Sunday, October 31, 2010
A better way to do Fair Isle/Stranding?
So it got me to thinking again about Portuguese Knitting and what I thought was a superior way to knit Fair Isle/Stranded (FI/ST).
This lead me to do some testing. On the swatch above, the two rows of snowflakes was done using Continental and English. In other words holding one yarn in each hand. The first thing I really wanted to test was which color would sit above the other in the work. What I found was that the yarn held in my left hand is the one that sits a bit higher and that comes out the most. You can see how with the yellow strand in my left hand the bottom row shows a well defined snowflake. When I put the rust color yarn in my left, in the second row, you can see how the snowflakes disappear and are really not well defined.
The problem however that kept bothering me was that the stitches were not even. I did another gauge test and saw that my continental was much looser than my english stitches.. This bothered me as I felt I was not getting an even work.
The other problem here was that many people could not knit with both hands. And because of this they either slogged through doing FI/ST with one hand or just passed on it.
The next idea I had was to use a combination of Continental in my left hand with Portuguese knitting in my right. This worked great, however again the continental stitch was looser and again I had the same problem.
This left me trying portuguese style in both hands. Portuguese is a very interesting style of knitting. The yarn goes through a pin on ones shoulder and then sits on top of the needle. Knitting a stitch is as easy as moving the yarn over the needle with your thumb. If you want a demonstration go to Portuguese Knitting.
What I found and you can see it on the top two rows of the above swatch, is that my stitches were very even in tension with portuguese. Not only that but it was really easy to hold both yarns for getting tension. And finally choosing a color to knit was as simple as picking up the right color with your thumb. I hope that I can soon show some pictures of how I set it up.
So, if you are like me and struggle to have even gauge between continental and english or you just have trouble with Fair Isle knitting. Then my suggestion is to learn Portuguese knitting and you'll be amazed how easy it will be to accomplish great results in this style of knitting.