Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Forest Canopy Maths

I've finished the skein of Fyberspates' Blue-Faced Leicester that I was using for the Forest Canopy Shawl. Jen conveniently asked on her blog today if anyone needs any particular colours, so I asked her if she could do some bfl in Lagoon and she asked me back, regular or superwash? This caused me track down the end of the ball, knit the fastest swatch ever, one-inch square, and run through to the bathroom to run it under the hot tap and generally abuse it. The answer came back, superwash. It looked a little bit battered, but it hadn't felted or shrunk. So that's useful to know. If I decide to give it away, I can give it to someone careless. Although I think I might keep it. I prefer stoles to shawls since I have no shoulders to speak of, but I think I'm going to like this. Knitting Linguist asked if I have a blue thing going on - I always have a blue thing going on, so much so that at the moment my nail polish matches the Forest Canopy Shawl. (Those aren't my nails: I borrowed the photo.)

Since I mastered the pattern and have had time to think while knitting, I have been worrying about starting the border too soon and having a small shawl and lots of yarn left over, or alternately not starting soon enough and having to rip it back after I've done half of the border. I know I want to make it as large as I can, and larger than the pattern. I thought there must be a way round this. Each row is longer than the last, so one can't calculate that way.

It occurred to me this evening that since the pattern is made up of squares, I could count the squares and that would give me a unit of measurement. It's 11.5 squares at the centre now, so that's 144 squares from one skein. The blocks which make up the border design look as if they use a little more yarn than a square - I could make them shallower but I think I want them quite pointy. As the number of squares increases by two per row, I think that means I can do five more rows and a shallow border, or four more rows and a deeper border. In other words, half again as deep and as wide. I wonder if that's enough. I expect it is, after blocking. I shall probably waken repeatedly tonight, counting squares.

3 comments:

Knitting Linguist said...

I get the same way about pattern math -- it gets into my head and pops out at the oddest moments. As for blue, I am often in a blue phase myself (I frequently have to remind myself that not everything I knit for me has to be blue), so I completely support your leanings ;) I used to paint my nails blue when I was a kid, but it drove my mother (an ER nurse) batty -- she kept thinking I was anoxic and panicking...

kathy in juneau said...

Helen, there's a magical shawl progress calculator on the sidebar of this blog: http://www.rose-kim.com/rose%2Dkimknits/

I've found it very helpful when working triangular shawls.

Spinningfishwife said...

At a very rough estimate, the border blocks plus the cast-off (which takes two rows, remember) took about 1.5 times the yarn for the same number of pattern blocks. I used my digital scales to keep track of the yarn I used over the last main repeat and I realised I wasn't going to make it when I was six rows in. So I frogged it back these six pattern rows, which wasn't too bad. I repeat though that this was a very rough estimate. A pattern repeat is eight rows, the border is ten rows including cast off, but the stitch count is a little more.