When I posted Galaxite on Saturday, I wrote in passing about using a tiled flattened diamond to create the stitch pattern. This post goes into more detail about how this structure was created.
Crescent-shaped shawls have been popular among knitter and crocheters for several years now. The first such shawl I remember seeing was Annis, which caught a lot of people’s attention. A lot of other crescents used the same basic method (the body done with short rows, and the fancy edge knit straight), but designers started branching out very quickly, finding a variety of ways to make a crescent shape.
Last winter I knit Sacre Coeur, which uses a very different method, which I found fascinating and unexpected. Its designer, Nim Teasdale, will be the first to tell you that she didn’t invent it (at least, that’s what she said when I asked), though I think she does an excellent job of working with it. I don’t know an exact name for the style (if you do, please comment!), but it seems to be popular at the moment: one advantage to it aside from its beauty is that the shape can be worked until the knitter runs out of yarn or decides they’re done.
The method starts with casting on a small number of stitches, then increasing three stitches at each edge over two rows, while putting whatever stitches one likes between the edges. When blocking, the bound-off edge is curved around, while the two selvedges are blocked out as straight as possible.
For my birthday this year, I bought myself two books I’ve been yearning for: Sequence Knitting and the KNITSONIK Stranded Colourwork Sourcebook. Both have to do, in rather different ways, with demystifying particular design processes, though sequence knitting is also a new method for knitting complicated patterns using extremely easy-to-memorize methods. I am pleased as can be with both these books. I’ve already learned a lot from both of them. I have so much to say about each of them that I can’t possibly review them both in one post.
Sequence Knitting: Simple Methods for Creating Complex Reversible Fabrics, by Cecelia Campochiaro. Sunnyvale, CA: Chroma Opaci, 2015. ISBN: 9780986338106, website: sequenceknitting.com, on Ravelry: Sequence Knitting
Here is another in my series of posts about design exercises. I’ve been noticing a little arrow motif popping up in my secret code charts:
It intrigued me. I happened to notice it yet again in a grid, this time with rotational symmetry and with a couple of extra squares:
Nifty! I thought. I’ve been wanting to stretch myself with designing asymmetrical patterns (that would admittedly have translational symmetry when repeated). Even though the little chart above has rotational symmetry, I knew that by the time I was done with it, that would be gone. (This is a future étude for me, I think: to design lace with vertical mirror symmetry or rotational symmetry.)
So, I plugged in the yarn overs in my usual way, and added wrong side rest rows with purls where necessary. Then I guessed where to put the decreases. My draft chart follows, from before I’d even started my rough draft swatch for the design. (This one definitely needed one, so far as I was concerned.)
As I knit my rough draft, I worked out the following chart. I wasn’t sure at first if I liked the results, but I think I do. For one thing, I like the way that each diagonal ovally section is completed over three pattern repeats. I think that the decrease lines of this might make a scarf collapse along the bias.
I do regret not managing to put in no-stitch squares to make the pattern match the result more clearly; this one gave me fits and I just had trouble. If there’s interest, I would probably be willing to give it another try for the sake of learning to do better!
This is a stitch pattern such as might be found in a stitch dictionary. It is not a pattern for a finished object. You will need to add selvedges or some other form of knitted stitches to either side.
Stepping Stones is a multiple of 5 stitches and 12 rows.
Designers, please feel free to use this stitch in your patterns. Please note the Creative Commons license below (only a few of my older stitch patterns have this).
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CDD: centered double decrease: slip the next 2 stitches as if to knit 2 together, knit the next stitch, then pass the 2 slipped stitches over the third.
k2tog: knit 2 stitches together as if they were 1. (Right-leaning decrease)
k3tog: knit 3 stitches together as if they were 1. (Right-leaning double decrease)
ssk: slip each of the next 2 stitches as if to knit, then knit them together through the back loop. (Left-leaning decrease)
sssk: slip each of the next 3 stitches as if to knit, then knit them together through the back loop. (Left-leaning double decrease.)
Row 1 (RS): *k1, k2tog, yo x 2, ssk; work from *.
Row 2 (WS): *p1, (k1, p1) in double yo, p2; work from *.
Row 3: *k2tog, k1, k2tog, yo x 2; work from *.
Row 4: *(k1, p1) in double yo, p3; work from *.
Row 5: *yo, ssk, yo x 2, sssk; work from *.
Row 6: *p1, (k1, p1) in double yo, p2; work from *.
Row 7: *cdd, yo x 2, k2tog, yo; work from *.
Row 8: *p2, (k1, p1) in double yo, p1; work from *.
Row 9: *yo x 2, ssk, k1, ssk; work from *.
Row 10: *p3, (k1, p1) in double yo; work from *.
Row 11: *k2tog, yo x 2, ssk, k1; work from *.
Row 12: *p2, (k1, p1) in double yo, p1; work from *.
Sometimes I feel confident enough of how a lace pattern I’m designing will look that I just go ahead and start knitting it in my regular lace swatch yarn. (Harrisville Shetland, if you’re curious. I have a cone of it – well worth it, though I have to wash the spinning oil out of the yarn before blocking.) I usually have to make minor adjustments along the way, but years of knitting lots of lace (both other people’s stitch patterns and my own) have taught me a lot about how it’s likely to look.
(Practicing with samplers and making lots of projects is definitely the way to go. It also doesn’t hurt to read up on what other people have to say about lace design. The book I’ve learned the most from is Knitting Lace, by Susanna E. Lewis. )
Other times, I really have no clue how things are going to work out, and so I pull out my rough draft sampler, pictured above. This is a new element in my workflow this year, and I think it’s here to stay. It’s like a long scarf, only with jaggy edges (from binding off or adding extra stitches when I start a new pattern). I’ll knit a few rows and if the pattern isn’t working out, I’ll stick in a couple of plain rows and start over. If it just needs minor adjustments, I’ll make them until I’m satisfied, and then I’ll get out the Harrisville and knit the final swatch, to be labeled and kept. Usually, the final swatch is two or three repeats wide and two or three repeats high.
When I run out of rough draft yarn, I’m thinking of treating the rough draft sampler as the source of yarn for the next rough draft swatch, unraveling it as I knit. After all, I’ll have the final swatches as an archive.