Monday, August 26, 2013


or, "Is it a mistake or is it a design element?"

Under the influence of String Theory's e-newsletter, over the fourth of July weekend I started and (almost) finished this.

This is the Inspira Cowl.  The pattern has three variations: Mesa Rock for aran weight yarns, Steampunk for sock or fingering weight and Afrique for bulky.  I used Classic Elite Liberty Prints -- a worsted to light worsted weight --  in Brick Road and Cloudy Day and obediently went with the Mesa Rock variation, but cast on 160 stitches to compensate for my slightly thinner yarn. It was fun. Fast. Easy but engaging.  Until I got to the bind-off, but that's another story.

I decided to  make another one.

This one is Noro Kureyon in a mystery color (I have had this forever, I don't remember for what and the ball-bands have gone the way of stitch markers, tape dispensers at wrapping time, my good scissors and single socks).  The cream yarn is Jaeger Matchmaker that I bought as a bag lot lo, these many ages ago, when Flying Colors closed and was clearing out their stock.

Since yarn for this one is DK I decided to try the Steampunk version. Except I decided I had to compensate for the fact the DK is heavier than fingering yarn. 

This is where I demonstrate that a little learning is the road to good intentions. 

The Mesa Rock version is 2 x 2 rib, so you need to cast on a multiple of 4.  The Steampunk cowl is supposed to be 3 x 3 rib (more gear-like in the designer's mind?), so between that and the thinner yarn, I cast on 180 stitches.  Except 180 is also divisible by 4 and that's when it all went sliding down the razor blade of Math.  I merrily knit my corrugated rib in 2 x 2, not 3 x 3. The Mesa Rock version has you work a progression of repeats. Three sets of 9, followed by three sets of 7 and then three sets of 5.  Steampunk repeats 3 times too, but repeats sets of 12,6, 3, that is, 12,6,3 - 12,6,3 - 12,6,3 - 12.  I left my instructions stashed in my knitting bag and mindlessly knit two sets of 12, then pulled out the pattern and, while maintaining my original delusion, misread it further and did a set of 6 and a set of 3.

Now I had choices. Do a second set of 6, 3 and then go back into pattern for the final 12,6,3,12? Go for a mirror image thing, and do another 3 rows making the pattern 12,12, 6, 3,3, 6, 12, 12? Except then I'm short 9 rounds, so maybe I need 12, 12, 6,6, 3,3, 6, 6, 12, 12?  Which would leave me three rows over the pattern total and while I want to use up all this yarn that might be calling it dangerously close?

The designer says, "The most valuable lesson by far is to make your Inspira all your own. Modify it to your heart's content, & you will be better for it, Gentle Knitter." Which, it cannot be denied, I had done. I just wish I had taken her advice on purpose instead of as a math failure.

Is it a surprise that before the Princess and I left for Stitches Midwest, I frogged back to the middle of the second set of 12 rows?

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