Sunday, July 22, 2007

K is learning that being the first to read a much desired book (Deathly Hallows, of course) means that you're not allowed to discuss any of the interesting details when you get to them.

Spinning guild was yesterday. 25 people showed up. Of those 25, six were among the 7000-odd people world wide who have signed up for MS3. We were trying to figure out what that meant. Aside from the fact that we need to have a fashion show in October, of course.

This next square is an example of what I like best about Aran knitting - cables. This is the Chain Link Cable - all cables, all the time. I could see having this on a sweater of mine.

And this fourth square is an example of what I like least - bobbles! I don't care whether they are termed bobbles or knots, I don't care if they are executed in knit or crochet, I have yet to meet a bobble I like to execute, or really, one that I would like to wear. This is Briar Rose, and in this photo, it looks like nothing much of anything. In person, it's a clever little pattern with knots for rosebuds, but I disliked knitting it (both times!) and would never willingly use it for anything. Having to re-knit this square was one of the major drawbacks to reworking my original concept for this afghan, and one of the reasons why the project sat untouched for two years while the memory of the horror faded enough to allow me to try again.

ETA: This square proves that one's parents advice about "doing something you don't like because it's good for your character" is true. At least, if it isn't good for my character, it did teach me something. I tend to do things without examining how I do them or why I do them, until something brings it to my attention. I never have had difficulty in understanding charts or reading them, and I don't usually pay any attention to complaints about differences in convention between one designer and another. When I pick up a chart, I look to see what each symbol means, and then I'm on my merry way.

One convention that is often followed, whatever the exact symbol used, is that the same symbol is used for knit and purl stitches and the knitter theoretically interprets the symbol differently depending on whether a right or wrong side row is being knit. I say theoretically, because what I discovered about myself on this particular square, is that I don't interpret the symbol differently depending on right or wrong side. The symbol always means the same thing to me: - means purl and means knit in this chart. Instead, I mentally rotate my knitting so that I am always visualizing the right side of the knitting, whether I am knitting a right side or a wrong side row. Rather than redefine the symbol each time, I just always "look" at the right side of my knitting and perform whatever knitting stitch is necessary to make the right side of the knitting match the chart.

Ok, so my weird mental processes might best be left unexamined, even by me, but here's the gotcha on this pattern: All patterning is done on wrong side rows. The cable crossings and the knots are all presented in the chart as they look on the wrong side, but I'm busy mentally swinging around to look at the right side for all plain knit or purl stitches. Honestly, when I do this, it's like watching a little 3D visualization of my knitting rotating back and forth and frankly, it was making me dizzy. If I'd been home when I was working for this, I think I would simply have recharted this puppy to show all wrong side rows as they would look from the right side, but as it was I was in the car on the road with no paper or pencil, and I simply had to memorize the pattern as quickly as possible so that I quit having to look at the chart.

When I work up the mental strength to think about it, I am going to rechart this pattern a couple of different ways and see if it makes any difference to the ease of knitting. I'm still not entirely positive I understand why the patterning has to be done on the wrong side rows.

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