something to aspire to

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This might sound a little cheeky, but there isn’t much in knitting that I aspire to, in the sense of wondering if and only timidly hoping that I may be able to do it some day. I haven’t done much lace, but I know how to do the majority of the stitches required for it. I still haven’t got around to knitting my first pair of socks, but I understand all the elements of at least one type of construction and I don’t fear it. I haven’t yet knitted and stuffed a toy, but I have all the materials ready at home, waiting until I find the time for it.

There is one thing, though, that makes my fingers hurt from the very thought of it, and my knitterly ego run into the corner of the room and whimper. Colourwork.

There have been attempts. First, optimistically, in the spring and summer of 2009, this.

Hello, wonky corrugated rib! Hello, puckering! Rrrrrip.

Then, in the winter of 2010, this.

How many stitches per round, while holding two colours? You’ve got to be kidding me. Rrrrrrip.

Then, for Christmas 2010, this.

Three colours. Haha. You would’ve thought the first two attempts had been successful, if I decided to do this. It did go quite ok, though, until I learned about a little thing called yarn dominance. And realized I had been doing it all wrong. Rrrrrrip.

I have actually restarted the latter, but they soon got moved to the bottom of the WIP heap. In the to deal with when I have the nerve again section. I do also plan to restart both Paper Dolls and Selbu, and I have yarn waiting for Fiddleheads and Tortoise and Hares. I am not one to back away from a challenge. Well, not indefinitely at least. ;) But temporarily? Oh hell yeah! :D I’ve been hiding from all of these for a while now.

But thinking about it now, I remember there was one successful (and extremely pleasing) colourwork project: Opus Spicatum.

Why did that work without major issues? Well, it hadn’t occured to me until now, but it’s obvious. It was knit in aran weight! The perfect kid-wheels for a bike – heavier yarn, bigger needles. And when I think about it – it’s one of the main issues I have with colourwork – my tight grip on the thin needle, which quickly causes a painful spot on my finger. Thus making the knitting literally pained. Eureka! Before I get down to all those lovely complex fingering-weight patterns listed above, I clearly need to get a few more heavier weight colourwork projects under my belt. How hadn’t I realized that before?!

Phew, we’ve got that figured out now. Good. But wait, I don’t know of any other colourwork patterns that call for worsted or aran weight… Hmmmm… Well, I guess that’s where you come in! Anyone willing to supply me with my kid wheels? I’d be much obliged for all and any pattern recommendations! Thank you :)

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About fridica

I started knitting completely by accident, when I was visiting my parents for a holiday in 2008. On a boring Sunday afternoon, I decided to dig through their stash of books to see if there was anything interesting to take back to my apartment. A knitting manual happened to be one of the books I found. I got curious, my mom immediately dug out her old needles and yarn stash (which she hadn’t used in a decade at least), and in a few minutes we were both casting on - she by memory, I by following the instructions from the book… :) Since I normally prefer learning from books, this was ideal.. I took the book home with me, and very very soon - I was an addict.

16 thoughts on “something to aspire to

  1. I find colourwork quite hard too, especially when there are large floats of the same colour. However, never underestimate the power of blocking. Last Christmas I made a couple of Christmas stockings for my brother and his girlfriend (now wife). The first one came out really tight and ‘homemade’ looking, the second was perfect. I thought it was terrible, I couldn’t give an awful stocking to one of them and a perfect one to the other… but I blocked them and then could hardly tell the difference between them.

    • Ooooh, thanks for the offer! It looks like a wonderful sampler of several different colourwork motifs! I’m afraid I can’t commit to testing now, though – I have way too much work (in real life) and several knitted projects I have to finish very soon, before undertaking anything else. I’ll keep your pattern in mind for when I start practising my colourwork again, though! Thank you!

  2. What works for smaller projects (like mittens) for me, is to hold the left side of the knitted garment on the outside. You’re still knitting normally, but it helps to keep the tension even and to not pull the stitches too tightly.

  3. Maybe if you did it with more regularity, you’d get a better handle on the process?

    I don’t know. My second project ever was colourwork, and it was super. I guess I’m one of those disgustingly enviable knitters who just does something and has it turn out ok.

  4. haha, I thought I had yarn dominance down too after reading up on it…emphasis on THOUGHT. That’s why I only have one mitten done! I told myself I’d get to it, but right now it’s at the bottom of my knitting priority list. I thought I had it but then I lost it.. somewhere. ;)

  5. first off, i looooove colorwork. i find it ridiculously addictive. the selbu modern can be modified to make it with worsted weight yarn ( see: here, though i did knit it with smaller needles, which makes it deliciously squishy). also, can you throw with both hands? because i keep color a on my right and throw with my right hand, and color b on my left and throw with my left hand. this also keeps the yarn from getting tangled, and should smooth out some of your color dominance issues. also what sarah said above. the importance of blocking to colorwork cannot be overstated.

    • Actually, I don’t throw at all, I pick :) I’m a continental knitter :) I do knit colourwork with both hands, though… But it’s not the messy look that scares me, it’s the actual process, I find it very difficult and when I want to just relax with my knitting (which is most of my knitting time) I just never reach for colourwork…

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