That posting rhythm that I had earlier in the summer (and late last winter into spring) has gone to shit1 since I came back from vacation. A mid-summer creative slump is pretty typical for me, although I have been continuing to knit and design.2
After I finished the emergency project, I started The Green Wood Cardigan. I haven’t done colorwork for years, not since I made The Blue Palm Cardigan, my last Bohus Stickning project, and I’d forgotten how much fun it is. I love watching a color pattern take shape under my fingertips. With both the Green Wood and the Blue Palm yokes, I got extra enjoyment from the color transitions and interactions.
Skill-wise, colorwork is an enjoyable challenge as well. In figuring out how to manage 3 different colored yarns while knitting (or purling) across a row for The Green Wood, which is knit entirely flat, I leveled up my skill/technique. I usually knit continental, with the yarn held in my left hand, which is also known as picking for the motion you make with the active needle to catch the yarn and pull a stitch through. Because my continental purl rows end up being slightly larger than my knit rows, I don’t turn my flat knitting work to purl. Instead I knit backwards, still holding the yarn in my left hand, I knit English style, also known as throwing because you throw the yarn over the active needle to catch it and pull it through a stitch.
To efficiently manage up to 3 strands of yarn, I couldn’t hold all 3 together in one hand because the yarn, a 50/50 merino/angora blend, is sticky and I couldn’t manage to evenly tension even 2 strands held together. I tried dropping and picking up the strands, but that quickly becomes slow and tedious. Instead, on right side rows, I held one strand in my left hand and knit continental while holding the other strand in my right hand and knit English. On wrong side rows, I knit backwards by knitting English with the yarn held in my left hand and finally got my fingers to knit continental with the yarn held in my right hand. Then with 3 strands, I tried a mix of alternating the strands held in one hand and holding 2 strands together, usually with my left hand for both options.
Confused? One of these days I’ll take video of my own hands doing all of this at once and it will be clearer. Until then, here’s a video of all the different styles of knitting I just described, but done one at a time, not used in combination. Also, if you’re looking for help with colorwork, Tech Knitting has a really great series on it.
1. My apologies if you’re offended by cuss words. I’d rather just say it instead of using an obviously watered down version or by replacing key letters with * or # or simply using #!@* instead of a word.
2. Well, think about some designs, which is actually an active part of designing, except that there’s an element of procrastination in there too.