Wednesday, 11 May 2011

My WIP Wednesday is hairier than yours

Last night I looked down at the slightly random bundle of woolly things I was working on and thought the colours looked kind of nice together. Then I thought, what is happening to me? Those colours look a tiny tiny bit… whisper it…
Like neopolitan ice cream. Without the chocolate and with green instead
Pastel. Oh, God forbid. I think I am still ok, though, I think they are a tiny bit more intense than traditional pastels. I am going to call them ‘sorbet colours’ and put it down to Spring madness. Anyway, this is what I am working on.
The thing at the bottom is my skirt (I knelt down to take the picture, which doesn't entirely convey the Proud Hairiness of this yarn)
Do you remember the hairy green yarn that Loretta gave me? Well, I am knitting Liesl with it, and, this is the exciting thing, when you knit it, the hairiness is multiplied exponentially. I feel as if a small green monster is being born from my needles as I knit. Partner squeaks in alarm like a Big Girl’s Blouse if it touches him while he is sitting on the sofa (‘Susie! I can feel it! It’s on my leg!’). I do not know what I will look like when I am wearing it – I may look like a big scary green furball – but I am going to pretend that I am the She Hulk, who is on the television at the moment every night about 11:30, and of whom I am very fond. Anyway I have finished the yoke and am now working on the body, it goes very quickly. The yarn is a bit of a sod to work with (you can’t see what you’re doing) but it is terribly soft and also the fur doesn’t shed so I will not be leaving a furry green trail. Which is good, because, I mean, I won’t need too. I’ll be making quite enough of an impression.
I am ashamed of my scruffy fingers, yes. I'd just been digging in the garden
Although it looks a bit rubbish, this is actually something very special and exciting. I am trying to teach myself stranded knitting (for you non-knitters, this is essentially fairisle, although there are other kinds as well), and I am not finding it easy. Here is my problem. Lots of instructions for stranded knitting assume you do not mind holding a yarn in each hand, however I would rather do almost anything in the world than knit continental. I hate it! Take that, Elizabeth Zimmerman! Right-handed english thrower TO THE DEATH! I can actually do it (continental knitting), but it feels completely unnatural. It is the knitting equivalent of nailing a jelly to the ceiling. Over and over. I hate it. So I have worked out how to hold both yarns in my right hand, but I cannot work out how to twist them together to weave in floats (you have to do this if your colours are more than about 4 stitches apart so you don’t have a lot of unwieldy strands in your work). So I am poking about on the internet and asking on Ravelry. I find it very difficult to learn things from videos, which is going to complicate things, so, what I think will happen is that someone who understands right-handed stranded knitting will come to my house and perform a Vulcan Mind Meld. I mean, I’ll make them a cup of tea afterwards, I won’t exploit them or anything. Then I shall be straightaway knitting up wildly colourful woolly things like a storm, with none of that awful tedious learning first. Thank goodness for that! I shall get off and clear the books off the sofa for us to do the Mind Meld on, and then perhaps that person will help with the recycling as well, because it’s Bottle Day and one of us has generated bottles (it isn’t me). Good job I made some digestives, eh? Always be prepared!

While I’m waiting for the special Mind Meld person (hurry up, person! Mittens to knit!), you might want to check out some more Works In Progress (yes! It’s WIP Wed) at Tami’s blog (thanks, Tami!). If, on your travels, you see a WIP that is hairier than mine, could you please come back and let me know, because if such a thing exists I will be quite fascinated.

15 comments:

Vivianne said...

You might want to check if Mimi is a Vulcan ...she does brilliant stranded work :) I am seriously loving that green. In spite of my own blog post today LOL

PandaBearofDoom said...

I love those colors, so springy and cheerful XD.

Maytheweed said...

If you find someone with the suitable mind-meld skills could you package them up and send them over? I've just ordered the yarn for my first attempt at fair isle (which I'm hoping to have done for Yule so there's plenty of time. I think.)

Rachel said...

