Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Shawl Border Pickup Lines

This morning I wasted in inordinate amount picking up stitches along the sides of the Black Widow Spider King center. I read the directions about sixty times until I got the hang of the Polka Pickup (no kidding, that's what the directions called it). You are directed to pick up the stitches using a rhythm of 1, 2, 3, HOP. That is, you pick up stitches in three rows and skip the fourth row.

Depending on your dance skills and Dignity Quotient, you could also pick up stitches to Chubby Checker's Twist (1, 2, 3 TWIST), or a stately waltz (1, 2, 3, PAUSE).

I went with Chubby, but puzzled about picking up bumps or valley threads. The original directions seemed to be valley thread, yarnover, valley thread, hop, which produced a remarkably ugly line of uneven yarnovers.

In the end, I found the bump, valley thread, bump, hop/skip/jump/pause/twist rhythm gave the most even result.

I had to do an experiment, of course, to see what would happen if I picked up only bumps or only valley threads, as might be the case if I were picking up exactly one border row for every two rows knitted. This was alas, not the case for the BWSK, where I had to pick up three rows for every four knitted.

The photo below is a lovely Fleegleland lace shawl center consisting of 10 stitches and 20 rows of garter stitch with assorted holes in the center that simulate lace of astounding complexity.

On the right side, we have the bump pickup--10 bumps exactly, for 20 knitted rows. This technique produces an even, unobtrusive edge.

On the left side, we have a valley pickup--again 10 stitches. I picked up one thread in the valley, which is also called a "bar" in some lace instructions. This side came out one stitch short, so I had to fudge it, with rather mediocre results. This method also produces a row of unattractive holes on the two border sides.

I guess I am a bump fan. Hop Hop.


Anonymous said...

I too am a bump fan. I like the cleaner appearance you get. I thoroughly enjoyed your description of the thought process you followed in picking up your border stitches for BWSK. It was very helpful...and with any luck I will remember it when I am faced with a similar situation.

Anonymous said...

Looks like you found something that works beautifully! I'll have to remember the bump option the next time I'm picking up stitches...

Batty said...

Depending on the pattern, holes might look OK with the rest of the lace. But the bump option looks safer.

Hop indeed!

Janice in GA said...

Depending on your pattern, you might *want* a row of holes around the edge. But now you have a way to do either thing!

Lacefreak said...

Dear fleegle,

Yes, it looks like the "bumps" win by a landslide! I've always picked up the bumps and wondered if it was considered "wrong". Still, being wrong has never deterred me so why should now be any different? Congratulations on getting closer to the finish line (even if they keep moving that line further away)!

LadyLungDoc said...

I had to laugh at your title: "What's a nice shawl border like you doing on a piece like this?"