Bird Mitten progress: one mitt..

One mitten done, almost. As soon as I put in the thumb I can block it. The stranded colourwork will even out then and I can have a look wether my left hand indeed holds the dominant colour.
At the cuff it was the white yarn, at the hand it was the pink.

I put a Latvian braid at the cuff.
Latvian braid always makes a mess in the first round:

And it always sorts itself in the second round:

It’s like magic.

I cast on for the second mitt, here the Latvian braid runs the other way.

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Weird Wool Wednesday: Squirrel hoards wool of Owls!

I needed some training for the Woodland sweater. What better training partners than owls?

Yes, I casted on for the owl mitts that I’ve been looking forward to knit for nearly a year now! First I couldn’t knit because I was seeing double. Then I couldn’t knit because I had no good yarn. Then I couldn’t knit because I was spinning. But now I finally had all things working for me so I cast on.

The good yarn I chose: the Zwartbles handspun that didn’t get spun in time for a KALshawl. Together with a Shetland type of white this will be a smashing contrast:


High contrast Snow Owls! With large snowy eyes! (and have you seen its butt? so cute!)

I casted on immediately, even though it was late in the evening and I was already in bed.
After a while I could no longer ignore the muttering and mumblings of the cats and my husband. Reluctantly I put it on the side table, put out the light and went to sleep. I dreamed a solid five hours about knitting those owls!

In my following customary two hour window of insomnia I surfed the net for stranded woodland creatures for the pullover. I found lots of squirrels!

Squirrels hat by Signe S. Simonsen and Squirrels mittens by Adrian Bizilia and Squirrels in love by Marnel Verstegen

I really look forward to design some squirrels into the Woodland cardigan. But first: owls!

After the insomnia I had another 2 hours of sleep and dreamed weird things, not knitting related. (I caused a huge pine tree to fall over in the middle of the city, just missing my neighbours’ 15yo who has Asperger and wasn’t phased one bit with the tree rustling by, inches from his body. Then well dressed bad guys got away after a heist and explosion, by helicopter from the roof of a tiny little bistro around the corner while I rode my bike on the wrong side of the street and shouted at 11 year olds to stop messing about in the street and use the sidewalk. You know, the usual.)
Then I woke up, quickly forgot about the weird things and rushed down to get started on those owls! Just a little more of cuff knitting and then: cute owl butt!

I set up my morning routine at the table: lap top, tea, owl mitts-to-be and in the back ground all the yarns and my two owl notebooks for the Woodland cardi, for constant peripheral inspiration.

And that’s when I saw it:

My handspun Zwartbles would be a very good contrast colour for the pullover…

It would be an excellent colour for beading squirrel eyes or nosey fox noses and also provide a much needed contrast in the dark brown of hedgehogs without making the overall resulting knitted fabric too light in colour. (which that other contrast colour, white, would do).

The Woodland cardi wanted the Zwartbles…

The Woodland cardi will get the Zwartbles.

SMALL ASIDE: OVERALL COLOUR
If that part about the overall resulting colour ending up too light in colour mistifies you, this is the site I had been reading that night’s insomnia time, it’s about colour in knitting. I found it via the knowlegde gathered in the pages of the Ravelry Group about stranding.

Suzyn Jackson shows this in Knitty Fall 2004 issue:
receding colours by Suzyn Jackson in knitty.com
Interesting, hein?

So. No owl mitts for me. No cute snowy butts. No Zwartbles. Because the squirrels have cast their beaded eyes on my yarn!

And now you know why I started the pink bird mittens last week instead. Because pink doesn’t go well with squirrels.

Those bird mittens go well, btw. One mitten is done and only needs a thumb. But it’s too small for my hand, gauge messed again with me. But I think I will make the other mitten nonetheless and sell them to someone who needs a nice x-mas present for their daughter. I love knitting the bird mittens.
And in my future there will be owl mitts. Perhaps in green? Something non-squirrely.

