31 January 2008

Cakes, chairs and charting new territory

While Brilla was sidelined and visions of knitted comfy chairs with odd construction techniques filled my brain, cream coloured (think butter cream frosting) cotton filled my needles.

Enter Mandarin Petit, an Egyptian cotton from Norway.
It's been in the STASH for some time now.

My original swatches told me that I would killing my hands working it on 2.0 mm needles versus 2.5 for virtually no benefit. The Crystal Palace bamboo 2.25 dps make for a reasonable compromise.

The knitting has been easy, the lining issue and staying under 4 inches while still having a design have been the bigger problems. I finally worked out a combination of cardboard base mixed fabric to sort out the lining issue but I'm running up against the 4 inch size limit at every turn.

The comfy chair is also taking shape with a slightly different solution to the shape and base piece problem.

For the chair, I'm using much loved and long discontinued Mama Mia in a great green.

Centre out windmill square in process will either be the bottom of the chair or the "top" of the seat portion depending upon how things work out.

I happened on the idea of using acrylic nail buffers to fill the base. Lightweight and just about the right shape and size

Hey, if I can't find emery sand why note use a slightly different form of emery? The buffers come in different grits and feature a soft centre.

At a little under 4 inches in length, they are already well sized but they can be trimmed to size with a bread knife.

In working on the chair, I've had a few start and stop issues. I got the brilliant idea that I could do a knitted welt instead of a purl ridge at the transition between increase plane and the perpendicular side.

The welt would allow me to snake some floral wire in to combat the
structure problems inherent in working with knits.

Great idea right? Sure, size 2.25mm needles, and dark green cotton yarn with 22 stitches on a side? Yeah right, find the purl bump four rows below and work it together with the next stitch. Not happening with these eyes -- ten years ago maybe but not happening now.

Next the idea of
some form of icord banding applied icord or an icord bind off popped to mind. The icord could house the wire but binding off tends to also mean picking up stitches and I don't like picking up stitches.

That's when I happened upon Annie Modesitt's horizontal icord banding technique. Annie uses it in several pieces she's designed. She writes about loving the technique but she doesn't really give details on the technique on her blog other than some issues about the nature of the next row after the technique is used.

I asked around within my knitting circles and couldn't find anyone who had used the technique and could show/explain it to me.

So knowing that I'd once again be breaking new ground, I dug around, found a couple of sources that use the technique and tried to wrap brain and or needles around it.

I came to the conclusion that it breaks down to combining an icord bind off with a cable cast on. I never quite could get my fingers to work the technique without a unacceptable distortion (elongation) of the next row of stitches. That's the same problem I was running into with my dabbling in dividing a double knit start. My sense is that, if Annie's technique isn't considered a fatal design flaw, perhaps I was too hasty in rejecting my discovery.

Meanwhile I've come up with a variation on both themes that resolves the elongated stitches on the next row.


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