Sunday, February 10, 2013

Border for the Above


Part two of "Laurel Leaves of the Wooly Sort"

In "Laurel Leaves of the Wooly Sort" I looked at translating finicky, or should I say mucked up, stitch patterns. Immediately after "Laural Leaf" Elizabeth Jackson offered up a border, as with Laurel Leaf the border pattern needs some creative fixing.

The pattern from The Practical Companion to the Work Table :

The most obvious problems...
"Take up stitches", how many, how? How many is a complicated question. Pick your preferred method for picking up, I'll look at how many later.
Row 5, where is row 5? See the last bit on row 4, that is row 5.
"cast one on" in the middle of a row? Use a yarn over
"and so on", for how long? As long as you like, but see my warning later.

Why are her patterns so wacky? There are three types of knitting books in the 19th century: a small handful with original content, a great many of reprints of those retitled and with different publishers, and a handful of mashups. Elizabeth Jackson "wrote" a mashup, she took patterns from other sources and compiled them into one book. Unlike most who stole content from others she rewrote them. I haven't taken the time to do a pattern by pattern analysis of the book but I know some of the patterns came from earlier works of Jane Gaugain. In rewriting the patterns she was inconsistent in her notation. While you certainly could do a cast on mid-row it's unusual unless you are doing many. She used at least three different terms in places I would expect a plain old yarn over. She also either mucked up the math as she rewrote or she was just plain bad in math.

Making this pattern do something, preferably something pretty...
The first three rows are just foundation or setup rows the pattern itself is rows 4 - 7 which keep repeating. 4 (and again as 8) is the only real pattern row, that makes this an easy pattern to work, well, once you make it work. Sometimes her use of semi colons offer clues about what she means and which stitches should be grouped together, consistency is a problem though. She muddles this but not too badly, just oddly. If you look closely she repeats the pattern but in an odd way, not writing the instructions the same for both repeats and splitting it. She does "narrow three times" four times, so if this is two repeats we need two of them and one each of the other two sets of stitches, the middle of her line (highlighted in green) turns out to be one repeat. What gets repeated five more times? Everything from the preceding ";", so yarn over knit one. Am I sure? Well, if we're going to keep repeating the same pattern row we need to keep the same number of stitches in every row. If we "narrow three times" twice we've decreased 6 stitches so we also need to increase 6 stitches. Buried in her wonky writing is a very common variation of "Feather and Fan" which has a plain stitch in the center of the decrease section. I may have caught what was going on here more quickly than some would. Feather and Fan was the first lace pattern I learned cough cough years ago. I can probably do it in my sleep, actually, I was accused of that once...

slip one, knit one, narrow three times; knit one, narrow three times; cast on one, knit one, repeat five more times; narrow three times; knit one, narrow three times; cast on one and knit one six times; repeat to the end of the row;

S1 *k1, k2tog 3x's, (yo k1)6x's, k2tog 3x's* repeat to end of row
I would add one stitch at the end for better balance and a cleaner edge

For each repeat you need 19 stitches, then one or two for the S1 and k at the ends.
If you knit it in this order, instead of stacking the decreases to the one end as she wrote it, you'll have the same portion of the pattern at each corner of the shawl.

This pattern is pretty and easy to work for cuffs, scarves and even little knit miser's purses.

Take up stitches and row 2...
I'm really not sure what she was thinking. No matter how you read row 2 it will increase the number of stitches rather dramatically. Did she think knitters couldn't pick up enough stitches along the edge? Did she think the greater fulness gave some flexibility to let you pull out the scallops more to accentuate them? If her intention really was to increase from what was picked up to a number for the actual pattern she failed, epically. The increases in row 2 can be worked to match the stitches needed for row 4 for just one repeat then it doesn't work till you hit 5 repeats from there I don't know the next match, I stopped my "algebra exercises for knitters" at 10 repeats.  If this is what you think you want to do you can engineer it to work with a little math.

Slip the first stitch, cast one on, knit one, cast one on, knit two, repeat within one stitch of the end; cast one on, knit one.

The  repeating part is the "cast one on, knit two" and it has a cast one on at each end, and the slip one. So some number of yo, k2 with three extra stitches and every two stitches becomes three. But you need to do the math to make it work with the pattern repeat of 19 with 2 more.
If you picked up 100 on each side you have 200
200 after the row 2 increases would be 299 (it's not exactly 1.5 times because of those end stitches)
 19 goes into 299 15.736 times. 
You would have 15 repeats of the 19 stitch pattern and  14 extra stitches so you need to either skip 14 increases or add 5 more. I always opt for the closer number so I would add 5. You can evenly space them or, in this case, I would concentrate them in one spot. This pattern has you trying to fit a straight strip onto a triangle. That won't work. If you want it to sit nice and flat at the point you need to add more stitches around the corner to almost gather the border there. Then knit till it's as deep as you like, cast off loosely and you're done!


This border on this shawl kind of puzzles me. You usually see more narrow edgings knit in a long strip and  seamed on on half, or triangle, shalws. Those narrow strips are easy to manipulate around the corners. Feather and Fan variations show up frequently on Shetland-esque shawls as deep borders. The pattern really needs to be knit to a nice depth to visually develop and to make those edges to undulate deeply. The patterns for those shawls include increases at the corners to accommodate the shaping, avoiding the problem I mentioned above. Did Mrs. Jackson take the border from one shawl and try to put it onto another? And in her rewriting lost the shaping? Sometimes the Shetland type shawls had a row of yo k2tog between the main pattern and the borders just to help break the two patterns visually. Let's look again at the wonky row 2.

Slip the first stitch, cast one on, knit one, cast one on, knit two, repeat within one stitch of the end; cast one on, knit one.
 If you change the "cast one on, knit two" to "cast one on, knit two together" your stitch count remains stable except at the ends.
If you kept doing the start and end "cast one on, knit one" you would be increasing the two ends. If you worked the two sides as two separate and complete sections you would have 

increase - pattern - increase - increase - pattern - increase

The increases at the far ends would keep the border running in line with the top edge of the shawl while the double increase in the middle would nicely miter the corner.  
I'm pretty sure this is what she intended. I don't know why she rewrote the patterns she stole, others didn't seem to feel a need to. The rewriting seemed to constantly trip her up.

How I would work it:

Pick up stitches along the two outer edges, mark the center. This is all written for one side then repeat it on the second side.
Check the stitch count, if it's not divisible by 19 with  3 extra slip in some extra or decrease a few to make up the difference. It's often easiest to do that on the first row. If you picked up 100 stitches on each side you have 97 to work in the pattern. 5 repeats of the 19 stitches is 95. Just lose two that you picked up.

When you pearl the first row be sure that you are looking at the wrong side of the shawl

1. Pearl
2. S1, {yo, k1 *yo, k2tog* repeat to one stitch from the end, yo, k1}, repeat everything in curly bracket on the second side

3. Pearl

4. S1, {yo, k1, *k2tog 3x’s; (yo, k1) 6x’s, k2tog 3x’s k1* yo, k1} repeat everything in curly brackets on the second side

5. Pearl

6. S1 {yo, K to one stitch from the end, yo k1}, repeat everything in curly brackets on the second side


8. same as 4

Repeat 4 - 7 to desired depth, cast off losely.

I don't have a swatch showing the miter, I'll try to get one done and posted.



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