SMALL ASIDE THE SECOND:
Btw, the yarns for the cardi in the picture above is arranged by contrast. The white, Zwartbles, dark brown and orange are all high contrast. They go well together, they pop.
The white, dark brown and the two lighter browns form a harmonious contrast by themselves.
I plan to use this in the sweater: pop where it’s needed, mellow where it’s not. All the while keeping in mind what Suzyn teaches.

Let’s end with a picture from when I was spinning the Zwartbles, back when I still had faith in the wooly generosity of squirrels:

Car Ride Knit: Old Town cardigan

For car rides I need to have a simple knit. Something to keep my hands occupied. A knit I don’t have to look much at.

My hands just fiddle away and it calms my mind. I can ride in the car while I do this. Or I can watch tv. Read. Have a conversation. Walk around farmers’ fairs.
I think it is good for the brain and for the soul to fiddle with yarn in a repetitive motion.

It does require some planning, though, having a mindless knit about. There should always be a sock on the go, one that isn’t at the turning of the heel or the closing of the toes. I can get away with the decreases for the toes, I’m not ashamed to get my foot out in public and try it on.

A project like that needs to be in its own WIP bag. A friendly bag. With at least one stitchmarker that makes me smile. Perhaps a little chocolate too. It needs its own needles and yarn and it needs to be cast on already, all ready for just mindless rounds. Or it could be a sleeve. Or a simple blanket.
At the moment it’s the brim of the Devonshire Cream hat:

I’m still knitting on it. But soon it will be long enough to go around my head. Then starts the thinking bit: kitchener the tube. Pick up stitches, knit the dome.
So I need to think about the next simple knit just about now. So it will be ready for when I have to take a ride or have to watch tv. Or have to have a conversation that requires some serious mind calming.

So what to choose for my next project?
I don’t feel like socks. I’ve got enough of them at the moment. (although I’m always partial to happy self striping coloured yarn. But the socks that come from those I can hardly wear in public…. Or I could make socks from Drops Fabel sock yarn held double. I love to wear those in my hiking boots. Or in wintery homes. But those zoom along way too fast. One day and I have a sock.)

So…. a cardigan then?
A cardigan would do nicely. One that I have gauge on. One with positive ease so it doesn’t need to be precise. A cardigan like Old Town by Carol Sunday.

Get needles, cast on, follow the pattern. No need to think much.

Except of course I have to!
I have casted on and have been knitting away at this while I rest in my bed during the last few days, watching Strictly Come Dancing and Horrible Histories and Ripper Street and The Paradise. Yes I love the BBC. And costumes.

I’m using a nicely hand dyed sock yarn, three skeins of them. Blueish purple, the colour of new jeans. I’m using needles 3 or 3,25 mm, it gives a drapey fabric.

The cardigan fits the bill, I like knitting this. Mindless. My mind is at peace. Which is very important because I get wired fast and often, with my illness, my progesterone shortage and being in the city with all its fun things inviting me to come play. Oh how I love the city. To sit in a coffee house, wearing smart clothes, scribbling away in a little notebook.
Ah…

Well. Knitting Old Jeans Town.
Gauge for this pattern is 24 st per 10 cm. I am doing size M. Could do S and add more ease for bust but I chose M.

Construction is fun! a little sideways piece at the back. Pick up stitches, no seaming. Interesting but not too difficult. Such a change to be able to just follow the pattern, just put the old spaghetti head on mute and follow instructions.

Except when you’re a loose knitter… like a certain someone we all know…who not only has spaghetti for brains but also a colander to keep it in…. my gauge is 20 st at 3,25 mm. 22 st at 3 mm.

