Sunday, January 25, 2009

Spiraling around

Nautilus 9

Lately there are so many ideas spiraling and swirling around in my head, I find it hard to focus on just one thing. I'm playing with a series of shapes, and thinking about how they translate into useful objects. This project, the Nautilus Poncho may have been one of the catalysts on shape considerations.

We all know what a genius Norah Gaughan is. Her mind works in ways I can only dream of! This project, which had its start as a humble knitted strip gets joined using crochet edges and joins to become a spiral evoking a nautilus shell.

Nautilus Poncho

When I photographed the blob that was destined to became the poncho, it was at the transition point between the finished knitting phase and the start crochet phase. Looks sort of like an octopus to me. It was really really long. One endless strip of fabric that started with three tiny stitches and then grows to 22 stitches.

Nautilus 10

Crochet does not come naturally to me. So I struggled to get this right. It took me four attempts to get it. But that's mostly because the instructions were rather vague. I found myself seeking help from crochet friends, from books and through correspondence on Ravelry. One night, while working the crochet during the Flatbush Stitch n Bitch, Barbara told me she too, struggled with the crochet part. Well! So it wasn't me after all - she's a master knitter!

Nautilus 6

Turns out, it wasn't the crochet that was the problem, but understanding when to do what - each side has different stitch sequences and it's critical to know when to do them in the right sequence. If you miss this, you end up with a straight sided tube, not a spiral that extends out like a... yea, like a nautilus shell.

Nautilus 2

I wanted to knit this so I could wear it in the office on those days when the air vent blows down on my shoulders and makes me really miserable. I had a test run this week, wearing it a few days and man, this thing is warm! The bulky wool really packs some power. And this color is useful for an office environment.

Nautilus 1

There will be few (like maybe just this one) ponchos in my collection, so I am glad I chose this design as the one. The yarn was a real find. I am one who really doesn't find bulky yarns very appealing, mostly because so many of them are loosely plied. Those fat singles look real nice in the skein, but I can't help thinking they will start fuzzing and pilling in about an hour after wear. It is something that really bugs me to no end. So when this yarn went on sale at Webs, I ordered a bit. Then I ended up ordering a whole lot more! In fact, I picked up so many different colors, I had to buy a new bin just to stash it all! hee hee. Look for more projects using this brand real soon.

Nautilus 3

So, I am pleased with this knit. It satisfied the original objectives - something to keep my shoulders warm in the office, something that was a bit unusual but not so avant garde that it would scare the corporate nerds, something that would hold up to use without getting shabby looking, and something from my existing pattern collection. Along the way, I learned a few things - like the crochet thing.

I bought the book and am slowly, ever so slowly opening my mind to crochet. And while I doubt I will ever end up crocheting baby afghans in acrylics, there are a few interesting patterns that have me intrigued.

And perhaps most important, this project really got me thinking about shapes. I've jotted down a few shape ideas in my pda and have started working on some things I have in mind for future projects of my own design. I credit Norah Gaughan AGAIN, for a really inspiring project!

Nautilus 4

The specs:
Pattern: Nautilus Poncho by Norah Gaughan
Source: Knitting Nature by Norah Gaughan
Yarn: Cascade 109 LE Bulky, Silver
Needle: Size 11 ; hook - my biggest one
Started: December 14, 2009
Finished: January 14, 2009 (my first FO of '09!)
Verdict: Better than I thought; it was shaky for a time.

8 comments:

The A.D.D. Knitter said...

So seriously awesome. I stand in admiration of your crochet skills because well me I have NONE!! I can barely do a single chain on the edge of something, it's so pathetic.

Bethany said...

The poncho is lovely! When I think of ponchos I think of the ones I wore as a kid in the 70s. Your poncho completely changes that. So beautiful!

Rosi G. said...

that looks VERY lovely!! i love the combination of knitting and crochet. norah is definitely an inspirational designer.

oh, and hey, not to enable or anything but webs also has cascade bollicine victor on sale (another bulky). i knit w/the bollicine DK and really enjoyed the finished product. i can't tell you what it is yet since i submitted the piece to knitty but cross your fingers for me - i should know by valentine's day!! :D

but i digress, the bollicine is VERY soft and washable. it has nice drape to it. i'm making a sweaterbabe pattern with it.

Bo... said...

Gosh, that's really gorgeous! (How strange---the word verification thingy says "kinerse"---reminds me of the word kinetic and...well it's interesting.)

Eliza said...

that looks amazing!! Do you wear it under a coat, or just use it to throw on in the office?

knithound brooklyn said...

ADD Knitter: Aw shucks. I bet you can do more than you say!
Bethany: Yeah not your usual '70's poncho. I have one like that!
RosiG: Yea, right like I need more yarn?!
Bo: Welcome aboard
Eliza: I just wear it around the office, not under coats. Toasty!

Daniel Yuhas said...

Gorgeous! And so glad to see you made it through the crochet joining wilderness! I adore Norah's work, but her construction diagrams scare the bujeezus out of me!

Moe said...

HI, desperate and hoping that you can help me!! I to knit the Nautilus Poncho but after too many tries to admit to I am unable to put the thing together, turning into a skinny funnel every time. You mentioned in your blog the important of the sequence, could you tell me the sequence that you used to complete your beautiful poncho? Thank you ! Maureen from BC Canada