Sunday, 4 November 2007

Fingers and thumbs...and heads

As the season turns and we all start anticipating colder and greyer days it seems that lots of us are thinking and talking about colour work. A quick whizz around Ravelry is at once inspiring and humbling when I see the beautiful work done by talented knitters. I still find colour work, particularly stranded colour work quite a challenge. For many years, any attempts that I made ended in a tangled, scrunched up disappointment.

My big breakthroughs came a couple of years ago with discovering knitting in the round on circular needles and the technique of holding one strand in each hand. In this way, the right side of the work was always facing me and it was so much easier to keep the strands of yarn untangled and my tension even. I may have got a little carried away...

Through that whole winter I developed a positive mania for knitting colourful hats. Anna Zillboorg must bear the responsibility for this. Using her book '45 Fine and Fanciful Hats to Knit' no head at Yarn Archive HQ need go uncovered. They really are great fun to knit especially as they are sized for the use of DK weight yarn which is great for beginners. These are by no means some of the most outrageous designs in her book. Even I drew the line at the Stacked Star...


I also had fun with her mitten book - although once again, the eccentricities of many of them were a little too much even for me. I have noticed when linking these books that they are changing hands for an extraordinary amount of money now that they are out of print. They are great fun and a wonderful introduction to colour work but I'm not someone who is prepared to part with £80 for a mitten knitting book!

Having developed my skills on these larger scale projects I attempted some finer work by starting some fairisle socks but became frustrated at my poor technique with stranded knitting and double pointed needles (way too much like patting my head and rubbing my stomach) so confined it to embellishment and having discovered slip stitch knitting set aside the challenge of further developing my skills.

All the beautiful examples of stranded knitting that I have been looking at, particularly on Natalie's blog have spurred me into action! Having some time to myself at home this weekend I decided that I needed to grasp this particular nettle and brush up my skills. I decided that the Endpaper Mitts by Eunny Jang would be a good place to start as the pattern is regular and designed for beginners. I also love fingerless mittens. Surprisingly, they are going quite well. The pattern is well written with Eunny's trademark attention to detail. I am using Jamieson's Shetland Spindrift in Yellow Ochre and Rose Heather which make a rather regal combination. I am also rather proud that I am dealing with my 'Issues with yellow'.

I set out this year to improve my skills and am sometimes struck by the fact that things I might have found difficult a few months ago can now be tackled and I wonder what I was making all the fuss about!


Buoyed up by this discovery, my ambitions are now running well ahead of my skill base so, having limbered up on the endpaper mitts I am determined to try something a little more challenging next time.

I may have to get my glasses fixed first...

9 comments:

natalie said...

You did all THAT this weekend?

Give the rest of us a chance woman!

n

Diane said...

Love the hat pile - especially the blue one top left :-)

Is that a dpn acting as part of your glasses?!

LittleBerry said...

the hats are lovely.... and I love the colour combination of the endpaper mitts, it really is a great pattern to knit isn't it? I've made 2 pairs and was my 1st introduction to colourwork

I'll be very interested to see your next creation but at the rate you're going I won't have to wiat long.

Queen of the froggers said...

I love your mittens! All the colour in the hats is fab too.

yvette said...

Your hat collection is gorgeous, the mitts are looking pretty too.

blog-blethers said...

What fabulous colours you've chosen for your Endpaper mittens and it looks like you've soooo mastered colour work. They're gorgeous!!

K. said...

By all means fix your specs! You might need them for reading charts...

Jen said...

I really love these and have been thinking a lot about the Endpaper mitts recently. I think I'll need to finish a few more of my curren projects though. Than you so much for the photo from Ally Pally. The disposable pictures did not show up too well.

Arianne said...

Are you the fastest knitter that ever was born in the world of knit?!

I need to get me some knit-crack too.

P.S.- It's Emilie of CxNL. I have a fake name for stalking people online.