08 April, 2006

Zen and knitting

So this is what spring looks like around here. I am adding a photo of scenery to make up for the fact that there has not been a lot of knitting going on lately.

I started on a scarf, meant to be zen and mindless, but then didn't want to waste the pretty yarn on plain garter stitch or rib. The yarn is "Royal Bamboo" from Plymouth Yarn, and the color is a periwinkle blue. I picked the the Snowdrop pattern from Rhoda Ochser Goldberg's "The New Knitting Dictionary". The pattern consists of bellshaped "snowdrops" with columns of diamonds and knots in between. The pattern has a lot of double decreases, so instead doing mindless knitting, I ended up experimenting and swatching a lot, because I was not happy with the 3D effect they created.

Illustration of 3D effect, two lowest repeats have dec A

The original pattern was written with decrease A.

Double Decrease A: k2 tog tbl, put this st back on lh needle, pass next st over the k2 tog, put back on rh needle.
For the snowdrops, this decrease created a very 3D pointed bellshape (see photo above for the relief effect).

Double Decrease B: sl 2 tog, k1, psso.
This created a straight center stitch, and was a lot smoother.

Double Decrease C: sl 1, k2 tog, psso.
This decrease looked ok on the diamonds, but the knots above and below the diamonds did not look good.

In the end, I used decrease B for the snowdrop shapes, and decrease A for the knots and diamonds. I could have used decrease C for the diamonds, but having three different kinds of double decreases was more than my brain could cope with. I tried it for a few rows, and decided it was just ridiculous.

I will show you the finished scarf soon.

For a couple of weeks I was not really doing any knitting, but I did a whole lot of reading about knitting. I spent days looking through my old Vogue Knitting magazines. At the same time I had "Zen and the Art of Knitting" for my bedtime reading. Very enjoyable. I don't often get the "zen" feeling from knitting, though. That was actually my inspiration for doing a mindless scarf, I was hoping some mindless knitting would encourage zen. But of course ambitions got in the way. Maybe that should be telling me something, only rectangular garter stitch scarves for me from now on?

My next step was checking out a bunch of knitting books from the library. I even found a couple of fiction books with the word knitting in the title. Of course I had to read those. So even though I was not knitting very much, I was actually getting more knitting obsessed than ever.


  1. I almost bought the book Zen and the art of knitting the other day. Maybe I will eventually. I don't know what it is to be zen ... but I do like the feeling that my attention is focussed entirely on the pattern, either simple or complicated ... maybe even more so if it is complicated, and the outside world would just seem to zoom out of my being. Sometimes this feeling may just last a few minutes ... but it kind of feels good. Is this zen? :)

  2. the beach picture is so beautiful! not much of that kind of scenery around these parts, unfortunately.

    the bluebell scarf is beautiful. can't wait to see the finished version.