Knitting colourwork has never been my strong suit. Besides my complete inability to choose cohesive colour schemes, the technical skills involved in stranded knitting and intarsia always seemed beyond me. Recently, I’ve decided to challenge myself and take on a colourwork project to broaden my skill set.
The pattern that tempted me was Ysolda’s Saudade. With a traditional Fair Isle pattern and the colours already selected for me in a kit in her shop, it seemed the perfect way to dip my feet in.
I was perhaps a bit too confident to begin with, and after a hastily knitted swatch dived right into the pattern. A lot of knitting and ripping back followed, as I tried a technique, found it wasn’t right, and ripped back to try another. You can see below one of my first attempts: it actually looks lovely and even in the pictures, but in real life the fabric buckled and pulled, as the too-tight floats cinched the hat together in the colourwork sections, even after a good steam blocking.
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Fair isle gurus: I'm mostly heckin' proud of my first proper* attempt at stranded knitting, but am concerned that orange row might be a bit puckered. Should I rip back and reknit? This is after a good steam. *After multiple failed attempts and a LOT of practice! Pattern is @ysolda #saudade . . . #craft #crafting #memade #memadeliving #knit #knits #knitting #knittersofinstagram #handknitting #handcrafted #handmade #handmadeliving #imadethis
After lots of research, I landed on a method that worked for me: before knitting the next stitch with the new colour, spread the stitches out on your right needle, hold them down with your thumb so you can apply tension, and knit the next stitch with your usual tension. That is, don’t knit it too loosely in the hopes that it will keep your floats loose, as your work will be sloppy and uneven.
I happily practiced this method on some agreeable yarn I had in my stash (5 ply wool crepe), and achieved the evenness of stitches and looseness of floats I desired.
Until I went back to the Saudade pattern and…….got this.
It’s not terrible, but the stitches are definitely much looser in the colourwork section, almost to the point where the pattern is lost, and those floats are looking awfully droopy. I’m hoping that things will bloom up a bit after washing and obscure the minor differences, because I sure as hell aren’t gonna rip this out again.
Do you enjoy stranded knitting? Do you have any tips for a newbie?