Scribble Lace Stripes

Back when I first began working in this crazy wonderful world of things to do with string, one of the recently-published books I just HAD to add to my library was Debbie New’s Unexpected Knitting. The title alone was intriguing—so unexpected. When I saw the cover, I immediately bought the book. It contains chapters on topics such as free-form, swirl, sculptural, cellular automaton, ouroborus, and labyrinth knitting.

And there is something called scribble lace. The name alone intrigued—scribble lace. It conjured images of authors and artists thoroughly absorbed in the rush to get their ideas down on paper. How would a knitter scribble ideas down with yarn?? Fascinating.

Left over fine mohair and Colinette Point Five

Scribble lace is actually a simple technique for placing squiggly thick yarn stripes across a diaphanous background of fine weight yarn. It is worked with needles of the size appropriate for the thick yarn. The hardest part is getting used to working the rows between the squiggles with the fine yarn on those fat needles.

I had quite a lot of short-ish lengths of Colinette Point Five (A) left after finishing the Big Blocks Afghan. While rummaging through the lace yarn section of my stash, I found a good bit of an unknown fine mohair (B) that seemed like it would make the perfect background for the stripes. And the pattern below was born. I hope you enjoy it!

About Scribble Lace

For a firm start and finish, the pattern begins and ends with an A row. For the cast-on, A and B are held together to make a temporary slip knot, then separated to work a long-tail cast-on, thereby making the first A and B rows.

When not in use, the A yarn is carried up the side edge. While working Rows 1-6, when A and B are on the same end, work as follows:

When you reach Row 7, both yarns will be at the same end. Leave B hanging, and knit across with A. Row 8 is worked with B. To get to where B is, slide the stitches to the other end of your double-ended needle: voila, you are ready to work the next row, alternating knit and purl stitches.

Why is Row 8 worked in a 1×1 rib pattern? To put the tops of the A loops on both sides of the fabric, alternating across the row. Repeat rows 1-8 until your scarf is long enough (or you are close to running out of yarn, like me!). Work the final row with A, working in rib pattern as you bind off.

As you work with the finer weight yarn, be careful to separate stitches on the left needle. They have a tendency to bunch up and you may think there is one when there is two. I’ve also had them jump in front/behind each other, appearing out of order. Spread the stitches out as they move up on your needle end.

As for combining yarn colors: there are many pleasing combinations! Choose colors to make foreground or background stand out, use similar hues for both A and B, or choose high-contrast brights. Once you get the hang of scribbling, experiment with more or fewer rows between “scribble stripes.” Try varying the relative weight of the yarns used (always use the needle size recommended for the thicker yarn, or even a size larger!). Have fun scribbling!

Scribbling Square Stripes Scarf

Materials

  • 65 yds #6 (super bulky) wt thick and thin yarn (e.g. Colinette Point Five or Malabrigo Gruesa), A
  • 230 yds #2-4 (fine to worsted) wt kid mohair/silk blend (e.g. Rowan Kidsilk Haze, Crystal PalaceKid Merino, Malabrigo Lace), B
  • US 15 [10 mm] circular or long double-pointed needle

Instructions

Holding A and B together, tie a temporary slip knot and put on needle. With A over thumb and B around index finger and using long-tail cast-on, cast on 24 sts, not counting slip knot. At end of first Row 1 below , untie slip knot.

Rows 1-6 with B and carrying A up the side it is on , knit.
Row 7 drop B; with A, knit; drop A.
Row 8 slide stitches to other end of circular needle where B waits, with B [k1, p1] 12 times.

Repeat rows 1-8 to desired scarf length, ending on a Row 6 row. Cut B; with A, work in [k1, p1] patt as you bind off. Fasten off last st.

Weave ends. Stretch scarf to “block” and open up lace. Cut and attach fringe if desired; sample has 9 lengths folded and attached to each end.


Yarn Over Season: Feather Faggoting

If you are a systematic person you might expect yarn over season to conclude with a stitch pattern that combines a yarn over with a left-slanting purl decrease, aka SSP (slip, slip, purl two together through the back loop). Try a few stitches-worth of [yo, SSP] and you’ll understand why it is not listed in stitch dictionaries or used in patterns—it’s awkward, with a capital AWK! We’re going to conclude yarn over season with Feather Faggotting, a pattern showing how to use faggoting repeats in combination with other stitch patterns. In Feather Faggoting, 2-stitch columns of garter stitch are combined with 2-stitch columns of Purse Stitch.

Yarn Over Plus Purl Two Together Plus Garter Stitch

Looking at the stitch instructions below, note that this pattern requires no selvage stitches. The pattern repeat is written to place one of the garter stitch stitches at the beginning and one at the end, making them next to each other as you work the repeats. The maneuvers for “yo, p2tog” are the same as for Purse Stitch (for a refresher on it, go back one post).

Feather Faggoting (mult of 4 sts)

All rows *k1, yo, p2tog, k1; rep from * to end.

Cast on 20 or so stitches (some multiple of 4, that is). Work a couple of rows in stockinette  or garter stitch to give yourself a nice base. Then work the first row as written above.

