Sunday, January 27, 2013

For the Love of a Saroyan . . . or is it a Stellaria

Contributed by Doreen Lewis

In the world of Base 10, I am a rising (ok, so I have completed the rise) Senior Citizen.  In Ancient Babylon, I would be a mere teenager (Base 60, for the math geeks in our midst).  And everyone knows that teenagers are fickle.

Move over Saroyan; make way for my new BFF – Stellaria.  After 9 Saroyan’s, I have found a new love.

Saroyan without beads
Don’t get me wrong – Saroyan (be it Camille or William) is still one of the most versatile knitting patterns I have encountered.  A free pattern by Liz Abinante on Ravelry, Saroyan is knit side-to-side (each row is short) with an engaging knit-on (no pesky picking up stitches here) leaf border.  It is a quick knit that is eminently portable (you can knock out a few rows waiting in the dentist’s office or even in line at the drive-though at the bank).  Saroyan can be knit in a variety of shapes and in a wide range of yarns.  I have seen examples in my LYS in everything from Fingering – my own personal goddess (or demon – depending on who is minding the checkbook that day) to Worsted Weight. 

I have made Saroyan’s with beads and without beads, with solid color yarn and with variegated yarn.  I even made one with a worsted weight yarn (that baby llama and silk was just impossible to resist).  I have, after all, made 9 Saroyan’s.

But move over Saroyan; Stellaria has moved to town. So what if the rows are long (the cast on is 172 stitches and the top-down piece grows from that) and the bind-off is heck (681 stitches that bind off like 1000)!  Stellaria’s garter stitch body, a graceful easy-to-wear crescent, is shaped with short rows and the lace border (also knit on – I really hate picking up stitches) is a piece of cake. 

Stellaria made with Fiber Charmer Galadriel (55% superwash BFL and 45% silk)

This pattern by Susanna IC ($7.00 on Ravelry) is worth every penny. It is challenging enough to hold your interest but not so complicated that you can only knit in a hermetically sealed chamber, away from the distractions of daily life.  It blocks easily and the finished product is very showy.  Stellaria is written for DK yarn and calls for US 7 and 9 needles.  I use Fingering weight yarn and US 6 and 8 needles. It knits up (even with beads) with near blinding speed.  I have just finished my third Stellaria and have plenty of time to make 2 more by the Holidays.

Red Stellaria with gold beads is a Knit Witch sock yarn 
Both Saroyan and Stellaria take 1 skein of Fingering weight yarn.  Saroyan can be knit to use the amount of yarn you have on hand while Stellaria as written takes approx. 430 yards.

In a pinch, I would be hard pressed to give up either one of these great patterns.  I guess I can always have more than 1 BFF…

Stellaria is Dream in Color Starry