Saturday, 14 February 2015

Eleanor's Pattern of the Weeeeeeeeeeeek - 4157

This one's a good one!

This one's a really good one!

And it's for experienced knitters only. But I encourage the less experienced amongst us to read on as an introduction to some of the issues that you'll face in the future. Firstly, a photo of what we're up against - King Cole 4157:

Looks innocuous doesn't it? Innocent even. Don't feel fooled - this is fiendish! And I LOVE IT! I'm knitting it in the beautiful Violet Cottonsoft and it is actually to die for.

So, I've made it more fiendish for myself by starting with one of the fronts rather than the back. This pattern is definitely written to have the back made first. It sets you up so that you can really understand the pattern before you have to do any shaping. Whereas starting with the front, I barely got to grips with the pattern which was more difficult anyway because they don't spell it out for you, they set you up with four rows and then you're supposed to know what you're doing because you've already done a back, and then you get into the (very gentle) shaping for the neck. I've done it now but it took some ripping back I'll tell you that for free! And here it is!

Let's have a look at a closeup.

Can you see how it's an elongated version of the pattern I was talking about a couple of weeks ago?

 I've made you a whole 'nother beautiful piece of art to show this:

Let's put them side by side to discuss:

So, those 'lozenges' on the left side, are really just elongated diamonds. You get them to the width that they need to be, knit them like that for a few rows and then decrease them when you want - whereas with the diamonds you increase them and then as soon as they hit required width you start decreasing. Also, the diamonds, you completely decrease so that you have no stitches left of the diamond until the next pattern row where you make a stitch out of nowhere (with a yarn over) whereas the lozenge you decrease down to one stitch and that stitch stays for the length of time that you knit the next lozenge along straight until you decrease it. If you note on the lozenges there's a square in a lighter colour at the bottom of each lozenge - that's to denote where you do garter stitch (which is usually knit every row but very cleverly in this pattern you actually end up purling it on the right side which means that all messing around is done on the right side and the rest row is, as it should be, plain and simple purls all the way). Lovely. And finally, the last thing to note is that to put the top of the lozenge on a bias, you do a double decrease (3 stitches into 1) in the middle of the lozenge rather than decreasing at each edge of the lozenge like you did with the diamond - that naturally makes the stitches bend towards eachother. Have a closer look - can you see all of this?

Beautiful isn't it? There are points in the pattern that you need to get to know - like for example when the lozenge goes down to one stitch, there are five sets of yarn overs before you do anything else (so ten rows). Once those sets of yarn overs are done then the lozenge on the other side starts decreasing which means that the yarn overs start trailing to the side, thus making the square at the bottom of the next lozenge. THIS ALL BECOMES CLEAR! I promise! But if you'd just start with the back then you'll miss all of the travails I had to go through.

The main issue I had, and I talk about it so often in the shop, is that in lace - generally - each increase (yarn over) is paired with a decrease otherwise the piece just gets bigger and bigger or smaller and smaller. Therefore, when you're shaping, if you end up shaping so that you can't do a yarn over then you have to find the corresponding decrease and not do it! This is made more complicated in this pattern by the fact that the yarn overs and decreases are not together (more often than not in lace you'll find that they're right next to each other but here they can be separated by up to 5 stitches). The other problem, and the one that really got me, is that the decreases and yarn overs denote where the garter stitch and stocking stitch start and finish and if I'm getting rid of the demarcation then WHEN THE BLOODY HELL TO I STOP THE GARTER STITCH?!!?! Again, all sorted, I think if you do the back before the sides. You get to know the pattern inside out this way. Please people, for my sake, learn from my mistakes.

Having said ALL of this, it is a real breath of fresh air to be properly challenged by a printed pattern. King Cole, and other yarn companies, do have to make patterns that appeal to the masses and most of the masses aren't interested in ripping their hair out with patterns. But every so often they'll dip their to into something more difficult, I guess to see how it goes down and I want us to be ready to say to King Cole YES! THROW ME WHAT YOU GOT! I AM A KNITTER! I CAN DO ANYTHING! Yeah? Appreciate them doing something different, support them doing something different and who knows? If we keep buying these patterns perhaps they'll give us more and we can be better?!?!

So, whilst it has made me want to cry a little bit, I can't recommend this pattern highly enough. It's a challenge, that's for sue, but it's also so beautiful in the end result that I think it's worth the bother. Ahhhhhh.

Love Eleanor. xxxxx

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