Thursday, August 28, 2008

Jumping the Shark?

My sister's birthday is coming up. Really soon. For several weeks I contemplated a beret using yarn I'd shown her last time she was here. It's Silky Merino from Malabrigo in Bosques (470). She seemed to like it, and it's the the same brand used to make my Fashionable Beret earlier this summer.

beret too small - alt

But lately I've begun tiring of these variegated yarns. And I am nutty about stripes so I'm always looking for ways to incorporate them into my knitting. I figured I could break up the variegated look with a stripe. I also really love the 2 row stripe concept. In the slightly over two years I've been knitting, I'd say stripes are a recurring theme. Here's some evidence.

Girly Girl Hat ii-alt
One of my earliest projects, a hat I still wear. It's striped with Angora to make it Girly but still Sporty. This may be when the stripe bug bit me. These stripes were an impulse. I can still remember knitting this hat on the subway one day and the instinct to add stripes was so overwhelming that I switched trains and got me to a yarn shop fast - I picked up the angora in the nick of time and got to work. The main yarn is Rowan Cashsoft DK, and I love it!

baby stripe hat - alt

baby cardigan - alt

This little ensemble is such a classic it was irresistable. And boy, this yarn is fantastic to knit up. It's Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino, and I am a huge fan. I've since learned it pills pretty fast upon wearing, but since this was given away, I'll never know!

baby sox-alt
Striped socks, always a winner. Baby socks using more of the Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino. There's that two row stripe again!

And of course, we have the now ubiquitous Noro 2 row striped scarves popularized by our own Brooklyn Tweed, Jared Flood. Here we have Hers on top and His below. These got lots of wear last winter. And I will make more of them, they are terrific gifts.

Hers Noro Scarf - alt

His Noro Scarf - alt

Anyway, you get the picture. You can see I am a manic stripe maker. I think about how to incorporate stripes into may work as often as possible. So it was a bit of a disappointment that for whatever reason, I could not make the stripe concept work on this beret for my sister. What I pictured in my mind just wasn't doing it for me upon execution. Maybe the yellow was the wrong choice. I don't know. I do know I futzed around with this for several evenings. In addition to not being thrilled with the stripe effect, I was also having a really tough time getting this thing to knit up to gauge, it was either way too big or way too small. The sample here shows the comparison in size to the Portia Beret I made earlier this summer. That one is perfect. It's the same yarn as the variegated I'm using now, and I counted off every row to ensure I was knitting the exact number of rows, even though I am not knitting a lace pattern. It should have worked. But it didn't. The size, the look, everything was simply wrong.

beret comparison - alt

The clock is ticking on this gift so I abandoned it for another time. And instead I am knitting up a surprise (can't show ya till it's received, sorry).

I don't know if I have "jumped the shark" on two row stripes, but the thought has occurred to me that I may have played this one out for now. I have lots of projects lined up in my Queue, and inevitably something pulls me in a different direction and I end up working on a completely unexpected project. And so even though I think about stripes constantly, I am gravitating to other things. Like knitting with solid colors, and doing projects that involve intricate stitch work (lace!?) rather than stripey stuff. It's an evolution and it may take a few months for this to play out. In the meantime I have a few other projects I need to finish off, and then it starts all over again! You will have to keep coming back for visits to see what transpires.

1 comment:

Sarah / Blue Garter said...

I recommend finishing the striped beret and then running a couple of lines of elastic thread through the back side of the ribbing. That's what I've done to berets that have gotten too stretched out (as anything with silk content is likely to do), and it works splendidly. Good luck!