Saturday, May 7, 2016

Making Knit-Waves: The Seafoam Stitch

A few weeks ago I went on a bike-adventure-turned-misadventure: my chain broke, the bike shop nearby was closed, and a rain-snow mixture was pelting down on the streets of Pittsburgh. This situation could have become very stressful very quickly, but thankfully, I happened to be carrying a skein of yarn and a pair of needles in my backpack. Once again -> Knitting to the rescue!

I jumped between puddles and landed in the Beehive, a corner coffee shop on the southside of the city. As I slowly settled in the comfy coffee-scented space, I realized that this was a prime opportunity to scroll through Ravelry. I was not going anywhere anytime soon, so it was just fine if I got lost in the endless pages of beautiful and interesting knit patterns.

How do I choose a new pattern?

At this point in my knitting path, there are still so many stitches and patterns that I have not made yet. However, I am more draw to patterns that I cannot figure out simply by looking at the picture. For example, I know how to identify ribbing. To make ribbed knit stitches, the knitter knits two stitches then purls two stitches (K2P2) for the desired length. Although I like the way ribbed stitches look and feel, this is not challenging for me.

In a nutshell: I currently choose patterns based on my inability to figure them out with the naked eye. The presence of the challenge drives the motivation to make.

So there I sat, allowing myself to sink deeper and deeper into the ocean of Ravelry patterns when something caught my eye: Ali Green's Seafoam Scarf pattern. I stared at the picture for a minute.

How did she make those interesting loops?

Ali Green's Seafoam Stitch pattern. 

I had no clue, which is why I decided to cast on and get started.

As usual, it took me a few knits and tinks to understand what was going on in the pattern (like I've mentioned before, so much of the learning happens through doing and then undoing). I realized that the pattern is rooted in sets of 10 stitches. This means that the knitter can choose the width of the piece, as long as groups of 10 are maintained. Here, I followed her pattern and chose to work with a total of 30 stitches.

The cast on and first rows of my own rainy day seafoam stitch project.

Much to my delight, I soon found that the pattern consists entirely of knit stitches and yarn overs (YO). Have you ever heard knitters talk about the meditative nature of the craft? This is definitely a pattern that can become meditative, as the absence of purl stitches allows the knitter to keep a repetitive flow of movement.

As a side note: I have become much more aware of texture as my knitting journey progresses. The seafoam stitch creates an extremely comfortable texture because the intentionally-dropped YOs give the wearer a maximum range of movement without disrupting the aesthetic of the piece. 

The texture of the seafoam stitch is the result of a lovely blend of form and function.

I carried this project with me for several weeks. Eventually, I ran out of red yarn and only then did I realize that I had not planned how to finish the piece. After I bound off, I was left with a very short scarf - something made for a kiddo. For the first time, I decided to stitch the ends together with a needle and a bit of thread to make a cowl. Admittedly, this felt a little bit like cheating, as I completely bypassed the complexity of knitting the round, but what can I say? Sometime's you've just got to roll with the (knitted) waves.

The finished seafoam stitch cowl.

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