This is a significant gauge difference in garments. I will swim in this cardigan when I follow size M! It will turn out like an L.
I have just realized this. I will have to frog and start anew. Probably recalculate the numbers to my gauge.
Ooooh, I’m getting really tired of this, this wrestling with gauge! I’d stamp my feet if they weren’t tucked in comfortably under a woolen blanket and a cat.
There’s no other way about it, I have to work with the gauge I get, not with the gauge I want.
Even with gauge 22 st instead of 24 I need to cast on 50 st instead of the 60 in the smallest size.

Baaaaah!
Not wanting to do the math nor the thinking I surfed my queue and Ravelry’s database for other cardigan patterns, top town, with my actual gauge. But none of them use sock yarn? I feel a bit of a freak, getting this loose gauge in this size yarn and needles.
(wait! I should have surfed projects of course, not patterns! I might not be the only freak!)
perhaps I’ll do this tomorrow.

Either way: I’ll have to frog what I already knitted. While I do this the series I watched and the thoughts I thought while knitting this will come back to be. A kind of curtain call.
But my, the colours are gorgeous!

Bad picture in late night indoor lightning:

Either way, I’ll have a mindless knitting project set up for shen I finish the brim of the hat. Good planning. We’re driving again next Friday. And we watch video next weekend.

Woodland sweater: I changed my mind.

So know I have to knit this cardigan top down. Because I have a limited amount of yarn. (have you seen my new skeins? I learned. No more single skeins if I want it to be a main colour)
Also I wouldn’t be using many of the accent colours I’ve got. Just the dark brown and the white. (just as well because the cat hogged the lot)
Untitled

There are not many examples of Fair Isle knitted top down, most is knitted bottom up. I don’t know why. Tradition probably. I do know a single coloured stitch in a sea of other coloured stitches looks different depending whether you knit it bottom up or top down. Bottom up gives you coloured V’s. Top down gives you …..eh…. searches key board…. ^

The other thing is bottom up gives you an easy shoulder to sew shut. I have square shoulders, I like my cardigans to have front and back panels with square tops that I can just sew or knit together. I like bottom up because of that, I get better fit.
It can be done top down, square shoulders, but it requires some smartness. Especially when you want to insert vertical lines. And a steek.

Fit top down is relatively easy when you work with a round yoke or a raglan. But that’s not what I want for this Art Deco stripey thing. Because the stripes need to be vertical, all the way to the top.
So I’ve been reading up on Saddle Shoulders and Contigious Knitting. Both lovely. Both new to me. Both requiring more thinking and figuring out before I cast on.

By now things are starting to stack up. Top down + square shoulders + stripes = lot of thinking and lot of things going on simultaneously. Not a relaxed knit.
Bottom up = easier but constant worry about enough yarn. Not relaxed either.

Then I got sucked in by nature…
Untitled

I spend the weekend at the cabin. In the woods. In Autumn. Lots of buzzards. Song birds. Leaves. Critters. I surfed some charts of woodland creatures, for that blanket I’m planning with the various shades of brown and orange…

That’s when I remembered.

  1. Brown doesn’t suit my face
  2. but knitting brown and orange makes me happy.
  3. I would love LOVE to knit woodland creatures with these various yarns
  4. I’ve been dreaming about a woodland cardigan for a year now
  5. I’m annoyed by having to be smart with knitting this top down or bottom up because of yardage and style

= why bother making a stylish cardigan from brown and white when brown doesn’t even suit me and it doesn’t even have woodland creatures??

Why not knit a top down, round yoke cardigan, with woodland creatures? Enjoying that Riihivilla design thing I mentioned earlier? Bold blocks and playing with background colour and so forth.
There will be plenty to think about: shapes and patterns and colourcombinations. And I can try out a steek for the first time. But still: playful and relaxed knitting. No wrestling with gauge and fit. (well, not much anyway)

I can make that stylish cardigan with Art Deco patterns, bottom up, later on. In colours that suit me. Some of them have found my house, just the other day.
Untitled
 
So that’s the plan: round yoked Woodland cardigan, with steek, with delighted designer of woodland creature charts.
Later on: a stylish cardigan (or pullover) with Art Deco overall pattern. In white and greens and blues.

