Thursday, May 05, 2005

Best Quote I Heard All Day
The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with the objects it loves.--Carl Jung

Yes, indeed. The seesaw of Aran knitting. The sandbox of swatching. The scraped knee of ripping out.

Slainte, Part I
A shot of Jameson's is definitely in order before starting an Aran design, that's for sure. So I've started swatching for this sweater but not in the way you might think.

I sort of subscribe to EZ's method, which is to figure out what motifs you want, arrange them, and then work a large swatch to get the gauge, turning it into a hat at the end. My method is similar; however, I begin with a swatch that incorporates all of what I call "throw-away" stitches: seed stitch, moss stitch, double moss, and reverse stockinette.

My Aran has two sections--the central panel, which is composed of one main motif and then x number of motifs on each side, and the side "throwaway" panel. In order to leave the central panel intact and undisturbed during armhole decreases, I use one of the throwaway stitch patterns to frame the panel and complete what I need for the piece. So I will do the throw-away stitch swatch and then after I've arranged my motifs, I will do a swatch for the panel. This applies to the front/back only. I'll explain the sleeve later.

It's really a guessing game with the front panel as to how many stitches will work. The motifs to either side of the main one have to be interesting enough to be enjoyable to work, yet not so distinctive (or too wide) as to unbalance the panel. Plus, you have any number of "divider" stitches that delineate each motif.

Once I know what the width of the main panel is, I then calculate the number of throwaway stitches that I will need to complete the piece. Obviously, if I'm working at 4.5 spi, I'm going to want about 14-16 stitches on either side to accommodate the armhole decs. I'm also going to want to look at the main motif to see how it will work with the neckline decs. The best (but perhaps not the easiest) way to troubleshoot any design pitfalls is to chart out the whole damned piece.

I should have the swatches finished by this weekend when I retrieve my camera. By the way, the Wool of the Andes is a pleasure to knit. And I hate Trinity stitch, so you won't be seeing that. Torture of the damned, in my opinion.

Victoria & Albert Museum
If you've never been there, you are missing one of my favorite museums. I had the great good fortune to visit the museum in 1986 during a business trip to London, where I saw one of the most incredible special exhibits on knitting. The V&A has an impressive website. Joe and I are two of the blogs listed there, along with other excellent knitting blogs. I'm truly honored.

Book Suggestions Needed
I'm out of reading material, so I'm looking for some assistance. I read a lot of mysteries, history, some novels. Kathy knows I'm a big Ian Rankin fan and he has a new one out but my county library sucks, so getting new books is tough. Any suggestions gratefully appreciated.

And now it's time to do some rare and handy laundry. My God, I hate housework.

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