four days ago i bound off and blocked this year's hobbit-a-long project, moonlit silver, a self-designed cowl meant to simulate the fancier dwarves' elaborate tunics with a bit of chainmail climbing its steely way out.
|or perhaps it's an envelope...|
perhaps it's time for the obligatory "design process" conversation...
once upon a time, there was a knitter who wanted to demonstrate her fanthusiasm for the hobbit through an accessory that could be created quickly enough to not entirely delay xmas knitting.
'hobbits...' she thought, 'and dwarves. this calls for chainmail.'
she then took finger to paper, doodling the following "design sketch":
which essentially translated into small cables and a loop-like or otherwise round stitch. cables were easy enough; a simple two-stitch crossover was chosen as a design element, leaving only the chainmail. unsurprisingly, the chainmail required far more effort to pin down.
initially, i considered the embossed rib stitch, hoping for a faux interlocking ring texture.
i converted the instructions for working in the round, knitted a swatch, and hated it. rather than linking loops, it looked like a hot mess of tangled anhinga intestine. a horrid sight, trust me. after a considerable amount of flipping through a "meh" stitchionary (poorly organized and fraught with technical errors), experimenting with diamond stitch and crossed braid, and whining to the bf, i settled on a variation of the honeycomb stitch.
scaled down to just two stitches wide and tall, these little "cells" would look just round enough to mimic the idea of metal rings. or so i hoped.
just two things: 1. i was going to replace the ordinary knit stitches of the pattern with twisted knits to keep the flowing lines tight and neat. 2. i was going to pair left-twisted stitches (the standard stitch knit through its back loop) with right-twisted ones, which involves an extra step of flipping the stitch around on the needle. madness!
after settling on the alternative cable cast on for 2x2 ribbing to give the cables the appearance of organically flowing into being (popping out of the ground fully formed, if you will), the cowl started to take shape quickly, and could have been finished sooner if i would have had the foresight to research a bind off that matched the cast on before reaching the finishing point. apparently, i was operating under the false impression that wooly wormhead's tutorial page (where i found the cast on instructions) had an "alternative cable cast off for 2x2 ribbing" pdf. it didn't. there is no such bind off.
instead, i found loads of links and videos for a tubular/invisible bind off, which was touted as a mirror to the cast on i'd used. while this was promising news, i was absolutely lost as to how to execute all the wraps in and around live stitches the tutorials described. i looked at pictures—no help. i read instructions—no insights. i watched videos—no clarification. my patience was starting to shred as much as my yarn tail by this point, but stubbornness born of frustration was motivating me. defeat was not an option.
finally, a day or so later, i found this video of the 2x2 invisible ribbed bind-off and something clicked. pausing every few seconds to follow along, i completed stitch after painstaking stitch. an hour passed before i'd gotten into the rhythm of it enough to progress without reviewing the steps or stopping to unpick a mistake. maybe forty-five minutes later, ends were woven in and moonlit silver was done! and doesn't that edge look awesome? this bind off might be a bitch to execute, but the results are totally worth it.
now that it's blocked and dry, my hobbit-a-long project for the year is complete…journey ended! it was a good feeling to design my own "pattern," if you will, again this year, so the trend will probably continue into next year's -along as well. i'll have to start thinking about the clash of five armies and see where that journey takes me.
in the meantime, socks. and, well, maybe a secondary, super-secret, stealth hobbit project. maybe.