Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Inspiration for Totem

I am a liberal arts major, and was a straight A student throughout high school.  This was  not because I love to get good grades, but rather because I love to learn (grades were just a bonus).  I like knowing about things I had no knowledge of.

Totem has the genesis in several different ideas.  I was on the train home from one of Michael’s and my many journeys , and I had just finished Totoro, a slipped stitch pattern idea I had been playing with.  I was proud of the design, but I knew that this slipped stitch technique could be pushed father; that I could do more with it.

So I started noodling around with the leftover yarn I had from Totoro.  Because it was a highly varigated yarn, I knew I wanted a design that did a good job breaking up pooling.  The first idea wasn’t quite right, so I pulled out some more yarn and made this first swatch.

Okay, that pattern was pretty cool.  And the slipped stitches looked pretty neat.  But I didn’t think it was enough.  Was this really that different from what I did in Totoro?  I’d already done slipped stitches once, and a new pattern had to be interesting enough not only for me to knit the swatch, but different enough to be accepted as a unique pattern submission.  What else could I do?

I thought maybe I could add a cable, but I get frustrated when cables vanish in highly varigated yarns, and I wanted this to work with yarns like the one I was using.  I’d just finished reading through The Principles of Knitting by June Hemmons Hiatt, and I remembered that she had used another type of slipped stitch – a wrapped stitch.  Wrapped stitches would be perfect – not only would the necklace around the stitches stand out because of the yarn’s highly varigated nature, it would break up any pooling that could occur.  Sweet.

So I swatched some more, and I thought the pattern was doing well – but it was getting awfully repetitive.  Was there any way I could break it up periodically with something else?  I went back to my pinterest board to look at stitch patterns I had favorited – nothing.  So I went on Ravelry hoping that if I gave my brain a break something would pop up.

I came across a post that thesexyknitter (otherwise known as Sarah Wilson) on raverly posted about her pattern, Jon’s Sweater.  It uses slipped stitches and the lateral braid to create a wonderfully subtle texture.  I’d never heard of the lateral braid, but it looked so cool.

How hard could it be?

So I learned how to do it, using this video.

And then I added it to the pattern.

So now I had the pattern that you see here.  It has the lateral braid, the slipped stitches, the wrapped stitches, and it’s the picture that I sent to Sockupied for my proposal.

What do you think? Have you ever done a lateral braid?  How about wrapped stitches?
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