crescent shawls: tiling flattened diamonds.

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.

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Book Review: Sequence Knitting

Book review of Sequence Knitting.

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:, on Ravelry: Sequence Knitting

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An even better symmetrical lace chevron

An even better symmetrical knitted lace chevron.

A bit over a year ago, I posted a way of making a lace chevron with completely symmetrical decreases, followed shortly thereafter by an improvement based on a reader suggestion.

Apparently I was still unsatisfied, however, because last week a thought popped into my brain: yes, use the three-to-two single decrease to compensate for the single yarn over at the bottom of the chevron, but not on the same row as the yarn over.

And it was good.

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Concentric circles and links to previous math posts

I was talking about math and design with my friend Lori, who designs crochet motifs (and uses a lot of geometry as a result) and I thought I’d collect my posts on the topic so far in one place as well as talking about areas of concentric stripes in circles (and therefore calculating relative yarn quantities).

The first is about figuring out the percentage of the finished area of a circle you’ve worked so far.

Summary: if a is the number of rounds you’ve worked so far (from the center out) and b is the total number of rounds in the circle, do this math: (a*a)/(b*b) to see how far you are.

Alternately, you’ll be approximately halfway done when you’ve worked 70% of the rounds.

All this assumes a fairly regular density of stitches.

The second is my recent post about working out how much yarn you need for each stripe in a striped triangle.

Discussing the triangle stripe problem led to the question of the amount of yarn used for the stripes in a circle.20130816-211045.jpg

I wasn’t expecting to find as handy a visual pattern as I did for the triangle shawl, and indeed I didn’t. But I found a more useful rule of thumb than I expected, which I will summarize before showing my work.

If your center circle takes exactly one skein of yarn, the second stripe will take approximately 3 skeins; the third stripe will take approximately 5; the fourth, 7; the fifth, 9; and so on. Count by odd numbers and you’ll get a good rough estimate. The more stripes you go, the less accurate the approximation will be at the outer edges, but it’s a good starting point.

This calculation assumes that the stripes each contain an equal number of rounds and are approximately the same density of stitches.

Here’s the math:

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Knitting variations of lace


There are two basic kinds of lace in knitting: the kind where you take a break between patterned rows or rounds with either plain knitting or purling, and the kind where there’s yarn overs and decreases on every row or round. Many people call the former lace knitting and the latter knitted lace. (I am afraid that while I am usually a stickler for terminology, I find the terms too similar and can’t keep them straight without looking them up when I need to use them.)

Many people say that knitted lace is harder than lace knitting, and I can see ways in which it can be: sometimes it’s harder to manipulate yarn overs in decreases (hint: use the versions that slip stitches and then pass them over; it tends to make things a little easier, in my opinion), there’s not a restful plain row, and plain rows make it easier to frog back without lifelines (yes, I live dangerously with lace knitting and don’t use a lifeline). That said, I think many people turn “harder” into “impossible, so why should I even try?”

I truly don’t think it’s as bad as that.

For one thing, most knitters who’ve gone on to lace don’t seem to be intimidated by faggoting (an old term meaning to gather threads or stitches into a bundle like a bundle of sticks), which is in some ways the ultimate knitted lace: all yarn overs and decreases all the time, without a plain knit or purl to be seen.

What Barbara Walker calls Basic Faggoting (just one of many possible variations of faggoting):

knit one selvedge stitch, *yo, ssk*, end knit one.

Repeat that row as desired. It makes a reversible, stretchy mesh.

I sometimes like to play around with lace knitting by omitting the plain rows and seeing what the pattern stitches look like as knitted lace instead. That’s what I did in the swatch above. I find this sort of experimentation invaluable in understanding how stitches work together.


(Click on image for a larger version; see my new Chart Key page if any of the chart symbols are unfamiliar.)

For the first few repeats I put a plain purl row between each pattern row; after that I left the plain rows out. To avoid purl decreases, I used knitting and knitted decreases on both sides to make garter lace. (Purl decreases are fine with practice, but if you’re already feeling a little intimidated by knitted lace, there’s no point in adding complications!)

If you try this for yourself, please tell me what you think!