18 Jan On the Needles – Friday January 18th
One of my New Knitting Year’s resolutions (and more about those in the future) is to get better at documenting my knitting process and progress. I’ve gotten pretty lax about keeping my projects updates on Ravelry, especially the start and finish dates. One of the questions I get asked a lot is “how long did it take you to knit that?” and, increasingly, I don’t remember the answer!
So I’m going to try to update every Friday with a “What’s on your needles?”-type post, which will hopefully also remind me to keep my Ravelry projects page in check as well. This week: Buckwheat by Veera Valimaki. It will eventually look like this:
It currently looks like this:
I originally started this pullover on my summer holidays last year (August 2012). Knowing ahead of time that I was using Malabrigo Sock in “Ochre”, a lovely tonal hand-dyed yellow, I planned from the beginning to alternate between two skeins every row to avoid the pooling of light points and dark points that often happens with variegated yarns. Back in August, I knit six inches, alternating skeins every row, and it.. was.. POOLING. There were definitive two-row splotches of colour, light patches and dark patches, exactly what I was trying to avoid. It was also looking a little on the large side, so I ripped it out and made a mental note that when I started it again, I should make the next smaller size, and hopefully the different stitch-count will resolve the pooling issue…
Fast forward to my Christmas holidays, when again I picked up the yarn and needles and cast-on with the smaller size. Alternated skeins every row. And still… And STILL… It pooled! Very clear stripes of light and dark patches. But they seemed to definitely be most commonly occurring in two-row sections, meaning that the two skeins I was alternating, despite many attempts to force them to stagger their colour repeats, were just matching up with each other, row after row! So I ripped it back again, this time just to the ribbed section, cut one of the strands, and just continued with one. And now it’s fine! I did everything by the book, followed the rules of variegated yarns, the first two times. Now that I’m breaking the rules, I’m finally getting the result I want!
It goes to show that you can never know everything about knitting. Every new project brings challenges and insights! Sometimes the problem seems impossible. Sometimes the solution is too simple to be believable!
This week, my shop-alternate Chloe came to a similar realization. After trying multiple different stitch patterns and various approaches to the construction of a worsted-weight scarf for her husband, and ripping it all back each time, she cast-on for garter stitch. Plain, reliable garter stitch…
and it totally works! The subtle variegation of the yarn is broken up, the squishiness of garter stitch is pleasant and cozy, and it’s yardage-friendly (doesn’t use up extra yardage with fancy tricks, since Chloe only had two skeins at her disposal). Keep it simple has been the theme of the week around here!
And just for the sake of sharing one more pretty thing, though tenuously related to knitting (“thread” is in the title? right?), I came across this short video of an art exhibit by Ann Hamilton titled “the event of a thread”, installed in an armoury in New York. The music is by one of my favourite musicians, Sufjan Stevens, and the overall result is just stunning… Happy Friday, happy weekend, happy knitting!