Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Koi Rama - Chart 1 Done

As soon as Scorpius was off the needles and on the blocking mats I cast on Koi Rama.  This shawl is knit from the bottom up so you have to cast on a lot of stitches, and I am doing the large size, so I had to cast on even more.  My usual cast on is the long-tail cast on, but when I have to cast on 330 stitches I go for the knitted cast on.  The advantage of working shawls from the bottom up is that the rows keep getting shorter.

The pattern calls for casting on with US size 9 (5.5 mm) needles, but I didn't have a US size 9 with a long enough cable so I used a US size 8 (5.0 mm).  You then knit one row with the larger needles before switching to US size 6 (4.0 mm) and beginning the lace chart.  As you can see, I am actually using stitch markers to separate the repeats of the pattern, an unusual course of action for me, but this pattern is complex enough that I needed them.

There are suggested bead placements in the pattern, so of course I had to add beads.  Fortunately I had a good match in my extensive bead stash.  The recommended placement method is to pre-string them.  I have used this method before, but it really isn't my preferred method.  First, you have to string enough beads to get through your current cake of yarn.  The stringing is easy.  I use a Japanese Bead Threaders.  They don't tear up your fiber or your fingers the way that the Big Eye needles do.  Second, they don't stay put.  This pattern has you place them on the yarn overs.  I've done this before as well, and I always forget what to do with them when I work the next row.  For this pattern the yarn overs form pairs, so on the first yarn over I pushed the bead to the right side of the yarn over strand and on the second yarn over I pushed the bead to the left side of the yarn over strand.  They do tend to wander a bit while you're knitting the next couple of rows, but they are pretty easy to push back into the spot you want them to be.  When I started this cake of yarn I strung 100 beads, and it looks like I'll have a few to spare.  I'll collect the exact numbers for each yarn cake as I go.

The yarn is Tinsel Toes, from The Unique Sheep, in the color Pisces.  This was the yarn for the most recent Zodiac Club shipment, but the pattern really didn't excite me and the yarn really wanted to be made into Koi Rama.
It is a lovely gradiance set and I am starting with the darkest skein (on the left).

Pattern:  Koi Rama by Kitman Figueroa
Yarn:  The Unique Sheep Tinsel Toes in Pisces
Needles:  US 8 (5.0 mm), US 6 (4.0 mm), US 4 (3.5 mm)

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