Friday, July 27, 2007

Moebius Cape Pattern

This is meant to be a general bare bones pattern. You supply the knitty gritty flesh :)

Yarn: Indigo Moon Wild Silk Yarn, Fleece Artist Italian silk or any silk or lace yarn.
Yardage: Heck, I don't know. A 300-400 yards. More if you want to sweep up the dust bunnies while you walk :p
Needles: 4 mm 47" circular (or longer) I used Addi Turbos
Gauge: It's a freaking Moebius lace cape, whatever gauge you get is the right one.

As you can probably tell, I’m not a diligent pattern follower. It’s a good thing that lace blocks so well :)

WARNING: Knitting rambling below. For those that are Moebius knitting experts or want to live life dangerously, please pop straight down the Moebius Blossom Cape Pattern)

This project is an opportunity to try out a new lace stitch pattern or to show off a much-loved stitch pattern. It’s also a great project for beginners because even the simpliest lace patterns look great. In fact, I’d suggest that you stick with simplier patterns with 4-8 row repeats. The number of total stitches is dependent on the lace pattern you choose. In the first portion, I also incorporated a row of short-rowed waves. For the sake of saving a few brain cells, the number of stitches for the base of this short-rowed pattern is the same as the number of stitches of your lace pattern.

So for me that number was 14. I casted on 217 stitches. My total number of stitches was 434 (see below). I repeated the lace and short row pattern 31 times for each cycle.

Begin by casting on with Moebius Cast On - I used Cat Bordhi's Moebius cast on. Here's written instructions from a episode of Knitty Gritty that she did. It’s pretty much the same motion as a provisional cast on but with a looped circular needle. The motion makes the yarn bob and weave figure 8’s around your right needle and the coiled cable below. It was absurdly frustrating to figure it out the first time and that third glass of red wine didn't help either! But once I got the hang of it, it was easy peasy!

More Moebius ramblings for beginners:
Now, keep in mind that each stitch that you cast on is actually 2 stitches, one on your right hand needle that is fed from the top cable and a matching stitch on the bottom cable (it'll make sense once you actually do it) . So 200 stitches actually is 400 stitches in total. Take into consideration the stitch pattern you mainly want to use and choose a multiple of that which is closest to 200. If you're a loose knitter, cast on less, a tight knitter, get a drink and loosen up :P

Before you begin knitting, throw on a stitch marker to mark your starting point.
This method has you knitting from the centre of the shawl out, so there is no beginning edge. You will be knitting on both sides of a coiled circular needle (the reason why you want a longer needle). You will knit one coil around and when you reach back what you think is the beginning but the marker is on the other coil, you're only halfway and you still have to knit the other (bottom) half.
The end result is that when you knit a whole row round from the beginning marker and around both coils and back to the beginning marker so it's sitting on your left needle again, you've actually knitted 2 rows of knitting. But it will be noted in the pattern as one row of knitting. Is that as clear as mohair mud? For more ( & infinitely better) details, check out Cat's book from your friendly neighbourhood library.

Make sure that the cable only crosses at one point after you’ve done casting on!

So the outline of the shawl is as follows:

1- Moebius cast on with Colour A and knit for 10 or so rows in total

2- Colour B for another 10 or so rows.

3- Mark of ½ of stitches and start short rows back and forth to form the back.

4- For each pattern cycle decrease by one pattern repeat on each end.

5-Continue until it’s long enough for ya.

6- Reintroduce Colour A for a few rows.

7- Cast off with both yarns.

Here’s the fleshed out Moebius Blossom Cape Pattern:

1-With Colour A, Moebius cast on 217 stitches and knit 5 rows

2- Make waves by short rowing in 14 stitch grouping as follows. K14. Turn work and P13. Turn work and K12. Turn work and P11. Turn work and K10. Turn work and P9. Turn work and K8. Turn work and P7. Turn work and K6. Turn work and P5. (I didn’t bother wrapping stitches at the end of each turn. It’s lace, it’s supposed to have holes)

3-Turn work back to RS and knit to marker.

4- Repeat Step 2 & 3 for the rest of the row (until the beginning marker shows back up on your left hand needle.)

5- Replace Colour A with Colour B. I used the Russian Join method. Begin lace pattern. I chose Barbara Walker’s 'Little Parachute' from Charted Knitting Designs. It’s a 14 stitch pattern of 6 rows.

Colour A in the centre and here I'm just beginning the lace pattern in Colour B. See how the coiled cable loops through both the top and bottom of the knitting and only crosses once.

6- Knit until the Colour B portions are each the same width as the Colour A portion.

7- Mark off 210 stitches (about one half of total stitches)

8- Continue lace pattern in the marked off portion. At end of marked off portion, turn work and work the WS. Keep in mind that before you were knitting in the round so all your knitting was always facing RS. Now you’re knitting in the flat so you might want to adjust your pattern to WS knitting for every other row. Instead of blowing a brain fuse, I simply added a row of purl for all my WS rows and continued with Row 2 of the pattern in the next RS row. This worked fine for the Little Parachutes pattern since the added row didn’t interrupt the pattern too much and it looked like I had two stitch patterns, making me looking smarter than I am.

9- At the end of each pattern cycle, decrease the number of pattern repeats by 1 at each end for the next cycle. So I started with 15 pattern repeats, then 13, then 11, then 9 and so on.

10- Continue until it’s long enough for you.

11- Reintroduce Colour A but leave Colour B on. I just left Colour B hanging off my work and loosely looped Colour A in the stitch below. Afterwards, I wove in the end of Colour A in my knitting.

12 –With Colour A knit one row. When you come to the short-rowed back portion, the end of each pattern cycle will be a little step/gap between pattern repeats. Pick up stitches along the edge. I picked up 6 stitches for each ‘step’.

13- Colour A - K2tog, YO for the next row.

14- Knit your favorite edging (I used Fan and Feather) in Colour A for 4 rows.

15- With both Colours A & B bind off loosely.

Close up. Here you can see the short-row waves in the lighter yarn (Colour A). I really like how the a couple rows of Colour A at the end helps bring out the shape of the edge.

The back. I'm only 5'4" so anything too big will just swallow me up. I aimed for the bottom edge on the back to hit me near my waist which is how I decided how long it was going to be.

Well, I hope this is helpful to you all. I'd appreciate any feedback you have on the pattern and the end product if you try it. I'm not a very experienced pattern writer (as you can tell) and that's compounded by the fact that I'm not a very good pattern follower. I left out the stitch by stitch details of the stitch patterns on purpose. I would like to encourage others to use their own intuition, imagination and improvisation to fill in the knitty gritty details and start knitting beyond the pattern.

Happy Knitting!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That's extraordinarily cool. And has given me yet another thing I want to try. Thanks so much for writing this up!