When you get to the last few stitches, remember to end “p2tog, k1.” You shouldn’t have any more stitches.

When you turn the work the pattern begins as for Purse Stitch. You’ll see the stitches on the left needle are, from right to left: a purled final stitch (technically half of the garter pair), a right-slanting knit decrease stitch, and then the yarn over strand. After working half of the garter stitch pair, you begin with “yo, p2tog,” knit 1 to finish the repeat, and continue with the next repeat.

The fabric produced incorporates the characteristics of garter stitch you might expect: a more condensed row gauge and fewer stitches per inch than Purse Stitch. The yarn overs twist the same way over each other, but because the rows are more condensed they have less of a “herringbone” quality than in Purse Stitch. The columns of garter and faggoting create vertical textural design elements, making an intriguing fabric that lies flat.

Project

This week’s project is the same as last week’s, albeit with two more stitches in order to meet the repeat requirements of the stitch pattern. Note the gauge difference: more stitches per inch in pattern. Even with two more stitches cast on, this version is not quite as wide as the Purse Stitch version.

Finished measurements 15 inches around x 9 inches deep [38 x 23 cm]

Claudia Hand Painted Yarns Drama (100% linen; 270 yds/3.5 oz [247 m/100 g]): small amount of 1 skein (~40-45 g)
US 6 [3.75mm] needles or size to get gauge
Same size 24 inch [60 cm] circular needle for 3-needle join
F/3.75mm crochet hook
Tapestry needle

Gauge 15 sts and 34 rows = 4 inches [10 cm] in Feather Faggoting, before blocking

LOOSELY cast on 28 stitches. Work Feather Faggoting until piece measures 18 inches [45.5 cm]. Bind off: k2tog, *k1, slip sts back to right needle, k2tog tbl; rep from * to last 2 sts, one on each needle; bind off 1 st, fasten off.

Finishing

Picking up stitches
Picking up stitches

With RS facing and circular needle, pick up and knit 1 st for every 2 rows along side edge to an even number of stitches.

With WS together, fold work at halfway point and pull out cable so needle tips face in same direction. Holding needles parallel,* knit 1 st through both front and back needle; knit second st through front and back; bind off 1 st; repeat from * until all sts have been bound off. Leaving tail, cut and fasten off. Repeat for other side. Weave in ends.

Joining the side edges

With yarn held double and crochet hook make a chain 30 inches [145 cm] long. Working about 1½ inch [4 cm] from top and beginning at side edge, thread drawstring through mesh, overlapping ends at side. Tie ends together.


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Yarn Over Season: Purse Stitch

We’ve looked at the faggoting fabrics produced by the two knit decreases. Now it’s time to try a purl decrease: purl two together (p2tog). The yarn will always begin at the front of the work and go completely around the right needle to get where it needs to be to work the decrease. The resulting fabric is open, with much the same character as Basic Faggoting, and is known in most stitch dictionaries as Purse Stitch.

Yarn Over Plus Purl Two Together

Make a k2tog, turn the work, and what do you see? A p2tog, a right-slanting decrease made with purl stitches. As when a k2tog follows a yarn over, it makes a smooth eyelet, one in which the stitch in the yarn over column of stitches is hidden behind the decrease column stitch.

Purse Stitch (mult of 2 sts +2)

All rows k1, *yo, p2tog; rep from * to last st, k1.

Cast on 20 or so stitches again, and work a couple of rows in stockinette stitch as a base. Then work the first row as written above. I find this stitch pattern to be the easiest of the three to work: the right needle is inserted into the open right side of the first stitch on the left needle and simply continues through to the second. No fuss, no muss, no need to pull the fabric down to expose the holes in the center of the stitches.

Remember to end “p2tog, k1!”

After the first row, when you turn the work you’ll see the stitches on the left needle are, from right to left: a purled selvage, a right-slanting knit decrease stitch, and then the yarn over strand. After working the selvage stitch, you begin the “yo, p2tog” repeat again. In Purse Stitch you insert the right needle into the decrease stitch first, then continue through the yarn over. Because p2tog is a right-slanting decrease the yarn over ends up on top. Continue across the row, again remembering to end with p2tog, k1.

If you’ve been working swatches, you’ll notice the Purse Stitch swatch bears a striking resemblance to the Basic Faggoting swatch. Look at them up close. The structures are reflections of each other, yarn over strands and backbone decreases slanting  in opposite directions. Something to ponder as you make this week’s project!

Difference between basic faggoting and purse stitch

Project

Given its name, it seems like what one should make with Purse stitch is just that: a purse. Or at least a little project bag. I chose to use a bit of sport weight linen left over from a top I designed for Claudia Hand Painted Yarns. Leftover cotton or other firm fiber would work well too.

