Saturday, May 13, 2006

The Box Came Back

The Box came back on Wedneday. Not an ordinary box, mind you, but a Priority Mail box from the west coast. It contained a sweater, a hat, eighteen swatches, and enough pattern directions to start a small encylopedia (so long as it was truly very small), and a very nice letter. The bottom line is ... I have a swatch to redo.

Actually, I had a swatch to redo. The New and Improved version
is blocking at the moment. The white and tan swatch is the Old and Needs Reworking swatch. The blue threads point out the Awful Parts. The grey and purple swatch is the Improved version. I sat myself down yesterday, book in lap, yarn in basket, needles on table, and proceeded to knit. And experiment (with acrylic, none the less). And after not too much analysis, I discovered that 100% of those blue threads were caused by ssks. No p2togs rated a blue thread. So I addressed myself to improving the ssk.

An ssk is a left-leaning single
decrease. It is formed by slipping one stitch knitwise, the another, then knitting them together by either transferring them (without twisting) back onto the left-hand needle and knitting through the back loops, or else not transferring them and inserting the left-hand needle into the loops and knit them together. It's supposed to be a perfect mirror of a k2tog. The problem is, it's easy to stretch a stitch or two out of shape and end up with a cracked mirror - in this case, mis-shapen stitches. The usual solution is to work on the tips of your needles so as not to stretch the stitches.

Working the stitches on the tips of the needles didn't improve the situation. Working the stitches on size 0 needles didn't improve the situation. BUT the alternative left-leaning decrease, the "slip one, knit one, pass slipped stitch over knit stitch" (s1 k1 psso) behaved itself beautifully. And so, a new swatch was born. First in acrylic, then a sample in alpaca/silk leftovers (which did not behave at all), and finally, in plain ol' wool. I also did some experimentation with wrapped stitches and made some improvements in the first and last row of the swatch. It was a lovely learning experience. I'm not sure I will ever love entrelac, but I do plan on making at least one entrelac sock, so I will a) know how to do it, and b) know if I ever want to do it again.

The Moebius is finished. Multiple headbands got finished.

And some lace got started.

In my non-knitting life, I'm studying II Thessalonians, editing, and juggling end-of-the-year school with medical appointments. Next on my 'to read' list is Grace Abounding, John Bunyan's autobiography.


Rosemary said...

Hi Carolyn! I love your entrelac samples - you've really accentuated the basket-weave look. Great job!

Anonymous said...

Hi Carolyn -

There is an alternative ssk:

Slip the first stitch knitwise and the second stitch purlwise.

Insert the left needle through the fronts of both stitches and knit them together.

I find this method lies much flatter and is quite easy to work without stretching stitches.