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Wednesday… washing used objects, blocking, and the Elaborated Print o’ the Wave Scarf, FINALLY

Well, here it is, Wednesday morning, and I haven’t gotten that plying video done yet. It might happen today, but there’s also some production work that has to happen, it’s the boy’s last day of school tomorrow and he’s got a couple of days of early release, and lo and behold, it turns out we’ve driven right past a place on Main Street, time and again, called…

The Lebanon Electric Motor Service Company

…so at some point (since we’re still working on picking the right replacement motor or finding a gearbox), Cardzilla’s motor is going to get pulled and I’m going to just take it over there, smile winningly, and say “Hey, can I get a gearbox for this by any chance? It’s slipping under load going forward.”

Another example of my sheer brilliance manifested itself yesterday when, picking up the finished Elaborated Print o’ the Wave scarf to wash and block it, I thought to myself, “Hey, if I’m blocking stuff I might as well wash and block my winter wearables too, they need it! And I’ll just pin everything out on the deck, plenty of space…”

Right. Of course, I hate blocking; so making it “blocking outside in 92F weather” was an even better idea, right? As was attempting to shove quilting pins into a pressure-treated deck. I did get the Purple Mohair/Silk Triangle (I name my stuff so winningly, don’t I?) reasonably well blocked, which is actually tricky because (ssssh, don’t tell) it’s got a bad skew problem at the top of the triangle. But I had forgotten that when you wear something all winter long, and it gets scrunched up and crammed in your coatsleeve and stuffed in a bag and heaven knows what all else, well, yeah, it benefits from a reblocking.

Now, of course, I am starting to think I ought to pick up a dress form one of these days, for the sake of taking pictures of a few things. Well, and for being a dress form. I’ve grown to loathe the finished-object photography issues. I want to take both technical photos and sexy photos, but there’s not many good ways to combine the two; and in some cases I want to be able to show the items “in action,” which could happen with me wearing them and someone else taking a picture, but I’m never satisfied with those. Nor am I satisfied with having pressed a large fan into service to hold this shawl:

It’s totally frustrating; this is an awesome shawl, I wear it all winter long, and so help me, I’ve never been able to get satisfactory photos of it. The whole pile of ’em is here in my old photo gallery area, including the yarn.

I’ve never been satisfied with the Creme de Menthe scarf photos either. So this time around, I’ve tried to get photos I like better. I’m still not really satisfied. Once the Creme de Menthe scarf is dry, I’ll try a few more ideas. For now, here is part of it pinned out on the closet floor (where the pins will actually stick, unlike in the pressure treated lumber).

It’s particularly hard with the Creme de Menthe one, because it’s a sampler with weird variations and whatnot.

Moving on, though, hey, look, it’s a finished object! FINALLY! Started last September as a travel project, I found myself perpetually losing focus on this after I memorized the pattern about 3 repeats in. The pattern is a really pretty one, and it bears some conceptual similarities to the Andean weaving pattern jakaku sisan and variants, which is one of my favourites… and perhaps where I lost focus and found myself getting a little bit bored; I wanted to start improvising or turning it into other things, and that was not the goal of the scarf.

However, odds are that I will apply some jakaku sisan variation principles to the Elaborated Print o’ the Wave pattern at some point, and do a doubled and reflected one which travels over a wider space, with background infill from related patterns as well. I’ve dug around a bit to find something that I have a photo of which has some of those conceptual elements in it. I’m not sure that they’re visually so closely related — to me the connection is obvious, but it is a thing based in Andean weaving that makes the connection, and I’m not sure it’s readily visible if you’re not, say, trying to describe the way you work the pattern in Quechua.

Anyway, jakaku sisan in its straight, basic form is the brown-black one at the sides here:

(the middle fella is Loraypu, which is too complicated to get into today)

A jakaku is a bird, sort of a hummingbird; a sisan is, among other things, part of a flower. This is the conceptual interpretation, not the literal, as represented in Quechua woven thought.

The key conceptual thing that jakaku sisan teaches is the hooked bits and the diagonals, and how to attach them, reflect them, rotate them, and move them around. This next example is several steps more complicated (at least) and uses some other conceptual elements as well:

See the lobed curling hook bits? Attaching to the diagonals on the diamond part? They’re the same lobed curling hook bits in jakaku sisan. Notice, though, how they go up, and down — going up the bottom of the diamond, they curl under, and along the top of the diamond they curl over (not factoring in or discussing the negative space ones right now either).

Anyway, Print o’ the Wave in its base form, here:

has lobed thingies that move inward towards a central line, from points at the bottom. It has no up-curling lobes. However, you have an flow to it where the subsequent lobe starts at a certain point in the completion of the prior one, and there’s a reflection point, that is conceptually very similar to where those lines of symmetry occur in the fundaments of jakaku sisan, which is sort of like… a 4th grade pattern.

Elaborated Print o’ the Wave, then, resembles the diamond pattern with the lobed curling hooks in black & white above — not visually, but conceptually in terms of how you do it. Look:

As your diagonal centerline that the lobes come into zig-zags its way along, you shift at critical points to make it turn one way or the other, and your lobes still are under the traveling centerline. With knitting, it’s not possible to simply reflect the pattern either — if I did lobes that came off the top of the centerline, structurally it wouldn’t be possible to make them exactly match the lobes that start with a single stitch above a yarn over. So what COULD you do to reflect it in the same piece while the centerline travels?

