Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Putting Some Spine Into It

 You may not know it, but putting a spine into a loom knit shawl is not so easy. In a needle knit pattern, the spine down the center of a triangular shawl is created by working yarn-overs as the shawl is knit from the center, outward. There are two general needle knit shawl structures; one starts from the top center of the shawl, with just a few stitches. Stitches are "picked up" along the edges of a small section of garter stitch, and the shawl is worked outward, increasing both sides at once, until the bottom edge is reached. Try this on a loom....
The second needle knit shawl style starts at the bottom, with hundreds of stitches cast on, and the shawl created by working with an ever decreasing amount of stitches towards the center. Neither is a practical way of making a shawl on a loom, and you can tell this because there is not a pattern for the loom that makes a "top down" or "bottom up" shawl.  I tried to worked out shawl patterns that created the same look, by using the short rows to create the appearance of a center spine. In the first two photos, Peaceful Day Shawl and Sweet on Ruffles Shawlette , you  see the center spine created by the short rows, with both the shawls made on a hat loom using less than 66 pegs.
 In the third photo, the aqua shawl, the necessity of balancing the two different yarns and the color changes led to a different spine. In the Travel By Rail Shawl, color changes create a striped spine,  that defines the center of the shawl, without the appearance of yarn overs.
 In the fourth photo, the "Steamer Shawl" has an eyelet stripe down the center. This is a much larger, defined spine. For this shawl, I had planned to have the spine match the eyelet rows on either side, and have ribbons run through all of the eyelets. In the end, I left the ribbons out of the center.
 The next photo shows a spine with an entirely different purpose. For the American Paris Shawl, the spine is off center, and needed to both define a new section of the shawl, as well as coordinate with the eyelet sections of the stitching. A single row of eyelets was worked at a color change point to create this appearance.
The last photo, of a shawl still on the loom, shows the evolution to no spine at all. When blocked, this will be an seamless heart shaped lace shawl. Although it is worked in 4 distinct sections, it has the appearance of a full sized, one piece shawl. It is made on 58 pegs of a hat loom. So, the question remains for me, now that we loomers have looms with large numbers of pegs readily available, is it still important to worry about spines and shawls made within the confines of a hat loom? I think the answer is yes. It will not be practical to work on a 400 peg loom and manipulate hundreds of stitches for decrease/increase rows (within the row of stitches.) Short rows are a fabulous, easy solution for loom knitters to create shapes, in any stitch pattern, on a small number of pegs. And we have all the spines a needle knitter could ever want. 

Loom Knit Shawls: From Simple to Sublime  ebook $12.00 US 
Copyright 2012 by Invisible Loom, Renee Van Hoy. All Rights Reserved.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent collection of it! I'm bookmarking this for reference as I branch out into more shawl-making.

    (Also, I'm really looking forward to your 'Shapely Loom' pattern set I've seen hints of on Ravelry!)



Please leave me a comment.