It’s time for, The Most Obnoxious Clapotis in the World. And it’s finished!
In this post I just wanted to give some hints and tips for a few people thinking about starting their own Clapotis – as I promised I would. Mine is also a little different as I used only one skein of sockweight – to get a longer, skinnier scarf, rather than a stole – as per the pattern.
Before I give specifics on what I did for mine, I’ll go through some general info on how it works and what might be helpful for people to know before starting theirs.
The Clapotis is essentially a parallelogram. That means it’s like a square/rectangle that’s a bit wonky:
What does this mean in terms of knitting? Well the sections of a Clapotis are shown below:
We start off with just 2 stitches on our needle – and go through a section of increases, which is where we make the Clapotis the overall width that we want it to be. Once the increases are done, we knit without increasing or decreasing the overall stitch count (knitting straight) for a long time. Then at the end, we decrease at the same rate we increased and we are done.
While “knitting straight”, although the overall stitch count doesn’t change, we do still use increases and decreases:
To get the “slanty” edge, we increase one st at one end of every other row and decrease one at the other end on alternate rows. That ensures that the Clapotis grows in one direction and maintains the same width and angle that we use at the beginning in the increase sections – where we increase at one end on each row.
The colour changes in the photo above give away what direction the knitting happens in, while the increasing and decreasing of the straight sections takes place.
The other thing that’s important about getting the shape and size right, is how much yarn to use for the increases, straight section and decreases.
If you want to knit a stole-sized object, or a wider scarf, where the top and bottom edges are longer/wider than they would be on a scarf, where the end edges are proportionally much *smaller* than the long sides, you’ll need to use different percentages.
For a stole, people commonly use the rule of fifths. This means that out of the total weight of all your yarn, you use one fifth for increasing, one for decreasing and three fifths on your straight section. This keeps all your proportions right for a stole.
But what if you want a scarf, where you want it to be narrower, but longer? In my case, using one skein of sock yarn, I found the rule of tenths to work – one tenth for increasing, one for decreasing and the remaining eight tenths for the straight section.
Enough about proportions
The pattern itself is made up of a simple 6-stitch repeat knitted in 12-row sections. On the eighth row, you get the fun of dropping a stitch and watching it unravel all the way down.
The standard pattern uses just knit and ktbl stitches on the right side (along with the kfb increase) and on the wrong side, straight purling with a p2tog at the end of every row. This then means that you have to use loads of markers to identify where you’ll be dropping stitches later.
To save all the markers, I and a number of other people have changed the stitch pattern slightly. Instead of using markers to single out the dropped column, purl it on the RS and knit it on the WS. The gives you a line of reverse stockinette – that makes it really easy to see where you will drop a stitch later on.
You end up with this:
The standard pattern asks you to ktbl the stitches either side of the ones you’re going to drop later. On the WS, it just asks you to purl them. In mine and other versions, you purl this stitch through the back loop – to keep it twisted on the RS. This makes for a neater edge as you can see in the pic above.
This makes the 6 stitch repeat as follows on the RS: k3, ktbl, p1, ktbl.
On the WS it is: ptbl, k1, ptbl, p3.
The above sequences don’t apply at each end – as there are differences because you have to increase or decrease. But if you start off by purling the stitch you are meant to be marking, on the RS, it starts to become obvious how the pattern develops.
So in summary:
- Decide what size Clapotis you want to knit (scarf or stole/how much yarn do you have?)
- Knit the appropriate amount of increases – in my case this meant knitting until I’d used up my first 10g – which amounted to 4.5 total increase sections – a total of 71 sts
- Knit the body straight until you have a corresponding amount of yarn left – for me this was 24 repeats
- Decrease at the same rate with which you increased
- purl the stitch to be dropped on the RS, knitting it on the WS – this will enable you to forego the use of stitch markers
- on the WS, purl through the back loops, the stitches that you ktbl on the RS – this will give you neater edges once you drop your stitches