Thursday, July 25, 2013

Loser Mo vs Barbara Walker

Life has been pretty calm here in the Pacific Northwest.  I actually haven't been tortured by freakish, little, old ladies of late.  Also, on a good note, I haven't done anything that would take away my points towards becoming an awesome mo.  In fact, I may have added points because I made apricot jam the other day and I'll be doing blueberry today.

Anyway, lets get down to the issue at hand.  I (yes, loser mo Buck Strong) have decided to take on Barbara Walker.  (That's right girl; you and I are going down on the mat!)

It all started the other day when I was contemplating what type of stitch I wanted to use for a cardigan that was floating through my mind.  Yes, I have visions of sweaters.  Hmmm...I wonder if that makes me a knitting saint or something.  Ooops, digressing again.  So, the cardigan vision needs a stitch pattern.  I quickly grab my three volumes of Ms. Walker's "A Treasury of Knitting Patterns" to see what strikes my fancy.  I'm sure this is what most people would do.  However, there are a couple of problems with picking a pattern from her books.  First, there is way too much material and it can be a bit overwhelming.  Second, and in my opinion the most troublesome, the pictures really, really suck.

I was like three or so when the first book was published and it seems like the pictures haven't been updated through any of the subsequent printings.  I almost feel as though I'm looking a knitting patterns from an episode of Dark Shadows but without all the fun.

Now, this is the point where my brain got involved.  It popped up and said, "Hey, Loser Mo, why don't you knit up those samples and take better pictures?"  Then I replied, "Uggh, Brain, please."  However, my brain kept nagging me and I found that I had to relent.  It's actually, an interesting adventure.  I'm going to knit up the patterns from Barbara's first book and chronicle my findings here.
(Should I be cursing my brain now?)

Let's start.  This is from page 10.  It was knit on US 3 and the yarn is some left over Baby Ull that I had lying around.  I don't have the label but I think that it's sport weight.
This is the sample before I blocked it.  I did a garter stitch border to help with the curling.  The swatch is the reverse of the picture in her book.  The bottom band is plain Stockinette Stitch.  The next band is Crossed Stockinette Stitch, then Twisted Stockinette Stitch and lastly Garter Stitch.

We all have had experience with plain Stockinette and Garter; so, I'll not comment.

Out of the four stitch patterns I found that I liked the Twisted Stockinette the best.  It has nice texture and is not at all complicated.  I think that with a thicker yarn, it would be fab.

Now, to the Twisted Stockinette, can  just say, "Why bother."  In my opinion, this is a total pain in the butt stitch ("PITBS") mostly due to the fact that you have to purl through the back loop.  I have only ever encountered purling thorough the back loop in knitted lace.  It's a pain then but to have to do it for every stitch is agony.

If you are not familiar with this stitch, let me show you.
First, you have to insert the needle through the back loop from left to right.  Giant pain already because you have twisted the stitch on the right side of the work, PITBS.  I found that I had to pull down on the material to make a space to get the needle into the stitch.  I also wished I had used my lace points.  Yes, that is a gin and tonic in the background.  I needed it to get through all of the back-loop purling, PITBS.
Once you have wrangled that needle in through the back loop, you can wrap your yarn around and purl.  Now, I'm a Continental knitter; this may be easier for someone who knits English but I doubt it, PITBS. (Notice that the gin is still back there.

Here is the sample blocked.  (Well, not really blocked, I just ran over it with a steam iron.)  The Twisted Stockinette still leans to the left.  I'm thinking that a hard wet block would straighten things out but I still think the pattern is way too much work for very little product.  However, if you like gin and tonic, you may want to pursue this stitch pattern for your sweater visions.

First sample down...Yeah!

1 comment:

  1. I think you are re-inventing the wheel Geoff. Here is a link you might want to take a look at. Your life may be infinitely easier, or you may be able to help with the project as it unfolds. I haven't checked to see how far it's gone, but look and see: