Archive for the ‘Color’ Category

Felicity “Felix” Ford is one of my knitting heroes.

She started out by connecting sound with wool. Well, that may not be where she started at the very beginning, but it is the first endeavor of hers that I found. She recorded the sounds of sheep grazing, and captured a landscape. She went to a mill and recorded the sounds of the machines. After collecting sounds, she put them together in a podcast. (There is another sound-related project she has been working on where she translates the punch cards from music boxes into knitting patterns, but I am not sure of the status.)

When it comes to knitting, her design aesthetic, her artistic approach, her attention to detail, and her seemingly limitless patience are incredibly inspiring. She breaks down and explains her processes with an enthusiasm which is completely infectious. She finds beauty, creativity, and inspiration in the details of the mundane and everyday, and she translates those details into colorwork knitting patterns. Not only has she published the patterns, but her methodology as well so that you can make your own observations and design your own patterns using the Knitsonik Stranded Colourwork Sourcebook and the Stranded Colourwork Playbook.

Colorwork and fair isle knitting are techniques which continue to intimidate me. I have made a couple of hats and one sweater involving stranded knitting. They turned out fairly well, especially the sweater, but the process of knitting stiches in different colors on the same row is a slow and tedious process for me. I love the results because they look like complicated magic even though every stitch is knit. What I really need to do is practice, and I could probably do with some encouragement and feedback along the way.

Also, trying to go from image to inspiration to pattern to project can be a daunting undertaking, making it feel like another project which was bigger than the time and energy it deserves. I could tackle it in the increments of which I have become so fond (which I may still try) … or I could sign up for the new pattern club and workshop put together by Felix and three of her friends.

In a nutshell, the Colour to Knit e-Book and Club Membership guides knitters through playing with color (or colour) and provides pattern templates for designs that you color in with pencils or pens (whatever your preference). Et voila! A stranded colorwork pattern! Four different designers means four different approaches and four different patterns which appear in your inbox from May until August. In addition there is an online group and there will be several hour-long video sessions.

From the detail page: “The four projects are ordered by complexity. The eBook begins with the easiest and most accessible project and concludes with the most ambitious. As a collection, these projects take you through different creative approaches, building your skills and confidence as you go. Each design is accompanied by enabling worksheets and colouring-in pages for you to print and recolour as many times as you like.”

That paragraph says to me: lots of opportunities to try ideas, see what works and what doesn’t, learning as you go, always with the option to go back and try again. No pressure.

Sign-ups close on April 30th, so there are only a few more days to sign up for the full club, but if you miss out, the book will be published and available in August.

I’m in for sure. (I couldn’t sign up fast enough.) Anyone else up for a knitting adventure?

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My knitting for at least the last year and a half has been almost exclusively socks and sweaters. I discovered what I call my magic formula for socks in terms of yarn weight, needle size, and stitch count, and I can just knit at will. The great thing about it is that the stitch count is 48, which is divisible by lots of numbers, so it works with lots of different stitch patterns. I have lots of choices. Knitting socks has been relaxing.

Knitting sweaters is generally relaxing as well, but they have a lot more stitches and take longer to knit, so my output isn’t as prolific. They do use up more yarn which is good when I am motivated to knit down the stash.

One exception has been a corner-to-corner blanket pattern. I would cast on a few stitches, increase until I had used up half of the yarn, and then decrease. It’s fun, meditative, and uses up a pile of yarn. The slight drawback, which isn’t really a drawback, is that they all turn out as squares, and for some reason my brain wasn’t realizing what I needed to do to make a rectangle.

Enter Purl Soho, specifically the Colorful Corner Blanket. The version I initially came across was made in worsted weight cotton. That link goes to a bulky version. That is the beauty of a pattern this simple. You can use any weight of yarn you want with a needle that gives you a fabric you like.

The increase and decrease sections use a slightly different technique than I used on my square blankets, but what I needed was the addition of the bias section in between the increase and decrease sections. It was obvious once I read the pattern. I have knit shawls and scarves on the bias. It is a delightfully simple technique. You just have to increase a stitch on one end of the row and decrease a stitch on the other end of the row.

