Adventures in Stranded Knitting

Filed in Industry Insight, Out of Our Head, Skill Building by on October 19, 2015 0 Comments

I’m pretty excited about the patterns we’re debuting this month. Gwen wrote about her design here, and wowza, did her skirt-that-started-as-a-sweater turn out beautifully. I just love it. Skirts really are a great way to wear knits, and stranded-knit skirts have the advantage of greater fabric stability than other knit fabrics. Do consider it. You can play with color combinations galore to change the look from bold to subtle to anything in between. Today, I’ll tell you about my little project.

strandedI love having knitting all around me. It makes me happy to use the things I’ve made. In that spirit, I wanted my stranded project to be in the style of traditional Fair-Isle knitting, but within the reach of any knitter. I also wanted it to be a useful, everyday object. As I considered small, non-steeked, circular projects that would give a lot of beauty for a small investment of time, I came up with a tablet cover. Tablets of all kinds have become ubiquitous, and while I am grateful for all the ways technology helps me, sometimes I think my gadgets could use a little softening up. A sweater for my iPad seemed just right.

The next piece fell into place when I searched through Alice Starmore’s Charts for Color Knitting: New and Expanded Edition, my go-to first look for charted inspiration. There it was, on page 121: a chart that had an element that looked to me like a wi-fi signal icon. Ah-ha! It was perfect! Tech meets tradition. It’s subtle, (my husband sees the Angry Bird eyes instead – but that sort of fits, too), but it makes me giggle every time, since if you have a tablet, you’re always in search of a wi-fi signal so you can use its fullest capabilities.

The yarn provided by our Eduknit sponsor, Elemental Affects, was a delight to consider. This is Jeane’s gorgeous North American Shetland, a perfect traditional choice, and I want to have all the colors, please. She sent me, by my request, a selection of “sea and sky” colors to start my collection and I was able to sort them into a range of background colors and a group of foreground, or motif colors. I am much inspired by the work of Alice Starmore, so I spent a couple of blissful hours playing around with how to gradate each color group while still keeping enough contrast to see the design. When I felt like I got it right, I did my measuring, figured out the details and cast-on.

It came out perfectly. I was able to fit 2 vertical repeats of one section of the chart, plus a border and ribbed top. I started with Judy’s Magic Cast-on so there are no seams at all. Cast-on, work in the round, strand along happily following the chart one row at a time, then bind off and you’re done. Shetland yarn doesn’t even require weaving in the ends because it’s so wonderfully woolly. It is sized for a small tablet, but if you have a good imagination, this would take only a few steps to size up by adding more chart repeats, a border, or other elements.

I hope that if you’ve wanted to try or revisit stranded knitting, that you’ll consider these patterns. Look for them to debut in our Ravelry shop in the next few days.  And of course, if you want to go in depth, you can always dive in at Start anywhere and you have instant access to everything we’ve ever done, which includes a whole month of exploring stranded knitting. Plus you could choose one of these patterns for free!


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