Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Reveling in the past

This will be quite a long post so if you're seated comfortably, we'll begin...
I'm back from vacation and have barely been able to catch my breath. That means I've got a lot of catching up to do here. I mentioned in a previous post about going to the Texas First Ladies exhibit at TWU. I got some pictures but my camera batteries went dead so I only got a few. Have a look:

And one of the fun things about hanging out with my Mom, is I have time to do some experimenting. Several years ago I made a sweater using Lion Brand's Fisherman's Wool and the Fisherman's Rib stitch which is also known under quite a few other names including Brioche stitch. We've found it all through 19th century patterns. I learned to do the stitch originally through an old Vogue Knitting magazine in an Elizabeth Zimmerman article. The way EZ taught it was to cast on an odd number of stitches, knit 1, then knit into the stitch below the next stitch. You repeat those to the end and then knit 1. On the opposite side you knit 2 then knit below and knit 1, repeating the last 2 until the end of the row. Once you get into the rhythm with it, it's quite fun to do. You just have to be really patient and aware of what you're doing for the first 8 or 10 rows until the pattern starts to emerge. After that, the previous row will give you clues about where you are.
As we've been researching, however, the most common instructions are to knit 1, put the yarn forward and slip the next stitch purlwise, bring the yarn to the back (really it's just a yarn over) and then knit 1, repeating the last 2 to the end. Generally they would tell you to cast on an even number of stitches and just do the same thing on both sides. With this version, you know immediately where you are and it's much, much easier if you make a mistake to go back.
One of the things I've been wanting to try out is doing it in 2 colors. I came across a great website devoted to the brioche stitch. She had very clear instructions on how to work with more than 1 color so I got some white wool and some green wool and cast on. I liked the pattern so much I just kept going until I had quite a decent length scarf. But I still had some green left (and lots of white) so I decided I would try to figure out how to do this in the round and make me a matching hat. Once I realized I just had to knit the white rounds and purl the green rounds, it worked like a dream! Have a look at this:

And totally reversible:

I cast on 20 stitches for the scarf and 80 for the hat on size 5 needles if you want to try it. One thing to keep in mind is for the scarf, you need to use either double pointed needles or circular needles.

Yarn store report: On my way back I stopped in Springfield, MO, at one of the friendliest yarn shops I've found and got some lovely fiber. If you're ever through Springfield, stop by Simply Fibers and have a look. Very cute, very friendly, and a very nice selection.

And FINALLY, I started a new project. I'll let the picture say it all for now except to say the middle part sits in the middle of the table and the six pond scenes are placemats. I'm doing it in the size 50 thread I used for the Starburst cloth.
(edited to fix the First Lady pictures)

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