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Archive for the ‘Learn-to-Knit Afghan’ Category

When I completed this square I was so very pleased.  It LTK sq 11had been quite a challenge, but I managed to deal with all those stitches slipped with yarn in back and with yarn in front.  I bound it off and proudly held it up for my husband to admire.  He’s a muggle, but he’s polite one–he immediately offered up a very specific compliment.  "I like how those two in the middle look like they’re holding hands.".  ACK!  I looked at the square again.  Sure enough, there in the middle of the square, is indeed, a pair of motifs "holding hands" because I slipped a stitch with the yarn on the front rather than the back side of the work.  I could not make myself rip it out.  I simply could not.  So when I was next at the LYS it was still in my basket folded up with another recently finished square.  The ladies had a look and declared it a very charming mistake.  Upon hearing the tale of my husband’s reaction to the square they insisted that I should let it lie and count it among the lovelier squares of the ‘ghan.  So I am learning yet another lesson thanks  to Barbara Walker, my family, and friends-in-yarn.  A mistake can be more charming than perfection.  Some errors should simply be let go. 

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Here’s another LTK mosaic square. If you’ve seen the photo in the book or knitted the square yourself you may notice that there’s something not quite right with this square. that’s because I’m a left-handed mirror knitter. See those little stair steps? The photo in the book shows those stair steps going up towards the left. Mirror knitting affects cables in a similar fashion, but cables are easy to compensate for–just do a cable back anytime the pattern says cable front and vice versa. With pieces like this square it’s no big deal to settle for a “mirrored” piece. I’m not sure what effect it would have on a garment like a sweater. Could cause ghastly decreases. Probably good cause for serious swatching, perhaps even going so far as to re-write the stitch pattern.

The fabric of this square is highly textured. The center stitch of each of the chained squares almost disappears and the outlining chains of squares stand out not only to the eye, but to the touch as well. One of the best things about the process of knitting this square was the sudden realization that once I’d knit the first few stitches of any row in the pattern I didn’t need to refer back to the pattern to continue. I could read my knitting well enough to continue knitting in pattern. I’m relying more on my knitting than the pattern now. A very good thing since the patterns are becoming progressively more complex. Ms. Walker is a brilliant teacher.

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This square required a new skill for me. I’ve never done mosaic knitting before. This involved the feat of slipping stitches not once, but twice (on two passes) before knitting them again. I thought it couldn’t be done. I thought my square would come out with tight rucked up ridges. Wrong on both counts. It did require frequent tinking and obsessive pattern checking. And against the advice of friends I actually frogged a couple of inches once because I’d forgotten to slip a stitch in the right place. But here it is at last and I’m quite pleased with it. I can’t wait to see how the next one turns out.

This particular square is done in stockinette so it curls quite a lot. I still haven’t found the perfect spot to take decent digital photos of knitting yet so this image is a scan. The edges are a bit wonky since the scanner doesn’t like having its lid left open. Can’t say I blame it.

For the curious among you here’s another scan of the same square. This time from the back. Why you ask? Because when I pulled it out of my bag at YesYarn last week to show off to share with my knitbuddies the first thing someone did was flip it over and smooth it out to inspect the back. I’d have done the same thing. Being a cross-stitcher I just wouldn’t have been able to help myself. We cross stitchers seem to have a collective obsession with the backs of things.

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This square was lots of fun to knit and I love the tiny flowers created by knitting into the stitch below. I’m a little conflicted over it though. The perfectionist in me wants to rip it and knit a better one now that I understand how the stitch pattern is worked, but the part of me that appreciates the visible evidence of the learning process likes the square as it is. You can see from the photo of the entire square (as much of it as my scanner will capture anyway) the progression of my proficiency with this stitch pattern. At the bottom, near the cast on, my stitches are rather clumsy and undefined. Suddenly, near the middle of the square the rose that gives this stitch pattern it’s name appears. Sticks & string can be so magical. Since this is a sampler afghan I believe I’ll follow in the needlework tradition and keep this version of the square for my afghan to show the learning process.

The fabric this stitch pattern creates is one of the stretchiest I’ve ever knit. Stretchier than rib or twisted rib, but without the cling when  relaxed.  The roses do deform when it’s stretched widely, but they reappear when the tension is released.  This would be a really good fabric to use for just about any garment you expected to wear while being active, or something you wanted to be form fitting without being binding.  If you don’t want sweet little flowers all over your garment just knit it in one color and they’ll fade into the background.

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Man was this one fun to knit up. I now have _no_ fear of knitting or purling in the back of a stitch. This ‘ghan is definitely improving my knitting skills.

Speaking of knitting skills, my first sock class was this past Friday. Our instructor is patience itself–and she has an impressive collection of socks to flash if you ask her about variations on the basic sock. She was even so kind as to allow me to try on one of her creations.

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This is my favorite square so far. Watching the diagonal ribs shift as the square progressed was quite satisfying. Particularly since it looks more complicated than is. The other side of the squiare looks the same with one exception–the ribs tilt the other way. This pattern would make a lovely scarf. It’s quite fluffy and soft textured.

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This square was not fun to knit. It took innumerable trips to the frog pond during that first 20 row repeat. Finally, DS, dear soul, pointed out the flaws in the photo of this square in the book. I took a deep breath and said “Okay, screw it, it’ll just _be_ an ugly square.” How very liberating. It didn’t turn out too awful after all. I’m sure once it’s blocked it’ll look quite fine indeed. It seems that this particular stitch pattern behaves a little like ribbing. It looks muddy and undefined until it’s a distance from the needles. Then, suddenly, it behaves itself. Squares like this one and the ribbing squares actually look better in lower light than in bright light. They need the shadows to highlight their textures.

The back of the square has charms all it’s own. I rather like it better than the front. According to DS it looks like Chex cereal. Maybe I’ll use it for my “public” side of this square when the ‘ghan is done.

Earlier this week I had the unique experience of having both DS and DH go along on a visit to the LYS. Usually my LYS visits are solo events–with DS going along on occasion just ’cause he likes petting yarn–so you can imagine how interesting this event was to me. My dear LYS owner, Margaret, was her usual charming self and DH was duly impressed.

The SEX (Stash Enhancement eXperience) was quite nice this trip. Not only did I get the Encore I needed for the LTK ‘ghan, but I signed up for a sock class and got the necessary supplies: some Addi DPNs, a ball of Trekking pro natura in an indigo, blue, purple, and pink colorway, and the Sockology pamphlet. For extra fun I got an Addi Turbo circular (and with DH’s encouragement no less!). It’s already at work in square 7 of the LTK ‘ghan. The Inox Express I’ve been using is a good needle, but the Addi is heavenly.

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