Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Interesting work

I am finding my journey with unusual yarns and stranded colourwork fascinating. I'm not surprised by this. I have always seemed to be drawn to things on the small scale. Stranded colourwork mittens are never going to be a thing that changes the world, but they do have the capacity to entertain me, to stimulate my brain, and hopefully at the end to give someone a warm pair of hands on a cold winters day. They might not change the whole world, but they are changing me.

Exhibit one:Excuse me while I stop and just admire these for a moment. They are so unexpected and I still am amazed that I made these.

Exhibit two:After I showed these to my Fair Isle instructor, she asked me if I was holding my tension really tight on one or the other yarns. She suspected that the reason that the black yarn was so deeply inset from the white was a tension problem. She was wondering what happened on the place in the palm where the little black bloorf is (the section where the black is even with the white near the thumb) After some thought I realized this had to be the place where I almost lost a stitch, had a really really big open stitch, and planned on pulling it back in to place after blocking. I didn't think the tension was unbalanced on the rest of the mitten but I did decide to play close attention to it as I worked up mitten two.

Along comes mitten two, and I really have paid close attention to my tension, not just on the suspect hand, but on both yarns. I am erring on the side of really really easy tension and yet...

This is a view of an unblocked portion of the inside of the hand from this mornings work. As I look down the tube, the exact opposite is happening on the inside, the black is playing a more prominent role than the white, but looking deeper into the tube, the tensions appear to be very even. The strand lengths are pretty even.

If any of you can see something I am missing, please let me know, but I just can't help but feel this oddity of tension is coming from unbalanced yarns. This is why at the beginning of class they tell you to use well balanced yarns.

Love It is a slightly stretchy, bouncy cotton and acrylic yarn. Phil Bamboo is a not at all stretchy slightly finer yarn. Probably not a smart combination, but the yarns were there when I needed them and that has to count for something too.

The only way I would really know is if I worked a quickie mitten in wool where the only difference was colour. Or if I worked a swatch in two colours of Love It, or two colours of Phil Bamboo. I might do all three of these things in search of the answers but not right now. Right now my focus has to be completion of these and the other gift knitting.

Cause I tell you, the days are speeding by awfully fast, and that big 25 is not very far away.

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