Saturday, March 18, 2006

New discoveries on vacation

Ahhhh, vacation. Ten wonderful days of fun, sun, snorkeling, snoozing, dancing and green-apple martinis. Ahhhhhh.

I wasn't expecting to have any inspirations about knitting or other crafts during the cruise. But as we were waiting to disembark on the final day, I pulled a circular needle and yarn out of my tote bag and started fiddling around to pass the time. And almost instantly, a delightful woman named Riva appeared at my side and we started talking about knitting. I had a couple of caps I'd finished earlier in the trip for the Ships Project, and she and her friend Camille were both interested in the pattern and the cause.

Riva's own knitting project was packed safely away in her luggage and she was missing it already. She had been working on a blanket knit in strips, using a diamond pattern that added a lot of textural interest. I asked her to jot down the instructions, for me, and she did. It would make a splendid lap-sized blanket for someone in a wheelchair. And while knitted things take a lot longer to make than quilts, a knitting project can't be beat for portability - so I was glad to have another idea to take on the road. In fact, it sounded so interesting that I immediately ripped out the just-cast-on stitches on my needle and started Riva's pattern.

And here's how it looks so far:

The texture doesn't show up well in this photo, but it appears very quickly once you begin knitting. And here's the pattern, courtesy of Riva:

Cast on 35 stitches. Knit every row (garter stitch) for 6 rows (3 ridges).

Begin diamond pattern:

K17, P1, K17

P16, K3, P16

K15, P5, K 15

P14, K7, P14

By now you can see how the pattern is emerging. By increasing the width of your center section by two stitches on every row, you're creating a stockinette/reverse stockinette diamond that looks great on either side.

Keep going in this manner until you finish this row: K3, P29, K3.

Then, start to decrease the width of your diamond:

P4, K27, P4

K5, P25, K5 Etc. etc. etc.

Pretty soon you'll be back at K17, P1, K17…your purled diamond will rise elegantly from its tidy stockinette-stitch background and you will feel so full of yourself, with good reason.

Do another six or so rows of garter stitch and do the whole thing over again!

I decided to flip the pattern on every other diamond in the strip, so I could have a real patchwork look going on. I really have no idea how I'll finish this off. I expect I'll make five or so strips of about seven diamonds each, but who knows? Riva recommends joining the strips with a simple whip-stitch. I forgot to ask her about edging, but I have a feeling I may incorporate a garter-stitch edge into the strips I'll use on either end….then maybe finish the whole thing off with a nice I-cord edging.

By the way, if you're looking for a good place to donate lap-sized blankets or quilts, just call your local Meals on Wheels chapter. Chances are, they'll be delighted to deliver them to some of their clients who could use some extra cheer.

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