Sunday, June 15, 2014

Fracturing a Fractal

Before we get to the knitting portion of today's entry, let me take a moment to recognize that for a large part of the American population today was a day of BBQ, beer, cookouts...and generally acknowledging Dads.  For every Father, son of a father, brother of a know the drill here from Mother's Day.... Not one person on the planet could have accomplished anything without the part you played. Happy Father's Day.

Now onto the knitting portion.

Some time ago, Andrea, of Bad Cat Designs, was inspired by her daughter's love of math.  Math plays a huge role in knitting anyway, but for our Knit Along (To Infinity and Beyond) math concepts showed up in new and different ways.

Knitting a Mobius Strip, with lace included, was one, yes it is a math concept!  The Fractal Stole or Blanket was another.

If you will recall I knit a blanket from the Fractal pattern, fingering weight yarn, in a gradient colorway so that each square was just a little different, but as with all Fractals the further you went (in or out) the more of the same you got.  Like a Mandelbrot Set.  But, being me, I wasn't content to leave the pattern alone.  As with The Summer Squares Projects, I was sure that I could use that pattern to make more than a stole, or an adult size blanket.  I could use it in my Baby Blankets Through Time collection, I could use it for gifts, and for part of the knitting it was infinitely more portable than a full size blanket (and in the summer who wouldn't rather knit a smaller square than a bigger blanket that had to sit in your lap, warming you up when you didn't need any warming.)

The first step was the change up the yarn.  New Mom's are not the best at having to hand wash and block things when they need cleaning, and babies are not always sweet smelling little angels who don't spit up, drool or leak onto their blankets.  I wanted machine washable, and for convenience something that could go through the dryer as well.

Paton's Beehive Baby Sport came in colors other than the traditional (for American babies at least) colors of white, blue, pink, pale green and yellow, and I wanted neutral tones that potentially could be used places other than just around a baby!  Needle size also had to be adjusted and while I was messing around with gauge I played with changing up the border and how the squares attached to each other so that I had mini-borders between the squares. (More of that fractal thing.)

At first, the blanket was to go in my stash of blankets, but then I found out that someone I knew was expecting a baby this month,
 and nothing makes me finish things as well as a deadline, so I decided it was for him and his wife and actually devoted a little bit of time to it.

To keep things consistent, the lateral braid that I put in place around each square, also edged the border and kept it a little separate from the edging, and finally this past week I finished with grafting the two ends of the edging together.  Just in time, probably the last time I would see him before the baby is born was last hit the blocking mats Tuesday evening!

Yep, like I said, nothing inspires like a deadline!


Sunday, June 1, 2014

Yet again, the blog fell by the wayside!

Time keeps flying past me, it seems like the "to do" list gets more and more things pushed off until that vague time of "later" and I am left prioritizing things into the "I have to get this done" and "The deadline is today, I HAVE TO GET THIS DONE" groups.

As seems to be the normal, summer coming brought staffing changes and my team of 6, including myself, is a team of 4 now, including myself.  Just in time for the summer teaching schedule to start (we teach more classes in the summer than the winter) and festival season to start (where we have tables to staff).  Add to that all the end of school year stuff and I have been running in six different directions at once and trying to do the work of three people at the paying job!

Each day, to keep my sanity, I get a little bit of knitting done, but sometimes that little bit is 20 stitches of an edging.

Luckily there are unblogged knits to talk about first!

As I have said before, Andrea Jurgrau's book The New Vintage Lace, has lots of really nice patterns in it.  Something for every knitter, from those who want hats to those who want to work on intricate lace. 

This time around I am going to share Cherry Blossom Stole. Fancy lace on the edges, a more simple repetitive lace in the middle, which makes it a good travel piece because you can easily memorize the middle.

I knit mine in Jade Sapphire's Lacey Lamb in blue, so I called it Frozen Cherry Blossom on my project page!  Lacey Lamb is an amazing yarn to block and holds it blocking beautifully when it is taken off the pins. 

But, back to the 20 stitches at a time, the Fractured Fractal is finally getting it's edging!  I do a good job of forgetting just how much knitting is involved in edging a blanket, and this one should be fairly quick because it is a baby blanket, but the edging still seems to go on forever!
 I decided to end the border the same way I did the individual squares, which I think turned out pretty well.

As an experiment I had cast on another one, in pink and white, slightly finer yarn, and handled the joining differently but kept the lateral braid at the end of each square.  Again, four center squares, but rather than grafting the pieces together I tried a three needle bind off.  I need to get some work done of this one, the baby it is supposed to wrap up is due this month!

Well, that is all my blogging time for the day!  Until next time, in the words of Andrea...

Knit on!