Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Agnes taking up Intarsia

First of all, I want to thank all of you for your very very kind compliments on the Pretty Comfy Socks. I was so pumped up by them that I started 2 sock projects. One is Classy Slip-up (from Betsy Lee McCarthy's Knit Socks!) and the other is New England (from Nancy Bush's Knitting on the Road). Hoping to show you the FOs very soon.

Besides the socks, I have also started on my first love in knitting:

When I first started browsing various knitting pattern books, I came across this pattern several times. This is the first garment pattern whose beauty fascinated me. Unaware of the complexity and skills involved, I started shopping for the cotton yarns required. Many of the colours have discontinued and I have a hard time finding substitutes of suitable colours. Recently I finally collected all the colours I need. So I casted on one sleeve ... and the moment of truth came. At first I carried the whole balls of yarns with me ... and of course you would respond, "That's crazy!" And I can tell you that you are so darn right! Then, I made some bobbins to carry a smaller amount of yarns. Look at all the mess:

I also discovered that crossing the yarns over a long distance would result in bulging on the right side. So it was time for Googling research. What I found here just freed me from the straitjacket of bobbins:

"One important thing to remember is that bobbins are not a good idea. For the intarsia patterns such as the Steps garments, you just cut off a few yards of each colour and keep using them 'til they're used up. Then you tie on new colours and keep going, knitting in the ends as you go. This way, you don't have any big tangles in the back, you just pull the strand you're using free of the tangle as you go and you have the impetus to change colours frequently. It's really, really simple, and it's among the most gratifying knitting you can do; the only thing that even comes close is dense cable work and airy lace."

Before reading this, because of the tangles, I could only knit at most 6 to 8 rows at a time, and then I would get tired. But now, I can knit as long as time allows me to. This also helps me to solve the problem of long-crossing-over yarns at the back. Now, the back of the piece is so much neater:

You may still feel that it's all a mess because I haven't weave in the loose ends yet. But believe me, it is neat now. I have no experience of knitting intarsia at all, so I am not really sure how I am doing. Those of you who are savvy knitters, perhaps you can tell me:

Tomorrow is St. Patrick's Day, so I'll have my background changed appropriately for the occasion. If you plan to get drunk tomorrow, remember not to drive yourself. Have a nice St. Patrick's Day and be safe.


Anonymous said...

You are so brave to get start with a complicated intersia design ! The design is very beautiful. Can't wait to see your FO comes out.

Eva Shiu (

grumperina said...

Who are you? Are you me? Am I you?

I haven't been knitting that long, I've only made three pairs of socks. And guess what? Classy Slip-up. New England. And next I'm going to be making the Pretty Comfy Socks.

What is going on? Agnes, I'm confused. My brain is hurting.

letti said...

wow, that's so beautiful. I really mean it! *huggles* You are way more patient than I am :)

Siow Chin said...

Go, Agnes, go! You're really great for your fearlessness to tackle intarsia!

Karen said...

Hi Agnes!
I think you are knitting the intarsia correct.....because I am also knitting it that way too. I will post today and show my Color On Color piece. It is a bit tideous, but I do love the colors. Have fun!

thomasina said...

Hi, Knittyhead ring neighbor!

I think the intarsia turned out beautifully. Thanks for sharing your experiences; I am going to be starting my first intarsia project (when the rest of the yarn gets in... taps fingers impatiently).