This week, I chat with a budding designer, Jacqui, and share a pattern for an Anti-Pinch Shamrock Pin.
Pinching on St. Patrick's Day
I have green eyes (sort of), so I always say that should give me a pass on the whole "green for St. Patrick's Day" thing. But, I hardly ever get away with it. One of the good things about being an adult is that no one has really pinched me for not wearing green for years. Instead, I pass the day dealing with veiled threats and questions about my lack of Irish pride.
A friend of mine claims that the whole "green on St. Pat's or you get pinched" thing should be limited to people who self-identify as Irish. She is not, so no green for her, thank you very much. I say that everyone is Irish on St. Patrick's Day, so that's not a way out. This is America. Even the a river in Chicago turns green every year.
One last note on color. I photographed the pin on a bright orange ribbon because I wanted to commemorate the Irish flag. There are no deeper, religious or historic undertones to this, for me. Also, it's pretty.
My version of the pin is about 2 inches across. However, a slight change in needle size or yarn would make it just about any size you want. I stopped increasing after 17 stitches because I thought it would be cute if I made a shamrock for St. Patrick's day that would be three leaves, each with 17 stitches on the outside edge. I'm nerdy like that.
I chose to do a technique that I've never seen before. This always makes me nervous. I guess that's because part of me is sure that, if no one else has written about it, maybe the technique won't work or looks too dorky. Anyway, I threw caution to the wind and tried it anyway. First, I tried using #3 needles with my thread. That had worked well with Gina's Wedding Garter, I thought. However, since I didn't want to do a separate blocking step for the shamrock leaves, they didn't end up looking quite the way I wanted. The stitches were too big, and the yarn overs were very uneven. So, I tried the smallest needle I could find - a #0 circular needle. I have no idea why I have it, actually. But, it turned out to work very well.
The edges of the leaves were my final challenge. I wanted to start from the "stem" end of the leaves, and grow outward. But, I knew I would need to thread the wire through the outer edge of the knitting for this process to work. I tried a few things, then hit on the idea of using double knitting for the outside edges of the leaves. So, there are vertical bars of double knitting, just one stitch wide, on each side of each leaf. In the end, this made threading the wire through the edges very easy. I made a short video about exactly how I did it which you can watch from the website associated with this show.
There is no cast-off row in this project. Live stitches are simply threaded onto wire. You could use any wire you want. I used about 18" of 28-gauge gold-colored wire. A slightly heavier wire might be easier to handle. This wire was left over from a project where I actually knitted with the wire, so it's very fine.
I'm sure, subconsciously, I was thinking of Katharine Cobey's work when I decided to support my small bits of lace knitting with a wire structure. I've written on the blog before that I'm actively haunted by her sculpture. In any case, I didn't want to knit with wire to achieve a jewelry look, but I also didn't want to knit and felt a project for the stiffness I felt the shamrock needed. I could have blocked and starched lace, but I'm not crazy about starch. I guess I wanted to recreate that feeling you get when you are first knitting lace and you stretch the work out over your fingers. At least, I do that, and marvel at it every time.
Anyway, I like the technique. I'm calling it Wired Knitting. Or, maybe, Weird, Wired Knitting. I'll probably do a lot more with it before I get too tired of stringing wire through things.
For extra-easy bling, you could string beads onto the wire as you bring it through the live stitches on the top of the leaves. Just saying.
I found Jacqui through her ad on Ravelry. We talk about that and a lot more.
Jacqui's Blog, where she "knits, reads, writes, shops, and goes on bad dates."
Steeking is knitting up work in the round, stabilizing it (or not), then cutting it. Eunny Jang wrote very clearly about all of the options in 2006.
Malabrigio Junkies is a Ravelry group (so this is a Ravelry-members-only link)
Direct Link: Anti-Pinch Shamrock Pin