Friday, October 15, 2010

Knitting in Technicolor

...or why does my right eye keep twitching???

I've just completed the cuffs of the sleeves for my Rune Sweater. I always like to do the sleeves together, as it makes it easier to keep track of increases and to keep them the same size and gauge.

My morning gripe, though, is about the process of two-color knitting. Some call it "fair isle," although I don't think my pattern quite ascends to that exalted level. I'm actually working with three colors here (navy blue, gold, and silver), but I made sure that I only used two for each row. I decided to keep the sleeves somewhat sedate, and to save the more complicated pattern for the yoke. I just wanted a small bit of accent near the cuff. The whole idea was to make tiny little Thor hammers, but you can't really see that in the design. That's okay...I figure I can refine this a bit more once I get to the yoke.

We have a woman in our SnB group who's just fantastic at two-color knitting. She knits the most beautiful things, and makes the process look effortless. I can never quite master holding a strand of yarn in each hand and knitting with both. I also always screw up and knit either too tightly and end up with a puckered finished product; or too loosely, and end up with weird, baggy stitches that have to be tightened up after the fact. Our expert at the SnB insists that all you have to do is to just make sure you stretch out the stitches on the needle to keep a steady gauge. Well, I'll admit it works for her, method this morning consisted of me taking a spare DPN and cursing under my breath as I re-threaded and tightened up each stitch. In my defense, I've never attempted "fair isle" knitting on DPNs before.

Thankfully, I finally got the sleeves to look presentable. The question I'm now asking myself is: Do I REALLY want to go through this for the 26-row yoke pattern??? Actually, 28 rows, once I correct for the mutant Thor hammers and what are probably going to be the anemic Goddess figures, if the hammers are any indication. I'm almost tempted to try duplicate stitch for the entire yoke, but I don't know...

Will my twitching eye then require a trip to the local walk-in clinic???


  1. I have the same problem with Fair Isle too. ARGH! How the hell far am I supposed to stretch? I've never gotten it to look anything other than (a) too gappy, or (b) too weirdly lumpy.

  2. oh. well. you stretch a little - and better too loose than too tight - because once the fabric is knit, some diagonal tugging can even out a slightly gappy fabric but nothing fixes a pucked one.

    I like to call this technique "stranded colorwork" because you could do two color knitting using intarsia or slipped or mosaic stitch too.

    Hope you do the yoke in pattern - and if you're working out the design yourself, make some knitters graph paper with a spreadsheet program, just adjust the height and width so the blocks are shorter than they are wide so you can figure out how many rows and stitches you want to get the design you like. Happy Knitting

  3. I can sort of do Fair Isle knitting... but I have to concentrate so hard on getting it right that it takes ages. On the other hand, every time I say I'm going to duplicate stitch the motifs on, the project always sits blank for ages because I never want to spend all that time doing the duplicate stitch. Double edged sword I suppose.