As you’ll see from the photos, I’ve managed quite a lot of knitting this last week. Partly this is down to being up here on my own still, partly down to the weather – for winter has finally come to Caithness and I’ve spent a lot of time indoors, huddled over the fire, listening to the hail rattling the windows. And not just hail – Sunday morning broke in snow; I opened the curtains to see a snowstorm sweeping horizontally towards me across the low fields, as if the ghosts from a thousand Lost Arks had been unleashed and the restless spirits had come to claim the citizens of Wick. (Come to think of it, maybe they have, for I haven’t been out today and it’s very quiet.)
Right. Time for the Big Reveal – the yoke. I’m following Mrs Jackson’s pattern from Michael Pearson’s book (p.102 in his 1984 edition), part of his chapter on keel and sloop patterns from the Humber Estuary.
We’ve had the moss stitch and chevrons up the seams; and last week I started the triangular patterns that lead into the yoke. Now the yoke proper is introduced by 3 purl rows, each 3 rows apart. The interesting thing about these purl rows is that they run the full width of the yoke; the moss and chevron patterns resume above them, but the purl rows slice right through the pattern. (I debated whether or not to let the moss and chevron panels continue uninterrupted up the yoke, and only have the purl rows delineate the centre, but decided in the end to stick with the pattern; and I’m glad I did, because it looks quite striking.)
Ready for some maths? The pattern calls for a centre star 25 stitches across; on either side of that is a double cable of 18 stitches (p2, k6, p2, k6, p2); a diamond panel of 13 stitches; and another double cable. This comes to 123 stitches (25 + 18 + 18 + 13 + 13 + 18 + 18). As the total number of stitches in the centre of my yoke was 142 (excluding the moss and chevron panels), this gave me 19 extra stitches to fill (142-123=19).
I could, I suppose, have increased the star and/or the diamond panels accordingly, but in the end I preferred to add a little 9-stitch diamond panel at each edge, and keep the original proportions. (This still gave me 1 extra stitch per side – serves me right for not working all this out months ago – but I cunningly “disappeared” it with a subtle decrease on one of the purl stitches flanking a double cable.)
Snow outside; it’s that time of the year when they start playing Christmas music on the radio, including Handel’s “Messiah”, which gives me the chance to wheel out my annual joke about “His yoke is easy, his burden is light” – but not this time. His yoke is bloomin’ complicated, and his burden requires rather more concentration than is conducive to watching NCIS on tv. I feel a “Bah! Humbug!” coming on – but after all, there’s only 20 more sleeps till Christmas…