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February 20, 2006

Go Team Wales - Day Eleven

The pattern's the thing.

Chris has taken the camera and flown away, leaving me with the old camera with which to document my progress. The problem is that the old camera will not take photos unless the lighting is full natural light. As I tend to photograph and post at about, oh, 11:30 at night, tonight's entry will be entirely descriptive.

By the way, I'm working on the heel of sock (part two).

(Warning: knit-technical content to follow. Wink wink.)

So I thought, for those of you interested in knowing these things, that I'd describe the actual stitch pattern that I'm using for the sock. I'll then note something I realized in knitting this pattern.

The sock begins with a twisted rib cuff. The pattern is a purl 1, knit one through the back loop, repeat pattern. What this means is that it is (at least for me) fast. I am able to create the pattern while moving the needle shorter distances between stitches.

Then there is the lace pattern. It's sixteen rows, with no plain knit rows in-between. However, each row places the yarn-overs and the knit-two-togethers in a different place, and there is only one of each per row (of the pattern--I repeat each chart "row" four times per knitted round), so that the plain areas above and below essentially do the "smoothing out" function of the plain-knit rows in patterns like Old Shale. The repeats are bordered by purl stitches, so there is a 13-stitch pattern and then three purls, more 13-stitch pattern then three purls, and so on. Therefore, if I go screwy the knitting goes screwy at some point, I know that I should be okay if I go back to the last set of purl stitches.

The fun part was, for me, realizing that all this means that the sock goes faster than I'd ever have hoped. How can that be, when there is no memorizing of a pattern that is different for each row? It goes fast for me because I don't get bored. I always have a short distance to go before the next "design element" is to be executed, so instead of "knit eight rows, then a row of yadda yadda," I have "knit eight stitches, then k2tog, knit one, yo, knit 2". This is a joy for me. By row four of "knit eight rows" I'd be setting aside to pick up something else, make a cup of tea, etc., because I'm sure a) I'll not lose my place and b) it'll be a while before I get there. With this pattern the little steps add up, and before I know it I'm done. I also continually want to finish a row before putting it down so that I don't lose my place, so more gets done in an individual knitting session.

I think that understanding this is helpful for me, and not only in knitting. As a rule, I do bore easily, but I also value hard work and labor-intensive detail-oriented projects. I have little staying power but admire it in others and in myself when I happen to have shown some. Understanding what to look for in a pattern (or a project, or a job, or or or...) is very helpful in lengthening my staying power a bit. This is not to say that every project must be ornately detailed. I have a sweater that is completely stockinette, in the round, and I work on it at the movies. I can knit it in the dark and not pay any attention and the only down side is the occasional inadvertent yarn-over or dropped stitch. (It's going slowly, but that's just as much due to a lack of theatre-going activity as it is to slow knitting.)

It's interesting to me to know that the projects we choose to knit can be such personality tests. Do I want to pick up the detailed lace socks, the plain 2×2 rib socks, the sweater that needs the fiddly bits completed but could be all done in an hour, or do I want to start a new one, with all the planning and daydreaming and swatching and first-date-with-a-new-project excitement? What does this say about me, and about me right now?

Right now, I'm liking this Knitting Olympics challenge idea. I'm enjoying it to such an extent that I'm beginning to think I might set myself another challenge after these Games are over. (I wonder why...?) What does my personality yearn for right now? Perhaps a sweater... a lace-type sweater, mind you, with lots of holes that don't need to be knit. Something scarily challenging. Hmm... any ideas?

Posted by Karen at February 20, 2006 11:48 PM

Comments about a shawl?

Posted by: Mary Jo at February 22, 2006 12:50 AM

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Page last updated: March 2006