Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Fear of Intarsia

I forgot to mention that some knitting progress has been made on The Sweater. I've begun the sleeve (thank you, Maggie Righetti, for your sterling dicussion of picking up stitches in Knitting in Plain English) and knitted the stockinette all the way to the row where the intarsia begins.

(No, I'm not going to show you a picture, because it doesn't look like anything.)

The sweater I'm working on is the one with the skulls from Stitch 'n' Bitch. I'm not really a skull sort of fellow, so I'm replacing the skulls with something I worked out on my own, based on a design motif from a turn-of-the-century building here in Chicago. It's simpler than the skull and, I'll be honest, I like the idea of making something nobody else will be wearing.

I've decided not to start the intarsia until I come back from Texas. I'm entirely too distracted right now.

The how-to descriptions of intarsia that I've found have been less than clear, so I'm going to be pretty nervous until I've done a few rows and (I hope) looking at the actual work-in-progress answers some of my questions about how certain things have to be handled. I have cobbled together everything I can find in books and on the Internet, and since some of them contradict each other I'm going to follow Maggie's advice and use my common sense when I come to forks in the road.

Of course, my common sense is famously lacking, so if worse comes to worse this thing will wind up with plain sleeves.

Or sleeveless. Hey, I don't work on my upper arms for nothing.

I keep telling myself, it's only a sweater. It's only a sweater. It's not cardiac surgery and it's not the bar exam. Fussing over a new technique for a few hours until I get a grip on it beats the hell out of knitting garter-stitch washcloths and ribbed scarves forever and ever.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Have a good trip! I can't help you with intarsia because I've never done it but I am taking a class next week!

Jon
http://coloradoknits.typepad.com

markknitz said...

i am working on the jesse's flames sweater from stitch and bitch nation, but i know the skully sweater you're talking about! i'm working w/ 3 colors at the moment and having done one sleeve, i feel like i'm just starting to get the hang of it. the main thing is to loosely loop the new color over the old color in the back. it'll freak you out if you get holes b/w colors, but you fix those when you're done w/ duplicate stitch and blocking. most important, you have to reposition the yarn after every row or it will wad up and tangle. once you get it, you'll love it b/c you can really see your progress in a pattern.

Jon said...

If you haven't started the intarsia yet, here's my suggestion: Make a swatch, something other than your actual sweater, and start playing with what you understand of it from the books, until you feel comfortable.

It's not really the kind of thing you need a whole class for, but if you can get someone at your LYS to show you - which should take three or four minutes - that would also be a big help.

Because I know, the books simply say, "Twist the yarns around each other when changing colors" and that does not really make sense until someone who knows how to do intarsia actually shows you how.