sampling the sweater sampler; part three: getting fancy

Keeping on keeping on with our sweater sampler experimentation, when we left off we were about to decrease the stitches added during the bar increase section, so let’s get to it. (PS: For those who don’t feel like scrolling down here are links to part one and part two.)

Raglan Seamline Decreases: This is essentially the opposite exercise of the increases, seeing how changing the spacing - and in once case the placement - between K2TOG & SSK decreases changes the look of the “seams.” I think I’ve used all of these combinations at one point or another so it wasn’t particularly challenging but it is interesting to compare them side by side, so to speak.

Two Color Knitting: OK, now this part was challenging! Just FYI, I am an “English” knitter; also known, I believe, as a thrower in some circles. Meaning I hold the yarn in my right hand and “throw” it around the left to make a stitch. The other option is “Continental” knitting, aka picking, where you hold the yarn in you left hand and “pick it up” with the right needle to make a stitch. This two color knitting scenario has you knitting English style with your main color in your right hand and Continental with an alternate color in your left hand; alternating every other stitch. Which is both confusing and difficult at first. After that, it’s just difficult. (Haha!)

Seriously though, I think it was the doing them at the same thing - more so than knitting left handed - that was giving me the most trouble because, just for kicks, I decided to do the second round of stockinette stitch that followed Continental style and felt like I got the hang of it fairly quickly. (Although as I’ve spent most of my life living and working with left handed men, I have developed some distinct Southpaw-ish tendencies.) It does seem rather efficient. I may have to revisit this, and figure out how you purl Continental style, in the future.

Weaving - Knit Stitches: This is another two color knitting technique, where you create a pattern using a series of light and dark colored stitches and kind of weave the second color in as you go. It too requires the whole different colored yarn in each hand thing, which got slightly easier the more I did it. But only slightly. My main mistake in this portion was attempting to read the written instructions instead of following the chart.

A recent foray into test knitting (a subject for a future post) taught me I should go with the charted instructions when they’re an option but I got so focused on tying to keep the light yarn in the left hand and the dark yarn in the right hand, I forgot that lesson. Another thing I leaned during the test knit, that was further reinforced by this section, I tend to knit very tightly when going into unfamiliar territory. I need to work on that / keep it mind when trying new techniques.

Swiss Darning: Also known as duplicate stitch - a much more literal term since basically you’re creating a new stitch on top of an existing stitch with another piece of yarn and, in this case, a third color. I became familiar with this technique a couple months ago when I knit a pair of kitty socks for my niece. It’s a bit of a slow go but another one of those things that becomes easier with practice.

At this point I feel like I should point out this sampler now contains the most colorwork I’ve done to date and, I must admit, I kind of liked the challenge. I’m feeling like there might be more of this in my future as well. Maybe in the form of a hat or something? (Another subject for a future post.)

The Knitted Cord: (AKA the I-Cord) I ran out of black yarn during the weaving portion so I decided to move on and complete this later. Since I’ve done it several times before I’m not sure I’ll have much commentary but if I do, I will add it in.

Lacing Round: A simple combination of YO / K2TOG stitches, basically meant to be paired with the knitted cord to cinch a waistline, cuff, top of a pouch, etc. As the author points out though, there’s no need to limit yourself to yarn; you can weave pretty much anything you fancy in those YO spaces. But since we’re fully playing along, we will use the knitted cord.

And since the next two steps, knitting a belt to go through the sweatshirt pocket and trying a number of different bind offs, require more of the contrasting color I will cut this off here and go stash diving in my ziplock bag of random yarn bits to find more black worsted weight yarn.

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