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January 11, 2011 / Gillian

Here’s How I Would Do It: Part 1

Here’s the first installment in what will be an ongoing discussion on techniques.  Specifically on what I do when I’m faced with a technique in a pattern that I feel is not quite right, that could be better, or just that I don’t like to do in the directed way.

Occasionally I find that when I’m making a pattern and I’m following the directions exactly there will be one or maybe two things that I would have preferred to do differently.  The first time I’ll do it per the instructions, but then after that it’s pretty much a guarantee that I’m changing it to suite my tastes.  You should do the same.  I think of patterns more as guidelines.  Here’s an example.

Right now I’m making Miriam L. Felton’s Icarus Shawl.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I love this shawl.  It is gorgeous and I can’t wait to finish, block and show it to you.  I love it.  You’re going to love it.  It is astounding.

But.

And there is a but, it’s the cast-on.  The directions are simply to cast-on five stitches in a sturdy cast-on.  I know you can’t see it, but I’m making a scrunchy face right now.  This direction didn’t bother me until I made other shawls that used a different method which makes your cast-on nearly completely invisible.  Whenever possible you want your cast-on to be invisible.  It makes your piece looks cleaner, and quite frankly…magic.  Most people find knitting completely incomprehensible anyway, so if they can’t find where you started then you might as well be Harry-fucking-Houdini.  Here’s the cast-0n I’m talking about…

CO 2 stitches, knit 6 rows.  At the end of the last row, rotate the piece 90 degrees clockwise.  Pick up and knit 3 stitches, one in each garter ridge.  Rotate another 90 degrees, pick up 2 stitches.

This seems weird at first, but it provides an almost totally invisible cast-on for this type of triangular shawl and it’s just fantastic.  I love nearly any way I can make things more seamless.  Don’t even get me started on magic-loop.  Okay…I’ll talk about magic loop another day, because that’s another thing of which I cannot get enough.  Anyway, here’s a shot of my unblocked Icarus and tomorrow I’ll show you the finished, blocked thing itself.

Unblocked Icarus

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