Saturday, February 11, 2006

Squid Mitts? And some process stuff

*** The annoying squid background has been temporarily disabled. It will be brought back when we can figure out how to put it up in a way or a place where it will not be annoying. ***

It seems that Butterflies are not to be. Once the elusive copy of Barbara Walker's Third Treasury (the yellow one) was located last night, I let the Daughter loose with it and she chose the Four-Way Spiral pattern. After one full repeat I have come to realize that the spiral is really a Squid and, the Daughter agrees. And so it goes, another pair of Squid in the apartment.

My Planning Process

I was asked today where I got the pattern for the hat I was wearing. It is at this point that I must admit that I now rarely use specific patterns for things like socks, hats and mittens. After a few years of using other people's patterns, I realized that I was changing almost every one that I used. So now, for basic items I just incorporate all of the rules that I've learned along the way and figure out how to get where I want. For hats I am currently on a 2 X 2 ribbing kick and just give a good guess as to how many to cast on. Since the ribbing is so stretchy it is a safe bet for most head sizes. The hat I was wearing today was knit in grey cashmere in the standard 2X2 and has plenty of length so it is doubled over my ears. I actually knit it for someone else and it has come back to rest in my care.

The mittens I am making for dear daughter start with 40 stitches of 2 X 2 ribbing (see a pattern here?) knit for 5 inches on size 4 needles (she wants very long cuffs to keep the snow and cold out). Since my son's last pair of mittens, knit just 2 weeks ago, were a tad too snug for Daughter, I increased to 52 stitches which is what works for the pattern she chose. The pattern is mosaic so it draws in a lot (that was for those of you saying "52 stitches for a kid?!). After 18 rows (9 pattern rows) I added one stitch and then increase on either side of it every other row until there were 17 stitches in the thumb gusset -- the edge stitches for the gusset are purled and the increases, after the second round, are spaced so as to keep a vertically striped pattern going.

At this point I have completed a full repeat of the pattern (51 rows) and figure (after a try-on) that I have 1/2 a repeat to go before decreasing for the top of the hand. I am going to try to do the decreases so as to keep the Squid looking as Squid-like as possible and should have that piece done by the end of the night. My real goal is to finish the entire mitten tonight but that probably will not happen.

Tomorrow will probably be a low-yield day, knitting-wise, since we are assuming that at least a few hours will be spent in Riverside Park sledding in the first snow of the season and another chunk of time will be spent in snowball fights and Snowperson building. I am actually looking forward to this since the worst should be cleared by the time I have to go to work on Monday. Actually, I usually look forward to romping with my family in the snow -- it is just plain fun to watch the kids having such a good time.

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