Designing Woodland sweater: overall feel and style

These days I have the Woodland cardi on my mind all the time. The yarn lies on the table, talking to me about colours and contrasts. I’ve been surfing the net and learning about Fair Isle and steeks. I’ve collected pictures of styles and charts I like. By now I have an idea of where I want this to go and in this post I’ll show you, using this structure:

  • the yarn: yardage and contrasts
  • stranded knitting: design restraints and consequences
  • fair isle: what I don’t like, what I do like
  • sweater design: dated looks, timeless patterns
  • killing my darlings…
  • Woodland sweater

THE YARN
This is my yarn:

All Shetland type yarn, 100% wool. 2 ply, to be knit on needles 3 or 3,5 mm (fingering weight). The big skeins are from a small spinning factory in Estonia. They’ve been in business for nearly a 100 years. They used to spin the yarn known as Evilla. That name has been sold and they now spin the same quality yarn under a different name: Wool&Yarn.

  The pictures of the old mill are broken on their site, perhaps they will be repaired one day so I’m keeping them here. Here’s what google streetview of the plant looks like:

rarewoolfactory

It’s lovely to support a small business connected to the long and rich knitting traditions of that region.

… while finding their website for you I may have ordered yarn with them for three more cardigans…
… because, you see, shipping costs get lower when you order more than 8 skeins…
… and I really crave green…

(what?! that’s not the right green!)

YARDAGE/METERAGE
In my opinion there are two kinds of stranded sweaters: one with a yoke and one that’s stranded throughout. I’d like the whole cardigan to be stranded, not just the yoke. For warmth.

Helsinki_ModeledNorwegianRoseBlue

The circle yoke sweater Helsinki and stranded all over cardigan Norwegian Rose, both by FeralKnitter who really knows how to play with colours and yarn. She sells kits, patterns and workshops in the Fair Isle technique.

I looked at a lot of projects from people on Ravelry -isn’t that a lovely way to spend an afternoon? Looking at projects, getting inspired, picking up technical tips!- to find out about meterage (yardage). I looked at long sleeved projects worked on needles 2,75mm-3,25mm (light fingering and fingering yarn weight) which is what my project will be like.

It seems that a sweater with a coloured yoke needs about 1100-1300 m of the main colour and about 300 m of the contrasting colour.

For a full stranded sweater the numbers seem to be: 800-1000 for the main colour with 600-800 of the contrast colour. It does depend a bit on which colour you use for the borders and cuffs.

My main colour is the darkish warm brown, I have about 945 m of it. This is not enough meters to ensure a relaxing knit without fear of running out…
For contrast I have 764 m of the white and lots of skeins in accompagnying browns and orange.

I’ll need to be smart. Halfway I could change the main colour: below the waist white will become the main colour.

COLOURS
So the red brown and the white are the stars of the show. They have plenty of contrast! But not so much as hard black has with hard white. This is good because my face doesn’t have that stark contrast either, I’m more an antracite+pearl kinda gal. So these colours will work for me, even if the brown has a warm tone and I am cool.

Other colour combinations that give good contrast are the white with anything; the orange handspun with anything and the darkest handspun with the white or orange. I have arranged the skeins so at the bottom are the high contrast colours -good for clear patterning (think contour and lines)- and at the top are the more harmonious colours -good for enhancing an already established pattern (think shading)-.

STRANDED KNITTING: DESIGN CONSTRAINTS

  1. each row has to have two colours at most. (otherwise: yarn spaghetti + not enough index fingers to keep them apart)(I know knitters can knit with up to 10 colours in one row. But I donwanna)
  2. one colour needs to be knit no more than 4 or 5 stitches at a time. (otherwise the other colour forms a long strand at the back of the work and you easily snag on it when you put on the garment. Also: tension troubles.)

