Tuesday, December 30, 2008

When you didn't think you would use geometry again...

I originally wrote this post over a month ago(Nov 11). Someone help me slow time down!

I just attended another weekend of Nihon Vogue classes for year two.

I had a wonderful weekend. I spent it with 11 other students learning from Jean Wong. I love my Nihon Vogue weekends.

The newest project we have to tackle is a raglan. This isn't a top down raglan, this raglan is knit in pieces.

If you go out and research raglan designs, very few are designed so a pattern meets up and matches on the body over to the sleeves(yes it is easy to do if knitting it from the top down). This is a very challenging design to do. I recall Jean saying this is our most challenging design for year two.

The reason? It takes a lot of math. It takes very accurate measurements and calculations(isn't this what Nihon Vogue is all about? Exacting attention to detail!) I created an isosceles triangle on my design which will ensure my patterns line up. Of course there is more to it than just that but the basis for this technique is the isosceles triangle. Do you see it in the upper left corner portion of the photo?

Isoceles triangle? I thought I left that behind a long time ago!

Creating the template for the design is the easy part(yeah right-draw this, then at a right angle to this point, draw a line that is perpendicular to that, etc, etc!) but taking some stitch patterns and making them work on your body measurements....another story. This design is going to take some time. Some thinking. Some trial and error, I suspect. Dec 30, 2008: Now that I have completed that portion of the design, I can tell you that it did take me a bit of time to find a pattern that was interesting, yet simple.

Jean's guidance dictated that we find a repeating design that has few stitches, the lower the number of stitches in the repeat, the better. They are easier to match up from body to sleeve.

I chose a cable/bobble combination for the center front of my sweater and a herringbone pattern for the rest of the body and sleeve.

I found the herringbone stitch from a sock pattern. Some of my friends have knit Charade socks. I used the herringbone rib pattern that was used in this pattern.

The yarn? A wonderful discontinued yarn I have had in my stash for quite some time. Rowan Magpie in Coffee Bean. This yarn has a lot of loft and shows patterning beautifully. Magpie has 153 yards(140m) in 100g. (Note: I bought two stashes from a wonderful woman in the UK. Both lots had 10 skeins each. One in the color Float and one in Charcoal. Love this yarn!) Why don't they still make this?

My brain is full of information. It is so energizing to learn something that mathematically works, in creative pursuit. Nihon Vogue is a perfect pairing of analytical calculation and the creative aspects of knitting design.

What I learned in our December class is the calculations for doing the body and sleeve decreases. I am glad I have my exact calculations written down with copious notes. I have not done any homework since the last class due to Christmas project knitting! I missed the second day of class due to snow so I have a lot of catching up to do. Project 4 is an Aran. Now that is going to be fun!

Back to the raglan. The tricky part to knitting the decreases is that all pieces(front, back and both sleeves) the decreases MUST be done for all pieces on the same row. If you miss your decrease on one or more pieces, your pattern will NOT line up. There is no fudging here. Did you hear me on that? NO fudging?

So to help us, Jean suggested we use a very long circular needle and knit all the pieces at the same time. No, the pieces are not connected to one another but you can better keep the continuity of the decreases on all pieces if done in this manner.

Yikes. I'll keep you posted on my progress!


Arctic Knitter said...

I can't wait to share this with a fellow geometry teacher! Who says you never use math/geometry in the "real world" - thanks for the great example!! Love the cables - the yarn accents it beautifully!

Rhonda said...

Wow - I can't wait to hear more - good luck with it all. I'm really jealous that there is nothing like this where I live. Stay warm. Rhonda

Joni said...

Nice write up on the Raglan! You are so good at explaining what we do in class! I love your stitch pattern and cable - it will be a beautiful sweater!