Friday, September 22, 2006

Attractive Nuisance

I'm having a hard time explaining my undeniable attraction to the mitered square. This is mindless knitting without the advantage of mindlessness. I know because Ive already sent a whole miter to live, like Iolanthe, among the frogs. Miters are all counting, all the time. And tracking the right and wrong side. Stitch markers as vital mnemonics. Sounds kind of annoying, doesn't it? Yet here I am knitting hey-go-mad through the home stretch of my sixth miter so I can get to the seventh.

This is why I make copies of patterns. Note all the little idiot messages to remind me what I should have at the completion of each pattern row.

I also have a reminder to remove the center stitch marker before I start the stockinette/three decrease section in row 17.

So far, this note isn't working. I'm six for six here. (Diane points out that it might be more useful at the start of the instruction. Diane knits fair isle. Diane is knitting Icarus. Diane may be the voice of experience I should be heeding. I'll add the note.)

Even more annoying than forgetting those wrong-side decreases, or that third decrease after all the rows of decreasing twice, are the mistakes I think I've made that I haven't. The current favorite is in the stockinette section. As I'm purling back, I become convinced that I did a "SSK twice, K2tog" where I should have "SSK, K2tog (twice)." Or vice-versa. Every time I tink back to check, I've done it right. I am getting better at reading the knitting I have done. Soon I will be able to keep straight which one produces the left-leaning decrease and which produces the right-leaning decrease without having to look it up. (It's not as if I like tinking.)

That's a lot of annoyance for a 2 color 8 inch square miter. Yet miters have replaced ball-bands as my reward knitting. How did that happen? Straight garter and stockinette stitch with those two and three center decreases sneaking up on you if you're not watching. I've learned to pay attention.

Well, mostly. There's one niggling little detail that keeps distracting me. In the middle of the garter stitch section, the pattern requires that I cut the yarn, slide the stitches around, and rejoin the same color before I knit across. This produces the nice little break in the garter stitches. I hope you can see it here.

This is the part that creates 2 more ends to weave in on every square. For an 80 square afghan, that means 160 ends. I really want to find a way around this.

Not being a particularly experienced knitter, I can't quite imagine the consequences of some of the options I'm contemplating. What if I just purled back instead of sliding around and knitting? What if I purled the row before? What if I sort of reversed the first set of garter stitch, before I cut the yarn - did purl/purl instead of knit/knit?

I suspect Mason-Dixon Kay has already experimented with all these permutations. And so I knit according to the recipe. But I'm wondering. 160 fewer ends to weave in is powerful motivation. It may be that I'll have to do some experimental knitting of my own this weekend.

I promise pictures of the subsequent disasters.

1 comment:

Kathleen said...

You're supposed to cut the yarn? I must have done something wrong with the one miter I made. I only have the beginning and ending ends to weave in... hmmm.... I'll have to re-read those instructions.