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Posts Tagged ‘seed stitch’

TGIF. While I am not doing more, the time I have to do it in seems to have shortened. I don’t understand why 24 hours does not seem like 24 hours anymore but that’s the way it’s been around here.

Water is still on the basement floor, not from the washing machine, but the monsoon rain. The sump pump is working. It’s a sensitive object. The smallest things upset it and it stops working. When its quiet for a while, I open the cellar door, remind it that it’s a nice sump pump, and nice sump pumps always pump water. It chokes and gurgles to life and I go about my work until I don’t hear it again.

Yarn Rascal has relapsed into deviant behavior. Ripping out grouted tile, tearing up rugs, and totally new behavior: stealing circular knitting needles. He likes to tightly clamp the cable part in his mouth and tear around the house like a Ferrari. Even when I catch him, it is pretty near impossible to get him to give up the needles. When he doesn’t want to open his mouth I can’t do it for him. So I’ve resorted to food treats, a piece of cheese (he likes cheddar) or his favorite bacon biscuits as a sort of hostage exchange. The negotiations before the exchange takes place are a bit long, depending on how determined he is to keep the knitting needles. His favorite pair is a 16″ (41 cm) length 5 mm / US 8.

Which brings me to the North River Baby Carrier. I am knitting the sleeves in the round on dpns. The sleeves are done in Seed Stitch. Since the Seed Stitch pattern can’t be easily maintained through decreases the same is true with increases. Sleeves need to have a gentle taper that grows wider as it reaches the upper arm. In a moment of delusion hope I thought of working the sleeve from the widest point down since I had spent so much time figuring out the decreases on the hood. It seems, (surprise, surprise), that a hood and its decreases are way different from a sleeve and its decreases. The major distinction being the distance between the decreases. In a row on the hood the distance in stitches between decreases is greater. In a round on a sleeve the distance between decreases is only a stitch or two. The sleeve decreases need to be kept in the middle of the sleeve underneath where a seam would be if I were working them in rows. The decreases with only a stitch or two separating them didn’t look all that great.

Back to the main idea, gently tapering to a wider upper arm. Swatching, ripping, swatching, ripping, research, research, swatch and rip some more and finally I learned a few things. There is no way to keep the Seed Stitch pattern completely intact and so I decided to use a little knitting trompe l’oeil.

Basically the knitter can use whatever increase is his/her favorite. Mine happens to be the lifted increase. An increase of 1 st on either side of the central marker keeps the disruption at the center of the sleeve underneath where a seam would naturally fall. The only two stitches affected are the immediate ones on either side of the marker. They got the knitting trompe l’oeil treatment when I decided to keep them as the same stitches within the round but alter them on each round.

Normally the two stitches would be k1, p1 on one round then change to p1, k1 on the next round. The increases atered that so the two stitches wanted to be the same stitch on each round. On the first round after the increase they wanted to be k2. So I thought let them be k2, on the next round they will be p2, on the one after that they will become k2 again. I was “maintaining” the way Seed Stitch alternates on each row. After working more rows I looked at the effect and the eye cannot see the increase. Neither does it pick up the two stitches that are similar within a round. Because the increases have a large number of rounds between them, there is virtually no disruption of the Seed Stitch pattern either on top or underneath the sleeve.

I am planning to have the baby carrier completed by the end of the weekend. Go ahead, laugh. But really, am I not due for a break?

Have a good weekend.

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Is it only me, or have other knitters been driven to the edge where sanity crosses over into insanity by Seed Stitch? There must be extant clips from diaries, journal entries, knitting notes, documenting the row by row erosion of reason that occurs when working the Seed Stitch Pattern, especially when it is broken up into separate panels one of which is divided 9″ (23 cm) into the pattern ceasing the knitting in the round and changing it to knitting flat in rows.

When prestigious knitting oeuvres describe the Seed Stitch Pattern their tone drips with condescension over its simplicity. Only a complete fool could screw it up. Two stitches: a knit and a purl make up the pattern. Whether I care or not about technical matters the knitting books drive home the point that technically this is a k1, p1 rib broken on every row. The unwritten point here: it’s the simplest of ribbings and if the knitter messes it up, then the knitter best look to finger painting as a hobby. The thing to keep in mind is all knit stitches are purled, all purled stitches are knit. Simple. Do the opposite of what the stitch is that’s on the needle.

When I have to keep straight the 108 to 144 sts on my needles, 40 to 60 of which are separated into Seed Stitch panels of 13 sts or more and the knitting is in the round and there’s a braid whose stitches, rows, and crosses need to also be kept straight and I am not following any directions I am making it up as I go and writing it down, something is going to give.

Accounting for each and every Seed Stitch on each and every row, through divisions and decreases is a little like counting grains of sand on a beach. The mind, and rightfully so, takes a hike. It comprehends the insanity inherent in the task and says, “Let me know when you come to your senses and I’ll be back.” After accounting for every seed stitch on the body of the baby carrier along with the stitches, crosses and rows on the braids, my mind said, “Adios” when I began the first sleeve.

I had 43 stitches on my double pointed needles (the sleeve is worked in the round) and I only had to work 11 rows of seed stitch. Forty-three measly stitches. After finishing the 11 rows I looked at my work, because now came the tricky part, and I realized that whatever it was that I had on my dpns was not the seed st pattern. The feeling was the exact same feeling of horror I experienced the first and last time I ever went fishing as a kid. The excitement over catching a fish quickly transformed when what I pulled up was a rather large eel, not a fish. In my panic, I threw pole and the still hooked eel right into the water and ran back to the car. Of course my father retrieved the pole and set loose the eel. But that was it for me and fishing.

They say good, soothing things about finger painting. I understand that it is used with success by mental health specialists in helping patients. Some paper, non-toxic paint pots…how simple. Only a fool could screw it up.

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