Saturday, May 30, 2009

Taking Some Lace - and My Mind - 'Round a Möbius Twist

Being more than a little bit of a nerd, I've been fascinated by the Möbius topology since I was a kid. One surface and one edge on a three dimensional object is simply totally cool.


So cool in fact, that the first thing I knit 16 months ago (it was my learning project) was a wide, flat scarf for SuziTheFloozy that I twisted and sewed into a Möbius scarf.

Then I discovered that a Möbius cast-on existed.

After trying unsuccessfully to get a Cat Bordhi book at the public library, I found the instructions on YouTube. Yay! Hurray!

My friend GuiGirl is a bigger nerd than I, so I decided to do the next Möbius for her.

It was not one of my more successful projects.

It was intended to be large enough to wear as a shoulder shawl, and GuiGirl is pretty busty, so I did the math and cast on leventybillion stitches hoping to get a forty-five inch functional circumference. That part worked. The sticking point was that I used Lion Brand Suede yarn and put those leventybillion stitches of it on a 40 inch circular needle.

Never again.


I'm a fairly tight knitter, and trying to move over-packed stitches of that totally nonelastic yarn around the confusing twist of a Möbius needle formation was maddening. Even though it was straight knitting, not a single perl stitch involved until I did a few rows of seed stitch so the edge wouldn't curl, it took me two and a half months. And the end product was not aesthetically pleasing.

But I'm a stubborn critter (either that or it takes me longer than the average bear to learn something.) I am venturing onto the Möbius strip again, knitting a lace cowl as a thank you for a friend who was kind to my Daddy.

I had been given some antique alpaca blend yarn in the perfect color, so I knit up several lace patterns in it to see what would work best. Some I frogged to reuse the yarn -- not an easy task as the yarn is very fuzzy -- a couple I kept.

This one looked nothing at all like the illustration in the stitch dictionary after I knit a short sample. Was it my funky knitting or the big needles and fuzzy yarn?

This one, supposedly a traditional Orenburg lace pattern, looked the same on both sides, so I decided it was the one. I did the math (always), cast on and started knitting.

What's coming off my Möbius needle looks nothing like my swatch.


Because regular knitting goes back and forth. Knitting on circular needles goes round and round and round. The pattern repeats on this lace are not perfectly symmetrical, thus not the same coming and going. Realizing that was a classic "well, duh!" moment.

Add in a Möbius twist and...

Ah well, I think I like it anyway. And I'm learning a lot. Yep, getting smarter every row.

I hope.

1 comment:

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