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Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas Cat Scarf

Remember how I wanted to make a kitty scarf for my bro in law? Well, I finally found a chart that didn't remind me of road kill

I slightly modified the pattern, as these kitties used to sit over cross bones. I guess I felt like that piratey stuff is kind of played out... I was very very proud of this, as it is my first ever project with two colors!

Like many of the skills in knitting, colorwork seems a lot harder and more intimidating than it actually is in practice. Though, that's not quite true. I should say that colorwork in the style that I used (Intarsia) is not really as hard as it seems.

I got the basic start of the method from this video, once again supplied by the Judy ("knitter to the stars")

The real challenging method to this style of knitting is that you constantly need to be twisting the yarns in certain ways to avoid forming holes in the work. I found this page to be an indispensable resource.

While I'm really proud of how my colorwork came out, there were some other aspects of this project that I wasn't thrilled with. Firstly, my stockinette totally curled like wallpaper. NO matter what I did, I couldn't stop the scarf from rolling into a tube.

This is my fault mostly. I knit with a lot of tension in my string, as you can see from how the cat face pulls and puckers the stitches around it. I read that this happens sometimes to stockinette when you knit too tightly, but I didn't really restrain myself. I kind of like pulling the string taut and snug around the needle, it's satisfying! I read though that if you do a garter stitch along the edge of your flat projects it helps deter it. Good to know for next time I suppose.

I also kind of feel that the quality of the yarn I used may have encouraged the rolling. Not that Vannas Choice isn't wonderful. But I recently started following the blog Presents Knits, and the girl puts up all these gorgeous pictures of these hand-dyed and homespun yarns that are to die for. It really makes me want to branch out a little, go somewhere with a better yarn selection, and pick out something really beautiful and unique.

The other thing to know about Intarsia colorwork, is that it is not reversible.

I tried to weave the back to reduce the risk of it catching on things, but as you can see, it's still pretty messy back here. That's why I think this style would be better for stuff like socks and hats, where the tangley stuff can be hidden. If I wanted to make this baby reversible, I'd have to master a technique that I would place solidly in the expert knitters only category, double stranded double knitting.

I wonder how long 'til I'm brave enough to try this!

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