Heather Knits

Where Heather waffles on about knitting and anything else which crosses her mind.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Knitting with Colour

Sorry for not posting for such a long time (I am beginning to feel like a stuck record, since every time I post I seem to start like this!). Work has been busy and I have just been really tired. I actually got to the point the other night where I had to cast on something new just to have something mindless enough to knit while we watched a recorded Poirot because everything I was in the middle of required too much thought!

Anyway, work has calmed down, I have had a couple of nice long nights sleep and am a bit nicer to be with :-)

I shall distract you from the lack of knitting progress on the projects-on-the-go in the last couple of weeks with pictures from the Rowan workshop I went to on Thursday. The title was Knitting with Colour, and it was held at John Lewis in Kingston (upon Thames that is rather than one of the other many Kingstons). In typical Heather fashion this was the first Rowan workshop I have ever been to, and I decided to sign up a year after I stopped being a Rowan subscriber (having been one for several years) so I didn't get the 5% member discount. Never mind.

The workshop itself was good fun, it was held from 10 til 2 which seemed about right time-wise, long enough to really get into things, but not so long that you just became boggled by it all. There were 6 attendees, plus the tutor, and the new Rowan consultant from Peter Jones in Sloane Square who had come along to pick up tips on running a workshop. A really nice number since it was small and friendly and we could all sit round one table, and the tutor had enough time to really see how people were doing and give help and suggestions as were needed.

We covered fairisle type two colour stranding, and intarsia. The tutor mentioned that she had also planned to do a bit of Swiss darning (duplicate stitch) but we didn't have time in the end, not a great loss to me as that wasn't really my particular interest in this workshop. We started off with the stranding, using a method similar to that used by Philosopher's Wool where you weave in your carrying yarn every stitch. It was really interesting for me to see a real-life demonstration of knitting with two colours since all of my colourwork so far has been a mixture of learning from books and making it up as I go along. I really wanted to have a go at two handed fairisle where you hold one yarn in each hand, and it was good fun. Unfortunately I am not as dextrous as I would like to be and my left hand required a bit of persuasion and staring at to make it do what my brain was telling it, but I think it should get better with practice. I think I shall watch my Knitting Glossary DVD a few more times to see Continental knitting demonstrated and try to pick up some tips.

In the interests of scientific discovery (really there is no hope for me, I'm obsessive but at least I know it :-) ) I then had to do the same sample again but this time holding both yarns in my right hand (at the same time that is, rather than drop and pick up). It was really interesting to observe the differences.

The lower part of the swatch is two-handed, the upper part is with both yarns in my right hand (I think both yarns in my left hand would lead to lots of frustration so I haven't attempted it yet, learn to walk before you run and all that). I found the two handed knitting much slower and had trouble making my left hand co-operate when it was its turn to do some knitting, but the weaving in part was actually not too difficult. With both yarns in my right hand I zipped along on the knitting part but the weaving was much more of a problem, I think I would get along better with holding both yarns in the same hand if I was just stranding the carrying yarn along the back of the work. However even though I usually knit with the yarn in my right hand and so you would have thought I would be more used to it, I think the tension with the right-handed part of the swatch is not nearly so nice and even as the two-handed part of the swatch. I much prefer the look of the two-handed, and it is a lot square-er (is that a word?), which would make some designs easier to work out. I will definitely have more of a go at the two-handed lark when I pick up the languishing Henry VIII. Languishing partly because I am fiddling with the pattern slightly so that it will be wide enough, and turning it into a raglan, and also there are more than 400 stitches in each round so it is somewhat time consuming!

After the fairisle we moved on to intarsia (see the top of the swatch) which was all useful stuff too, particularly the reminder to look at where on the row above you will need the yarn again, so that you can weave the yarn to the right place and are prepared and don't have pulling across the back of the work.

The car is going in for its MOT tomorrow so that will be a nice bit of knitting time while they get that done. I am hoping that it will sail through with no expensive things needing doing since I have my eye on some rather nice looking Peruvian yarn at Elann.


  • At 8:07 pm, Anonymous dawn said…

    Hi Heather. An interesting effect is how you hold the yarns as well - which one on top. I think (can't remember) that I knit with the dark one always underneath, whihc makes the lighter colour pop out - or the other way around!

  • At 5:19 pm, Blogger m said…

    Henry VIII certainly looks complicated.
    Not one to mix with Poirot!
    The workshop sounds good too.


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