A little bit of this and, a little bit of that, makes a little bit of me.

The way I learn new skills and techniques is by diving into a project that requires them. This method is most useful for kinesthetic learners like me but may not work as well for visual, read/write, or aural learners. If you’re fearless and/or have a lot of scrap yarn that you’d like to try things out on (i.e. nothing too expensive like mohair or cashmere!) boy, do I have some suggestions for you!
Estela Cardigan Test Knit Sleeves Ready for Cap Shaping
Can you spot a misadventure? Really, they’re there!
Fair isle projects can be a natural progression. A couple of patterns that I think look fantastic but haven’t yet tried are the 1 Across Beanie and Swell (both free, complimentary Knitty.com). One that I have tried (but before Ravelry and my documenting life in general) is the Fake Isle Hat (also free). It’s a great design. However, before you start, make sure you’re getting the right gauge in both number of stitches and number of rows. In other words, don’t skip the gauge swatch like I did…or you may end up with a hat that’s a little too tall and sits kind of funny– like mine did here.
Shedir was my first fair-isle attempt in sock-yarn, small needles, back in Fall 2007. It was an easy-to-memorize pattern–one I had knitted many before then for chemo patients around the globe. This was one I kept because of tight knit and me being new to fair isle knitting…the fabric didn’t flex as much as others. The shape was more oblong than round.
Shedir Inside
Flat stranded work is not as pleasurable as in the round–resulting fabric is thick and not stretchy. Something with two colors and lots of changes, changing at least after every 5th stitch–so 1,2,3,4,5–new color is as far as you want to go. You don’t need to catch in anything this way and will get a good start. The main thing to remember is to stretch the work sideways as you go by either stretching the stitches on the right needle out before you work the first stitch in a new color. Or right after you work the first stitch in the new color, stretch the work so the floats will be plenty long. If they are too short, things will pucker.
Estela Cardigan Test Knit Sleeves
I’m doing a stranded project right now and only stretched it periodically as my tension is quiet even.
Estela Cardigan Test Knit Front Pieces
Without the stretch, it looked slightly puckered in places. Even then, I was not concerned about it as slight puckering sure will block out. 🙂
Estela Cardigan Test Knit Sleeves Ready for Cap Shaping
Fair Isle/color stranding carries the 2 colors all the way around the rows, since the pattern stitches used should have fairly short gaps between their usages, typically no more than 5-7 sts of 1 color before the other one is used. Personally, mine is no more than 3. If longer gaps, then the carried yarn is typically woven or caught in somewhere in the middle.
Estela Cardigan Back View - The Float
In re-visiting The Art of Fair Isle Knitting by Ann Feitelson. She says background strand should always go over other strand while pattern color should always go under the other strand. Making the pattern color go under makes the pattern show up better because yarn has to travel further and that extra bit of yarn allows it to show up better.
Estela Cardigan Test Knit Sleeves
I must have skipped this part altogether, somehow. Now, I feel like frogging the whole sleeves out and starting over. Should I? Hmmm. Let me sleep on it. Baby, let me sleep on it…keep designer hanging while deciding to rip or not to rip. Any gentle wisdom to share, anyone?
Abundance Crop
A sign of summer? A girl can sure dream, right?!
Happy crafting and keep those creative juices running!

(still doesn’t do texting, MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon, DiggIt…)


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