Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Ancient knitting history - the pony

From pretty early on in my knitting career I had an interest in unusual knitting techniques. I learned twined knitting. I knit a sweater where the body is in one piece with a giant cast off-cast on boat neck in the middle. I knit a gansey for a teddy bear out of the Knitting Ganseys book. And I tried double knitting.

On Sunday at SnB, Janice mentioned a fingerless glove pattern from Marnie McLean which includes double-knitted half-height fingers. Not a bad idea since fingers are sort of a pisser on double points. So I had to tell the gang about my attempt at double knittting. This is a story about my double knitted pony - possibly the oldest (knitted) UFO in my collection.

Double knitting is a process where you set up a certain number of stitches on 2 straight needles and then knit one, slip one all the way across (which makes the front half of the tube.. ) then turn & knit one, slip one all the way back (making the back half of the tube). When you are done, you bind off carefully maintaining the pattern and, viola!, the front & back halves can be separated from one another into a tube. The technique can also be used to make a knitted tube that has a stockinette face on the inside *and* the outside. As Strong Bad says.. "Your head a-splode".

The pony is the sampler/learning project from Beverly Rocye's out of print "Notes on Double Knitting". The yarn is Peace Fleece, and it was a gift from a friend who found it on a house-hunting trip to Maine. I think I cast on in spring 1994. I love the yarn, I love the idea of the project but I just can't bring myself to finish it.

For one thing.. the yarn is just plain wrong for this project. I thought a nice firm yarn would make a strong fabric for stuffing. That might be true, but it also rubbed holes in my fingers at this gauge and, um, it's pale pink. It does not make a very cute horse. And the shape of the head looks goofy to me. [Click to enlarge]


Takes a fair bit of imagination to see this as pony, doesn't it. The last straw that killed this project: the back foot can't be turned right side out.. I screwed up the knit-slip pattern in the decreases and connected the front to the back. That was apparently the nail in the coffin.


So there it sits: half finished pony. Can't bring myself to rip it out, because how cool is that?? Double knitted pony! Can't bring myself to go on - wrong yarn, wrong gauge, wrong color.

So what would you do? Rip it out, finish it, or leave it as a monument to not paying attention to details?


Blogger Wiz Knitter said...

Keep it. It's cute! It reminds me of the little red elephant my Dad knitted when he was a kid that we still have. Some time when you're at my folks' house (the shower?) I'll have to show it to you. It's pretty adorable, but by no means perfect.

January 26, 2005 3:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd rip it or finish it, either one, just because it annoys me to have a UFO hanging around.


January 28, 2005 12:50 AM  
Blogger Bogie said...

Thanks for sharing! Not only did I learn a valuable lesson about double knitting, but I had a good laugh when you told it last week. What to do? Something tells me you don't want to finish it--wrong yarn, wrong project, wrong guage. But the yarn is too nice to keep as a testimony to a lesson learned. I'd keep the Peace Fleece in mind when searching out new projects to work on. When you find the right one, dismantle the pony and make something wonderful. The pony will find have a life reincarnate in the new project, and this blog entry will be the monument.

January 30, 2005 6:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I say rip it and fix it! But I'm a big fan of a) ripping and fixing until it's just right and b) forcing yourself to finish all projects as started and use them as lessons learned. Hence the fact that one day I'll fix that last sleeve, sew in a zipper and call the jumbo 'todder' sweater done.

- Mel

January 30, 2005 3:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah, the double-knitting. It gets me every time. It seems like suck a clever, good idea. I'm tooling along, making progress, thinking "clever, clever me," when, inevitably, I noticed I've merged the front and back of the thing. So sad.

February 01, 2005 2:25 PM  

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