Lazy Ribbing Swatch
Lazy Ribbing Swatch – top half was knit on US 7, bottom on US 3 needles

I take back everything, well, almost everything I said about this swatch last week. I switched to a US 7, adjusted the pattern so that most of the action rows involve knit stitches instead of purls, and it went swimmingly. Except for the yarn which would be great for its intended use of socks; it’s not as soft as I would like and judging from the sweater that I used it to make last year along with another sock yarn, it’s not going to soften up with wear/use. Most of this was knit in the car on Saturday; I had a headache and was feeling barfy on the way home, so no car knitting for me on Sunday.

The pattern, the important part, is starting to speak to me again which is a good thing. Most of my designs have been me just fooling around with yarn; this is the first time I started with an inspiration picture instead of the foggy idea of an FO that’s gradually is clarified. Now I just need to add the beginning and end to the scarf (cowl?) and clean up the edges. This is starting to feel fun & good again, what it should be, instead of like drudgery and work.

Adventures in Ostrich Plumes

I’ve been fooling around with the ostrich plumes stitch pattern after trying something else that didn’t work out the way I hoped. In my swatch, I started just alternating increases and decreases; I needed something with more distinct horizontal lines, more distinct patterning. Off to the stitch dictionaries I went. I have the first 3 Walker treasures and came across ostrich plume in the third one. The original pattern looks like this.

Swatch 1
From bottom to top: simple balanced increases & decreases, 1st botched attempt at ostrich stitch, 2nd botched attempt with 3D effects.

I wanted to try to make it look wavier by alternating the number of yarnovers and decreases in each row, going from 2 to 6 of each and then back down to 2. I also charted it using Adobe Illustrator, but I didn’t chart it correctly resulting in botched attempt number 1. It didn’t work out that well on my first try because I was impatient and skipped all the plain knitting rows between what I think of as the action rows, where you increase and decrease. The result was actually 3 dimensional; the tension in the knit fabric pushed out the decrease section which was impossible to block out completely as you can see from botched attempt number 2.

Ostrich Plumes
Next swatch: better but still not quite what I’m looking for.

I bound off and started fresh with a completely new swatch in a different yarn. This time it would be no problem, this time it would work. And it did, kind of. There was still too much tension in the fabric for my liking – the decreases pulling heavily and pouffing up (the technical term, I assure you) enough to bother me even after blocking. See the central decrease section? Still pouffy even after blocking. So instead of swapping alternating sections of yarnovers and decreases every other section the way the original stitch pattern does, I decided to keep them the same, so the increases would all be together in the same column, ditto for the decreases. That helped enormously with the tension and the resulting fabric actually laid flat without blocking, but the end result isn’t quite what I’m looking for, so it’s back to the drawing board and another stitch pattern for me.

I’m going to try a variation on lazy ribbing next. I think that’ll be closer to what I’m looking for, with a little tweak or two.