FAIR ISLE
Fair Isle is the traditional knitwear from the Fair Isles off the coast of Scotland. It consists of stranded colourwork where in each row two colours are alternated every few stitches. Between rows the colours you use can change but not ín the row you are working on.

This is the typical traditional Fair Isle look:

FairisleJumperGreen.jpg pic by Scott Tankard

Modern interpretations play with colour and motives. Still clearly with the stacking of horizontal bands and the use of just two colours in any given row.

Yfsnow’s Ivy League Vest by Eunny Jang and PoofyBirdy’s wonderful vegetable interpretation of the same design.

The geometric repetition in horizontal bands is part of the tradition. I’ll probably wander away from this a bit as I’m not a fan of repeating geometrical designs, especially organized in horizontal stripes. Therefor I technically shouldn’t call it Fair Isle anymore. “Stranded knitting” would be better.

You can do a stranded pattern without obvious horizontal bands. Usually a Fair Isle pattern chooses one pattern and keeps repeating it all around the sweater for a few rows. But you don’t have to. You can change the pattern depending on where you are in the sweater:


Saint Olav and His Men Cardigan (ravelry pattern page) by Cynthia Wasner. Not particular my style… but you get the idea.

Or you can use a large overall pattern:

Rauma baby 054-5 by Rauma Designs
(this would look unflattering on a grown woman who has curves and who moves during the day, I feel)

Or you can use small shapes and scatter them around freestyle:

I like this, this is a fun way of knitting!

(But this will mix the colours visually, dampening them both. Imagine a sweater full of these crawlies…it would be both tiresome and colourwise boring to look at.)

Another idea is to use some overall pattern and put different content in each slot:
squirrel_baby
pattern Squirrel Sweater for Baby (model 11) by Tone Takle and Lise Kolstad. This red knitting and the photo are by PhairIsle
(A whole sweater full of this would look childish on me but as an idea it works)

I like this design for overall structure:

Kyllene by Kirsten M. Jensen
It has some of that timeless style feel to it. I could easily fill some of the slots with a stylized squirrel instead of a stylized tree.
But a body full of diamond shapes?…. I’m not convinced but will keep it in mind.

SWEATER DESIGN
This is going to be a Woodland sweater. I want squirrels! And owls. Hedgehogs. Oak leaves.
But I don’t want a childish cardigan. It has to be mature, adult and stylish. No Bill Cosby sweater for me please. Or a notorious x-mas sweaters:


Go look at that Bill Cosby link, it’s a fun site, with all his sweaters identified!!

I want a timeless design. So I thought I’d look at the Art Deco era for inspiration, to find that overall structure. It provides stylistic interpretations of the highly recognizable (and thus dated) patterns of the Jugendstil/ Art Nouveau era.

ART DECO
When you google images for “art deco patterns” lots of horizontal organizes pattern pop up. Be it wall paper, decals or fabric. Waves, fans, circles, swirls. Enough to plop in a stylized squirrel or two.

But I don’t want a stamp repeated all over the body of this cardigan. I think it doesn’t look good.What I want is an overall pattern with some variation in it, without repetition.

I have found two nice examples of what I mean:

ist2_2198539_art_deco_pattern
I think this one is by Adolphe Mouron Cassandre, a famous designer from the very era. He designed the YSL logo. I got the picture from c20thgraphicdesign

The other one I found is this one:
Accent_Tile_B-447
This is a bronze tile by Arizona Hot Dots

Both have a vertical alinement. With horizontal accents, placed randomly. These accents could be substituted for woodland creatures.

BOLD SHAPES
Looking now at the Fair Isle technique again I’m certain I don’t want the small, fiddly repetition designs. I prefer a novel interpretation of the colour shapes you can make with this technique. I love bolder shapes but the no-more-than-5-stitches-in-1-colour demands some serious designing inventiveness to make that happen. That small cats pattern is one example of italbeit a bit too fiddly.
This is where my love for blockprinting comes in handy. Designing with only two colours and suggesting shapes and silhouettes using contrasts, without drawing the actual lines, that’s all printing fun, baby!

