Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Knitting in Seafoam

Although my ADD mind will often flit from idea to idea and from one project to another, it does sometimes gets obsessively occupied with a single thing. Especially knit and crochet stitches.

It seems that every year, a different stitch takes hold of my imagination. My brain becomes fascinated by endless possibilities of fiber choices for the stitch pattern and different pattern variations. Last year I was mesmerized by a European rib stitch and created many scarves based on it.

Since I am now a spinner, this year I was exploring stitch patterns that would show off hand-spun yarn. Dropped and elongated stitches are perfect for this.

My muse, the Knitting Mermaid, a mythical friend who lives in the ocean off Cannon Beach, Oregon, inspired me to look at the seafoam pattern which is described in Barbara Walker's A 2nd Treasury of Knitting Stitches on p. 218.

Here what it looks like:

This is basically a garter stitch pattern in which you create some elongated stitches on every fourth row that create little eye-shaped lace inserts.

In Barbara Walker's instructions, you create the elongated stitches by making one or more yarnovers between the knit stitches of the eye sections. These yarnovers are dropped when knitting the next row of stitches.

An alternative method for making the elongated stitches, and one which works better for me, is to knit them as follows: (1) Insert the right-hand needle as if to knit the next stitch. (2) Wrap the yarn 1-4 times around the needle and pull all the wraps through the stitch onto the RH needle. (3) On the next row knit into this wrapped knit stitch once. The extra wraps will create a long stitch.

You can vary several different elements of this pattern:

  • the number of rows of knitting between the eyes 
  • the number of stitches within and between the eyes
  • the number of yarnovers or wraps for the stitches within the eyes
  • the number and color variation of yarns used

In the photo above two different colors of yarn were used on every four rows with the yarn not in use being carried up the side of the fabric. You can vary the look depending on when you make the color change. This swatch used a color change right after the wrapped stitch row.

In the next swatch, two colors are used on selected rows to create a design within the design, and the number of knit rows between motifs were varied.

It was the above swatch which led to the choice of edging for my Edgewater Treasure wrap of which you saw a peak in the last post.

Not content to stop there, I have another wrap with a seafoam edge in progress:

It was an endlessly fascinating stitch--until I thought about making elongated stitches in crochet.

So now I'm off on a new tangent. Obsessively.


Etsy Studios said...

The stitches are beautiful.

Almost Precious said...

One of the joys (and amazements) of knitted and crochet stitches, is their incredible versatility. Just minor changes can make a big difference in the finished appearance of a piece. You've demonstrated this beautifully in your blog post. :)