June 26, 2012

Monica: Help for a Heart Problem

....knitting help, that is. 

A while back I walked into a LYS here in Washington State with a couple of bucks just burning in my pocket. In order to keep them from catching my jeans on fire, I felt it was best to be rid of them, hence the yarn shopping. 

Upon entering the shop, my eyes were immediately drawn to a purple mohair stole in the window, positively glowing with morning sunlight passing through it. While I was tempted to begin humming to myself, "How much is that stole-y in the window?" I gathered my grown-up wits to the fore of my mind instead, and touched the angel like fabric. It was soft and very long. I very much like very long stoles, though at the time I had never made one myself.

It was exquisite. The pale, gossamer stole was lighter than air, it seemed, and it had delicate edges of eyelets surrounding dramatic Valentine style hearts that passed through the stole, like a heart-highway from end to glowing end. They were large. They were delicate. They looked complicated. 

Dismissing that last thought, I went on falling in love with the stole. It stole my heart. (Yes, I went there.) I had been shot through with Cupid's arrow. (Yes, I went there, too. ) 

I looked to the left of the window and saw a pattern. It was short. Really short. Like only a few directions, not even completely filling up 2 whole pages. Maybe it wouldn't be so complicated...

I asked a nearby employee if they had any of the yarn that was used for the heart stole project in the window still in stock. The abrupt sales woman, wearing thick eyeglasses--and an attitude to match--announced in a clipped manner that the project in the window was a meant for a class. I apparently would not be able to understand the stitches and methodology unless instructed in classroom fashion. 

Politely, I requested the yarn again, saying that it was okay if I didn't understand it, I wanted to try it. 

The first woman walked away, pushing her glasses back up on their nose-perch, which was becoming a bit slippery with...uh... frustration. Maybe Cupid should poke her. (I went there, too.) I turned my attention as another, more helpful woman came up from my other side, offering the yarn I had requested. 

"It only takes two skeins!" She said, proud to show that such a long stole could come from only two hanks of lovely, lovely, mohair and linen yarn.

I purchased the yarn, the forbidden class-pattern and headed home. 

As it turned out, the pattern for the heart motif was not intuitive. The instructions were a bit odd on first glance, and I didn't know what a cable cast-on was. Feeling stubborn towards the thick-glassed shop woman, I forged ahead. First time stole? Intermediate lace? So what? I snorted these things to myself unfounded independence. I looked up cable cast-on online, check. Then, time after time I followed the heart instructions until, at the most literal following, I got it. (Back then I didn't know about charts yet!)

I shared my "findings" on Ravelry, but I would like to share them here with you today, as some people might be feeling a summer stole coming on. 

The name of the pattern is Monica, and this link takes you to its home on Ravelry. 

How about a little information on the stitch pattern itself? The heart pattern is seen in Barbara Walker's Treasury of Knitting PatternsBook Three. Walker calls it a “variation” of the “honeybee pattern” in book two. The Variation Honeybee is on page 254 of book three, and the original can be found on page 273 of book two in the lace section.

Let's get on with a tutorial! It begins on row 6 of the Monica pattern. The set up to begin the heart is complete here.


 Upon entering the heart pattern section of row 6, you have your 5 strings all hanging down before you.  
 -That is, you have turned your work after dropping the final (5th) 4x’s YO 

-This means the right side of the work is now facing you and your working yarn is on the left side. 

-Cable CO 4 stitches on that left side, bringing the yarn back toward you before placing the last cable CO stitch onto the left needle. 

-Now, you are going to point your right needle down behind the dangling yarns, catch the working yarn and pull it back through away 
from you. 

-Place this yarn onto the left needle. 

-Between the yarn you just placed on the left needle and the last one of the prev cable CO, begin ANOTHER set of 4 cable cast on stitches, again bringing the yarn toward you before placing the last one onto the left needle. 

-Total stitches made: 9. 4CCO, 1 under the 5 dangling yarns, 4 more CCO. 

-Finally, you will turn you work back to the wrong side where you started these shenanigans and P1, K1. Heart done!