17
August
2006

Grandmother of Invention

Thank you everyone for you kind words about my grandfather and your suggestions for a project for my grandmother. Several of you suggested Clapotis, and I’d considered it myself, but I’ve made 3 of them already, not to mention designing a matching hat. I wanted to do something new. However, I have been toying with ideas involving dropped stitches for a while, and I was home sick on the couch despairing that my Tivo didn’t have enough Law & Order reruns for me to watch, so I let my mind play with dropped stitches for a while.

I thought about how I could turn Clapotis into a triangle shawl, maybe by working the inverse of the pattern halfway through. And I ruminated on that for a bit while amusing myself with Samuel L. Jackson on Jon Stewart…

Eventually, I wandered upstairs and dug out my rough draft yarn. I grabbed some needles and worked out this:

Not bad for a start, but I wanted to make the stockinette sections more interesting, so I drew on a couple of techiques I learned during a dropped stitches class I took at Stitches West and added cables:

I liked that. And I started thinking about yarn. I thought I needed a lighter yarn to keep the cables light. I thought it would look good with some Koigu. Pretty yarn, but not overpowering to the pattern if I got a single-tone colorway. And then I looked at the clock — 5pm! The LYSs close at 6pm! Hurry!

I had my doubts about my closest one, but well, it’s the closest one. They never have a decent sock yarn collection. Or rather, they favor variety over quantity. So I found some Lorna’s Laces I liked, some Artyarns, and even a nice Trekking. But they only had enough of any one to make one pair of socks. And I knew I’d need a lot more than that.

It was now 5:15 and I knew that if I really wanted Koigu, I only had one option. The store that usually has a ton of it. And making it there would be tight. I used my knowledge of rush hour traffic patterns and short cuts and a handy street map in the passenger seat to make it there in record time. I squeezed my small Civic into a ridiculously tight spot between two SUVs and dashed into the store at 5:59pm. Fortunately, they had a few other customers and didn’t seem to be in a rush to close.

Faced with about 2 dozen colorways, I quickly zeroed in on exactly what I wanted. A mix of muted blues with a hint of purple. And I grabbed all that they had just to be safe.

Returning home, I had some dinner and settled back in on the couch to swatch up what I had to see how it would look in the yarn. Further, I had to do a gauge swatch, because my particular plan of attack has me casting on every possible stitch and decreasing down to one. So here was my first in-yarn swatch:

Not bad, but I didn’t like how the 2×2 cables were so small as to be invisible. So I did a little more math and reworked it with 4×4. And got this (to give you a sense of scale, the top of the triangle is about 12 inches long) :

I experimented a bit with handling the cables at the edges and in the center. All details that you can’t really see in these rush photos. And I have a few more changes I’ll make when working it to further improve how the cables come together. And yes, I’ll chart it out while I’m working on it in case anyone else wants to take Clapotis to the next level.

So, after I finish packing without toiletries tonight, I’ll do a little more math and cast on 600 stitches or so. I probably won’t bring my full knitting kit, but I will be working this on my new Options needles, so I’ll make sure to start on my long cable and pack the shorter ones. Don’t know what kind of net access I’ll have while away, because my parents don’t have Internet (still not sure if they’re civilized), but I will bring my camera and document.