Sunday, 2 December 2007

Entering the Great Smidge Debate

There has been a lot of interest in, and discussion about, the Pidge and the marketing statements of the company who produce it. Instead of being pulled into the marketing element of the discussion, I would prefer to focus on the garment itself - put simply, it is a scarflet with buttons, that is produced by hand on a knitting loom.

As it is loom produced, it has an interesting, twisted stitch effect. It is made with cashmere, it retails for a luxury item price (albeit that once you've taken labour and other overheads into account, the company is unlikely to be making an unreasonable profit) and it is available in solid, striped or mottled colourways.

I like it. It's design is simple. It would make a good gift. It's not the first or last scarflet that will ever be designed or marketed. As I can knit for myself and have an ever increasing yarn stash, I would find it hard to justify purchasing a scarflet, when it looks simple and more economical to produce one of my own.

I hope that this sums up the general thought process of a knitter? Many people are ahead of me in this line of thought and have explored a number of different knit and crochet stitch effects (non loom) and whipped up twisted stitch scarflets in a wide range of yarns.

It's been very interesting to see how people responded to the very first discussions about the scarflet and how they have gone about their projects - investigating, then comparing, different stitches, yarns and garment dimensions. They have used Ravelry to gain feedback and confirm their choices. The whole piece has had a lot of energy and drive about it - people have been enquiring and experimental, it's been refreshing to observe.

For the record, I do not think that I have seen a handknit and crochet scarflet project that is an exact or perfect replica of the Pidge - I do not think that this is anyone's real intent. (It's certainly not mine.) I have only seen individual scarflets in a range of really interesting yarns and stitches.

In fact, I plan to make one of my own, as a birthday present for my sister. I may even use this free scarflet pattern. In terms of stitches, so far I have swatched:

1) my So Called Scarf stitch

2) the one from the free scarflet pattern

3) moss/seed stitch.

Rightly or wrongly, outcome below:

Stitches 1 and 2 are dense and really eat yarn. I used the same number of stitches across the sample, for all stitches, note the width difference between the first two stitches and stitch 3.

Ok, I appreciate that I need to up my needle size as the sample is so dense on the first two stitches pattern that it is like a stiff rug, not a scarf.

However, this sample is 55 yards of Mirasol Sulka knitted on 6mm and 6.5mm needles. The whole skein and the sample measures 8.5" x 6" (stitches 1 and 2) or 9.5" (stitch 3). 1 skein -those twisted stitches eat yarn.

My preference so far is stitch 2 (as its reverse is neater than stitch 1) or stitch 3 (which is reversible). Now I used this for one of the recent Spike hats that I knitted. My gift recipent tells me that the yarn is 'very warm'. So stitch 2 might boil my sister's neck alive?

No clue which to choose - especially as I know what I should be knitting right now. It's red and Puss in Boots related. However, this yarn is winking at me and my sister's birthday is on the 11th December. Ngg.

1 comment:

Mel said...

Help what is a Pidge? Why do I always miss everything that everyone else knows about! Doh!