Like I admitted before, one of my dreams is to have my own alpacas, so it was inspiring to listen to someone else’s journey into it.
If you haven’t been sucked into Woolful yet, I highly recommend subscribing. Ashley, the creator of the Woolful podcast, recently purchased land in Idaho to start her own flock of sheep and fiber mill. She started the podcast to share her journey and to collect knowledge from other people in the fiber industry (designers, shepherds, millers, fiber artists…). I have found it to be extremely inspiring, with many moments of pausing and reflecting on things that resonate with me.
If you love anything about the fiber industry, I think you’ll find the Woolful podcast to be inspiring and hopefully you’ll be hooked like I am!
I’ve been working on a test knit for my mug cozy for probably a month, picking it up and putting it back down. The intarsia was a slow process, since I designed the color changes based on my own visual likes rather than ease of knitting. I’d also never done intarsia knitting before this.
With intarsia, you create a new little bobbin of yarn to work from each time there is a color change. So, you’re knitting around in blue, get to a cloud, switch to a small bit of white, then switch to a new bit of blue (that’s right, you don’t just pick up the old blue you were using before until you come back around). Because you don’t bring the yarn along behind the work, every time there is a color change, you get a new bit of yarn. For every new bit of yarn, there is going to be an end to weave in.
As I was designing this, I had no experience with intarsia, therefore, gave no thought to how many ****ing ends there would be to weave it when I finished the cozy.
I don’t even want to pretend I’m going to finish this test knit.
But either way, NAILED IT!
Hahaha, just kidding. This poor mug cozy is a step away from being knitted vomit.
Aside from being a finishing nightmare, my technique was just not very good. The randomly loose stitches above would be fixed after I weaved in the ends of the yarn — they’re just loose because they’re not quite attached.
The blob thing that should be a sheep in a pasture though… wowwee.
I knit the clouds in seed stitch – k1, p1, then on the next row I’d purl the knits and knit the purls, creating these cute, fluffy clouds because purl stitches create a little horizontal bar that puffs out a bit.
The problem with purl stitches in colorwork is that the previous stitch is visible behind the purl bar. Not so noticeable when it’s white on light blue, but super noticeable when it’s white on dark green. I wanted the sheep to be fluffy, so I tried the same thing on them.
Another issue I had was in using this technique to be able to knit in the round while still using the intarsia technique. I thought I did this correctly everytime I turned my work, but apparently not because the start/end section of the mug cozy looks quite… jacked. If you’re not a knitter, just notice how most sections have a straight line of Vs going down, but in the middle… who knows what’s happening? Also, you should become a knitter.
And my last gripe with this is that the green on the bottom needs more saturation. It’s being ousted on the next run.
So, it’s back to the drawing board with this pattern. Lessons learned:
Make sure your yarn colors are all equally saturated or it just looks sad.
Don’t try to be cute with your fluffy purl stitches when doing high-contrast colorwork.
It may not be worth the pain to create a color chart based solely on visual design — take the knitting experience into account and try to reduce the number of ends that will need to be weaved in at the end.
Read more about my adventure in creating my first knitting pattern:
Today, as I started yet another Google search for more suggestions on yarn management in colored knitting, I kept seeing “intarsia” pop up. I figured I should at least see what the deal was and when I started learning how to do intarsia knitting (not just looking at end-results), I realized that although intarsia may not make knitting my mug cozy easier, it will probably make a better end product.
Differences Between Intarsia and Stranded Color Knitting
The presence (stranded) and absence (intarsia) of floating yarn behind the work. This is a big deal for my mug cozy, which would be a huge pain in the butt to get onto a mug due to the floats inside the cozy.
If you’re not switching back and forth between colors every few stitches, you’re going to waste yarn with stranded knitting. Intarsia is good for big blocks of color and vertical stripes because the yarn is carried a short distance up to the next row behind the work.
Setting up for intarsia looks like a lot of fun (not). For every color change or block of color in a pattern, you will want to create a mini ball of yarn that hangs behind your work. With stranded color knitting, you would typically knit from the same ball of yarn the entire time for all colors.
