Sunday, November 28, 2010

Part Four: Calculate your Edge Repeats

My border is moving at glacier speed, when some of you are finishing your shawls. I am absolutely delighted to see the first pictures of finished shawls turn up, even without a border, and it looks absolutely beautiful - delicate and intricate but not too heavy.

In my defense, my work schedule has been a nightmare, and there is a couple of knitterly things to blame

Culprit #1, the spring socks
Since I can't post pictures, I will post the left over yarn balls... 2 pairs done, with one just needing to have the tip frogged and reworked. I have a group of intrepid testers at Ravelry doing their best to weed out my many mistakes to turn this into a flawless pattern worthy of your yarn. And it is turning out to be quite a workout!

Culprit #2, the baby wrap/mother wrap
I got a couple of skeins of Shimmer in snowy white, "bare" version for this. I had made my wedding shawl out of this and it is the most lovely, soft yarn with a gorgeous sheen. This is going to be a squarish lace wrap with a snowflake theme, in garter stitch both in the center panel and the edge, and therefore reversible. I have a few friends in their way to become moms, and I thought it would be fun to have a wrap that looks delicate enough to use in christening but also use as a scarf/shawlette that mom can use. Babies are very non appreciative of fine lace work. The lace is absolutely easy to work, yet looks difficult.
The wrap has been done up to a half of the center panel, frogged completely, and now I am about up there again. I wish I had time to frog once more to add a few refinements, but it is nothing that would kill me if I let them be there, so I have to exchange deadline for utter perfection.

Don't you love the drab look of unblocked lace? You all recognize this guy, right? Galina Khmeleva's gorgeous fat snowflake. It is the main show. Geez, you could ALL have designed this shawl!
The working name is Winterchild, but that can change... I will keep you posted in the progress

Back to the border...
So you all remember where we left off... Here is a small schematic of a border. Side A (cast on) and side B (selvedge) with the corners. The trick now is to figure out how many joints to make at the corners that will allow you to have a whole number of repeats of the edge, so when you come all the way round to the starting point, both sides can be grafted seamlessly.

Remember that...
A single join needs 2 rows of edge border (one RS and one WS)
A double join needs 4 rowsof edge border
A triple join needs 6 rows of edge border.

A medium edge (such as our Aspen Leaf) needs 6-8 double joins and 1 triple to turn the corners. Those will be distributed along the A and the B sides, with the triple joins towards the center.

Go ahead, take a pencil, download the worksheet at the Fancy Schmancy Dishcloth site and jot down the numbers for your dishcloth (there is no full pattern yet - only the worksheet).
For instance, on my initial dishcloth square, I casted on 29 stitches (so total side A is 29) and did 54 rows (total, 54/2 = 27 garter ridges on the selvedge).
I usually calculate the joins only over one side A and one B, which is half of the pattern, and then just double the numbers.
For my dishcloth, I am going to use 3 DJ on the B side, and in the A side, one TJ, and 3 more DJ, with the TJ between the two groups of DJ.  This of course will be mirrored on the second corner.
So for side A I will have: 3 x2 = 6 DJ, 1x2 = 2 TJ, and the remaining 29-(6+2) = 21 stitches will have a single join.
On the B side, I will have 3x2 = 6 DJ, no TJ, and the remaining 27-6= 21 picked-up stitches will have a single join.

Added together, we have 2 TJ, 12 DJ and 42 SJ.
The number of edge rows needed for all those joins is : (2x6) + (12x4) + (42x2) = 144 joins for half a pattern, 288 for a whole one.
Our chosen edge has 12-rows repeat. 144 rows needed divided by 12 rows per repeat = 12 repeats.

We are in luck, and our initial calculations yielded a whole number, no decimals, which means we will have 12 x 2 = 24 exact repeats by the time we finish the edge and we can happily graft without further ado.

Let's say, instead, that I have cast on 28 st x 54 rows (one stitch difference). Our numbers would change a little. Using the same number of joins, we will need (2x6)+ (12x4) + (41x2 - one less stitch) = 142 rows.
This will give us a repeat count of 142\12 = 11.8. No exact count. What to do now?
Calculate the number of rows needed for the closest whole numbers:
For 11 repeats, we need 11x12 = 132 rows, which is 10 rows less. We could convert 5 double joins to a single, but then our corner may be a bit too tight and not turn well. But it is an option.
For 12 repeats, we need 12x12= 144 rows, 2 rows short. In this case, the decision is easy: convert one single to a double join somewhere and we will have an exact number.

Other options include changing the number of double or triple joins at the edges, and part of the decision will hinge on how well you are turning the corner with the chosen number of multiple joins for the edge.

So, in the case of our first dishcloth with the exact number of joins, you would start at the left side, a few stitches above the left-lower corner. Work your way picking up stitches along to 3 stitches below the left-upper corner. Work 3 DJ. Take now the stitches on the upper side "A" out of the holder and into the needle, work 1 TJ and 3 DJ. Continue single joins until 4 stitches before the end, then do 3 DJ and 1 TJ. You are done with the first side A. Pick up stitches along the right side selvedge, do 3 DJ, and continue all SJ towards the right, lower corner. Do 3 DJ, and now you are into the cast on side. Remove stitches from the provisional cast on into the needle, do a TJ and DJ, and keep working SJ until you get to the left, lower corner. Stop at 4 stitches before the end.

Now it is a good moment to make sure you have counted your repeats well. Mistakes happen, so count the remaining number of stitches left, calculate how many rows you need, and see if you will indeed be finishing with an exact repeat. If you lost or gained joins somewhere (hey, it is easy to overlook a stitch on the selvedge), adjust your counts here -you may have to add or eliminate a double join. Finish turning the last corner, and now you are, hopefully, ready to graft and finish... which will be our last issue!

In the case of the second dishcloth, where only an extra join needed to be added, do it at the last corner. If  you need to add multiple joins, distribute them evenly around the edge - preferably a the borders, but you can also throw the occasional extra double join in the straight parts. This is true specially on larger shawls with wide edges or with large repeats where adjusting the count may be more tricky.

Do you feel ready? The edge instructions are now almost written and will be out to the tech editor as soon as I can. Those instructions will just be straight for the shawl done as per instructions, using the narrow and the wide border, with the calculations all done already. If you modified the shawl, download the worksheet, take a pencil and eraser and download the worksheet... and good luck!

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