Monday, December 28, 2009

Can You Make Yarn From My Head, Since It's Spinning?

What started as a reconnection with Ravelry last night ended up with me pounding out a pattern I've been meaning to write down for a while now.

Is it a good or a bad sign that the pattern was harder to write than the item was to knit?  I'm going to have to test knit a few chunks of my own design, just to make sure I've transcribed my brain waves properly!  I mean, I made this all up in my head, and I remember very clearly the intent of each aspect of the design, but it really was more a system of rules than a set of stitch counts and decreases...grumble grumble grumble!  Anyway, I know it's a tease, but the pattern is highly classified for the moment, as I have plans for it that go beyond self-publishing.  I hope.

I'm not above being a tease, though!  It's such a wicked little thrill.

Anyway, on the recommendation of my darling Kara, I dove in to the abyss that is Ravelry.  The Big R's inception coincided almost exactly with the death of my last blog and my spiraling lack of interest in the world of online knitting.  I spent weeks and weeks on the waiting list with everyone else, and then when my number finally came up, I think I spent about twenty minutes looking the place over.  I queued one project (which I never ended up making and finally de-queued.)  Last night, however, I spent a good two hours there--I added my recent FOs, and spent more time than I should have browsing patterns and ooohing and aaaahing over other knitters' gorgeous FOs.  I also, as a challenge to myself to actually finish it, I added the new project I started yesterday, which for now shall be called the Freeform Scarf Experiment, my answer to my coworker's Shoddy-but-Cute Scarf.  I've played around with freeform before but never followed anything through to completion.

This, too, even more than my mystery pattern, isn't a pattern but a set of rules.  Freeform knitting, of course, can be as freeform as the knitter wants it to be, but I find greater satisfaction with it if I set some limits.
  1. All garter stitch, all the time.  I want this scarf to lay flat.  I despise curling edges unless they are deliberate design features, and even then, I go case by case.
  2. Each segment is wholly independent; that is, I bind off each one and never leave live stitches to be used later.
  3. No two adjacent segments can have parallel garter ridges.  To some extent this is a refinement of #2--this one prevents me from picking up stitches directly from a cast-on or bound-off edge.
  4. There is no right or wrong side.  Garter stitch does most of this for me, but you could  still tell a traditional right/wrong side apart by the direction of the picked up stitches, and I want both sides of my scarf to be equal if not identical, so I'm turning the piece in between segments and picking up stitches from both sides, making them, in essence, both the wrong side!

I could have hedged my bets further to get this to be neat and well-behaved by using all natural yarns that would block well, but that throws all my novelty bits out the window, so all bets are off on fiber content.  I've already got cotton, wool, and silk in there all at 100%, plus one silk-acrylic (weird, no?) and a few very odd bits that I'm not even sure about anymore, so far are they removed from their original forms.

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