Thursday, March 27, 2008

I Swear, Officer, I Completely Forgot

Some years back, intarsia was the default for me if we were talking colourwork in knitting, and we usually were. I have a rather oversized tunic sweater with Jenny Kee flowers splashed across the front and down one sleeve, I have a Tumbling Blocks sweater, and the beginnings of a cardigan with a view of Cape Town as seen from Blouberg Strand. I've even used mohair in an abstract intarsia sweater. Seriously.

Somehow or another, the last decade or so, it seems I just couldn't be bothered, or stranded was more fun (not that often, but from time to time), or mitred squares or other modular knitting techniques gave me the colour fix I needed. Sometimes stripes (ok, I admit it, I've taken this lazy path) were even my colour combining technique of choice.

I've mentioned my Bermuda Rectangle of UFOs, but the truth is, this is not a well-contained area, and some UFOs have been quietly tucked away in other places. 

One UFO fell off the shelf yesterday, although truthfully, calling half an inch of 2x2 ribbing a UFO might be stretching the truth a little, since it was barely even started. On the other hand, it was replete with a hand-drawn chart on a very large sheet of graph paper in the shape of a tank top (armholes, front and back necklines clearly charted) with a rather psychedelic intarsia design, its screamingness somewhat mitigated by my yarn choice, a pastel palette that I (who, me??) bought in Australia on my first trip for my middle brother's wedding. His tenth anniversary was on Saturday.

The ribbing had to go.

Many of the socks I make start with a strip of garter stitch, joined into a circle in lieu of cuff ribbing, and actually, I may have used the same technique in a sweater or two. Since the swirly-pie design of the tank top placed three colours along the bottom edge, and since the length looked suspiciously short on the chart, I reasoned that a sideways garter stitch welt could easily serve double duty as a stable base and an extension of the design, so I cast on ten stitches and proceeded to watch the last two episodes of Lipstick Jungle (ok, from time to time I watch shallow chick stuff)  online while I knitted one ridge for each stitch along the bottom edge of the tank top. I then joined the start to the end and proceeded to pick up stitches for the front and back (by this time I was watching Samantha Who? online) and began to work my charted swirly-pie intarsia design in the round.
Granted, we're talking very smooth, slick cotton-blend yarn.

Granted, it's only three colours so far.

Man, am I enjoying the hell out of it! I forgot how much I enjoy this stuff, how much I love the way it looks and why on earth haven't I done more of it since, well, whenever the last time I did it was? Seriously, why not? I swear, I completely forgot how much I love intarsia, and I forgot how smug I feel when I do intarsia in the round.

No sewing up.

No weaving in ends (I do it as I go) except for the tails after I cast off the neckbands and armhole bands (although I might decide to make cap sleeves, depending on the yarn remainder situation which as we've seen here, I'm not very good at, estimation-wise).

But that's not all I've been doing.

I completed another set of sample earrings with instructions.
I think I'm done with merino-tencel for now.

Truthfully, these yarns are destined to be in a striped-ish pullover.

Every year when I get back from SOAR, there's the goodie bag, which has fiber samples, sometimes lots of them. If I've taken a spinning workshop, and/or spinning retreat sessions, depending on the mentor, I might have copious fiber remainders. Some mentors give bigger or more samples and expect you to spin small amounts only, so the only way to use up all the samples would be by doing what we generally call homework, but which of course technically is not, since the whole point of SOAR is that it's not at home, and anyway, Dan has the cheap swill, which takes precedence. This means that I often get home from SOAR with odds and ends of fiber. Sometimes there's quite a bit.

What I have waiting for me at home is My Baby, a Patrick Green Supercard, without doubt the best (and most expensive) toy I own. My spinning wheels are my workhorses, My Baby is my toy. When the SOAR leftovers are substantial enough, I spend a couple of hours of carding, and come up with something like this.

Then, when the mood strikes me, I spin them (please excuse the awful picture. It's very dull today, and the ambient light just didn't hack it and I wasn't using a tripod).
And while I work my way through my little pile of rovings, I can take my time in deciding what the next spinning project will be.


fibergal said...

I just love the earrings. Where can we get the kit for these?

Charlene said...

I'll have them in my Etsy shop after BeadFest (so in a little over two weeks).