New Years resolution- ACCOMPLISHED!

That’s right! It has been my desire and New Years resolution to learn how to knit colourwork.  Every winter, Ravelry becomes flooded with the most AMAZING looking mittens.  Like the gorgeous Fiddle Head Mitts.  AND lovely wintery jumpers, like Kate Davies’ amazingly cute Paper Dolls and Cold Snap.   This has propagated much jealousy.

But I was scared.  Scared for several reasons.  First, and this is the lamest reason, but the one that terrified me the most, was starting.  Just the concept of ‘adding CC’ kept me at bay.  Just how, exactly, does one ‘join CC’? I have issues with joining new yarns.  After several garments developed holes due to failed yarn joinage ( and trust me, I always weave and knot those bastard ends in like I’m trying to bury an incriminating body from the past), I now only use the felted join or Russian join.  Problem? You can’t do that when you add a second colour.  And NONE of my knitting books addressed how to add the second yarn. NONE.  Thankfully, I found a great way on that told me to make a slip knot with the CC around the MC and then go from there.  And it’s amazing.  You slide that slip knot all the way up to the knit stitch and voila- no holes, no scare.  Then you simply pull out the slip knot and weave away the end. Excellent.

The second thing that held me back was my “unique” knitting style.  Since I learned how to knit via online vids, I didn’t actually understand that there was a difference between Continental and English style.  So I learned to knit by holding the yarn in my left hand, throwing with my left hand, and essentially left-handed knitting.  Which I realised was halfway to Continental, so that’s how I knit now.  But I never used the right hand to do much except hold my needles.  So I always meant to learn proper right handed English style. I mean, I’d seen it enough being done in knit group and I understood the theory of it.

Fast forward to Saturday afternoon.  I somehow found myself drooling over the colorwork mittens.  And wanting to jump in.  Plus, I have a lot of spare balls in my stash that I want to use up.   But the Queen of Bad Knitting Decisions did something totally uncharacteristic  and decided to do something smart- practice.  On a hat.

I had some spare balls of Plymouth Boku hanging around that I’ve been meaning to use for ages, as well as an almost full ball of some grey yarn left over from Kiki’s x-mas mittens.  I would jump in, just start knitting, and figure out the technicalities along the way.   The only bad decision I made was in making the s/m instead of the m/l for fear of not having enough yarn.  Turns out I had PLENTY!

Now, this looks more impressive than it really is because I used a variegated yarn. So it’s the aptly named Fake Fair Isle hat. And I used fake Noro.  I can only imagine how wonderful this would be with Noro, but Noro Kureyon costs like $9, and Boku is $6.  DON’T BE FOOLED!  I am not a fan of this stuff at all! It’s all pretty and stuff, but then you knit with it, and it’s like the equivalent of  buying a ‘Brand New’ DVD of Spiderman from a street vendor in Hong Kong for $1.  Just not the same as the real thing.  But apt for first stranding experiences.

Yay for stranding!

Things I learned: That colourwork heck of tightens up your gauge.  Or at least it did to mine.  Maybe it will loosen up with practice.

-That I can English style knit.  Not very well, not like a pro, and certainly no where near as fast as I Continental.   I totally have to watch what I’m doing, but I can do it.  Double fisting it? Check.

-That I knit better when there is more colour variation.  Switching between two colours every one or two stitches is  fiiiine, but the whole knitting for 8 stitches in one colour I don’t like.  And yes, I taught myself to weave in my ends when I had to go for long periods (8 sts) of one colour, but that sorta tightened up my gauge a bit more.

-Colourwork uses way less yarn that I thought.  I made the bad choice of casting on the smaller size, and the hat does not fit. I mean, this hat is for a child in primary school, and I know none of those.  I read on Ravelry that many people seemed to encounter this problem too, so I’m glad it’s not just me.  But I don’t know if it’s the pattern or the colour work causing my gauge to shrink, or what, but I have a HALF BALL of fake Nono left.  And the whole point of the hat was to USE UP the bloody ball.  AND I still have 2 more balls of this stuff left.

I suppose the next project to learn is entrelac.

In addition to the hat, I also found the time to finish the Mitten I Sorta Invented.   And by that, I mean I totally copied Ysolda’s mitten skeleton for her Snapdragon Mitts, but omitted any embellishments whatsoever.

The yarn I used is another one I hate- Rowan Tapestry.  It lured me in with it’s pretty colours, but the damn stuff is so splitty and I kept stabbing my needles through the yarn and fraying it, that I’m not sure if I can be bothered to finish the other one, esp. when I now want to used up some Rowan Kid Classic on some mitts like this, or this, or this! (shhh, I know that Kid Classic is supposed to be a worsted yarn and that NO ONE uses it for colour work mitts, but I gotta find SOMETHING!)

One more mini-share: The Arwen Cardi.  I’ve been slowly progressing on this and am thiiiiiis close to being 1/3 DONE.

If you can see, I got the left side basically done.  It’s the left front, the sleeve, and half the hood.  I just repeat on the right side, knit the back panel, and then sew up the sides.  Simples!

Now I just need to find the time….