I know that if you Choose Wisely which stitches to work Kf&b in, you can make the placement of the bumps symmetrical; but still, they aren't perfect mirror images because there's a bit of distortion to the right of each bump. What I wanted was an increase that is a structural mirror image of Kf&b, with the bump lying to the right, as in the blue figure. So I unvented one.

Here's how to work the blue increase: remount the stitch left leg nearside. Knit the front leg and remove the stitch from the right needle (so far, you've merely made a twisted knit stitch). With the tip of the left needle, pick up the strand that runs from lower left to upper right of the stitch just removed (it's the top strand of the twist), and knit the back of it.

It's also possible to work the mirror image of the variant (peach figure), but it's a little more awkward. Knit the back leg and remove the stitch from the right needle (a traditional twisted knit). With the tip of the left needle, pick up the back strand of the twist, and knit the front of it.

It took me about three days to draw those figures, and I'm all tuckered out, so I'll have to tell you about Pf&b and its friends another day.