Tuesday, March 11, 2008


I didn't start too well. After all the notes I've made about doing this I started swatching with the background colour in my left hand and the pattern colour in my right instead of vice versa, DOH! Not the end of the world as I realised after the 4th row. The pattern is not especially helpful as the chart shows dark colours as light boxes and light colours as dark boxes. How silly.

Here's the reverse of it before washing and blocking. I love the way the woven threads form their own pattern. It was very curly and hard to stretch out!

The front before washing and blocking.

I washed it in a gentle liquid wool wash then rinsed it and patted dry. When I first saw all the colours in the flesh I thought they looked rather drab and I was a bit disappointed. Now I've seen them together I've totally changed my mind as they really sing out. They are beautiful!

Having done the swatch I have several questions:

i) I'm using the pattern colour in my left hand and background colour in my right hand. When there is a big block of colour in the background colour (say 5 or more stitches) I can easily catch the pattern colour in to secure it. BUT, how do I do it when it's reversed? I don't see how I can catch the yarn in my right hand under the left hand yarn. Do I need to worry about it?

ii) Some of the rows use just one colour. This means the fabric is thinner as the patterned sections have 2 yarns. Is this OK?

iii) The Shetland Spindrift is very variable in thickness. The Old Gold is really chunky but the Shetland Black is incredibly thin and weedy. Does this matter in the scheme of things?

I know that at some stage Marina, my guardian FairIsle Angel will pop along and offer her advice. If anyone reading this wants to see some truly inspirational work then pop along to her blog.

At least my gauge is OK. I've noticed that people have recommended knitting a size smaller than their actual bust measurement as it is meant to be close fitting. My actual measurement is 39" so I think I shall knit the 37" version as I don't want the neck to gape which it might if I did the larger size.

The other thing I wondered about is whether to increase the length a little. I'd better make a decision on that soon!


Marina said...

i. I guess I never told you that I knit with only one hand, holding one colour at a time ;-) Nanette's blog, http://knittingincolor.blogspot.com/ might have something about it.

ii. Yes, it's OK.

iii. Very observant! Some dark colours from both companies just come out that way. Didn't it bloom after washing? It will be fine.

Your swatch looks fantastic. You're a natural at Fair Isle!

TutleyMutley said...

I agree with Marina - - your swatch looks great - no puckering, really neat. I too only hold the yarns in one hand and switch and switch about, and I've been trying very hard to learn to knit continental style so i can do what you obviously already can do! I'm very envious. Anyhway - 1) If you have a large area that needs either of the colours catching in, then you can always let it go to wrap - I usually pass the colour being stranded over the other colour first one way, then back the other the next stitch so you get a sort of v on the back of the work and it doesn't show on the front. (Hmm that's easier to show than describe methinks). 2) If you knit to an even tension it doesn't really matter - some folk find that the fairisle section is knitted slightly tighter - so stay loose! 3) It all comes out in the wash (or 'blooms' as Marina says)

What an exciting project! I've got the Kauni Yarn to knit the same cardi that Yarn harlot knitted last year waiting casting on - but I really MUST finish some WIPS first.

Susie Hewer said...

Thanks you two!

Marina, how do you knit so beautifully one-handed? That's how I started to do it and my tension was way too loose then someone showed me the two-handed technique and I got my tension spot on.

Tut Mutts, that's exactly what I did at first but my tension is much better 2-handed.