The ball of yarn on the left is Manos del Uruguay (100% wool), gifted to me by my MIL.
The ball of yarn on the right is Peruvian Tweed (100% alpaca), purchased from Sophie’s Yarns in Philadelphia three or four years ago.
The bottom half of the swatch was knit in what is supposed to be Diagonal Ribbing from Barbara Walker’s 1st Treasury book.
Go ahead, say it. …. It looks ghastly, right?
I couldn’t agree more.
I have no idea how she made the diagonal ribbing look so pretty in the book. No idea at all.
The top half of the swatch is the winner: Fisherman’s Ribbing. It has all the characteristics that I wanted: elasticity, warmth and simplicity.
I had never knit Fisherman’s ribbing before and thus had a minor panic attack when trying to follow Walker’s instructions. Her instructions told me to P1, then K1 but into the stitch below. Repeat till end. Simple enough. Except after executing the K1 into the stitch below, I was puzzled as to what would happen with the stitch on the needle. Should I keep it on the needle? I tried doing just that for a few stitches, but it didn’t seem right. Then, I went in search of an online tutorial. I found one: Lana Grossa’s Knitting Tip. In the 3rd paragraph, my concern was addressed: “The stitch above is then more or less unravelled and forms a new loose stitch.” When performed correctly, it actually looks like two stitches are sitting on top of the newly knitted K1.
You may notice that halfway through the swatch the stitches start to slant to the left. I did that on purpose. I really loved the way the diagonal ribbing looked in the book. Knit on circular needles, it would look stunning – a real eye pleaser. Plus, it would keep the pattern interesting. In order to accomplish the diagonal slant, I had to resort to using a cable needle on every K1 stitch. Two rows is all I managed. It was a bit too interesting for my taste. Plus, it reduced some of the elasticity. Fooey. No diagonal stitches. Maybe I can design a thick border at the top and bottom of the warmers instead.
I’ve also decided that I will not be using Manos as the main yarn. It’s thick and warm enough, but it’s only a single strand. These knee warmers have the potential of being well-worn. Additionally, I really wanted to use my own 2-ply, handspun wool. It would make the gift more personal. I still face the problem of not having enough handspun wool to make 2 knee warmers. What’s a girl to do? Exactly what any girl or fiber lover would do – go buy more. Yep, I did. It’s already en route.