Moving on through my skill-building September hat project, I get to stranded knitting. I am not usually a fan of colorwork because the stop-and-start nature of my life really doesn’t allow the concentration necessary to keep track of multiple skeins or bobbins, and I need to be able to pack up my knitting quickly and carry it from room to room, to keep it out of Baby Girl’s reach. But, since I am doing these hats to expand my yarny horizons, so to speak, I thought a baby sized hat might be a good way to explore a few stranded knitting techniques. I didn’t use a pattern for this one, just took a size 6 circular and started working the color patterns after a few rows of 2 x 1 ribbing,
Using some stash yarns in a combination of gold, deep violet, and pale pink, I practiced some basic stranding, slip-stitching, and catching techniques. The hard part of this for me was figuring out how I wanted to hold the yarns. Since I prefer to knit Continental style, I’m accustomed to wrapping the working yarn around my left index finger, and tensioning it from there. Holding two yarns on this finger proved to be tricky, and it really didn’t feel comfortable to me. I next tried holding the main color on my index finger as usual, and the contrast color on my middle finger. This wasn’t much better. I then tried using both hands, but maybe because it’s been so long since I did any kind of English- style knitting, but it just didn’t work for me. Even after watching Eunny Jang do it on Knitting Daily TV on YouTube:
I finally looked online to see if I could find instructions on making a yarn guide to help out with keeping the yarns separated, straight, and accessible. I found one blog post, from 2011, by Kaitlyn Yeager, a designer who sells some lovely patterns in her Ravelry store, called FantasyFlyte Designs:
I made one of these doodads out of a thinner floral wire than she did, since that is what I had on hand, and folded it double to get more thickness. I can say that this contraption worked pretty well, although disentangling myself from the project and packing it up did take just a little bit longer than usual, not great for split-second baby rescue or big-brother fight refereeing. I think this will be kind of a “training wheels” tool until I get comfortable with managing multiple yarns on my own.
The hat turned out cute, if some of the colorwork is a little wobbly- oh well. It was a practice piece. And Baby Girl doesn’t seem to mind. I am happy to put away colorwork for another time.