Saturday, July 28, 2007

A Pilgrim's Progress: Piggyback Throw

With many thanks to the Ninny for her kind inquiry, I begin.

The Piggyback Throw is quite simple indeed. All one needs to know is Garter Stitch and how to cast on, and pick up to create new stitches. Dear Friend Elizabeth tells me that some people call this concept Domino. I will try to elucidate as best I can. The general instructions are these:

For my blanket, I chose an absolutely delicious fiber: Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted hand-dyed 100% superwash wool (#64 Gold Hill); US #8 Turbo circulars. The entire blanket is worked in Garter Stitch.

To form the first block, or domino, cast-on 32 stitches, placing a stitch marker right in the middle (e.g., after the 16th stitch).

*Work in Garter for 2 rows straight.

Row 3 (Wrong Side) and every WS row, decrease by knitting 2 together on EACH side of the center stitch marker.

Row 4 & every RS row, knit straight to end.

When you have only 1 stitch left on the needle, turn and pick up an additional 15 stitches along the Right Side of your now-existing square (so you now have a total of 16), place marker and cast on another 16 stitches, proceed as above, from *. (Note: Decreases are ONLY done from Wrong Side; Pick-ups are ONLY done from Right Side - that makes it so easy for the Pilgrim to keep track!)

Continue in this method, until you have enough squares or tiles or dominoes or whatever you wish to call these darlings, to make a row of your blanket. Cut yarn, leaving enough length to weave in later, and pull tail through the last stitch. Go back to the beginning square and.....

Cast on 16 new stitches, place marker, and pick up (RIGHT SIDE) 16 stitches along the edge of the very first square you knitted. Continue from * above. When you reach the end of this square, you don't cast on anymore, but merely pick up stitches along the current square AND the corresponding square from the previous row of squares (16 along the current square, place marker; 16 along the corresponding square), and continue as from * above -- 2 rows straight, then begin your decreases on Row 3 (WS).

And really, that's it. You do this over and over and over and over and over until you have the fabulous blanket or throw your heart desires. Mine, Gentle Reader, is still a work in progress.....

This image, above, demonstrates (hopefully) how one starts each row of squares back at square one, so to speak.

And this one, below, shows how, if one is careful in picking up consistently from the Right Side each time, the right side squares will look:

This photo, below, shows the Wrong Side, which really isn't so terribly bad either, n'est-ce pas?

One other thought: once you've reached your desired overall size and shape, Dear Friend Elizabeth suggests a crochet edging all around for that perfect final finish.

I do hope this helps - especially the dear Ninny. If further questions persist, please do not hesitate to inquire.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Chunks Ahoy!

It must be stated that, contrary to popular belief, the Pilgrim does not eschew all trends. Indeed, he holds more than a passing interest in the world of fashion. And so, delighted was he to stumble upon this page during his perusal of the current (August 2007) issue of "W" magazine.

Behold the chunk:

And I quote:

"Size matters - at least when it comes to this season's knitted goods.

"Everyone loves a cozy knit. Now the cold-weather favorite gets bigger, beefier and bolder with amped-up texture and proportions. On the fall runways, designers moved away from refined takes in favor of oversize knits that were chunky and raw. 'It's a less precious look,' says Twinkle's Wenlan Chia. To achieve that rugged sensibility for the colossal offerings in this Giles collection, Giles Deacon commissioned special knitting needles. 'They were basically two enormous broomsticks,' he quips -- Venessa Lau."

Until next time, may the chunks be with you.....

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Blanket Statement

I adore Dear Friend Elizabeth, not least for the fact that she brings such color to life. As readers will have noted, the Pilgrim's natural state is typically of a more somber hue. In fact, confronted, once, with an array of colorful cashmere in a certain fashion emporium in Los Angeles (okay, Armani it was - there, I said it), one felt a certain affinity for - nay, compulsion towards the gray. Indeed, confided, did I, in my dutiful attendant one of my myriad and most abiding fashion mantras: "One can never have too many gray sweaters." Bringing forefinger to chin in thoughtful pose, he carefully considered; then concurred: "I think I would have to agree."

But I digress.

Dear Friend Elizabeth. The Pilgrim delights whenever she journeys into my neck of the woods. Most recently, when she came by for a polite cocktail (yes - the Pilgrim is a Pilgrim, not a prude), she whipped from her bag a yellow alpaca cloud - a butter and sugar confection she called a piggyback blanket that she was industriously, unselfishly whipping up for a friend.

After she had departed again towards self imposed exile to balmier climes (another story for another time), one's mind drifted again and again to her nimble-fingered flight of fancy. One pined for the color and excitement of piggyback glory! And not of gray. Oh no no no. One longed for color in sinful, seductive swirls, crazed and unfettered in exceptional hue!

Thus, the Piggyback Throw:

Sounds suspiciously, one realizes, like some hayseed hoe-down (Spin your partner, do-si-do, all line up for the Piggyback Throw!), but no. 'Tis merely one of my latest obsessions. Check back in, won't you, now and again, to catch up on a Pilgrim's progress.....

Thursday, July 12, 2007

A Pilgrim's Progress - Diamond Vee

As much as the Pilgrim endeavors to embrace color now and then, the time comes when he must revert to his natural inclination towards the neutral - one might say drab - palette. Case in point, the Diamond Vee.

The Diamond Vee arose from one's desire for a casual, summer weight pullover for long, languid evenings by the shore. To begin, I chose a virtually weightless Rowan Summer Tweed in a suitably dour charcoal gray (although it tickles the Pilgrim no end to note that, if one were to inspect it truly close up, one could detect the occasional subversive flecking of pink!). Next, a somewhat lacy stitch pattern was chosen for a bit of breezy ventilation along the length of the front - in this case, the Moss Stitch Diamond Panel from my trusty Harmony Guide.

I'm not at all sure this displays very well - in sooth, I fear it does not - but my calculations convinced me that, after a small one-inch ribbing along the bottom hem, approximately three diamond repeats would take me up to the base of the Vee.

I'm still in the sewing and finishing up phase at the moment, but my senses tell me that, once complete, this will be a right suitable garment for a Pilgrim to wear. A right suitable garment indeed.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Needle Sharing

Gentle Reader, 'twas little more than one year ago that I returned from a protracted business trip to discover that, in my absence, my Long-Suffering Other had picked up needles and started to knit! I realize that you are not yet properly acquainted with my Long-Suffering Other, but you may take me at my word when I impart that this was decidedly out of character. Most out of character indeed.

Flummoxed was I.

Then when Dear Friend Elizabeth phoned up trilling tales of madcap adventures at her local knit shop, well, it simply was more than one could sensibly bear. I refused to be excluded from all the fun. I wanted to knit. Nay, I NEEDED to knit, and I needed to knit NOW!

My Long-Suffering Other sighed and showed me the basics. This is how you knit. This is how you purl. I picked up a book or twelve to show me the rest, snatched the needles and yarn right out of his hands, and, well, we were off....

Traveling about from place to place as my work requires me more than occasionally to do, it seemed the perfect occupation for idle fingers and boggled brains. And so, Gentle Reader, the Knitty Pilgrim embarked. And the journey began.