I know I have posted photos of the lake, and my knitting by it, a million times, but it is so beautiful, especially when it still has that early morning feel to it. Today it has that added "after the storm" feel too - the row boat had about a foot of water in it from last night! Thank goodness the humidity has gone too. Today is a gorgeous early September day.
The trellis baby blanket is coming along beautifully - I have done three repeats and for once my calculations seem to be working out correctly and I am on target for 16 repeats although I may have to rip out a couple of my swatches to finish.
It starts a little abruptly so I may go back and add a ribbed border but otherwise I am very happy and enjoying the knitting - the pattern is easy and logical and you can "read" the knitting to keep track. It is perhaps a slightly unusual baby blanket but it is lovely and "sweater-y" - just what I wanted. There are (or will be) more photos on Flickr.
And yes, that spot near the horizon behind the dock is hubby!
You know how when you find The One, everything that seemed so hard before just clicks into place and you wonder why you ever struggled so long with others before? It wasn't that those others were wrong, or bad, or that you were wrong or bad, it was just that, for all the good intentions in the world, they weren't a good fit.
I now present swatch #6 - The One!
I went with Trellis in the end and right away, everything went much more smoothly. Immediately I liked the pakucho on US #6 needles a whole lot better, and the pattern, nicely charted, was easy to follow yet interesting, with a variety of different cable stitches. Stitch definition is great, and it looks lovely and sweater-y because, hey, it is from a sweater! My only question is, should I throw in some other cables or leave it at this? I think I'm going to leave it at this.
So yes, ladies and gentlemen, you may heave a sigh of relieve - knitting is fun again! And thank goodness for ravelry and free online patterns!
Better, but still not great. In truth, I think I need to go to a smaller needle size, and go with bigger cables. I like the concept of these cables - I could translate it into a larger size, but I'm still wondering if I should abandon the idea of cables with this yarn altogether.
I shouldn't have to though... look at these beautiful cables (ravelry, flickr) from Trellis in pakucho, but using US #6 needles. Then there's the Cable-Eight Top (ravelry, flickr) which was actually designed in pakucho. It even uses US #11s. I can't get the pattern for this one but I think I could work it out. I also like this (ravelry, flickr) braided cable, also using US #6 in pakucho, and how about the beautiful stitch definition on this (ravelry, flickr)? Or this beautiful hat (ravelry, flickr)? I like the cables of the original pattern (ravelry, flickr) too. Argh - knitting is supposed to be fun, not frustrating!
Ok, so, what to try now? I'm definitely using US #6 for the next swatch. Should I try adapting the cross lane cables to be bigger, or play around with Trellis? I could even abandon the blanket idea altogether and just make Trellis...! Or should I try a figure-eight cable? Or knit something else until it comes to me?!
I should probably at least block this latest swatch to see what that does.
It's been a relaxing morning otherwise, not that there's been anything much other than this, but I did have a nice breakfast in the backyard where I still am sitting with my husband under a giant umbrella over our table.
Breakfast: lime over ginger tea with jelly over peanut butter toast!
By the way, I did figure out what I was doing wrong with my twisted stitches for the previous swatch - it came to me as I was drifting in and out of a nap. The knit stitch is always supposed to go in front of the purl stitch. I don't think it would have helped much though...
So sadly my "I'm going to go and do lots of knitting now" declaration yesterday did not result as desired. Swatching can be so annoying. Well first of all, before swatching, I had to chart out the pattern, which was written out row by row, thus, in my opinion, making a simple pattern much harder to understand the structure and rhythm of. I know for many, charts are daunting and they prefer the row by row instructions, but not me. I'm visual! So that took... a while and was... annoying.
Then, I started out with US #17 size needles and the yarn doubled up per the pattern and... whoa, #17 needles are HUGE! The stitches were huge too - at first I thought maybe it could be nice kind of open but it became apparent the pattern was not going to read at all. Cotton just isn't stretchy or fluffy enough. So I ripped out my swatch (didn't even bother taking a photo) and scaled back to US #11 needles... which were still too big! So I ripped back again (again no photo) and tried US #10. This worked better, but then I decided the yarn doubled up was going to give too heavy a fabric. The Voyager Lace stole had such a nice drape so I did what I probably should have done to begin with - used the same size needle and just a single strand of yarn.
And... I don't think this is the best pattern for the yarn, and it is definitely not the best yarn for the pattern. Compare my swatch with the beautiful photo.
And by the way notice a) the row by row instructions and b) that the photo opposite the pattern is of a completely different blanket!
Anyway, I think I may have been doing my twisted stitches wrong but even so, it seems obvious to me now that a detail that relies on a single stitch wide "cable" to read is not the greatest for this yarn. I need fatter cables! I mean, it doesn't look too bad in the photos but they are not the flowing cables that I have been imagining.
So yeah, swatching is handy but annoying to do, especially when the knitting is relatively easy and you're just trying to see how it looks and how big it is (unlike my most enjoyable and exciting-to-knit swatch to date for the Print O' The Wave stole). Me, I'm too impatient and just dying to get onto knitting the real thing, but I think I need to take my time figuring out the right pattern for this one.
Part of me wants to ditch the whole cable idea (I had this whole fantasy about how cozy cables look, like a sweater) and just go with Elizabeth Zimmerman's Garter Stitch Blanket (ravelry, brooklyntweed's amazing version) but, beautiful though that pattern is, that seems like a bit of a cop-out on my original vision. I may need to bite the bullet and design my own cables... but do I really have the patience for that right now? I think I'm going to try swatching the Cross Lane Cable Blanket (ravelry, flickr). It has 4-stitch cables and it's already charted out, and I know the needle size, so I could jump right in and then decide on modifications/my own design from there.