Sundry Saturday: Page 79-by Kellie

Filed in Uncategorized by on June 12, 2011 1 Comment

Today, in casting about for something to write about, I decided to pick up a random knitting book and turn to page 79 and write about something on that page. Here is the result:

Book: Handknitting: New Directions by Allison Ellen (This is an OOP classic-one of my favorites for interesting insights and good writing about knitting.)

In the section on Knitting With Colour , Allison discusses Diagonal Striping. She discusses two methods, specifically diagonal stripes knitted on the bias and diagonal stripes knitted with the Fair Isle technique. She offers these methods as a way to get striping to be something other than horizontal without having to resort to using the intarsia method.

For the first, one gets to explore both bias knitting and changing color for simple stripes. Bias goes like this:  Start with a square corner (1 or 2 sts), increasing 1 st at beg of each row till diagonal width is achieved. To make a rectangle instead of a square, continue on, but now increase at one edge and decrease at the other edge to keep the edges straight but still have the knitting be diagonal.  At the same time, change colors every 2 rows , carrying the colors not used up the side.

For Fair Isle diagonal stripes, two colors are used in each row, and these are alternated every two stitches (2 A, 2 B, etc.). On all subsequent rows or rounds, the two stitches are offset by one stitch to the left or right each time, creating diagonal stripes of one color against a background of another.

Both of these give fabulous effects, so the decision about which to use in a project might come down to something other than just the combination of colors. Allison points out, “the feel and texture will also be affected by the different constructions: one colour a a time results in a finer and smoother fabric than using two or more colours in a row, and the tension can also alter with more than one colour per row, so this has to be anticipated, and the number of stitches altered if necessary.”

I had a ton of fun with my colorful blanket in diagonally striped garter stitch-with the straightforward striping as the star of the show:

Diagonal stripes in Fair Isle have a kind of  subtlety that gives a rather different look and feel because you have the interplay of graphic design-foreground-background, light-dark, etc.:

Have you tried bias knitting or stranded diagonal stripes?  What can you picture using these techniques?

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