Tuesday, June 29, 2010

In Deep with Double Knitting

Let me start by saying thank you to Susan for finding a full picture of the Love and Loss sculpture picture on the internet. Nice to see that it is as I remembered it.

With so much time passing since my last post there had to be something happening in my knitting world. Here’s what I’ve got:

The Escaping Squares Vest is finished! I actually finished it late at night while hanging out with Susan from WormSoup at the BMFA Sock Camp. I wore it to the “Stump Tina” event, thinking she might not guess the discontinued Rolling Stone colorway, but of course she tagged it almost as quickly as I could stand up. (She’s scary amazing when it comes to color.) Here are two pictures of the back showing it in its double-knit, reversible glory. (You’ll get pictures of the front when the thing finally gets blocked! I guess I exagerated slightly about it being "finished".)

Escaping Squares was a PaintKnits TM experiment to see how pooling would react to double knitting. It’s kind of a preparation to see if I could create superimposed images over pooling. Most colorwork will distort pooling by radically changing gage for the dormant color, as in Fair Isle floats. That makes a silhouette effect nearly impossible to achieve.  Double knitting keeps the stitches flowing at gage regardless of which color’s visible.

I’m calling the experiment a success even though my ability to hold gage in this new knitting method wasn’t that great for controlled pooling. A careful look shows the bands of color continuing through the squares. I'm happy... plus I've got a new use for PaintKnits!

I’ve also started a new project. Double knit technology has completely seduced me so now I’m knitting M’Lou Baber’s “Oceans to Cross” coat. My plan is to knit it exactly to pattern, which is pretty bizarre for me, but I’ve buffered that by choosing wildly different colors. I don’t wear blue and white particularly well so I’ve substituted black and a blonde brown. I see gold colored fish over deep water or black fish over a shallow pond bottom.

Did you know that it’s considered good luck to have at least one black koi in a koi pond?  I'll have a school of them on my coat!

The yarn came from Delly’s Delights Farm and is 100% alpaca. I purchased it at Rhinebeck last year for this particular project. That was after some serious searching. With the insane variety of yarns out there it’s amazing how hard it can be to find exactly what you want.  Of course it doesn't help when you *know* in detail exactly what you want.

Anyways, I’m loving the yarn, and here’s how the Fish Coat looks so far.

I did come across a double-knit problem which led me to believe that I may not completely understand all of the book’s instructions for the first rows. I’d be interested to hear if anyone’s got some insight. According to the pattern and the book instructions you cast on a slew of stitches which all get knit-purl doubled in the next row, then in the row beyond that the end stitches each become selvage. So your doubling process gives you (K P) (K P) (K P). You turn and are looking at (K selvage) (P K) (P K) (P selvage). Your selvage gets a K stitch, and then the first paired stitch is a P. Of course on my first pass I messed up and had double knit pairs with the P’s in front!

I frogged and tried again just putting K’s on the P’s and vice versa in that first double knit row. That left me with opposing color dots in my edge. Yuck! I frogged again and for lack of a better idea cast on an extra selvage stitch and didn’t double those two end stitches. My doubled row then looked like (K selvage) (K P) (K P) (K P)… (K P) (K selvage). Flip that and knit the selvage stitches and all’s well. So it worked, but I’m left wondering what I missed. That’s definitely not the recommendation in the book. Any ideas?

I’m also sweating how to tuck ends. The final tail can be buried between the front and back fabric, but how do you get to the inside of the fabric to anchor the ends? With Escaping squares I was able to divide front and back between two needles and tuck ends as I went. The color areas were large enough. That’s been really tough with the Fish Coat. Can anyone offer me suggestions?

PaintKnits hasn't been completely dormant while all of this is going on.  I've tested it on a Mac computer and found that it works.  Yay!  And I'm incorporating some suggestions and improvements that came out of doing two new long distance installations.  A little more clean-up and I should be out looking for beta users...