November 02, 2005
... or, how I learned to stop worrying and love the Curlicue
... or, this was meant to be yesterday's post, but I was too tired to pull it together
Don't get me wrong: I hate the Curlicue pattern. I'm currently exchanging e-mails with the folks at Oat Couture, informing them of the evils that are embodied in their pattern. It just makes me so angry that the one time I followed a pattern "to the t," the designers totally let me down.
But I love the concepts embodied in the pattern. I love the short rows, I love the piece-by-piece construction without seaming, and now that I know how the whole thing is pieced together, I love the idea of making each section a different color. It is clever, it is unique, it is difficult - yeah, baby!
From the little glimpse I showed you yesterday, you might be thinking that I've started to knit a second variation of the Curlicue. Trust me when I say that that would be the stupidest thing to do. Some say that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and hoping for a different outcome, and, by most standards, I'm not insane :). This pattern needs drastic changes if it even has a chance of being pucker-free.
But the entire pattern does not need to be eliminated - it does have some good and promising design features. My heart pitter-patters at the cleverness and beauty of the outside wedges (blue in this picture). Do you remember how they start out looking very triangular, but once the short-row wraps are picked up, become cute curlicues? They even pucker a little bit at the join, but in a totally attractive, wavy, unbound way, like a fan opening up and closing a bit. They are keepers. The middle star (green), however, would require way too much work to be fixed: it needs to be entirely redesigned, and I'm not up for that challenge - it is out!
Once I decided that the middle star needs to be eliminated in order to not bring the whole team down, it became clear to me how to redesign the Curlicue - just place some number of outside wedges all next to each other, and voilà! - the circle would be completed. How many wedges? Six! How do I know? Photoshop!
Okay, I don't know for sure, but seeing how the wedges behave when two are near one another, I am speculating that this would indeed be the case.
However, 6 wedges straight out of the pattern placed side to side would result in a very small round blanket, about 25" in diameter. What will happen if I make the wedges longer? Once again, this is just speculation - I think 6 longer wedges will still fit together because the angle of each wedge would remain the same... they would just extend further out. For the number-crunching types, I'm aiming for a blanket that's about 40" in diameter, so I'm working wedges over 89 sts instead of 57 as the original pattern specifies.
The good news is that I only need to knit two sections to see if my speculations will hold. I have really high hopes for this redesign because, as planned, each wedge is only bound on two edges, giving it a lot of space to breathe, spread out, and arrange itself with the give of the unbound edge. In contrast, the real Curlicue pattern has that middle star section the components of which are bound on four edges... think of knitting a square, then picking up stitches around the edges and binding off way too tightly - no blocking miracle is going to help there.
And of course now that I know how the whole thing is constructed, I plan to make the wedges different colors. Once the first is completed and I see how much yarn it eats up, I'll have a better idea of what combinations I can create and we'll revisit the topic :).