That question plagued me, nonstop, the entire time I worked this scarf. I wanted so badly to go haring off wildly thinking about that, but I also really, really wanted the scarf in straight, unadulterated (well, mostly) Elaborated Print o’ the Wave. For me, it is easier to think in the textile than it is in an on-paper representation, too, so… it wasn’t working if I tried to sketch it. And I knew if I started a tester to see what I could do, I’d never, ever finish this scarf.

So, the scarf went with me on trips out, to dentists’ waiting rooms, visits to the in-laws, drives of more than 20 minutes, to serve as a hand fidget until I finished it. I started it shortly after Labor Day, and finished it on Memorial Day: September 16, I think, to May 28. For a simple scarf from about 600 yards of yarn. Oh! The yarn was Belisa Cashmere, and I picked it up at Stitches West a couple years ago. Decent cashmere yarn. You know, for a millspun.

Let’s take a moment and laugh at the crabby chick (who needs to stop eating so much of her better half’s fabulous cooking) standing by the mirror, for… scale. Or something.

The truth is that I do really like this scarf, and look forward to putting into the rotation come fall, with Creme de Menthe and the purple triangle. I’m just crabby about photography today, and falling behind my self-imposed schedules for things again. Given that tomorrow is the lad’s last day of school and everything, I have no idea when I’m going to actually be able to pull off a dye day this week… but I’ll need to do something or I’m going to be really mad at myself for having no new inventory by the end of the week. I’ll have to pull something out of my hat one way or another.

13 thoughts on “Wednesday… washing used objects, blocking, and the Elaborated Print o’ the Wave Scarf, FINALLY

  1. Your “for a millspun” comment made me laugh out loud! So true, so true!

    Jajaku sisan reminds me of the designs on the back of playing cards. When I first started knitting, I was obsessed with the idea of charting intricate designs based on playing cards. I haven’t done anything with it (yet) but the idea is still there. I’ve never considered it in a lace context, though. Interesting…

  2. I am quite intrigued by the creme de menthe scarf, it is blocking beautifully. I’m particularly enamored of the pattern in the top picture.

  3. I love the Creme de Menthe scarf.
    Seriously. Even though I only wear green as socks (unless it’s olive drab). You’ve made the sampler concept come alive for me. I must try this. As for jakaku sisan, that will have to wait until I remember what I was doing with those Egyptian diagonals on the tablet loom. Gah… so many fascinating things to do with fibre, so little time. I’ve wasted *decades* not playing with fibre.

  4. I do so love that purple triangle – it is stunning!

  5. You should! That scarf is great. And the purple shawl? Awesome is totally the right word!

  6. Hooky things. Have you looked at Anna Zilboorg’s sock, hat and mitten books? They have Turkish stranded knitting patterns. Lots with hooky things on them, very similar, also used in weaving in that part of the world. All with names that reflect the culture. Supressed by the Turkish government because not modern, western, secular, non-tribal, etc.

    Also lots of that kind of motif in cardweaving.

  7. The scarf looks gorgeous as do you wearing it. All the knitting is lovely. If you don’t get any dyeing done, don’t be mad at yourself, enjoy the extra time it will give you. From what I have seen, you will just make up for it next week.

  8. Okay, let me get this straight….once Chad determines what exactly Cardzilla needs and what is best for it you are going to take it in and then floor the people behind the counter by knowing -exactly- what you want?

  9. I think your picture looks great, even with that smirk. 🙂 All the works are beautiful. When I first started reading your blog, way back in Jan I think, you were having dental issues and working on your scarf. Glad you are coming to an end with both. 🙂

  10. I really liked listening to your stream of consciousness process with that pattern.

    And crabby chick? Priceless.

  11. I love the Purple Mohair/Silk Triangle! I tried to look back and find a pattern name, but didn’t find anything. Is that an Abby creation or do you have a pattern name for it?

    Thank you for the sock yarn teaser! The “fun stages like this” picture was gratifying … that seems to be the stage I’m always in!

    This in an old (and maybe odd question). What do you wash your fiber with? The batts I ordered smelled awesome!

    Great crappy chick picture!

  12. These are all great. Question about the weaving…I’m currently reading a great book about Bolivian Highland Weaving in hopes of learning Pebble Weave. I’ve noticed a lot of Central Asian Yurt bands appear to be pebbleweave as well. Would you know if the two are the same technique? I put a pic of one up on my blog at Would this be one of the techniques you learned living abroad? Thanks, Lisa

    I’m in love with all swirly thing patterns!

  13. Good luck with Cardzilla’s motor.

    The scarves and shawl are gorgeous as usual. I’m glad to hear that I’m not the only one that questions a knit and sees it as something else. The difference is that I would have swatch and then never finished the scarf.

    I really love my dress forms. I have one that is a cheap version of a pro form but then I got one from a junk heap and 2 others at garage sales. They like to wear my sweaters in the off seasons. Two are really crappy and needed a sewn cover to look acceptable but they were incredibly cheap.

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