Saturday, 26 November 2011

Capybara Scarf Update

I got beyond the capybara design a couple of days ago and rather than tediously knitting both sides at the same time, I decided to put all of the red sts on one needle and all of the black sts on another and then I could just knit a stocking stitch tube.

I quickly realized I had a dilemma. How do I knit the intarsia in the round? I couldn't  figure out how to do it without an opening down the side. I figured there had to be a way I could knit a stocking stitch tube with one side in each colour.

At my regular monthly tea house knitting meeting, I asked the proprietor, Cheryl, a very skilled knitter, how to solve my problem. She quickly explained that I needed to put the red sts on one circular needle and the black sts on another. Then at the beginning of every row, I make sure I cross yarns and purl with colour A, then knit across with colour B. Then turn the work, twist the colours and purl with B, then knit with colour A. That way, the yarns get twisted on each side leaving no opening.

                                                             - - - - - - - - - - -    
       cross yarns on each side ---   X                         X                  
                                                - - - - - - - - - - -                                  
 I happily began this and knit about 14". 

It's coming along, nicely. However, it kinda bugged me that the capybara was distorted and seemed to be squashed vertically. He kinda looks like a hippo and that just won't do. I had an inkling this would happen before I even started the project but was in denial and thought it would magically be the right proportion. So much for magical thinking.

Of course, it's because my grid paper had squares - which would be fine if my stocking stitch is 5 sts and 5 rows - a 1:1 ratio. But my stocking stitch on this project is 5 sts and 8 rows - a 5:8 ratio. In order for the capybara to be proportional, I needed to graph it on assymmetrical graph paper.

Where does one get that? Online, of course. So I 'googled' knitting graph paper and found this website. I had to do a bit of fiddling with the parameters so I could print grid paper the right width to accommodate my capybara diagram. And...I'm having issues with my printer. It keeps not wanting to print unless I shut my computer down and restart it. It's a software problem between it and my computer. Anyway, I'm pretty close to the right size grid paper. I just need to get my printer to print it. Then I can re-graph it with my knitting software.

Anyway, what I'm going to do is start again with the faux fringe and new capybara grid with the same number of stitches per row and same needle size and see how it looks. If it looks better, I'll just cut my knitting above the original capybara, conserving the pile of stocking stitch I've completed and graft it together with the newly knit end. I really do think it'll look a lot better.

Lesson learned? Measure the swatch and make sure your graph paper reflects your knitting ratio.

(a few minutes later)

So now I've printed my proportional graph paper and have traced the capybara outline on it.

And here is my new graph from my software that doesn't print assymmetrical graph paper.

The graph looks wonky but I'm pretty sure the capybara proportions will be more accurate once knit.

Stay tuned ...


  1. Fingers crossed the new proportions work!

  2. That is seriously cool! And if I'd known you could knit intarsia in the round, it would have saved me hours and hours when I knit a Charlie Brown sweater for my friend. This one's for bookmarking!

  3. I have a pet capybara and I am going to distribute this link to all of his fans. Please let us know how your revised pattern works out!

  4. This is the most beautiful scarf I have ever seen!