May 30, 2006

Process vs Product

When is a knitting project a success?  Is a successful project one in which you enjoy every minute of the process regardless of the final fit?  Or must the end product be a winner for the project to be deemed successful?  nona's been pondering this question.

After a quick timeout for swatching -- 'cause who can resist the swatch -- I finished my Habu Vest.  I loved everything about the process of this project.  The silk yarn was a joy to knit with.  The schematic based pattern was clear, concise, and catered to my thinking style.  Steam blocking the panels to a paper pattern  was exacting and satisfying.  All in all a very successful project. 

Successful that is until I tried the bloody thing on.  Not at all becoming to my body shape.  Since we're friends, I'll give you a peek...

This vest would flatter a petite figure, not a nona-figure!
Luckily, I'm confident I can find a good home for this vest.

Process or product?  For me, it's the process.  An unflattering -- on me -- garment is still successful if I enjoyed the process.  How about for you?

May 30, 2006 in Project - Japanese | Permalink | Comments (22)

May 24, 2006

A Pile of Pieces

Hey, that schematic must have worked because nona's got a pile of pieces.  Not only that, but the pieces all appear to be the correct shape and size.  Have I told you how much I dig knitting from the schematic?!

Knitting done, pieces steam blocked, ends woven in -- note to self,next time you're weaving in ends on garter stitch be sure you're on the wrong side -- time for a bit of seaming.  Wish me luck.

May 24, 2006 in Project - Japanese | Permalink | Comments (5)

May 18, 2006

Number Puzzle

The time is ripe my friends to discover the numbering system used in Japanese patterns.  Whoa, whoa, whoa, don't click away so quickly!  Please humor me and at least skim to the end. 

In a Japanese pattern all shaping -- increases and decreases -- are articulated using a numbering system.  Here is an example for shaping an armhole:

4 - 1 - 2
2 - 1 - 4
1 - 5 - 1


Decrease 11 total stitches as follows: bind off 5 stitches at the beginning of the next row.  Decrease 1 stitch every other row 4 times and then every 4th row 2 times. 

Here are the keys to deciphering one of these gems:

  1. The location of the numbers on the schematic tells you where the shaping should occur.
  2. Always read the numbers from the bottom up
  3. The number in the ( ) tells you the total number of stitches to decrease (-) or increase (+).
  4. When given 3 numbers -- the first number tells you how many rows to work, the second number tells you how many stitches to decrease (or increase) in the last of these rows, and the third number tells you how many times to repeat this.

Taken line by line:

  • (-11) means -- 11 total stitches are decreased
  • 1 - 5 - 1 means --  in the next row, decrease 5 stitches, one time.  Since this is an armhole, the 5 stitches are decreased by binding off.
  • 2 - 1- 4 means -- every 2 rows, decrease 1 stitch, 4 times (for a total of 8 rows)
  • 4 - 1 - 2 means -- every 4 rows, decrease 1 stitch, 2 times (for a total of 8 rows)

Okay time for you to try one.  What does this mean:

8 - 1 - 4
12 - 1 - 8

Continue reading to see the answer ...


Increase 12 stitches as follows:  Increase 1 stitch every 12 rows, 8 times and then every 8 rows 4 times.

Give yourself a pat on the back just for sticking with me for this long.  nona appreciates your sense of adventure.

May 18, 2006 in Project - Japanese | Permalink | Comments (24)

May 17, 2006

Blocking the Living Room

Consensus has it that my Habu schematic looks more like a floor plan than a knitting pattern -- and did you see the large walk-in closet!?  This vest is constructed from 8 panels -- we'll call them rooms -- half knit horizontally and half vertically.  Each direction has a different gauge and calls for "hard" blocking. 

I've finished the living room (the back top left panel) and it's a stretch -- pun intended -- to get it to it's final dimensions.  This situation calls for drastic measures.  Yes, my friends, this situation calls for a paper pattern and the Steam Queen.

Here's the top-left panel pre-blocking.
Move your mouse over the picture to see the post-blocking shape.
Sorry about the poor color, sigh

When I have to hard block to exact measurements I like to use a paper pattern.  Interested in seeing the process?  Read on...

Step 1 -- Create a paper pattern to the actual measurements of the piece.  If your pattern includes a schematic, this is an easy task given a good ruler and large sheet of paper.

If you pattern does not include a schematic, you'll need to calculate the dimensions yourself -- a story for another day.
Step 2 -- Using lots and lots of pins, stretch the knit piece to fit the size and shape of the paper pattern.

Since I knew I needed lots of horizontal stretching -- the pattern warned me about this -- I haven't yet bound off.  We all know binding off can create a tight edge.
Step 3 -- Steam the heck out of the piece and let it thoroughly dry.  When you remove the pins the piece should retain it's new, blocked shape.

May 17, 2006 in Project - Japanese, Tips and Techniques | Permalink | Comments (10)

May 15, 2006

Pinch Me

Pinch me, cause I think I've died and gone to heaven.  My LYS carries a few items from Habu Textiles and I was lucky enough to pick up a vest kit. 

Tasumugi Silk from Habu Textiles

Not only does the silk knit up beautifully, but the pattern is a fascinating puzzle.  I'm sure, faithful reader, you are well acquainted with nona's love for all things numbers and visual.  Well, the entire pattern is described using a schematic with a special numbering system.  For those with less enthusiasm for visual puzzles, the pattern also includes a verbal description.  Always looking for a challenge, I'm going to try and use only the schematic -- we'll see what I end up with!

Japanese Style Pattern -- Visual Delight, Baby

May 15, 2006 in Project - Japanese | Permalink | Comments (11)

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