I ripped farther than I needed to. No biggie. It gave me a chance to analyze what I was doing and get back into the mindset I need to work on this baby.
It also let me verify that I was using my stitch counters correctly. I mentioned these little “knitting abaci” that Caroline showed me how to make before, and they are my current favorite little trick for working in an Aran pattern.
Here’s a shot from an older post that shows the stitch counters that I’m talking about. They are the beaded leather thongs at the bottom of the piece.
Here’s how they work:
Each abacus has a knot in the middle, dividing it into two sections. Below the knot are four beads, above the knot are from one to four beads. The beads below the knot represent one row each. The beads above the knot are five rows each. So as you work your piece, you slide one bead per row towards the knot from below the knot. When you get to the fifth row, you slide all the “one” beads back down and slide a “five” bead down from above the knot. See how it works? Very easy.
These become particularly helpful when you’re doing an Aran pattern or something that has several sections with different numbers of rows per repeat. In my sweater, there are four panels of 4-row repeat patterns (two double moss stitch and two honeycomb) that I don’t need to count rows on because they’re so simple. Then there are two windswept cables that are mirrors of each other and a central Saxon braid. The windswept cables repeat over 8 rows and the braid repeats over 16.
To keep these straight, I made two counters and put them into my knitting in place of regular stitch counters. (I’ve got markers between each strip.) There is one before the first windswept cable with enough beads to count an eight-row repeat. The second one is right before the start of the braid and it has enough beads to count a sixteen-row repeat.
There you have it. I’m working on another trick right now to try and smooth out the honeycomb stitch, because that’s the slowest pattern in the sweater right now. It’s all 1X1 cabling and it takes for frigging ever. I’m glad there’s not much of it on the sleeves.