Finished measurements 16 around x 9 inches deep [40.5 x 23 cm]

Claudia Hand Painted Yarns Drama (100% linen; 270 yds/3.5 oz [247 m/100 g]): small amount of 1 skein (~40-45 g)
US 6 [3.75mm] needles or size to get gauge
Same size 24 inch [60 cm] circular needle for 3-needle join
F/3.75mm crochet hook
Tapestry needle

Gauge 12 sts and 30 rows = 4 inches [10 cm] in Purse Stitch, before blocking

LOOSELY cast on 26 stitches. Work in Purse Stitch until piece measures 18 inches [45.5 cm]. Bind off: k2tog, *k1, slip sts back to right needle, k2tog tbl; rep from * to last 2 sts, one on each needle; bind off 1 st, fasten off.

Finishing

Picking up stitches
Picking up stitches

With RS facing and circular needle, pick up and knit 1 st for every 2 rows along side edge to an even number of stitches.

With WS together, fold work at halfway point and pull out cable so needle tips face in same direction. Holding needles parallel,* knit 1 st through both front and back needle; knit second st through front and back; bind off 1 st; repeat from * until all sts have been bound off. Leaving tail, cut and fasten off. Repeat for other side. Weave in ends.

Joining the side edges

With yarn held double and crochet hook make a chain 30 inches [145 cm] long. Working about 1½ inch [4 cm] from top and beginning at side edge, thread drawstring through mesh, overlapping ends at side. Tie ends together.


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Yarn Over Season: Basic Faggoting

Yarn over season continues with Basic Faggoting, in which the knit two together (k2tog) decrease is swapped out in favor of slip, slip, knit (ssk). The name would seem to imply it is the fundamental stitch; personally I find it harder to work, and Turkish much easier for first-timers. Get the hang of Turkish stitch, your hands figuring out the necessary micromovements, and the other patterns will be easier. (Need a refresher on yarn over basics? See this post from a couple of weeks ago).

So where does the name come from? Faggoting is a type of needlework in which vertical groups of threads are tied decoratively in bundles. It is often used to join hems together. A quick search for “faggoting needlework” returns some examples. The Victorian Embroidery and Crafts page has some nice diagrams of how the needlework is done. Compare our knit Basic Faggoting fabric to the images and diagrams: pretty darn similar, with threads twisted around each other. So let’s see how our knit version is worked.

Yarn Over Plus Slip, Slip, Knit

As with Turkish and all other patterns of the category, the yarn over is worked first. In this case it is followed by a left-slanting decrease. The decrease points away from the yarn over. If the pair were isolated in a ground of stockinette stitch, the stitch from the “hole” column is on top of the following stitch, visually breaking up the neat column of stitches.

Basic Faggoting (mult of 2 sts +2)

All rows k1, *yo, ssk; rep from * to last st, k1.

Cast on 20 or so stitches, and work a couple of rows in stockinette stitch  to give yourself a nice base. Then work the first row as written above. When working an ssk, I find I often use my left thumb and forefinger to pull the fabric down when inserting the left needle back through the two slipped stitches, and to hold the stitches in place when pulling the yarn through . When working with the yarn in my left hand, I use my right index finger to hold the yarn over in place as I work the ssk. These micro movements work for my hands; your hands may require different ones. Give them (your hands) time to figure out what will make them happy—they are smarter than our brain much of the time!

When you get to the last few stitches, remember to end “ssk, k1.”

 

After the first row, when you turn the work you’ll see the stitches on the left needle are, from right to left: a purled selvage, a left-slanting purled decrease stitch, and then the yarn over strand. After working the selvage stitch, you begin the “yo, ssk” repeat again. Notice what this means: when you work the ssk after the yarn over, you slip the decrease stitch, then the yarn over. The decrease stitch ends up on top. Continue across the row, again remembering to end with ssk, k1.

The fabric produced by working successive yarn over / ssk pairs  in this way is by nature open and flat. The difference between unstretched is barely noticeable. The zigzags in the column of decreases are in the same plane. In Turkish stitch they are just slightly in front/back of each other. The same is true of the zig-zagging lattice of yarn overs. And the yarn overs appear twisted around each other in Basic Faggoting, while in Turkish they simply cross over/under. Fascinating.

Basic Faggoting, unstretched and stretched

Project

Basic faggoting fabric is naturally open, rather than collapsible like its sister Turkish fabric. I choose another Colinette yarn, this time a wool and cotton twisted together, Prism.

Use a slipped-stitch selvage instead of the k1s at each side in the swatch instructions. This gives a nice edge, and it makes it a bit simpler to seam: 1 slipped edge stitch to 1 stitch at bottom or top (depending on which edge you fold!).

Finished measurements approximately 12 x 40 inches [32 x 103 cm]

Collinette Prism (90% wool, 10% nylon; 126 yds/3.5 oz [115 m/100 g]): 2 skeins
US 15 [mm] needles or size to get gauge
Tapestry needle

Gauge 10 sts = 4 inches [10 cm] in Basic Faggoting Stitch

LOOSELY cast on 30 stitches; knit 1 row.

All rows slip 1 purlwise with yarn in front, *yo, ssk; rep from * to last st, k1.

Work as above until piece measures approximately 40 inches [103 cm]. Knit 1 row; bind off loosely. Fold one end to one side as shown in this post and seam.


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