Observant regulars at my blog may have noticed some changes on the tabs menu above, including a tab called ‘Knitting School’. I’ve added this following discussion in our Ravelry group concerning my suggestion for a new KAL starting mid-September. As with my previous KALs I intend to use this one to guide fellow knitters into developing those advanced knitting techniques that they would be loath to attempt without support. I firmly believe that all knitters are capable of developing even the most advanced knitting skills. The truth is that nothing in knitting is ever as hard as first learning to knit, and so I want to encourage fellow knitters to dare to try techniques they haven’t dared try before. Thus the first lessons in my new Knitting School will focus on the much-feared techniques of ‘stranded knitting’, of which fair isle (which uses many colours) is a form many of you will be familiar with.
These first lessons will support the KAL for a stranded slipper (which I’ve named ‘Tess’) I have recently designed. Tess features a ‘Magic cast-on’ for the toe, Scandinavian style stranded colourwork (two colours), mirrored increases and decreases, a steek, three-needle bind-off, and an applied i-cord edging. That’s a lot of advanced techniques in one small project, so it is an ideal learning piece.
Shibui Knits in Portland, Oregon, are very kindly providing yarn for the pattern sample. It is a heavy fingering weight sock yarn called ‘Staccato’, a gorgeous combination of merino wool and silk in a smooth yarn that will give good stitch definition in stranded knitting. I’ll be using the ‘Rain’ and ‘Redwood’ shades, and ‘Chrome’ and ‘Raspberry’ (i.e. I’m trying out two different colourways). For those joining the KAL please be assured that you may use any smooth 4ply/fingering weight yarn in two colours of your choice. Many of you should be able to find something appropriate in your stash (especially as most knitters seem to have rather extensive stashes!).
A daunting thing in colourwork is choosing what colours to use, so I’m going to blog about this next week with a basic guide on using the ‘colour wheel’ to choose colour combinations that work well .
The KAL pattern will specify a tension/stitch gauge of 8 sts per inch (row gauge is not important), and I strongly recommend swatching to find what needle size you need to get this in stranded knitting worked in the round. I will be using a 2.75mm/US 2 circular needle for the magic loop method. Please choose needles for your own preferred method of small diameter circular knitting.
I have already worked one prototype slipper to test out my design idea. Here it is modelled by my wonderful twin-sister. The photos were taken in the evening in poor light, so please forgive the poor quality of the images. This prototype was worked in some Shetland yarn from my stash, and as you can see there isn’t a significant enough level of contrast between the two to show off the pattern very well. Nevertheless, they were on hand, and they did the job I needed.
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