Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Here is my first stranded knitting project. Of course it is one of Alice Starmore's more complicated celtic patterns. Someone forgot to look at the level of difficulty before deciding to buy the yarn, typical. Anyway, I will pass on two things I've learned that are probably quite obvious to most knitters (but since I learn to knit from reading - no one had bothered to write down before), but not obvious to someone new to stranded knitting.
First: make sure your loop is almost as long as your work! Since the key to stranded knitting is ensuring the stitches are generously spaced as you strand along the second color, it is essential that you have room on your needle for that spacing. If your loop is too short, the stitches push back on the right hand needle, causing the infamous washboard effect to your work. This picture shows the effect of not realizing this until I had struggled through ten inches of work, cursing it all the way. I tried everything I could think of to address uneven tension in my work, to no effect. Finally a kind soul (thank you Claire Boissevain Crooke! whose Norwegian Hat patterns are available at Yarns Unlimited) clued me in when I desperately sought help in a workshop (not my style). I am told that blocking heals all. I look forward to the day.
Second: With Starmore's pattern directions, it wasn't clear why you place one stitch on a holder as you begin the arm hole steeks. Well, its simply the underarm stitches that you would place on a holder for any armhole work - duh! I can't tell you how many hours I puzzled over those directions, never having done a steek before (thank you Eunny! whose Steek tutorial is the best on the Net). Anyway, here is a detail of the beginning of the Steek.
So, hope you can benefit from my silly mistakes, they sure caused a lot of grief! Of course the next step of cutting the steek will be an adventure of another sort. Cheers!