This week’s WIP is brought to you by a curious Raveler who had a question about my Color Affection. Before I start a new project I try to do some digging in other Ravelers’ project notes to see if there are any modifications that people have made to the pattern to make it easier, or prettier, or whatever. I did that before starting my Color Affection and found a couple of tips very helpful. I included these tips in my notes on the Ravelry project page not just for myself, but so other Ravelers could benefit from them as well. The best tip I found came from the Yarn Harlot – The increases in the pattern tend to make the edge rather tight and might make blocking a bit difficult. To counteract that you can add some extra stretch into the edge by adding a yarn over after the first two stitches and then dropping the yarn over on the next row.
Earlier this week someone sent me a message thanking me for my detailed notes and asked me a question about something I had not recorded – when I switch colors, how do I deal with the unused yarn until it’s time to knit with it again?
There are basically two options:
- Cut the yarn for each stripe and weave in the ends later – that’s what I did for my first striped project and edge with all the cut yarn ended up really stiff and bulky with all the ends woven in essentially doubling the yarn weight on that side.
- Carry the unused yarn through the project so you can just pick it up when it’s time to knit with it again. But how?
For my Color Affection I tried just twisting the different strands of yarn together at the end of each color so the unused strands wouldn’t hang loose along the side. That worked decently, but I had a hard time making sure I wasn’t twisting too tight or too many times and thus negating all the extra stretch I added in with the yarn overs. Also, because I would sometimes end up twisting the yarn too much, the edge looked a bit sloppy. All that twisting was visible on the top edge. It got better with blocking and is less visible now, but I still know it’s there.
There is one other way of carrying yarn that I know of that will fix that problem. You can catch the other strands of yarn behind the work by twisting the unused strands around the working strand after you knit the first stitch of the row. This was the suggestion I tried to give to the curious Raveler, but I was having a hard time putting it into words. It had been a while since I had used that technique and was difficult to visualize without having the work in front of me. That’s where this week’s WIP comes in!
I had been planning on starting another Color Affection, so what better time to start than when it could be of some help to someone else! I started a swatch to test out the yarn carrying technique with the stripe sequence in the pattern, then I made a video showing how I carry the yarn along the back and how to add extra stretch along the edge with the yarn overs. I present to you my very first instructional video:
Now, making a video is awfully close to public speaking, which is in the top three of my list of Things That Scare the Crap Out of Me right behind spiders and zombies. Thanks to my nerves, there are a few mistakes in the video like the most awkward knitting flip ever filmed and me completely forgetting to mention WHY you would need extra stretch along the edge of an already stretchy garter stitch project (the increases make it tighter, but since this is a swatch I didn’t do any increases and the extra stretch is overkill for a flat project). Maybe someday I’ll re-record this when I’ve gotten more suave in front of the camera.
Anyway, this method of carrying the yarn seems to be very effective for Color Affection. There’s still a risk of pulling the unused strands too tight, so after I pull on the strands to make sure there isn’t a huge loop hanging off the edge I tug on the edge of the knitting to ensure I haven’t pulled too tight. The twists are barely visible on the front and should be practically invisible once blocked and it looks nice and tidy on the back!
Now that we have the pattern modifications taken care of, I can tell you about my WIP.
It all started with this picture of the Fairy Pools on the Isle of Skye in Scotland.
Perfect match, right? Now I just need to figure out what order they will go in. The pattern starts with a section of one color, then adds stripes with a second color, later a third color is added, and finishes with a border of the third color.
There are 6 possible combinations, and I am going to swatch them all to see what looks the best. I’m halfway there.
So far I’m leaning towards the last combination, but I will reserve final judgement until I have finished all of the swatches.