Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Olympics preparation and FBS

Despite what you might conclude from the title of this post, I am NOT knitting a Flower Basket Shawl for my Team Wisconsin entry in the Knitting Olympics. (FBS photos and helpful hints follow, lower in the blog.) Rather, I said that I would knit a Tomten jacket, designed by Elizabeth Zimmerman. Today, when I searched through my EZ books to find a picture of the sweater, I could not come up with a single photo. Yet, I have a clear image in my mind as to what it looks like. It is a sweet hooded jacket for a child, knit with a percentage system. Pattern can be found in EZ's Knitting Workshop.

EZ's directions, as always, require specific application of experience and brains. This pattern is NOT for "blind followers." The directions are, and I quote, "Cast on sufficient stitches (x) for lower edge." then "Knit to wanted length." Whoa, I need to review the Knitting Olympic rules. Can I swatch and do all the planning BEFORE the opening ceremonies, or do I have to do math calculations while watching???

Meanwhile, I have been trying to complete my Flower Basket Shawl before the opening ceremonies. I am teaching a class on the FBS this spring, and I wanted to make a shawl while taking notes this time.

I am not a counter. I don't like to keep repeating a mantra of each 10-stitch pattern in my head through increasingly longer rows. Therefore, I like to use markers, so that my hands do the remembering, rather than my brain. However, in the FBS, the markers move on three of the five pattern rows. How to convey this to students??

I tried taking these photos to illustrate moving markers. For those inexperienced lace knitters, I thought this might be troublesome. [I recognize that some people do not like to use markers, and certainly moving them takes time and can disrupt rythm. However, since I knit while watching TV, talking, etc., I need something more reliable than my mind to tell me whether I am off-track in long rows.]

So, here goes on my first attempt to write down, rather than demonstrate, how to do something. But wait, I just realized that I didn't do any photos of placing the markers in the first place. Ok, ok....I'll take more photos during the olympics!!

Meanwhile: How To Move Markers in the Flower Basket Shawl

I assume that the knitter has placed a marker BETWEEN each section of the 10 stitch repeat. The problem, dear knitter, is that in order to do each 10 stitch repeat, you need stitches from the next repeat section!!! Whoa, that can be a problem. Luckily, markers can be easily moved.

Why use markers, you say?? Well, dear knitter, my mind is weak. I absolutely hate singing mantras to myself throughout rows that grow to more than 200 stitches. I am frequently interrupted mid row and then I would need to go back to read my knitting and I get distracted from that as well. My hands are smarter than my brain. My fingers feel the markers and know what to do.

Here we are in our row #27 and the pattern wants us next to yarn over, slip 1 knitwise, k2 tog, psso.
See the problem? We can yarn over, slip one, but the second of the stitches to knit together is AFTER the marker!! DO NOT KNIT THE MARKER!!
Simply PASS the next two stitches to the right needle without knitting them. Remove the marker and hold it temporarily between your lips.
Put one stitch back on the left needle. Knit two together. On the RIGHT needle, pass the first slipped stitch over the k2tog stitch.

Remove the marker from your lips (if necessary, wipe off saliva) and place the marker on the right hand needle.


I know, this sounds like a lot of extra work. I admire those mantra knitters who are able to do 10 stitch repeats throughout a row, never get out of place and never get interrupted. I am NOT one of those knitters. So, the extra switching around of the markers helps me. Additionally, if I make a mistake, I can easily catch it and I only need to rip back 10 stitches!!!

Tomorrow, dear knitters, we will have a lesson on planning the appropriate amount of yarn so that we don't end up with, say, two feet of yarn and only two more rows and bind off until the end of the shawl!!


Gail said...

I think that doing the math ahead of time would be fine - a marathon runner knows ahead of time how many miles they have to run. And they know the route.

Hi From Another Gail in the Midwest. :)

betty said...

i don't like to use stitch markers. i used them in my first clapotis and the kiri but not anymore. anyway, i'm still not able to knit without looking...

nadine said...

Wise words!!! i use (don't tell betty!) all the stitch markers i can, always!!!!! it helps a lot, since i can't knit for long periods of time!!!

VerĂ³nica said...

Dear Gail: Thank you so much for this post, so wise, I never use stitch markers, but now I want to use a lot of them, because I was that kind of mantra knitters, furthermore I always says: please let me finish this, don't talk to me, or something like that... very disagreeable!

Ah! also I am desperate for the next post: Planning the appropriate amount of yarn (I want to make the Clapotis, I mean the ClapoMae) ;)