Sunday, November 15, 2020

Knitting in color.

How about a knitting post?

It looks like I haven't done one since April. On my personal timeline, that would have been early sabbatical,  pre-retirement, pre-relocation, and definitely post-virus shutdown. (That is, post-virus shutdown #1. Here in New Mexico, shutdown #2 starts tomorrow. But only for two weeks, hopefully. We'll see how the infection numbers play out.) I did finish several projects over the past several months, but I think I'll write about those next week. (Two knitting posts in a row! The world is going mad...)

This week, I'd like to talk about my work in progress, which is a pullover sweater called the Community Tunic by Joji Locatelli. (That link will take you to a yarn manufacturer's page where you could buy a kit to make your own version if they weren't sold out. Here's a link to the sweater on Ravelry -- I'm including both because non-Rav folks have had trouble getting to Rav from my posts in the past.) This sweater features a Fair Isle or stranded colorwork yoke, which means in that section, you're knitting with two colors at once. 

Alert hearth/myth readers may recall the post I did on my last stranded knitting project -- the Endless Colorwork Shawl of WTF Was I Thinking -- in which I said I'd never do anything like that again. (Apparently "never" is about three-and-a-half years long.) The reason I said that was because I always have trouble with tension in stranded knitting. Usually I knit Continental style, with the working yarn in my left hand; in English style, you hold the yarn in your right hand. Here is a video that explains the difference. (Apologies -- the video is by Red Heart.) The way I learned stranded knitting is to knit Continental style with one color and English style with the other. But the tension on my English style stitches is always lousy. 

Then I ran across a gizmo called a Norwegian knitting thimble. It allows you to hold both yarns in the left hand. Here's what it looks like in action:

It definitely solved the tension issue, so yay! But it was a little fiddly to get it going, particularly when it comes to catching floats. 

What is a float, you ask? In stranded knitting, you carry the yarn you're not knitting with on the back side of the work. That's fine if you're switching colors every two or three stitches. But as I got closer to  the diamonds, I realized I'd be carrying the purple for, oh, 17 stitches. Not only can such long floats cause your work to pucker, but barrettes and jewelry can get caught on them when you're taking the sweater on and off. So I had to figure out how to catch the floats while holding both yarns in the same hand. That took some trial and error. 

Here's the back side of my sweater. You can see here the difference between doing floats (toward the top) and catching them (at the bottom):

Oh - you want to see what the front side looks like? Sure! 
All photos copyright Lynne Cantwell 2020
That yellow-green, frankly, is a problem. You can see how it blends in with the gray, and trust me, it's even worse in person. I am probably going to go over it with a darker green. I am definitely not ripping it out.

Anyway, the Norwegian knitting thimble gets a thumbs-up from me. Someday I may even do my own YouTube video for how to use it. The ones I found all seemed to be 30 minutes long because they included instructions on how to knit Fair Isle. Yo, I already know how to do that -- I just want to see the gizmo in action! 

I'm now past the yoke and need to knit the rest of the sweater. I'll post a photo or two when it's done.

NaNo update: We are at the halfway point today. Once I publish this blog post, I'll dive in and write my word count today for today; that will bring me to 25,000 words. I'd be done with today's words already, but I spent the entire freaking afternoon sleying the reed on the ginormous loom. At least that's done now and I can start the actual weaving, which should take nowhere near as long as warping the loom has...

These moments of knitting blogginess have been brought to you, as a public service, by Lynne Cantwell. Stay home and stay safe!

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