Knitwear designers know this fun too:

Autumn Fire Mittens by Jouni Riihelä and Leena Riihelä. I have this very kit!

These are modern Finnish mitten designs by Riihivilla, a small one woman company, which sells yarn and mitten kits with yarn and pattern. All yarn is Finnsheep, one of my all time favourite European breeds. All colours come from plants and fungi and Leena shares her knowledge and experience about these freely. These colours have much more depth then factory dyes. Again a fellow wool woman very much deserving of our cheer. Visit her shop here: Riihivilla.

I love how the dark and the light colours are arranged in horizontal bands while the overall design flows on, vertically. You see the trees even though the stem internally changes from the darkest to the lightest colour. There’s some cunning use of contrast going on here! Worth studying.

Another inspiration is this design by Angela McHardy from etsyshop Clovaknits:
clovaknits

She alternates the colours in broad bands and uses the background colours in smart ways. The coloured zigzags lie on top of the white background. But in the coloured bands it’s the black that lies on top.
I particularly like how the black ventures out a bit into the first white band that borders it, at the owl’s “toes”. This could be used more, letting the lines of the animal get into the second main colour. (My main colours are white and dark red brown. The other colours will be the accents.)
This is really intelligent stranded knitting design, I am wildly inspired by it! By the designing methods that is, the design of the cushion itself runs the risk of being dated in a couple of years I think.

So that’s what’s all been in my head, milling around… I’ve noted some of my preferences: that Art Deco pattern for overall organization…. bold shapes to suggest woodland creatures….

I toyed with the yarn… I scribbled and doodled…

CONCLUSIONS: KILLING MY DARLINGS
Although I can’t wait to explore the colour design lessons from the Riihivilla mittens and Clovaknits cushion I think I should not put them in my cardigan. I’ve come to the conclusion that focusing on this part of the design will probably make it impossible for it to be a timeless design. A lot (all?) of the charts I’ve seen for woodland creatures are firmly rooted in this era: the first two decades of this century. They are modern, with clean lines, a bit cartoonsy, a lot of cutesy, borrowing shapes and styles from ’50s and ’60s patterns. It would be nearly impossible to design one that isn’t akin to this…

Therefor a woodland creatures combination should not be the main thing in my cardigan.

The overall structure should be the main thing.

So I’ve decided to split the two. I’ll play with funny creatures and bold shapes and broad colourbands in a separate piece of knitting. A shawl or a blanket perhaps. Still stranded, still with a steek and still using the yarn in the top picture.  I’ll have such fun trying to make a funny design while trying to keep floats to a minimum! I’ve already worn my Owl Sweater around my neck to determine if this yarn is suitable for next to neck wear…

yoke sweater with owls and coloured bands? soooo 2012.

CONCLUSIONS: MY WOODLAND CARDIGAN

My Woodland cardigan will be build upon the feel of Kyllene, using the pattern by Cassandre, in white and dark brown,  adding two or three creatures somewhere.
ist2_2198539_art_deco_pattern

woodlandMyDesign

Can you see what I plan to do? I’ll have the random leaves that grow from the stalks somewhere low on the cardigan but upwards they will be just random lines, not trees at all.

Except somewhere high up on my back, there one stripe will bend sideways and an owl will be sitting on it. Two or three leaves at the end.

There could be a squirrel twirled around a stalk somewhere else… perhaps on a sleeve.

Near the bottom end of the cardi the leaves could be stacked in one place , with a little hedgehog poking its nose through.

But I’ll keep the animals too a minimum, they are details. Cutesy details.

finished: Devonshire Cream Cowl

It’s soooo comfy! Warm! Luxurious! Soft! And very nicely stacked ruffles.
I love it!

pattern: Devonshire Cream by Laura Aylor
Mine took 133 grams of the Bowmont Wool, 336,7 meters of DK weight on 3,75 mm needles. Here’s my projectpage.

