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Swirls: New Work

Designing Swirl WIP

I’m almost done with the #LoveIsLove Pi Shawl, and I have a commission on the way, but it’s not going to come in for a few more weeks. I need something to knit. We have a car trip this weekend, and a convention, and I have about an hour or three left on #LoveIsLove, and that’s not enough. I need something to knit.

I had a spin through the Pittsboro resale stores today.  On my pass through the PTA thrift shop, I found 3 cones of 8/2 rayon in a soft gray color. It’s fine and a little shiny, and I thought about making a Pi shawl out of it, but it was awfully fine. I left it at the store.

Three cones of 8/2 rayon.

I went about my business, and then I found Mary Walker Phillips’ Knitting Counterpanes book, and I saw the picture of the swirls and squares pattern on page 2.

Swarls and Squares Pattern from Mary Walker Phillips' Knitting Counterpanes, page 2.

I had my next project. I went back to the PTA store, and bought the gray rayon, and came home and set to altering the pattern before I even swatched it.

The swirls pattern calls for an octagon, and it’s assembled with small squares to fill in the corners of the octagons. I can see “fiddly” coming a mile away. Too much joining together, too much stitching, probably too much casting off.

Assembly layout for Swirls and Squares pattern.

I wondered if the pattern could be turned into a hexagon with 6 whirling arms, instead of 8. I did the math. Along the outer edges of the octagonal pattern, there are 17 stitches between each arm. 17×8 is 144. 144÷6 is 28. I had roughly 10 stitches to add to the pattern in order to make hexagonal version of the swirl lie flat.

Row by row instructions for the swirl unit.  Must. Chart.

To tell the truth, I don’t actually know how I do this. I wrote out the pattern notes for the octagonal version and counted the number of straight knitting stitches on each arm. I divided the total number of rows by 5 and knew I needed to add 2 additional stitches in each set of rows in order to distribute the increases evenly across the swirl. The numbers in the column underneath the Heading 6 show what happened. I will swatch this before I go very much further.

Notes for altering an octagon into a hexagon.

I need to write the pattern out on graph paper. Trying to read it as written is going to be painful, particularly in a car. Stay tuned for the next chapter.

In the process of setting up my knitting bag for this project, I found a skein of white mohair. The spun part of the mohair, that is the core, rather than the fuzzy part, is about twice as thick as the gray rayon. I have a lot of that white mohair, and I may throw a skein of it in my knitting bag as an experiment. I could double the gray in order to match the weight of the mohair, and already, I’m imagining the fuzzy white mohair against shiny gray rayon lace.

This is what happens inside knitting designer’s minds.


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