Nearly Three Weeks Into Spring,
and Saturday was the first day I ventured outside without my winter coat. It was lovely. Breezy, blowzy, with Spring’s trademark combination of post-winter damp and pre-summer warmth. It made me want to dig my kites out of winter storage and go kite flying. Because let’s face it, when we fly kites, we are the ones held to earth by a single taut line as the wind tosses us about; the kite is just the means of suspension.
The warm weather also encouraged me to review the current state of my knitting projects. The heavy wool fingerless gloves I was working on can be finished in the autumn when I will want to start wearing them again. Same goes for the bulky sweater still on the needles. And any abandoned Christmas knitting can definitely continue to be abandoned until next Christmas.
This leaves me with the problem of empty time, empty needles, and plenty of yarn.
Solution: Search the stitch dictionaries for inspiration.
The fun part of this is I recently checked out a new stitch dictionary from the library. This compendium is unique in that it is published in China, and all the text is written in Chinese characters. Fortunately, although many of the symbols are different, the stitch charts are all recognizable and I happen to be wizard with Google Translate. So last week I sat down and made some swatches.
About a third of the stitches are things I’ve seen before. Leaves, acorns, chevrons, and checkerboards are presented, as are the basics of cables and shetland lace. But quite a few of the stitches are inventive combinations of the above stitches, and look quite different. More than anything else, this book has combinations of cable and lace patterns.
It wasn’t until I started studying the examples, breaking them down into recognizable elements, that I realized I don’t think of combining stitches this way. I tend to think of stitches as used for specific purposes; cables and waffle stitches used for heavy winter knits, lacy stitches are reserved for airy knits in light weight yarns. They don’t mix, because who would want to wear an aran full of holes? Or distort their delicate frost flowers with the tension cables exert on a fabric? It seems to defeat the purpose.
Except, amazingly, this book seems to find its purpose in combining the ‘wrong’ stitches. The familiar ones seem to be presented only for context before moving on to things that never occur in my favorite pattern books/dictionaries. Maybe this is typical for other knitting cultures who lack the impressive contributions of Starmore and Zimmerman, I really don’t know. But I do know that in this case, I found more than enough inspiration to kick start my spring knitting.
So with that much being said, I thought I’d share the first pattern I found in 精选棒针花样198 例 which really made me want to sit down and knit. Butterfly motifs are uncommon in knitting, and I especially liked how simple this stitch looks. More is not always more in design, and in this case the empty space offsets the combination of the lace and cable perfectly. Plus, what says warm weather more than butterflies?
精选棒针花样198 例 Stitch Pattern – The Butterfly Cable
To download a .pdf of the complete pattern, click here.
Lightly blocked, with worsted weight yarn on size US 8 needles, the swatch shown is 6” wide x 5.375” long
16 sts and 20 rows=4”
The chart is worked from right to left on right side (RS) rows only. The photograph shows an additional four selvedge stitches (two on each side) and four rows (two on the bottom, two on the top) which are not included in the chart, pattern, or in the finished measurement.
- CO 20 sts.
- Row 1 (RS): K20
- Row 2 and all WS rows: P20
- Row 3: K5, yo, ssk, k6, k2tog, yo, k5
- Row 5: K4, yo, ssk, yo, ssk, k4, k2tog, yo, k2tog, yo
- Row 7: K3, yo, ssk, yo, ssk, yo, ssk, k2, k2tog, yo, k2tog, yo, k2tog, yo, k3
- Row 9: K4, yo, ssk, yo, ssk, yo, ssk, k2tog, yo, k2tog, yo, k2tog, yo, k4
- Row 11: k7, c3 over 3 left, k7
- Row 13: K20
- Row 15: K3, k2tog, yo, k2, c3 over 3 left, k2, yo, ssk, k3
- Row 17: K3, k2tog, yo, k2tog, yo, k2tog, yo, k2, yo, ssk, yo, ssk, yo, ssk, k3
- Row 19: K2, k2tog, yo, k2tog, yo, k2tog, yo, k4, yo, ssk, yo, ssk, yo, ssk, k2
- Row 21: K3, k2tog, yo, k2tog, yo, k6, yo, ssk, yo, ssk, k3
- Row 23: K4, k2tog, yo, k8, yo, ssk, k4
Enjoy the warming weather everyone, and happy knitting!