Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A stitch in hand...or something like that

Just to show that 150 stitches per row makes a difference when you’re knitting a fair isle sweater, here’s where I am now:

I’m back to the split for the armholes and have just started working the top back. I could have steeked the armholes but since that wasn’t the way the original in the museum in Denmark was made, I’ve decided to do this one without steeks. Now that I’m at this point, I will work the front and back pieces flat. Stockinette stitch can be tricky when knitting with more than one color, although there are a couple of different ways to deal with it.

One way (the way I generally use) is to
knit backwards instead of purling the wrong side rows. When knitting backwards on a piece like this, I generally hold the dominant color over my left thumb and the other color over my left index finger (for knit stitch the dominant color is the one on my left middle finger and the non-dominant on my left index finger). Holding them like this allows me to throw them easily, maintains the dominant color and keeps my yarn from getting tangled. The only thing I do have to be careful about is the tension.

You will almost always have different tension on items worked in the round as opposed to those worked flat which is why you should work your swatch in the manner the final product will be knitted. I will be able to use my first try as a gauge swatch since I haven’t had the courage to rip it out yet. It’s still sitting in its basket by the bookshelves, serving as a map. I’m still honoring that first attempt by allowing it to remain until which time it must be sacrificed to the greater good (the real sweater!).

The other way to do it is to use what Beth Brown-Rensel told me is called a
Norwegian purl. Because of the way this stitch is made, the floats remain on the wrong side of the material. It’s a bit different and isn’t the fastest way to purl but since it’s the way I learned, I never knew there was a different way to purl. Even now, I can’t really get the hang of other purling styles. It’s also a style that, I think I’m right in saying, must be worked continental style (with the working yarn in the left hand).

With my trip to the UK coming up quickly, I thought I’d share a web page off of the BBC News website with tons of photos of Scotland. They’re all taken by readers and submitted to the BBC. Click here to have a look. There are 10 or a dozen photos per week so just click through the date links on the right hand side and enjoy!

It’s astounding how many different “faces” Scotland presents, all the way from sandy beaches to fishing villages to cities to mountains. Some of them are breathtaking. I’m hoping to have some photos of my own to post by the end of February although I’m not a great chronicler. I forget I’m supposed to be taking photos!

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