Three Projects based on patterns by Jared Flood of Brooklyn Tweed

For the lack of verbage over the last week, I apologize.  We went away as a family for Thanksgiving to the Marriot time-share located in Absecon, New Jersey.  We had a great time…once my husband settled into doing nothing in particular.  I only had to threaten him with imminent death on one occasion.  There is an indoor pool, so we were able to go swimming every day.  Long walks are always an option and we take particular pleasure in cooking our Thanksgiving dinner as a family.  This year we made a turkey with all the trimmings (last year we were cooking Julia Child and all foods French).  For whatever reason, I made the turkey a day ahead of time and that decision was just inspired as it made cooking the rest of the dishes the next day so easy and so “less” pressured.  The week went by entirely too fast and we spent the last day of vacation discussing options for our summer getaway.

I am guilty of overpacking.  I never know entirely what I am going to want.  The Kindle has made packing reading material a breeze.  Clothes, I am getting better at but still bring too much stuff.  Knitting:  well, I don’t know what makes me think I can knit six times more on vacation than I can in regular life…but, I pack everything I might even think of working on…you just can never know for sure.  In specific, I wanted to work on Christmas presents for my loved ones and on three Jared Flood patterns that were visually appealing to me:  Terra, Wayfarer, and Shale Baby Blanket.

The Terra Shawl

Consistently, the texture in the projects featured by Brooklyn Tweed is nothing short of phenomenal.  The Terra Shawl is an example of that process and took me just three days to knit from start to finish.  The central portion of the shawl is an adaptation of Jared Flood’s Romney Kerchief featured in his blog.  I am entertained by both and can even work on them successfully in the movies (knitting helps me keep the adrenaline rush to a minimum).  The outer portion, or border, of the shawl is a modified “crest of the wave” pattern.  The texture in the pattern is quite nice.  I have to confess I opted out of the border as written, for several reasons.  The yarn I chose was very dark and I did not feel the textural alterations to the traditional “crest of the wave” pattern would even show.  On a personal level, I really did want all those holes to show, like foamy bubbles in waves.  Ultimately, it was a good choice.  The pattern was well-written and easy to follow.  I have one complaint common to all three patterns, to which I will give voice later.

The Wayfarer Scarf

This was the second of the three projects, and I was able to finish this last night.  I love the play of the vertical rib against the horizontal garter stitch as well as the movement of the rib generated by well-placed increases and decreases.  Personally, I would have liked more movement, but I know most of the Summit Yarn knitters would have liked the “straightaway” areas just as much, if not more.  The message:  this is a great pattern because it can be whatever you choose.  I did do the increase and decrease techniques as instructed and feel strongly there are better ways.  Near the end of the scarf I tried my ideas out and there was definately less distortion in the fabric.  Cat Bordhi has a great description of right-leaning and left-leaning increases in her first sock book which work wonderfully with this scarf idea.  I also like to use the increase favored by Elizabeth Zimmerman: a simple backwards loop made onto the right-hand needle — these I used for stitches destined to become purl stitches on the right side of the fabric.  If you are interested in knowing more feel free to contact me on ravelry (thehumanloom) or at my email:  summityarnstudio@aol.com .

Shale Baby Blanket by Jared Flood

I am almost halfway through this project, and I would be further along except that I enlarged the blanket by 40 stitches.  Again, this project is a primo example of Mr. Flood’s ability to pump up the texture in a stitch or combination of stitches.  The pattern is working well for me because I chose a DK weight yarn paired with US8 needles.  I am knitting at a loose gauge on purpose.  Central to the texture in this blanket is a “knit 4 together” — which is easy to do at a loose gauge and impossible in any other way.  Anyone who knits Estonian lace or nupps will understand this without hesitation.  If you are knitting this pattern and are feeling frustrated then try swatching on a needle one to two sizes larger than the needle you are currently using.  Another suggestion is to spit the decreases between the other three rows of the pattern repeat.  This will alter the texture but make the knitting more “doable”.

Overall, I enjoy the patterns Jared Flood has written.  As a LYS owner, I often feel the patterns could be more tuned in to the more average knitter…kind of like offering different asanas to yoga students based on their level of ability.  This, however, is a minor criticism.  The real scorching issue that makes me want to stand in traffic and scream is not even unique to Jared Flood as a designer.  Charting symbols for knitting are a complete mess.  There is no uniformity in the symbolism or use of symbolism.  No proper verbage exists to describe publicly the wasteland of misunderstanding current knit charting creates for knitters.  Most of the issues can easily be overcome except for one:  the use of one symbol to mean more that one task.  Can you imagine, if in music notation a sharp symbol (#) meant play the note one half step higher, but only every other measure?  Please designers:  use one symbol to mean ONE TASK ONLY.  Life is confusing enough.  Using a symbol that routinely means “PURL”  to mean purl only on the RS and knit on the WS…well, I could tell you what that is…but I think you can guess.

Jared Flood is an insightful new designer with some good ideas, especially regarding the use of texture in knitting and translating the world as he sees it into a knit project.  He is fortunate to have his own yarn label.  Harrisville yarns are a great value with a stunning palette.  Check out both their New England Highland wool (worsted weight with 200 yards per 100g skein) and Orchid (wool, cashmere and a kiss of mohair) — both available at substantially lower prices than Shelter.  Another yarn with great use of color and choice is Elsbeth Lavold’s Silky Wool and Silky Tweed…again at a substantially lower price point.  There are a ton of wonderful designers out there without due acclaim.  Look through the patterns on Ravelry.  Lankakomero, author of The 22 Leaves shawlette is just such an example.  Ravelry is a masterful tool with great treasures just awaiting your discovery.  Go dig through ALL the patterns, not just the free ones.  You will thank me.

The 22 Leaves Shawlette by Lankakomero

The UPS man has just dumped a stack of boxes inside the door…gotta go see what’s new!  More tomorrow…and I have a great free pattern for you on Wednesday!  Take care and go get your knit on…xox, The Human Loom

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