Saturday, May 28, 2011

A pair the hard way

I've been trying to figure out a good solution for making my garters since I am not a confident enough knitter to do the tiny stitches necessary for the red and white colorworked garters nor experienced enough at sprang to do the nifty pink and green ones that would be my ideal option in a perfect world. (Both are babbled about here.) I really do plan to work on my sprang technique and try a version of those after some practice. In the meantime, however, I need something to hold up my stockings.

I have a friend coming over to show me some tablet weaving basics tomorrow. I've owned Candace Crockett's book on the subject for 2 years now, but have never actually sat down and tried it. Something I've wanted to do, but it just keeps not happening. To be honest, however, I already knew it was probably not the best solution. It does the same thing as working on the sprang garters right now would do; it forces me to work on developing a new skill that I would need to practice in order to achieve the accessory I want. Time constraints, Hastings, there are time constraints.

So, I sat down and attempted to write out a list of techniques that I do know that would give me garters in a day or two. I can plait and braid. I can do kumihimo. I can do tapestry crochet. I can embroider (already doing a lot of this.) I could just sew plain bands. I could just cut a couple of lengths of purchased trim (how boring is that though?) I tried out a few options. The tapestry crochet was my favorite since it has a lot in common with the knitted band, but it came out pretty wide. I just couldn't get the pattern fine enough. I'd been working in pearl cotton so I went digging in my stash for finer threads or yarn.

Instead, I found thicker yarn and decided I needed to find a way to use it. I had several skeins of scrumptious Plymouth mulberry merino in white, red, and blue. Its just to soft and yummy. I can't tell you why I fixated on it, but it was late. That's my excuse. The yarn doesn't have a lot of twist, so my first though was I could twist it into cords and do some ply split darning. If you've never played with that, its fun. Peter Collingwood's basic article on it is available here. So that was the plan. Then I saw a squirrel.

I mentioned it was late, right?!!? I was looking at patterns and realizing I was going to have the same issue as before. To get a definite pattern of any kind I was going to need thinner yarn. There are a couple of nice easy patterns using just a couple of cords in Jacqui Carey's 200 Braids. I could have done those. Then I started thinking about doing a heart pattern to match the stockings. That would be cool, right? Hearts?

So, I want a heart pattern and need a technique that will get them using a thick yarn. Something really basic. My summers as a camp counselor for the Girl Scouts overrode my historical recreationist brain and ta-da, we have a solution. Macrame.

That's right folks. I made giant friendship bracelets for garters. I could give you a song and dance about how macrame is an Arabic art dated to at least the 14th century, how there are French garters dated to the 17th century done in macrame. How its a form of Cavandoli work or tapestry knotting. Umm. Suuuuuure. Can we just call it a form of passemaine, know that I'm intending to make a more authentic pair in the future and move on? They're soft and silky, yet have great grip because of the texture of the knots. I'm going to finish them up with some nifty fluffy tassels. I think they will be very functional. Most importantly though, they're almost finished.

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