Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Two in one

In a moment of bravery I elected to look at Knitting Help's video for Fair Aisle knitting. (Apparently Fair Aisle is a specific type of stranding method, so the video is listed under the latter.) Carrying two pieces of differently colored yarn together on the same row is one of those things that scares me a lot as a knitter. It looks incredibly complicated and difficult and, most importantly, Not Worth The Inevitable Headaches. Still, I would like to know how to do it as there are some projects--my secret project, for instance--for which I'd like to be able to apply it.

The video demystifies the technique, although it's not entirely clear to me. That can only come with actually trying to do it. For a second I thought that I'd give it a go for the secret project, but if I'm not mistaken, Fair Aisle (or whatever it's called) looks as though it can only be done in stockinette. Am I right? The dictum that one should carry the yarn past more than a five stitch gap creates problems too.

The project in question could be done in stockinette, although I think it would probably lose some utility in that stitch. Of course, in this instance it would also mean rewriting the pattern (or doing a mistake-free version on graph paper) as the whole point of my process has been to determine which stitches should be knits and which should be purls. I may be up for that eventually but not any time soon.

I skimmed some of the intarsia video, but once she starts talking about the various ways one needs to overlap the strands depending on how things are leaning, I tuned out and quietly swore off color work. (All the ends to weave in doesn't make it appealing either.)

I've tried double knitting and found it also more suited to stockinette, not to mention that it becomes confusing after awhile with having to knit two strands for everything.

It seems like there ought to be an easier way than these methods, but from what I've found, it looks like I'm best sticking to one color at a time or variegated yarn. Those other techniques just might make me lose it.

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At 11:13 AM, Blogger Amanda D Allen said...

I'm convinced that if I can do it anyone can do it. Since I've done both stranded and intarsia, I know you can do it. Especially since you've double knitted (which intimidates me still).

Stranded knitting is really easy. The big tip is just to remember to keep your stitches spread out when you start with the next color so there is enough slack in the back. I know the number of stitches per inch goes way down because of it, but it still looks good. As for the stockinette, I think technically it can be done any way you want, but if it is not stockinette, the color changes are not going to be distinct lines. I learned this during my heart blanket. Knits don't lay next to purls the same way they do knits and so if you were to change colors in the same place for several rows, it would be a distinct line in stockinette. If there are purls along that line, it is going to be bumpy or kinda wavy (waves are too big because it happens with each stitch, but it's hard to explain).

Stranded work is also best to be done in the round. I don't know what the secret project is, but if you knit on the wrong side you might want to go with intarsia. You can work on the wrong side in stranded, but from what I read people try to avoid it because you can't see what is going on with you project because all of the strands that are carried are on the back of the work covering up the stitches.

As for intarsia, the only thing I found difficult about this was the number of strings attached to my project. In stranded you only have two and you are carrying them along to use either whenever you need it. In Intarsia you have one for every time the color changes. So if you go from blue to green and then back to blue you already have three instead of the two.

For the left leaning or right leaning and how to wrap the yarn, I made myself a note card that just had \|/ drawn on it with over or under next to them. Only one of them is actually different (sorry it has been a bit and I don't remember which). If you do it the same as the others, from what I understand it is not too big of a deal. I know that in the Knitting help video, she shows what it looks like if you use the wrong one. To me it seemed on par with using a right leaning increase when left leaning increase is called for. There is a difference, but it would probably take a knitter to notice.

Wow, that was a lot of information. I hope it was helpful. Maybe I could have narrowed it down a bit if the secret project wasn't so secret :P.

At 1:41 PM, Blogger the secret knitter said...

That'sa lotta comment. Thanks
for the suggestions. I'm still convinced that it's not worth the trouble on this project.

And yes, I once kind of, sort of knew how to double knit, but I didn't do much of it or make anything. I'd have to learn all over again.

At 2:53 PM, Anonymous LittleWit said...

One option you do have is simply transferring your purl stitches for the project into one color and the knit stitches into another. You should still get the same effect and you won't have to purl anything. That being said my only attempt at intarsia is buried somewhere in the man cave. ;)

At 8:47 PM, Blogger Katherine said...

Stranded knitting is fairly easy once you get the hang of using two strands. Give it a try on a small swatch, I'm sure you'll pick it up with no problem :)

At one of my knitting guild meetings another member (and podcaster, Sticks & String) showed me how he held the two strands of yarn to make it quicker and tension more even, perhaps his video will give you a tip. I don't hold my yarn the same way as he does when knitting, so I still drop one colour to pick up the next. A bit slow but easier for me.

Good luck!


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