Thursday, May 14, 2009

Experimenting with Stitch Pattern and Yarn

Variations are intriguing. If time were limitless, I would spend more time experimenting with them.

It is so much fun and such an educational experience to work up a swatch of a stitch pattern several times using different kinds of yarn--or to keep the yarn consistent and create variations in the stitch pattern. Usually driven by the need to finish a project, I don't often enough reserve time for swatching.

Currently what's scaling high on my intrigue meter is faggoting and rib stitches. A lovely pattern for experimenting with both at once is the lacy rib stitch used to create this scarf.

This is a rib stitch of Italian origin according to Barbara Walker who calls it corded ribbing. It is a ridged rib design with a lacy look. It's a one row repeat consisting of the repetition of SSK, M1, P2 with a knit stitch at each end of the row.

For such a simple stitch pattern, it has a lovely result. Varying the yarn and the needle size can really change the look. The bittersweet orange scarf above was done on large needles in a double strand of mediumweight Socks That Rock from Blue Moon Fiber Arts. It has a chunky look, but the STR fiber is super soft and so it feels great around your neck.

The next scarf was a charity scarf that was knit out of a wool/alpaca 2-ply fingering weight yarn donated by White Oak Alpacas. The scarf was knit using the same stitch pattern but with a smaller, size 10 needle. The luscious alpaca halo and the resilience of this fine yarn create a much different look.

The final example is a summer-weight cotton/lurex scarf which is soon to go in my Etsy store. The yarn, consisting of four unplied strands of cobweb-weight thread, creates a lovely loft.

Here's a closeup photo of the cotton scarf. The use of large needles created this lovely lacy look.

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