Saturday, December 6, 2008
Over two weeks ago, I cast on and knit swatches to make "A Cardigan for Arwen" by Kate Gilbert (Interweave Knits, Winter 2006). I started to work the back and very quickly came to the conclusion that a big, plain, square back was going to be very boring to knit. It really needed something to match the beautiful cabling that graces the front. As I purled a row for turning the hem under, I centered the same cabling that goes up the front so that it would run right up my spine. Unfortunately, after a few repeats I could see my gauge wasn't quite what I'd planned it to be--probably because that cable was pulling things in quite a bit.
I began tossing different ideas around. I considered mitering that lovely cable and doing a square of it. But as long as I was going that far, why not find something even more striking, or design a knot and center it in the back of the sweater? I could short-row something much like the washcloths I do regularly, but that would create a cable that is longer on the outer edge than the inner one. Maybe someone had something out there already that I could just incorporate. Ravelry to the rescue!
My online search yielded the "Hilton of Cadbol" Flower Pillow by Janet Sazbo ("Twists and Turns", Winter 2003). The challenge here was how to adapt a circular motif to fit a square panel. I could knit the panel with a circular hole, or make the motif square. That shouldn't be too hard, right? Subtract two repeats.. maybe add in a few stitches. It'll square right up! Right.
I wish I could say what exactly clicked in the end, but I don't have a clue. Suddenly I had about ten lines of workable pattern and I started knitting. I also dug out a yarn I liked quite a bit more than the acrylic/wool blend of my first go-around and at least was able to enjoy the knitting a bit more. It's really hard to linger over a difficult problem when you don't particularly want to touch the yarn.
I still couldn't puzzle out where to increase stitch counts. As a stop-gap I went up two needle sizes about half-way through with the hope that shifting my gauge larger would deal with the buckling.
At least I can finally see where to insert stitches! It's a relief to feel like you're headed in the right direction. I was going to save this and make it into a little pillow for my daughter's dolls, but now I'm considering taking scissors to it along the lines where I want to add stitches and see if that will let it lay flat. It makes me think of cutting slices of bologna so it won't curl up when fried (for pretty much exactly the same reasons).
Only.. now I'm hungry.