I’m on the 4th of a 5-day “burst” of prednisolone, which I’m taking periodically for one thing and another. Usually by about the third dose, I’m not sleeping more than 4-hours a night, my brain is going about Mach 2, I’m bouncing off the walls, and this is what the last day or two have been like:
While I was working on the center pattern of the light blue Cobblestone Lace Shawl, I was thinking about this stitch I’m using for the body of the shawl, which I “discovered” while experimenting with the seed stitch (surely, I’m not the first one to have stumbled across it, but since I can’t find it on the interwebs and don’t know if it has a formal name, I’m calling it the “cobblestone stitch”) and the variations on it.
In order for the stitch pattern to work out right, rows 1 and 3 have to have an even number of stitches, and rows 2 and 4 have to have an odd number of stitches. You can achieve that by increasing a stitch at the end of rows 1 and 3 for a steady increase of 2 stitches over 4 rows (one pattern repeat), or by decreasing a stitch at the end of rows 1 and 3, for a steady decrease of 2 stitches over 4 rows. This will result in a piece with a straight left (or top) edge and a sloping right (or bottom) edge. However, if you increase on row 1 and decrease on row 3, (stitch count remains net constant over the pattern repeat), the left (top) edge is straight and the right (bottom) edge is “optically” straight. Here’s the stitch pattern:
Cast on an even number of stitches.
Row 1: knit until 1 stitch remains, (increase 1 stitch or decrease 1 stitch).
Row 2: *p2, k1, repeat from * until 1 stitch remains, p1.
Row 3: knit until 1 stitch remains, (increase 1 stitch or decrease 1 stitch).
Row 4: *p1, k1, repeat from * to the end of the row.
Now, how you increase or decrease that 1 stitch is up to you. It all depends on the look you want. You could work the increase with a yo, or a kfb, or a mo, or an e-wrap, and you could use a k2tog, or a p2tog, or an ssk, or an ssp, or a psso to work the decrease. Each way produces a different look. Say, for example, if you’re using this stitch to work the body of a triangular shawl, you wouldn’t want to be able to easily tell which side had the increases and which side had the decreases. Because you’d want both sides to look the same, you’d want to pair an increase stitch with a decrease stitch that has a similar look. For example, if I were using a mo (make one) for my increases, I’d want to use a k2tog for the decreases as they have a similar look. I happen to like kfb’s, and the decrease that I think looks most similar to them is p2tog. But there are all kinds of possible combinations and looks.
So, anyway, as I’m knitting, I’m thinking, “a rectangular shawl, knitted from side to side with a garter stitch lace lower border, and some kind of garter stitch lace insert along the top border (if I can find the right kind of lace pattern, I could modify the pattern to make it into a matching insert), and some kind of side border. I could maybe work the lower border edge of the cobblestone stitch with a yo for the increase and a k2tog, yo for the decrease (but I’d have to try it to see how it would look), or just go with a kfb/p2tog increase/decrease. I wonder how much yarn it would take — 4 skeins? 5? Do I have enough yarn in my stash to do one in a solid color?” . . . .
Well, this idea has been cooking in my brain since Wednesday, and yesterday, as I’m at my computer reading blogs and webcomics, I just have to pull up this site that has a bunch of garter stitch lace patterns on it and start looking for something suitable.
So, here’s the thing. When you’re knitting a shawl from side to side, you’re knitting “vertical” rows (as opposed to “horizontal” rows as in top-down or bottom-up), so you’re knitting top border, body, and lower lace border all on the same row — on every row. In order for a lace pattern to “mesh” with the cobble stone stitch when you’re working in the side-to-side orientation, the number of rows in the lace pattern repeat has to be evenly divisible by 4 (because the cobblestone stitch has a 4-row pattern repeat), so only certain lace patterns will work. But I found this one called “Kildare Edging” that I like the look of. The pattern of the lace is such that it could easily be modified to make a matching insert for the top border by removing those scallops across the bottom edge, and it has an 8-row pattern repeat.
Naturally, I immediately cut and pasted the pattern into a Word document, grabbed a 24-inch US10 circular needle and a ball of yarn and started knitting it so I can see how the lace is put together and what part of the pattern does what. Once I know that, I’ll know what bits to take out to remove the scallops and where to put what looks like it needs to be a k3 to give it a lower edge that matches the upper edge and make it symmetrical.
I’m trying not to get too involved in it because I’m working on 4 (!) other shawls at the moment, but a while ago I sat down at the computer and caught up on blog reading, and then I started working on this one part of a story I’ve been playing around with (that already has a glossary and a who’s who . . . ), and then I couldn’t stand it any more, so I’m working on that lace again, and then I thought I’d blog about it, and now I have 8 windows open on my computer and knitting in my lap . . . .