Has it really been 5 weeks? I have been working half time -next week will be the third in a row–and I am kinda in a funk because of that. I am sleeping late and then picking up a bit around the house instead of knitting. I have, however finished some projects. First up is the lovely tam I was working on called The West Wind designed by Lorraine Condotta of Twisted Traditions and Sheriff of Knittingham.
I realized while doing the finishing work, aka weaving in ends, how deeply I have been influenced by my early knitting years. I recall, perhaps incorrectly, reading in an Elizabeth Zimmermann book to never ever knit in a knot. Also it is wise to not carry the yarn up, or weave in colors before a change, in a striped item so that you could fiddle with the juncture to avoid the dreaded jog. This was of course followed by various suggestions on how to avoid said jog. So here I am with not too many ends needing tackling which I was dutifully weaving in when it struck me that the Grand Dame of fair isle knitting, Alice Starmore, mentioning that some knitters just knotted the ends together. So that is what I did. A combination of weaving and just knotting the ends together in the inside of tam. I took several pictures:
When blocking tams I put the tam on a dinner plate and balance said plate over a smaller vase. This way the ribbing doesn’t get blocked in a stretched out position.
I think the shaping for tam top is very clever. Lorraine worked decreases organically into the leaf design of wheel:
Leaf Design on Tam Wheel
Here is the wheel design itself:
Along the top of the last picture you can see a couple of gray thingies. I volunteered to test knit a set of wrist warmers and a pair of fingerless mitts for Helen Gray Designs on Ravelry. The first I did is called Forget me not wristwarmers. I pulled out some discontinued yarn from Madil called Vanity and some scraps left over from fair isle knitting to come up with:
Forget me not wristwarmers
Ty really liked them and claimed them right away:
Tyler with wristwarmers
I then worked on a variation on Alice fingerless gloves for her and had a difficult time picking colors. I find color a fascinating medium. I was actually thinking about how sometimes I would see a garment in a magazine that was one of my ugh repulsive colors and not even notice the garment itself. I am not sure if I am the only person who just doesn’t *see* something because of how it is presented but I suspect there are many others like me.
An even earlier knitting influence was Maggie Righetti. The yarn shop I ambled into at age 20 when I picked up knitting again suggested it to me even above Knitting without Tears which I believe was my second knitting book. Maggie has an entire chapter, one of the early ones, regarding the tricks magazines pulled to get you to knit ill fitting garments. The whole golden sweater on curled up in golden chair blond model with golden fire flickering in background so all you had was an impression of cozy warmth but no real idea of how long or loose the sweater was–the sleeve length or neckline shaping etc. This reassures me that my suspicions are correct. We often, per Maggie, fall for the staging and not the garment’s merits.
My color insecurity is also fed by early influences. I am fully aware that I can knit a solid colored item in a different shade but when it comes to color work, fair isle in particular, I often am scared to mess with whatever perfection drew me towards the pattern in first place. The Grand Dame herself supposedly stopped working with Rowan yarns because they discontinued colors, being a fashion driven yarn company, thereby ruining her vision of how something should look and sued others for using her name and designs when substituting, even in part, non AS branded yarns. Ann Feitelson, whose color sensibilities tend to appeal to me more, cautions about substituting colors. On pg 101 of my 1st edition hardback she writes:
I do not recommend substituting any colors for those specified. Even shifting to an ever-so-slightly darker or ever-so-slightly lighter color may radically change the appearance of the patterns and the garment, creating either a strong horizontally striped appearance and/or obscuring the pattern.
Followed by the encouragement to experiment. Not sure how not recommending it and encouraging both work at same time but there you go. My take away was don’t do it. :-/
Back to Helen Gray and her designs. She presents us with fingerless mitts or wrist warmers that have a smidge of color work. I felt it was perfect for experimentation. But still I unknit and reknit my Alice variation mitts second guessing myself left and right. In the end I think I did a fair job and encourage anybody at all interested in fair isle to pick up one of her patterns. My youngest has claimed these and I finished the second one yesterday so photo only shows the one needed for testing purposes.:
Alice Mitt Variation
I carefully examined how the designer had combined colors. Her version had a wine red, red and then hot pink pop color for the center band and although I am sure I could have duplicated the colors with my shetland yarns I decided to use greens with a evergreen, teal and orange yellow pop color. I didn’t have quite as lively a shade for my main color around so softened the outer band to a navy instead of black she used. I did keep the avocado and seafoam colors tho and of the two I think the seafoam could have been done in something different. Okay close up:
My colors on Alice Mitt Variation
Whew what a long post. 3 finishes and discussion on my color angst….
As a technical thing I was unable to link to anything today. Not sure what was going on but I will try to do links later. Right now I am knitting socks and just kinda want to get to the soothing mindlessness of my stocking stitch tube 🙂
yarny days and knitterly evenings