Day 7

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Well look at that! One whole week of posts! *happy dance*

I originally wrote this entry, by hand, while in the cafe of the local Waterstone’s bookstore. I had intended to post it from my tablet or my phone but my tablet’s battery was very nearly flat and my phone has suddenly been possessed by Evil so, yeah, by hand (I have orange ink in my Lamy fountain pen. I love writing!). Also, it’s nearly 6 hours since it was written but the weather is still lovely, my stress headache can’t decide if it wants to stay, and my psychologist was pleased that I have taken up yoga and that I have begun some mindfulness meditation, particularly because that is the direction my therapy is going in so yay me! 🙂

I did my meditation knitting early today, while hubby was walking the dogs and the house was quiet. I filled some of that quiet with Holst’s Planets again. Unsurprisingly, ‘Venus, bringer of peace’ is my current favourite. Though in the past, the Empire-March-to-be aka ‘Mars, the bringer of War’ has been my favourite.

Today’s square was placed against the lower edge of yesterdays rectangle and used the same ball of yarn as on day 4 – Austermann’s Step in Berry. I used the joining and knitting pattern from day 3.

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Hey Charlotte! Why aren’t you varying your stitch patterns?

Firstly, I consciously use this project as a meditation tool. Plain knit stitch is soothing and uncomplicated. Beyond that, I need only to know how to pick up stitches, how to decrease and how to count to 31.

Secondly, I don’t want it to be stressful or protracted. Lace or cables or even purl stitch require more attention than I want to give this project. It needs to be simple and repetitive so that I can focus properly on each stitch, each breath, rather than on what I will need to do next to maintain a stitch pattern. (Yes, I know that I have to pay attention to when to do the decrease but after the first square, the work shows you where the decreases need to be placed ).

Thirdly, different stitches and stitch patterns fill space differently. These knitted pieces are both 20 stitches wide and 20 rows tall. One is bumpy, rectangular and flat. The other is smooth, mostly square and desperate to curl in on itself. The first is “garter stitch” (knit stitch only for every  row), the second is “stocking stitch” (knit stitch for one row, purl stitch for the next with these two rows forming the pattern).

g-st vs st-st

You can see that without any shaping, the garter stitch piece is shorter than the stocking stitch piece. It is also already flat.

Why is this?

The garter stitch piece is shorter because it is corrugated or crinkled meaning that part of each stitch is lost below another as compared to the stocking stitch in which all of each stitch is side by side in all directions.

But why is it flat?

Well, if you ask the internet why your stocking stitch curls, many websites will simply state that it does and offer no further comment. Some websites assert that it is because the purl stitch is longer than the knit stitch. I agree that it is structural but not in the way they are describing. If you look at other things that are crinkled or corrugated versus the same material left flat – potato crisps for example – the straight cut crisps curl far more than the crinkle cut crisps. So what do I think causes the curling? If you corrugate a piece of paper by giving it concertina folds [note to self: put pics in for this bit] it’s much harder to bend to make the sides touch than it is to do with an unfolded piece of paper. The folds give the paper density and rigidity. I have always considered that garter stitch is the knitting equivalent of this.

folded concertina

Anyway, you can see that if I do change the stitch pattern the squares won’t so easily or simply fit together.

Lastly of course, is that this is what I want to knit and it’s my blanket so :p 😉

Day 1

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Inspired by another knitters project on Ravelry, I have decided to knit a square a day to make a blanket for my home. Further, I have decided to dedicate that time each day to contemplation and reflection. For me, this means clearing my mind of the ‘busy’ and focusing entirely on the piece of knitting I am working on. I am training myself to slow my breathing and my stitches during this time each day by counting each stitch as I make it, thereby living purely in the Now for a little while each day.

The space for each project on Ravelry isn’t really big enough not designed to accommodate this sort of project where more than 10 scraps of yarn are used so I will be using this blog to record what I use and what I think about as I’m knitting these squares.

Day 1

~ Listening to Holst’s The Planets as conducted by Andre Previn. Starting with Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity before going back to start again at Venus, the Bringer of Peace. (Mars, the Bringer of War didn’t really fit with my intention to calm myself so even though it’s a favourite, I skipped it today.)

I am a knitter of some years experience and knit quite quickly without looking at my work. Today I made myself slow down, to breathe slowly until I felt my heart rate slow and counted each stitch as I watched my hands make it.

Each square I make will be small. I am using 4ply yarn and 3.25mm needles to make mitred squares that will be joined together as i go along by picking up stitches, rather than making many individual pieces then sewing them together later.

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The pattern I am using is simple :

Cast on 31 sts
Row 1: k14, sl2 together, k1, psso, k14, turn – 29sts
Row 2: k across
Row 3: k13, sl2 together, k1, psso, k13, turn – 27sts
Row 4: k across
Row 5: k12, sl2 tog, k1, psso, k12, turn – 25sts
Row 6: k across
Row 7: k11, sl2 tog, k1, psso, k11, turn – 23sts
Row 8: k across
Row 9: k10, sl2 tog, k1, psso, k10, turn – 21sts
Row 10: k across
Row 11: k9, sl2 tog, k1, psso, k9, turn – 19sts
Row 12: k across
Row 13: k8, sl2 tog, k1, psso, k8, turn – 17sts
Row 14: k across
Row 15: k7, sl2 tog, k1, psso, k7, turn – 15sts
Row 16: k across
Row 17: k6, sl2 tog, k1, psso, k6, turn – 13sts
Row 18: k across
Row 19: k5, sl2 tog, k1, psso, k5, turn – 11sts
Row 20: k across
Row 21: k4, sl2 tog, k1, psso, k4, turn – 9sts
Row 22: k across
Row 23: k3, sl2 tog, k1, psso, k3, turn – 7sts
Row 24: k across
Row 25: k2, sl2 tog, k1, psso, k2, turn – 5sts
Row 26: k across
Row 27: k1, sl2 tog, k1, psso, k1, turn – 3sts
Row 28: k across
Row 29: sl2 tog, k1, psso – 1st. Break yarn and pull through.
Finished.

Today’s yarn : After commenting on the beautiful colours of a friends piece of knitting, she sent the remainder of the yarn to me. I have been knitting that half ball into part of a shawl and finished its section today. The yarn is Knit Picks Chroma fingering-weight in the Lolipop colourway, though all that remains is the blue and green stripes. I really,really love this yarn. It is soft, and colourful, and smooth, and is just lovely to work with. Heresy though it may be, I think it’s nicer than Malabrigo.

All told, I am feeling much calmer and more centred than when I began so we can count today a success ( and by today I mean Saturday. On the clock it is Sunday but I haven’t gone to bed from Saturday so I’m still counting it as Saturday :p)