Spending 10 or 15 minutes rummaging around in my yarn stash yielded three potential projects. I started with this pile of yarn:

Two shades of green, one mutli-colored yarn, and one shade of brown (not visible)

I am quite a bit further along than what is pictured, but I haven’t taken a more recent picture, and it is too dark right now to get a good one. There was a stitch count issue once I got to the bias section, so I had to pull out a bunch of rows and reknit them, but otherwise, it is going swimmingly.

The only problem is that I keep thinking about other color and yarn combinations in my stash, and I also keep thinking that I want to make one on a bigger needle and hold the yarn double so that the blanket is extra squishy and cozy. Yesterday, I finally gave in and started a second blanket.

Double-stranded yarn and a big needle make for quick work. I am completely hooked on this project. Since I am using up some odds and ends as well as different yarns with slightly different weights and yardages, I am figuring out the striping sequence and widths as I go along. I am also weighing each ball of yarn and keeping track of stitch counts at the end of each section so that I can figure out how much I need to reserve to work the decrease section at the end.

It is so much fun!! You can use leftovers or a bunch of single skeins or a combination. I keep eyeing the stash of fingering weight yarn, mentally trying out triple-strand combinations. That could put a serious dent in the stash.

The only dilemma is what to do with the blankets once they are finished. I will have to see if I can find some of them good homes. Who doesn’t need a nice, snuggly blanket, right?

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One of the things I love about knitting is the wondrous variety you can achieve with a handful of basic techniques, and so often — especially when using beautiful, high quality yarn — the simple can look elaborate and complicated. Come to think of it, the same principle applies to weaving. Plain weave can look stunning with beautiful yarn, and with a little planning, you can create all sorts of pretty patterns. Plan those pretty plain weave patterns. (This alliterative moment brought to you by the letter ‘p.’)

There are a couple of patterns in knitting which mimic the look and texture of weaving. Linen stich is the most common. It creates a smooth, flat fabric which does not curl the way that stockinette does. A similar technique which uses only knit stitches and slipped stitches (no purl stitches) also has a woven look to it, but is more textured. I have made several Noro Slip Stitch Stripe Scarf and love them. (You don’t have to use Noro. I have one on the needles using two solid colors, and it looks almost like houndstooth.) Here’s one example:

I promise that it looks more complicated that it is. It could easily be the second project a knitter every makes.

One of the most popular woven patterns, if not the most popular, is plaid. It is iconic, world famous, and offers endless opportunity to play with color. Replicating it in knitting can be complicated … or so I thought.

Enter Franklin Habit, fiber artist and teacher formerly of Chicago, Illinois, and currently residing in Paris, France. If you want to see delightful pictures of Paris and surrounding areas, often with a fiber and textile theme, follow him on Instagram. I support him on Patreon and have therefore been receiving a series of lessons on color theory. The most recent installment features one of his older patterns Princess Franklin Plaid Collar. The link takes to you the pattern, which is free and includes a delightful story of the process that went into creating it (another example of the “behind the scenes” information I love).

A close-up of the pattern from the Knitty site

The short version is that you knit garter stitch (knit every stitch of every row, so once again, no purling) stripes, and once the knitting is done, you weave strands across the surface of the fabric to create the plaid detailing!

Another picture from the Knitty site

Is it a bit fiddly in that you have to pay attention to what you are doing when you are weaving? Yes. Are there a bunch of ends to weave in from all of the stripes? Yes. But, come on, garter stitch stripes and a few extra strands to make gorgeous plaid fabric? Sign. Me. Up.

I am definitely adding this project to the list. Will I get to it anytime soon? Probably not because I am still all about socks and sweaters, although I have added a blanket to the mix which I need to post about. Also, I want to make a nice long scarf rather than a cowl, so I will need to do a bit of stash rummaging and planning. Once I get going, I will be sure to report back here.

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