|Indicum Pullover by Hilary Smith Callis|
Please tell me (because I'm feeling a bit concerned) that this colour combo is going to channel a totally different vibe than my last version:
|My circular swatch in Quince Finch... (I realize it doesn't look like a tube here...)|
|Finch in Petal|
|Finch in Twig|
It's been months since I've knit with wool?! I've been working with cotton/bamboo, linen, silk... It feels utterly odd to have pure wool on the needles. People, wool is SO SPRINGY! I mean, it recovers like a coil, not that it's in any way reminiscent of spring, alas.
What is it with me and the browns, when it comes to this sweater. I'm not really into brown, though I do feel that the cool pink of the petal offsets it beautifully and I also don't think of Twig as a brown. It's more like a mushroom tone so let's call it a true neutral.
I bought this yarn specifically to remake the Indicum and, it occurred to me, if I really don't want to reinvent the wheel (aka spend a lot of time fitting), I should do what I aimed to. Hilariously, my knitting tension has changed so much in the last year, I might as well be knitting a different sweater.
About Knitting Tension (which is so dependent on other factors)...
What factors are these? Well, namely knitting style and (weirdly) needle length. I'm not speaking of the gauge of the needle, but of the proportions of needle to cable (I always work with circulars) and the length of that cable. The shorter the cable in relation to the work, the tighter the gauge - at least for me.
Y'all know I switched up my knitting style last year. I now flick (a right-handed method that maximizes efficiency of movement) rather than throw (regular British-style wherein ones right hand leaves the needle to wrap the yarn). It's impossible for me to quantify this (cuz I haven't bothered), but I'd estimate my speed has increased in the degree of 30%. This method is also so ergonomic that I rarely experience any muscular tension as a result of long knitting sessions. I highly recommend it!
Of course, knitting methods are as individual as the knitters who use them. I say, give a knitter some needles and yarn, and you'll see every method you could have (or couldn't have) imagined in your wildest dreams.
I have tried Continental (left-handed) knitting a few times and, while I can swing the knit stitch (with weird tension) the purl stitch continues to elude me. Mind you, I've got a great groove going with flicking.
However, my knitting has gone from uber-loose to, um, in the realm of moderate-tight. I've been knitting with very slippery yarns this summer so the full impact of my tighter gauge did not make itself known till I made the swatch (above).
Last time I made this sweater, I didn't get gauge on the recommended needle size (my stitches were larger / the sweater would be looser). This time, I've had to go up a needle size - and I still wont' get gauge, cuz my stitches are relatively tighter than the recommended gauge. That's a pretty bizarre shift.
In order to ensure I'm going to get the size I need - and the fabric I prefer - I may actually have to knit on a larger needle than recommended?! Given that I'm the girl who usually goes down 2 needle sizes to approach recommended gauge, that's bizarre. In general, I do prefer my new tension - it creates a more knowable finished product and one the fabric of which appeals to me more. But it's never helpful to be at either extreme. I suppose this could be a momentary thing?
About That Swatch (Above) and How New Knitting Styles Facilitate My Work:
The swatch above shows double-stranded knitting (colour-work). Those who can work 2 colours of yarn do so in a variety of ways. Previously, because I threw the yarn (hand comes off the needle) and I couldn't work in both left-handed and right-handed styles, my only recourse was to drop one colour strand when I'd pick up another (all done with right hand in throwing style). However, when I learned to flick (and the hand doesn't leave the needle), I realized that I was half way to being able to work both colours without having to drop one strand. Alas, it involved learning how to Continentally knit (left-handed, hand doesn't leave the needle) for one yarn strand while flicking, for the other yarn strand.
The net result is that each strand of yarn is worked by a different hand, to improve efficiency. (FWIW, it takes a long time to pick up and drop each strand (my former way)... And it's SUPER fussy.)
But seriously, to knit 2 ways at the same time, with two different threads, takes a wholesale shift in brainwaves. You really have to stop thinking and just work.
Long story longer, I can produce a knit stitch (though not well) with my left hand but I still cannot purl left-handedly. I can, however, purl with my right hand (happily I can do it all with my right hand). To clarify, most of the time, when one does colour-work, one knits only. You tend to work in stockinette stich, in the round, so all the stitches are knit stitches. However, this sweater's colour-work is in RIB, specifically K2, P1. So, in creating the fabric I have to knit with one hand and purl with the other. Yes, it is harder and I can't choose which hand I'd prefer to do which action. Currently, I can only purl right-handedly and knit left-handedly.
I know that flicking has facilitated my ability to perform colour-work in a new style because the way one holds the yarn in the right hand, while flicking, is not dissimilar to the way one holds the yarn in Continental-style. So my brain has developed some plasticity which I'm applying to my (much less amenable) left hand. I can see a time when I might be able to do Continental knitting quite well.
So, that's today's news. What do you think of the colours I'm using for the Indicum? What do you think of the Indicum? How do you perform colour-work? Let's talk!