1.25.2012

A Matter of Tension

After finishing up my second crochet project ever, I felt like I was ready to take up a new crafty challenge. Brioche, reversible cables, double knitting...Bring It On! To say that I was overconfident would be an understatement. But then when my feet touched the ground again, I decided to start out with something a little bit less ambitious, like working on my rusty fair isle knitting skills. After scoping out some projects on ravelry and the blogosphere, I settled on a simple matching cowl and mitts set a la the ever stylish Kate Davies. It seemed best to start with the cowl in order to get a feel for stranded knitting again without having to deal with double pointed needles. I also thought that I would be like the other cool kids and learn how to do two-handed stranded knitting. The result? A perfect mess! My tension went from too loose to too tight. My left hand cramped up. It seemed like it took forever to knit just one round. I know that practice makes perfect and that any new skill is difficult in the beginning. But the deal breaker for me was when I looked at the fabric I had knitted and saw how uneven and puckered it was. Rip! Now I am happily sailing along, using my old and tested method of picking up and dropping each color with my right hand. It's not cool but it works for me. Here is what I have so far:


I love the simple look of this motif.




(check out WIP Wednesday with Tami's Amis for knitting and crochet projects from the coolest crafters around)

21 comments:

  1. Cool is in the eye of the beholder- and that cowl definitely looks cool to me!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Your fair isle is beautiful! I've had the cramping issues, too, when knitting with two hands, but I keep on because I prefer that to the tangling, lol. To each her own and whatever works, right?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Gorgeous! It doesn't matter how you get there, especially when the result looks like this. :) Have fun!

    ReplyDelete
  4. It looks absolutely lovely...but if you're still thinking of two handed knitting, have you practiced knitting something easy with just your left (right, if you're a lefty to begin with) hand? I practiced with my left on projects that were stockinette only (and super easy) and it was so much easier when I went back and tried to use both hands.

    ReplyDelete
  5. It looks gorgeous, love the colours and the pattern is lovely. I finished my first fair isle hat, and spent half of it knitting with the yarn in 2 hands, and half with dropping the unused colour. I know what you mean about the cramping though!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I can't do it two handed either. Whatever works, I figure. It certainly works this way for you - looks gorgeous!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Looks lovely! Better to have fine craft(wo)manship than to be cool in my book!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Your work is beautiful...seems like the finished project will be gorgeous, so who cares how you got there, so long as you enjoy the journey! =)

    ReplyDelete
  9. That is looking amazingly even. I understand why you don't want to mess with something that works so well.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I know how you feel. I knit an entire fair isle sweater with my right hand before I learned to knit with both. When I did finally learn to use my left hand, it helped to knit a non-colorwork scarf with just my left hand before I tried to use both at the same time for colorwork. My stranded knitting still isn't super even, but blocking does wonders. : )
    That is a beautiful cowl!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Wow, that is really beautiful!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I love it! I learned colourwork using both hands, but I can see how it would be hard to get tension right if you're used to another way - whatever works is the best method though :)! It really looks amazing!

    ReplyDelete
  13. It has nothing to do with knitting cool. It has to do with comfort. If your way works for you, keep at it. I knit with both colors in my right hand, using my index and second finger to throw the color I want. it works for me, my tension is perfect and it matters not what others say. I much prefer it to the cramping of my left hand. I love the colors and the simple motif is going to make a stunning piece! On the mittens, have you considered using 2 circs or magic loop? Works for me in color work on a small scale.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Well, it certainly looks great now! Learning to do stranded knitting with my left hand is my resolution for this year. But... the year is long so I think I might wait a while longer before I try ; )

    ReplyDelete
  15. Being uncool (but having uncramped hands and beautiful handknit fabric under them!) is a-okay with me. ;) Your cowl is looking just beautiful, I love the simplicity of the pattern, too, and you always pick colours that are music to my eyes.

    ReplyDelete
  16. this looks fantastic! It looks so even already without even being blocked!

    ReplyDelete
  17. It's gorgeous. Isn't it great when you learn a new technique and the project ends up being awesome?

    ReplyDelete
  18. Beautiful! I just started trying colorwork as well. I use the same technique of picking up and dropping the colors. Can't wait to see it finished!

    ReplyDelete
  19. It looks amazing! I knit the same way, picking up the color I need. I also tried with two hands, but I just couldn't do it.

    ReplyDelete
  20. That is the most even fair isle I think I've ever seen!!! Mine usually needs a hefty blocking before it's ready for a debut!! Good job! (love the colors, too!!)

    ReplyDelete
  21. i love, love, love this pattern and i've had it in my queue for ages. i need to bite the bullet and try stranded knitting once and for all. don't give up on two-handed knitting, but hey, you know what works best for you. keep on doing your thing! :)

    ReplyDelete

I would ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ to hear from you!