Odd number of stitch repeats

The 2007 NWRSA  Conference book showed up this week. Of course the class by Carol Rhoades called “Spinning Shetland Wool for Fair Isle Knitting” caught my eye.  I’d love to take that class but will have to skip the conference this year. I only get 15 days of vacation per year and this year my days have already been allocated to other trips. I briefly thought of making the long slog over to Coeur d’Alene on Friday night and then return on Sunday but I’m just not up for it. I’ve done that long hot trip countless times in my little Honda without air conditioning and let’s just say it’s not my favorite thing to do.

Earlier this week I got out my tapestry needle to weave together the shoulder seams of Roscalie and to my horror found out that motifs on the front and back don’t line up!

Front and back

So here’s the story.

The last row on the shoulder is half of a “XOX” border pattern with a red background and since the body of the sweater has a total of 19  stitch repeats (of 16 stitches), the front and the back don’t match. I tried to illustrate this in the picture by marking the front and back with green knitting markers. Notice that the center front (bottom marker) lines up with the middle of a “O” motif while the back front (top marker) lines up on an “X” motif. So if the shoulder is sewn together at the middle of one of these “XOX” border rows, the front and back won’t match. What was she thinking?

This left me befuddled and surprised that the famous Scottish designer would do this. I’m sure she knows that FI sweaters should match at the shoulder. My only guess is that when she translated her original design into her new line of yarns, she had to compromise the design to get a standard sized sweater. You see, her current line of 2ply yarns are slightly thicker than her previous line. This thicker yarn means a changes in tension and in turn making a straight translation of the design challenging. Painted roving

This inquisitive FI knitter can only speculate as to why her 2ply is thicker than Shetland 2ply.

So what am I doing now? You guessed it. I ripped it out and I’m correcting the problem. This time I’m increasing the lower half of the body by 10 rows. This will allow the shoulder seam to match at the end of one of those blue/yellow peerie rows.

As I knit this part for the third time my mind starts wandering to thoughts of spinning a painted roving that’s been in storage for a couple of years now.

It’s so intimidating.

If I make it into 2ply sock yarn will the colors look ok?

Danish Translation Tip:

Need to translate from Danish into English? Try this free translation service from a Danish University.

10 thoughts on “Odd number of stitch repeats

  1. I’m impressed – I wouldn’t even have known where to begin correcting the FI pattern…
    As for the 2-ply sock yarn, I say go for it! The colors are lovely, and there are none in there that pair up badly with the others (perhaps surprisingly, but that is a good thing!)


  2. OMG Melinda. I would have given up. You truly inspire me. I am grafting my shoulders on Abalone (Pacific Coast Highway) and would have been mortified if that happened to me! Thankfully mine match up perfectly.
    Thanks for the Danish to English tool. I’ll need it for Anne-Evilla for sure.
    I think the roving will look great as socks! The colors look good together but what do I know! I’m new to spinning. Check out my latest Blue Moon hand spun. So fun! Can’t wait to see yours spun up!
    See you tomorrow night.


  3. One color-play you can do as a 2-ply is to split the roving along its entire length (awkward, granted) and fill two bobbins with each half. If you’re spinning the same thickness/grist on each one, or close, then you’ll get long sections where same-overlaps-same, and “edge” sections that heather two colors together inbetween switch-overs.
    Or, if splitting the length doesn’t float your boat, you could find the repeat in the dye on the roving and split it there, instead.
    Have you considered Navajo plying to preserve the color changes? I’ve a blog entry on how to do that here: http://askthebellwether.blogspot.com/2007/01/retro-how-can-i-preserve-color-in-my.html


  4. The colors should look fine if you make a 2-ply sock yarn. But it’s all about what you want from your yarn. A 2-ply will pretty much guarantee that you will never have a strand of the same color twisted around another. But it all depends on how the roving looks when it’s all lain out. *nudge* It’ll give you a partial idea for your next blog entry. 😉


  5. Amelia – I’ve done Navajo plying but actually I like the idea of splitting it down the center lenghtwise and trying to match up like colors when plying the singles. Thanks for the tips.
    Holly – It’s actually not that difficult to match it up on a two color row but it just happens that this size only has 19 stitch repeats of the 16 stitch XOX rows. There’s no way those rows will match. It’s hard to picture until you see it and unfortunately I started ripping before taking a picture.
    Sachi – Good idea. I’ll lay out the roving this weekend after I finish Roscalie.


  6. I found your post intriguing. The truth is, if you look at her designs, some of them do not match up at the shoulders. And because the Hebridean yarn is thicker than the shetland, the pattern and gauge are different. Therefore, the end result is different.
    Did you consider Kitchener Stitch in 2 colors?


  7. Hi Lorraine,
    I really wanted the shoulders to match better so what I did was reajust the design so that the shoulders meet at the end of one of the blue/yellow rows. I just stitched it up using Kitchener stitch this evening and it looks pretty good. It’s too dark to take a photo now but I’ll be sure to take one this weekend.


  8. I happen to like a 2-ply with different colors all together, but it looks to me like you might end up with an overall brown cast because a lot of the colors aren’t analagous. Just a guess, but I’m betting the pink/green and blue/yellow are going to yield some sort of neutrals. This is in no way a bad thing, but I think unless you do the two-ply matching colors in your rovings, you’re going to have a much more sedate yarn than what you see in rovings.
    But pretty!


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