This non-knitter is none the wiser for knowing that stranded knitting is essentially the same thing as fairisle, though your photo does give some clues ;-) Maybe I should point out that I have no fashion knowledge either. Is that relevant?

Also, if you could see the state of my fingernails, you wouldn't apologise for yours!

pagesofjulia said...

I have an lol. First you say "stranded knitting (for you non-knitters, this is essentially fairisle, although there are other kinds as well)" which is still Greek to this non-knitter. Then my mother says she will happily lend me the Elizabeth Zimmerman book. She has missed the point. I don't want to know about knitting (no offense). I just find Susie funny. Thanks Susie.

I love the colors too! Rainbow sherbet.

Susie Jefferson said...

You KNOW I'm going to preface this by saying that I'm not a knitter - although my Mother was phenomenal, fair isle in 3ply on size 11s and 12s her speciality. She was also a 'right hand only' finger flicker knitter, and incredibly fast.

What she used to do was have the various strand of wool feeding through the holes in special plastic containers (something like clear ovoids which opened down the middle like Easter eggs, but with a hole in one end) so she could pull on the colour she wanted, let go of the colour she'd just finished with, and the containers would sort of pull around each other into place, and not tangle. So she was always just handling the one strand of wool at a time.

At the back of the fairisle, the threads were all straight, in parallel, very neat - and not twisted.

Dunno if this helps at all (probably sounds complete gibberish...)

Marushka C. said...

So far this is the hairiest WIP I've seen today, you should be proud.

The pastels might be some kind of latent reaction to all the beige in the family.

Chrisknits said...

I agree with your explanation of Continental Knitting. I am soooo dominant right hand that I will never knit Cont. I wish I could explain in words how I twist the strands when I knit with both in my right hand. I hold one yarn over the index and one over the middle fingers. I use my thumb to help manipulate the yarns when I want to change the placement. Sorry, I don't have any stranded going at the moment to visualize it with.

Susie said...

Chrisknits - knowing that it's possible is encouraging in itself, and actually that is helpful, I will try involving my thumb, thanks! ;-). Susie, it does make sense! The difficulty I have got is when those strands at the back of the work get too long - there is a way of catching them in the stitch. I am going to crack it. Grits teeth ;-).

I have explained stranded knitting very badly ;-). It is very beautiful! I will explain better when I can do it!

Ms C @ HappyElastic said...

Hey Susie. I just did a tutorial over on my blog about knitting intarsia in garter stitch, in which I kept my hands well out of the pictures! I have a large scratch on my hand from assembling a scooter and really dry skin after having to wash them 40 million times a day. Urgh!

Anyway, as far as I know the way to twist the yarns is always to bring the old yarn over new every 3-4 stitches. Take a look at my blog and it's the same as the method for twisting on the right side of the garter stitch intarsia.

Kathleen said...

Sometimes it's just the right time for almost-pastels, I think! I'm not generally a fan, either, but your yarns are wonderful...more like...sherbert-candy tones than pure pastels, I think. And I looove the furriness of that green shawl, it's going to be so much fun to wear!

Tami Klockau said...

I just have to say, this post cracked me up! I love that your colors are very spring like (yes we'll go with that!). I must say, I love knitting english style, and have only tried continental for a few stitches because my neighbor insists it's more awesome. It did feel odd, but I think it feels very much like crochet. As that I am also left handed, that may have helped. I do still like knitting right handed.

Denise said...

I love your spring colors. I love pastels expect for the greyed down ones that Martha Stewart made popular for awhile. UgH!

Your post made me smile. I'm right handed and a confirmed continental knitter.

Voie de Vie said...

I'm a thrower to the death, so I get your stranded knitting dilemma. I just did whatever felt most comfortable for me, and didn't worry about what was most efficient. My Inspira Cowl came out rather well - and I used three colors. :)

Love the fuzzy green, btw!

West/CJ said...

The green fuzzy yarn is fabulous. Sorry I don't do stranded work (nor do I knit continental), so I'm no help there. But I'm more than willing to commiserate.