Snail-mailing and swatching

A lot of knitting-related packet-posting today. Including this pair, despatched in the mail. I’m worried about the disparity in size. I’m worried about whether they’ll fit. But off they go.

If they don’t fit, I’ll have a better idea for next time. If they do fit perhaps we’ll be sent a picture of them!

So on to swatching for the project now officially known as “Barking“. Lots of things to think about. Firstly, the yarn is on the thin side for an aran. On 4.5mm needles it’s still producing quite an open fabric, and I tend to knit tight. But does that matter? The gauge (the number of stitches and rows per inch) will of course determine the overall size of the “canvas”. It’s currently about 18 stitches and 26 rows to 4″, but that’s unblocked, and I’m not sure whether to go down a needle size.

Once the gauge is finalised a balance has to be struck between the ability of the different textured stitches available to emulate the nature of the bark and the level of detail this can reflect. Currently I’m looking at broad bands of four different textures – stocking stitch, garter stitch, moss stitch and reverse stocking stitch – to see the different effects of each and how they look bordering each other.

Three things are already clear to me – given the spiralling nature of the bark striations the body and arms will be best knit in the round; given the way the branches emerge from the trunk the best sort of sleeves would be bog-standard drop shoulders; using cables in the patterning would give a misleading impression since no one thing overlaps another in the bark, they are merely bifurcations in a single split surface.

I’m wary of letting things drift towards narrow ribbing simply because, well, I don’t know. Perhaps I have a prejudice against it. But maybe in order to convey the depth of the splits it’ll be the best solution.

Meanwhile my father has just phoned and ordered “another pair of stripy socks” for Christmas.


One Comment on “Snail-mailing and swatching”

  1. […] hear this waft past my ears from the audiobook I’m currently enjoying as I labour on with the paternal socks (25% done, an annoying distraction from the bark), He Shall Thunder in the Sky by Elizabeth […]

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