Going All In
November 16, 2009
Have you seen the new Twist yet? I’m liking Sivia Harding’s Dryad. It’s not a square, a rectangle, nor a circle: it’s . . . ovalish! And I’m intrigued by Alasdair Post-Quinn’s Introduction to Double-Knitting: The Four Winds Hat.” Video tutorials and everything. Bless him! I’ve never tried double-knitting, but it’s probably twice as fun as single knitting, right? I admire Alasdair’s all-in attitude toward this technique–he’s King of Double Knitting, and he teaches workshops from time to time. I’m guessing he’ll post upcoming classes at his blog.
Speaking of the All-In Attitude
You guys are just going to have to hang in there while I finish this Alice Starmore Donegal sweater. It is a slow roll, the slowest. But now that Mad Men has ended, I have to have something to obsess about, and it might as well be KNITTING. I’m too old to obsess about Robert Pattinson. [pauses to obsess about Robert Pattinson anyway]
Here are some questions that have cropped up regarding this project.
Wendy asks: “I use spit splicing all the time, just did a top down cardigan for my son with maybe 5 ends to weave in, lovely! But I have a question. When you’re using spit splicing to change colors, how do you know where to do it? So that the color change happens on the right stitch? This question is what stops me from splicing on fairisle.”
Excellent question, one that plagued me until I started doing spit splicing on this project. Won’t the pattern look bad if there are all these color shifts in incorrect places? Here’s a photo of the underside of my sleeve. There’s decreasing going on in there. The marker shows the beginning/end of each round:
Can you tell where the yarn colors change? I can’t, and I think there are several reasons why this is the case.
1. The pattern is so crazy as it crashes into itself at this juncture, who knows WHAT’s going on in there?
2. The murkiness of this colorway makes the changes less noticeable.
3. The spit splice joins two shades that are closely related to each other: you know, Juniper into Tarragon. Sapphire into Elderberry. The light shade shifts into a like-valued light; the dark into another dark. A light never splices to a dark, so it’s not that big a problem.
As for the actual question–when to do the splice–I found that ultimately “the right stitch” isn’t really important. For this project, at least, it’s not worth worrying about. So I just break the yarn about three inches from the end of the round, join in the new yarn, and carry on.
Laurie asks: Ann, could I talk you into some photos of knitting your sweater inside out for the floats? I just finished my first stranded project (fiddlehead mittens) and they turned out both gigantic and puckered. How did I manage both? I need to give a pair of mittens to someone with small hands so I’ve got to get this stranded thing figured out but I don’t think I’m doing the inside out thing right. I keep finding my project slowly back right side out. I must be holding it upside down or something.”
The gigantic and the puckered. Sounds like ME.
ANYway, I wish I could see a video of what you’re doing that would make a mitten slowly go from inside out to right side out. So odd!
The gigantic thing is likely some gauge issue; maybe your stitches are a lot looser when you’re working two colors? Are you using double-pointed needles? I don’t use them much, so maybe there’s some weirdness that happens with those?
For those joining us late, I’m working the sleeve for this thing inside out. Projects with a small circumference–socks, hats, mittens–can be hard to work in Fair Isle, because the floats want to take a short cut across the inside of the work, leaving your stitches puckered and tight.
Here’s how I hold my work when doing inside-out Fair Isle:
The circular cable is always held below the two needles. I’m watching the pattern on the inside of the work, carrying the yarns on the outside, and moving stitches from the left needle to the right as I work, just like normal knitting. I am extremely enthusiastic about this set-up; my stitches are more agreeable, less whiny, and they get along with each other so well now. I’m thinking of turning my boys inside out to get these sorts of pleasing results.
PS The Singing Revolution DVD has made it from Chilliwack to Comox to Quesnel . . . where? Take a look!