To close the tube I kitchenered it together after only 7 repeats of the cable pattern. This is a bit tight around the neck but otherwise it would have been 8 repeats to make the cables line up nicely and that would have added another 8 centimeters to the length. It would have been too wide. I like my soft luxurious cowls close to the neck. Besides: knitting is stretchy.

To kitchener with I took a piece of yarn the length of three times the circumference of the tube and then some.
Still the yarn made a funny:

That’s all the yarn left from the tail I was working with!
I was really getting nervous towards the end.
I don’t like this kind of yarn humour.
At all!

Then the yarn revealed another giggle. It did what all my cardigans and pullovers do once they’re finished:

Reveal a dropped stitch.
I really want to be mad at this yarn for doing this, This is not funny, yarn! You’re not funny! At all!
But you are too soft and too fine to be mad at. Let me hug you and snuggle your ruffles…

Luckily I can just thread a thread through this stitch and secure it. Just like I do with all my sweaters. Sigh.

With the remainder of the yarn I have now casted on for a hat to go with the cowl. A Devonshire Cream hat, with stacked ruffles going round. Lovely.

I really like my cowl, I’ve been wearing it all day.
(have not woven in the short funny ends nor secured that dropped stitch. Probably won’t. Ever. Just like I do with all my sweaters.)(You see yarn, I can be funny too.)

Dutch grannies say NO to knitting requests.

winterkleren_medium

“Winterclothes
six balls of yarn
and a grandmother knitting lessons
please

Loesje’s Nana”

Corrections in red by the glorious knitter Moonwise, who’s fed up with the boring notion that it’s grandmothers who knit and that they will gladly knit for anyone else instead of for themselves.

Loesje is a Dutch humour poster group known for having an interesting outlook on life. But in knitter ways they are verrrrrry dim.

Weird Wool Wednesday: eating chips with a spoon

To avoid eating the spinning oil from the yarn.

Yarn mills add spinning oils to their wool to keep it from snagging on the machines. You wash it out once you’ve knitted with it. It’s usually just a normal vegetable oil or mineral oil.
But I’m so sensitive that these kind of short chain fatty acids will keep me awake at night. Yes, I’m weird like that.

(I also sneeze 12 times when there’s a draft around my ankles and I hear like a bat.)

Stranding Exercise: dominanting yarn

For the Latvian Brain I need to alternate colours with every stitch. This is a good opportunity to look at my way of knitting with two colours and think about dominating yarn.

I knit Eastern Combined. Or Contitental Combined. Or Russian. Or “Continental Wrong”.
It means I have my working yarn over my left index finger and I pick it up in the most energy efficient way. This is “continental wrong” because continental the right way results in a stitch on the needle that has its right loop at the back and its left loop at the front.

Mine sit reversed: first leg of the stitch is in front of the needle, last leg is at the back. This is a big advantage when knitting flat because on the reverse row all stitches are “continental right”. Purling my way zóóóms along.

For knitting in the round you have to do a tiny little more effort to get the needle into the stitch, you have to approach it from the front. With “continental right” you just slide right in.

Anyway. Stranding.
So my one yarn is over my left index finger. The other yarn is over my right index finger. I flick it. This is the English way of knitting: “throwing”.
Alternating my colours goes very fast, my right hand does all the work. Either choosing to use the inserted needle to grab the yarn laying over my finger or choosing to throw the other yarn over the needle. Zazoom, zazaam.

The neat thing about working like this is that one colour is always under the other. The yarns do not tangle on the back side. In this case all fuchsia floats lie on top of the white yarn.

This will come in handy when materializing the yarn domination technique I’ve been reading about. It should be the yarn on my left that is dominant, the lower lying yarn. The white one. I will use this knowledge when knitting. The body of the mitten should have pink birds popping, so I’ll switch the yarns then.