Sunday, June 12, 2011

Entrelac Shaping - 1 (progressive increase in size of individual blocks)

End of tier 1

Completed swatch: base triangles and 4 tiers 

Set up each base triangle with 5 stitches.

Tier 1 block: Pick up 5 stitches and continue until 2 stitches remain on the bottom triangle to which it attaches. Increase the number of rows in this block by skipping one 'attach' stitch (in this case p2tog). Essentially, a short row is employed to add 2 extra rows to the block. Continue to finish. Repeat for each block in the tier.

Tier 2 block: Now you're picking up stitches from the elongated blocks of tier 1. So pick up extra stitches accordingly. In this case, 6 (instead of 5). Use short row as before to add 2 extra rows to this widened block. Repeat for each block in the tier.

Tier 3 block: Pick up 6 stitches and elongate by 6 extra rows placing the short rows evenly.
Tier 4 block: Pick up (6+(6/2)), ie, 9 stitches and add 6 extra rows as in tier 3 blocks.

And so on. It takes 2 tiers to complete an increase. The first tier makes the blocks longer. The second makes them wider and you're done with that specific increase.

The woven fabric is simple but each 'band' radiates outwards in ever increasing size. This creates a spiraling effect.

The other method of creating bigger blocks are:
alternative 1:
each tier: pick up n extra stitches  and also elongate by nx2 rows. This would take 1 tier instead of 2 for a single step of increase.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Entrelac Possibilities

Statutory Warning: this post is link-heavy and photo-lean.

Most entrelac patterns (eg: Danica, Motley on Knitty) are built square. Entrelac vests, jackets, scarves, cowls, sleeve cuffs etc are mostly rectangular/cylindrical chunks pieced together. Compromising on shaping just to be able to construct fabric a different way had seemed like an academic pursuit with little real application. Recently, I chanced upon Fuzzy Jay's blog and his work in creating 3-D geometric shapes. Sure, this was still very academic but advanced. Breaking free from the rectangle got me intrigued.

With my first swatch out of the way, Mum and I incorporated some lacy entrelac patterning into the hood. I'll post pics of the project soon - I'm calling it 'Red Riding Hood's Envy'.

I thought I'd seen all in entrelac when Eunny Jang's Cochin Shrug happened. You'll find 2 photos at the bottom of this page. The construction of the shrug has just blown my mind. Since I saw it first, I have spent every spare hour of my waking (and sleeping) hour 'unventing' it in my head. 

After sketching over and over, this is how I think it is built: 2 identical flared tubes are joined at the back. Each flared tube is created by casting on (for the edge of a sleeve) and increasing the size of blocks in every tier. Over half of it is sealed with triangles to form the front edge and lower edge of back of that half. The second one is knit identical to this and joined at the center back of each side with new blocks connecting the two shapes. I am in process of testing my theory. 

But first, I need to get a good handle on shaping entrelac knit circular . There seem to be a few options for widening the diameter of a tube:
1. increase number of blocks in a tier for rapid widening
2. increase block size in each tier for a more gradual flare
    - I could either pick an extra stitch while picking up for a new block
    - or, I could knit extra rows by skipping a p2tog or ssk that connects 2 blocks

The former affects the woven pattern in very interesting ways. I plan on testing out these methods and also test the decrease with each method. Fun fun! Will keep you posted - next time with pics. :)

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Challenges of knitting diagonal stitch pattern in the flat

Stitch pattern:
1: *[M1], k1, p1 (to create garter column of 1 st), ssk, k - rep from *
2: all even rows (WS) purl

The idea is to create slanting columns of garter, flanked by stockinette.

Versions of this stitch pattern are very popular in round knitting and are most suited for hats. What happens if I knit this flat?

Try 1: (top image)
Work an imaginary tube. The diagonal columns fall off the left edge and new diagonal columns start from the right edge. With this, the fabric grows diagonally but in the opposite direction!! Whaat!! I charted it out and confirmed this to be fact.

Try 2: (bottom image)
So I figured all I had to do was kill the extra stitches on the right edge and increase stitches on the left edge. Simple right? This time I charted first and the chart looked alright. I then swatched it. The fabric didn't grow straight up. Instead, it now slanted to the left, along the diagonal columns of the stitch pattern.

I can explain this phenomenon - there is no stitch in the fabric that is oriented along the cartesian y-axis (given that the bottom edge of swatch is x-axis). Each stitch is either at approx 45 deg or 135 deg. To get a rectangular fabric out of this, I'd have to device a half-stitch-decrease on the right edge and similarly a half-stitch increase on the left edge for every RS row.

I will give this one more try and post my results. If not, perhaps a different combination of stitches will achieve a similar fabric but one that grows as a rectangle.

My first entrelac swatch

After ages, I invested in a knitting book - Rosemary Drysdale's 'Entrelac: The Essential Guide to Interlace Knitting'. I proudly present my first swatch. I quickly started playing with stitch patterns within each block, created some shaping, and changed colors.

Other mods I made are a bit hidden:
1. I pick up n stitches to start a block. The book recommends knitting another row in pattern. On the third row, you start to do ssk or p2tog. I saw that this was creating 2 extra rows of fabric for every block. My modification: pick up n stitches. Put the nth stitch back on the left needle and either ssk or p2tog (depending on direction of block) with the first stitch of the abutting block from below.

2. A second mod is to just slip the first stitch of every row instead of knit or purl. This makes it easier to pick up stitches from the edge later, and looks much neater.

On a different note, this is my first e-book from VK's in-app store on my iPad. My first reaction to the user experience was 'eh'. It is not the most intuitive interface to begin with but does have most features necessary for ease of navigation. Until I figured out how to quickly move between one part of the book to another (and you can do that, yes), I was actually flipping gazillion pages. If you ask me now though, I love it. The only thing I'd miss with digital books is keeping 5 different books open for reference all at once.