Saturday, March 20, 2010
This means I get to knit more. My usual pattern is the very first knitting pattern I ever made. My grandma and mother taught me to knit using a bias-dishcloth pattern that is ridiculously easy. And it creates a particularly attractive little square. It's a two-fer! I've gone on from there and very much enjoyed making round dishcloths, and the Ball-Band Dishcloth (from Mason-Dixon Knitting). I've even gone so far as to machine knit a dishcloth (I never mentioned, but in the end the gauge wasn't quite tight enough on that to stand up to much use).
Lately, I have been playing with Criminy Jickets' Garterlac Dishcloth. This is a popular pattern on Ravelry (over 1,000 projects!) and it's quite a bit of fun, too. It's also a great way to introduce someone to entrelac.
Entrelac is a method of using short rows of knitting to produce a cloth that appears to be woven even though it is knit of one piece. Typically it is worked in stockinette, but the garter-stitch works here to make a better dishcloth.
I liked the opportunity to practice entrelac, and a technique that anyone doing lots of short rows should know... knitting backwards. Normally you knit from the left needle, creating loops onto your right needle, but it's not that much of a stretch to reverse the process and work loops from the right onto the left. This saves you the annoyance of turning your work over every eight stitches (or less). It is also really useful for colorwork in the flat, but that's a different post.
The one thing I didn't like about this dishcloth was that it required a cast-on edge. Because of the way the side and top triangles are knit, any sort of cast-on is going to look different from the other three sides. I started the pattern as-written and quickly ripped that back out. I also read the blog carefully and debated the "no cast on" option (which really is a "provisional cast on" option where you pull out your cast on and knit what would have been the cast-on triangles as if they were cast-off triangles). None of this really felt elegant to me.
My option is to treat the "cast on" edge as if it were an increasing triangle. You don't need any cast on at all. You do need one slip-knot in which to begin knitting (or a backwards loop or whatever floats your boat).
Cast On one stitch
Increasing Base Triangle
K 1, turn, K-FB, turn.
K 2, turn, K-FB, K 1, turn.
K 3, turn, K 1, K-FB, K 1, turn.
K 4, turn, K 2, K-FB, K 1, turn.
K 5, turn, K 3, K-FB, K 1, turn.
K 6, turn, K 4, K-FB, K 1, turn.
K 7, turn, K 5, K-FB, K 1, turn.
K 8, turn,
K 6, K-FB, K 1, return last stitch to your other needle and treat as first stitch of the next triangle
Repeat for two more triangles. On the last triangle, do not increase in the last row (end with 8 stitches). Begin regular instructions at "increasing side triangle".