Here I go again

My friends think I have LOTS of WIPs ( works in progress) but in reality I only have a few.  There’s the lovely aran jacket I started 7 years ago, a crochet blanket for a friend’s wedding gift, a hat for my son and a Minecraft cushion for the same son.

I also have yarn that I’ve started items with, changed my mind, ripped it out, started something else, ripped it out ad infinitum!  It is these items which make my friends feel I have hundreds of things on the go.

A couple of months ago I got a lovely skein of merino yarn from Perran Yarns.  It’s been hand-dyed in short bursts of bright rainbow colours and so far I’ve started about 6 things and pulled them out.  Nothing seems quite right for the yarn.  I don’t even have a garment type I’m sure about.  So today I’m going to try a feather and fan type of crochet for a shawl, or is it a wide scarf?

feather & fanSo this is how my head works.  Oooh, that’s a nice design, I can see how that stitch works (this is from looking at a picture of the finished article – it’s not a hard pattern).  Next, I get my maths head on – I told you I used to be a maths teacher.  Now I love algebra, so there’s a possibility that I could use a formula here to help me with my starting number.

Ok so to start the row, I’m going to work the equivalent of 4 sts, this will mean I’ve increased 3 and created a little hillock.  Now to cancel these out I’ll miss a ch, work 1tr, doing this 3 times will make the numbers right.  By now I’m at the bottom of the slope, so I need to work my way up again by repeating the miss 1, work 1 routine 3 times and as this will have decreased a further 3 sts I’ll need to increase 3 by working 4 sts into the next st.  SIMPLE?  It’s taken me 90 minutes to get the numbers right in my head and to work samples to see how this works in reality.

The main problem for me has been that in knitting the work doesn’t curve but in crochet it does.  Feather and fan in knitting means that you need to work down a slope and then back up again.  In crochet the decreases produce the valley on their own going down and back up again and the increases produce the mountain top going up and back down again.  Confusing?  Well it was for me!

feather and fan 2So using this waffle I need to work out how many I need to ch.

First ch (4sts into it) then 2ch (missed ch + tr) x 6 means a further 12ch + 1 (4sts into it to make up for the other 3 I decreased). That’s a total of 14.  Oh well, here goes.  Just to check I opened and Excel spreadsheet and mapped it out.  I use Excel for both my knitting and crochet to help me see how things are working.  The spreadsheet helped me to see that I miss 6 ch, but I only work 5tr in between them, so I need 1 less for each valley, making 13.  By working the sample I also saw that each batch of 13 takes me down and back up again, so across my 56sts I’ll have 4 troughs rather than the 2 I would have had if I had been knitting the feather and fan pattern.  I like this 🙂

Chain 56. Turn

Row 1: ch2, 3tr into first (this means I have inc 3 sts) miss 1 st, *tr in next st, miss 1st* 5 times (6 missed sts mean 6 dec), 4tr in next st (this is the 2nd 3st inc to balance the 6 dc and completes the first run).  [4tr into next st, *miss 1 st, tr in next st*  5 times , miss 1st, 4tr into next st] rpt from [ to ] to end of row.

Row 2: ch2, tr into every st.

Now just a 2 words of WARNING.

When beginning row 2, you will ch 2 and then work in to the second stitch.  The ch 2 has replaced the first tr which would have been worked into the first stitch.  If you work a tr into the first stitch you will work an increase and your work will go out of shape.  On row 1 you work 3 trs into the first st, along with the ch2 this has the effect of the 4tr increase so in this case you do NOT miss the first st.

feather & fan 3When working the last tr of the row, or working the cluster at the end of row 1, you will be working into the ch2 which began the previous row. In the photograph you can see the last st, but if you look carefully you will also see the 2ch loop. So 2 more tr will need to be worked to complete this row.

It’s very easy to work in to the last tr and think that’s the end of the row, but you need to remember that the ch 2 at the start of every row is replacing a tr st.  If you miss working into the ch2 then you will make the all too common mistake of shortening your row.

Repeat these 2 rows until your work is the desired length.

Being a bit of a pedantic madam, I’ve worked the first 2 rows 3 times to get 6 rows.  I then weighed the work, 15g and the remainder of the ball, 85g.  Dividing 15 into 85 (using the calculator cos I’m lazy) is 5 2/3.  Hmm,  now if I measure the length of my work it’s only 7cm.  Now the 2/3 will be 4 rows, plus the other 5 x 6 = 30.  I’ve enough yarn left for a further 34 rows.  BUT 6 rows is 7cm.  Five lots of 7cm is only 35cm, plus the starting 7cm makes 42cm.

The width of the piece is 34cm.

Certainly NOT long enough for a scarf.  Guess what this means?  Yes it’s time to rip it out and start again!  I’m really disappointed about this as I love the colours etc.  As I see it, I have 3 options.

  1. Rip it out. ch 39 and make it a bit longer and wear it as a snood.  taking 1/4 off the width should add about 12cm to the length.
  2. Rip it out, ch 104 and make a snood with less rows. 68cm is a pleasant width for a snood.  I should get 18 pattern repeats, so about 21cm depth which is a good depth for a snood.
  3. Rip it out and think of something totally different!

As I really like the effect of this yarn with this stitch I think it’s likely to be option 2 as I’d prefer the rows to run horizontally rather than vertically.  Ho Hum.

The moral of the story is, always make sure you have enough yarn for a project.  If you’re not sure, then do as I do, work a sample and weigh it.  Find out how much yarn the sample has taken and then calculate to see if you’ve got enough.  There is nothing more frustrating than working through all your yarn only to discover you’ve not got enough to finish a loved project!

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