Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Design Series: Raven Rocks Scarf, Part 2 - Let's Get Started

If you're knitting along with me while I draft, design and edit the Raven Rocks Scarf, you've already picked out your yarn and maybe swatched the stitch patterns to settle on a needle size you like.

Wait. Did I even talk about swatching? Probably not because I didn't swatch for this project. I picked out two stitch patterns I'd already used and knew I like. I picked out a needle size knowing that it would be large enough to work with lace but not so large that the garter textured pattern would get lost.

But I'll let you take some time to swatch. In the last post, there are two charts for stitch patterns. Grab your needles and your yarn and let's do it.

For the Bricks pattern, cast on a multiple of 4 stitches -- 4, 8, 12, 16, etc. You get the idea. You want enough stitches that you can really see the pattern, so I'd recommend at least 32 stitches. Then work the pattern according to the chart. I suggest you work the chart at least 4 times to get a really good idea of the fabric.

For the Arched Lace pattern, cast on a multiple of 6 + 7. This is a bit more complicated multiple because the pattern makes allowances for extra decreases on the edges. So how do you cast on a multiple of 6 + 7? First, cast on a multiple of the first number listed: 6 -- 6, 12, 18, etc. And then cast on 7 more stitches. So 6 + 7, 12 + 7, 18 + 7, etc. I suggest at least 31 stitches (24 + 7), but with lace you may want more. I also suggest you work the chart at least 3 times. It's a longer repeat so you'll see the fabric you get with few repeats of the chart.

Ready to move on? Great!

A couple more decisions:

  • What are my edges going to look like?
  • Where do the increases go to make a triangle?

What are my edges going to look like?

I picked out two different edges for Raven Rocks Scarf. On the long straight edge, I decided to go with an i-cord. I'll work the i-cord at the same time as the scarf. This type of edge has its own challenges and benefits.

To work the i-cord at the same time as the scarf, three edge stitches will be slipped on every wrong side row and knitted on every right side row. This means that the three-stitch edge will be shorter than the rest of the scarf by half. It's only being knitted every other row. But knitted fabric is stretchy and flexible and I find that I like the firm, but finished, edge created by the i-cord. I also find that the i-cord edge helps the scarf almost curve toward the i-cord and so around my neck.

On the opposite edge, I'm going to work a decorative yarn-over/decrease edge. I'm not sure there's a fancy word for it. But for this type of edge, every right side row is just worked in pattern. The wrong side row begins with yarn over and then k2tog (knit two together). The k2tog balances the yarn over and doesn't cause increases while the yarn over makes a loopy decorative edge. It's especially beautiful on a lace pattern that will be blocked out severely.

Where do the increases go to make a triangle?

This turned out to be way more complicated than it should be. Increasing and decreasing in knitted fabric can be a fickle and cruel thing and it's very interesting how just moving your increases really makes your knitting "move" in one way or another.

Now, too long into the design process, I sketch out the pattern on paper so I know where the stitch patterns go.

I know I want the i-cord edge to be "straight", so my first draft of the pattern put the increases in the yarn over/decrease edge. I loved this because I could, in the increases, just yarn over without decreasing, and then add the decreases when I was ready for the pattern to go "straight." This looked fantastic and worked beautifully until.... always until... until I added the lace pattern. Then it doesn't work anymore because I have to also increase the lace section. and that moves the increases and changes the shape and everything falls to pieces.

Rip it out. Re-sketch. Move the increases. Re-swatch. Success!

I still want the i-cord edge to be "straight," which means the increases in the lace section need to be at the boundary of the arched lace and bricks stitch patterns. If I put the increases for the bricks section at the same spot, when I switch from increasing the bricks pattern to increasing the lace pattern, everything will work!

So here you go: the chart for the beginning of Raven Rocks Scarf.