Each color block in intarsia knitting will need to be weaved in when you’re done. Unless you’re not using a color for a long while, you probably won’t have much to weave in as a result of stranded knitting.
References and Helpful Tips for Beginning Intarsia Knitting
For a visual guide, a video from KnittingHelp on intarsia. A comment on their site also alluded to the difficult nature of intarsia knitting in the round (which is how I’m knitting my mug cozy).
A video on intarsia knitting in the round from Planet Purl, which shows that to do intarsia in the round, you’ll need to purl every other row (eeewwwww). I suppose that’s better than not being able to put the mug cozy on a mug.
Introduction to intarsia from Twist Collective. The author gives some tips at the bottom of the article, such as adding in detail once the knitting is complete using embroidery or duplicate stitch.
After learning these things, I’m still a bit hesitant to use intarsia for my mug cozy. There are some sections of my pattern that seem like they will be obnoxious to set up and the thought of purling even though I’m knitting in the round is not appealing. But the amount of yarn I would waste in using stranded knitting for this, especially in the sheep section, makes the annoyance of intarsia seem pretty worth it.
I will keep you posted on how this intarsia adventure goes! If you have any tips, let me know!
Just a quick update on my knitting pattern design adventure. Worked on this in Photoshop (I guess I gave up on hand-drawing) based on the test knit I was working on. This chart is 76 columns by 42 rows.
The color changes are still very spaced apart, so I will need to learn how to secure the floating yarn behind my work every few stitches. I’d rather figure out the techniques of knitting this rather than force my design into being more knit-friendly.
I’m excited to see how this looks in yarn. We’ll see how it goes…!
Read more about my adventure in creating my first knitting pattern:
I found this quote the other day and I was all, “Man, I could totally see that quote overlaying some mountain climber. How inspirational!”
If at some point you don’t ask yourself, ‘What have I gotten myself into?’ then you’re not doing it right.
Then today, I start thinking about what kind of photo could go with it and the thought of a giant yarn stash crossed my mind – one where you’re stuffing yarn into your desk drawers because there’s no more room in the allotted basket/shelves/tupperware set of drawers/closet/guest closet. If you knit or crochet, you know what I’m talking about… It starts with a ball or two of yarn when you start out, then you start visiting yarn shops and you think, “Oh, that’d be great for a [insert knitting/crocheted object here that you’ll probably never even start]”.
So I started searching Flickr for images that I could use and found this amazing woman – my hero – knitting on Splash Mountain with undeniable proof.
The challenge here was trying to get something usable out of an image that was too small and too grainy.
I’m not sure how long ago I learned how to knit – maybe 3 years? I feel like I’ve been doing it forever. I feel insanely guilty when I’m not producing something and I could be – knitting can be done (unless it’s a complicated pattern) while watching TV, sitting in the car, at my lunch break… And it’s a nice way to zone out while still creating something.
Elizabeth Zimmerman is a big name in knitting. She created tons of patterns but also re-introduced continental style knitting to the US after WWII. For non-knitters, continental style knitting refers to the way the yarn is wrapped around the needle to make a stitch. It’s, in my opinion, way faster than knitting English style, which requires you to drop your left needle to wrap the yarn around the right.
But, aside from that, she also had a knitting series on PBS, knit on the back of her husband’s motorcycle (how badass?) and wrote a few books.
It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything about knitting. I’ve been trying to do more knitting lately and decided to devote myself to knitting a hat for my mom. She’s been asking for one for more than a year now so I needed to get off my butt and just start working! (Actually, I guess I can knit and sit at the same time.)
This is the pattern: Robin’s Egg Blue Hat. It’s terribly cute, pretty easy and has so much potential for personality due to the button detail.
This is my first project to use a seed stitch too, so it’s great practice. Also, the use of 10.5mm needles to get gauge makes this hat “fly off my needles” as they say.
So, it’s been more than a month since I started writing this post. I’m now finished with my hat!
The button is from As Cute As A Button. I still have to send it to my mom, but hopefully she likes it!