Friday, July 20, 2007

Branching Out

I started work on the Branching Aran Guernsey a couple of days ago. I've found it kind of hard to stop...

This is a really interesting pattern, based on an algorithm. As the designer, Nora Guaghan writes, "every time a line splits into two branches, one continues on the same path as the original line and the second veers off at about a 30°angle." This might seem awfully complicated and at first glance it is, but I'm amazed at how fast it's been to knit.

First of all there are only four cable combinations in the pattern. One is used only 3 times in the 32-row repeats and another is used only once. One is quite easy to do without a cable needle. The fourth and most complicated cable stitch involves holding five stitches to the back, knitting two and then knitting and purling the five off the cable. I tried doing this without a cable -- it was possible, but because I knit tightly the stitches got stretched. I'm using the cable needle on that one now.

Secondly, there is basically just one 36-stitch line repeated five times with a little laddered stitch separating. Not so bad when compared with the Irish Moss sweater I started last summer. It had three different panel patterns to keep up with. Plus, it involved twisting stitches on both sides of the fabric. Funny thing about this -- it's been well over 9 months since I've worked on that sweater, and I still started knitting into the back of the stitches during the cabling automatically.

So while I may not be able to read the pattern as easily as the last Aran sweater I worked on, I still think this one is going to go faster.

Because the branching can be hard to decipher with my lousy photography, I marked up the picture above, outlining the paths of the branches. The overall effect will be more striking once a few more 32-row repeats are completed.

Oh -- and all of this was done with less than one ball of yarn. I'm still going to worry about whether I have enough (because that's how I roll), but things are lookin' good.


  1. You'll need to bring this to SCC - I want to see it in person!

  2. So glad you'll be there! You'll bet I'll bring it. No doubt I'll still b working on it!

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