Potato Chip Knitting

Surely I have discovered the potato chips of the knitting world!

Last weekend I was facing a graduation – not mine, but that of my nephew. He received no special recognition or anything, so I was sentenced looking forward to 3 hours in a hot auditorium 90 minutes from home, during which, precisely 26 seconds were going to be meaningful. Ugh! No way was I going to face that without some knitting in my hands, but looking over my existing projects, everything was either too mindless to knit for 3 hours without external stimulation, or it was too involved for me to be able to feign interest in the ceremonies while knitting. Maybe this is all totally true – or maybe I was just looking for a good excuse to cast on a new shawl. Either way, it worked.

I didn’t have to look terribly far for the perfect project. I’ve wanted to make Autumn by Lijuan Jing with Jojoland Rhythm since about 5 seconds after I saw the store model at Fiberworks last year. I walked out of the store with the yarn that day, and I was relatively sure it was well enough aged by now to knit perfectly. Besides, entrelac is on my goal list for 2009, and it’s become apparent that this isn’t going to become a KAL in the yahoo group I’m in which votes for a favorite to knit each quarter.

I cast on 200 stitches Friday a week ago, figuring I could quickly knit the triangle row then enough of the first row of squares to be comfortable working sans pattern at the graduation. Biggest mistake here was underestimating just how much time it would take to knit those 25 little triangles. I did manage to get 2 hours of sleep before we left the next morning. However, the payback was great! I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that all those people who were looking at me sitting there knitting were doing so out of overwhelming jealousy. I was the only person there who didn’t spend at least half the time fighting a strong urge to scream from total boredom. :o)

Anyway, about the potato chip business… If you don’t know, entrelac is knit one little square at a time and with decidedly short rows. Just scoop up a few stitches from the side of the next square below, knit a few rows of stockinette stitch while joining the last stitch of every other row with a live stitch from an earlier square, and poof! Instant gratification! It’s almost too easy. My needles get to the end of a square and without asking permission, they dive through the next row of stitches to pick up, then sit begging with puppy dog eyes, pleading, “Just one more square? It will only take a few minutes after all…” I’m almost ashamed to admit how often I cave into their merciless pleading, even though this shawl was cast on “just for the purpose of having something to knit in certain situations.” Do you suppose it would help at all if I didn’t let it sit here beside me watching me work at the computer?

If you are brave enough to let entrelac knitting have a place in your life, do take a moment to figure out how to knit backwards. It’s ridiculously easy! I’d practiced repeatedly working from tutorials, but every time I sat down to try, I had to look them up again. Finally one day I stopped looking at the process and focused instead on the purpose and promptly had a eureka moment. The concept is the same no matter which way one is knitting; fish a new loop through the old loop. I didn’t need to follow this and that step on this or that tutorial. I just needed to stick my needle in the next loop and pull a bit of yarn through! I have to confess that I still feel a bit like a new knitter when I’m doing it, but it’s becoming smoother and more comfortable for me all the time. I’ve gained a new appreciation for how well my knitting students have progressed in the last year, too! Most of all, though, I just love having learned a new and useful trick as well as a new knitting technique.

Oh, and did I mention how much I love what my yarn is becoming?

Autumn 3 rows


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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. it looks fantastic!!!!!!!

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