Thursday, August 04, 2005

Intarsia tips

I'm actually almost done with the intarsia portion of this sock! It's been quite an experience. Since I realized that I learned how to do intarsia using only Internet resources, I feel like I should list a few tips that I think could be very helpful to the beginning intarsia person.

  • Use long strands of yarn instead of bobbins. While I didn't use bobbins to compare techniques, I could see why they would function only to get in the way. Being able to pull the working yarn through the tangled dangle below has proven to be invaluable countless numbers of times.
  • Despite what some people think, you can do intarsia-in-the-round, and I would say that it is almost as easy as doing flat intarsia. You also have the added advantage of a much flatter seam, and only a seam where the intarsia work is (instead of down the entire garment).
  • You only have to cut strands of yarn for every other color change. I suppose this depends on your project, but this works perfectly for the argyles. They have color progression like this: black, orange, black, blue, black. So the orange and blue are isolated and don't ever need to be cut. You could just leave them on the ball and pull the black ends around them without fear of tangling. Granted, if you had a much more complex intarsia piece, this might not be feasible!
  • The technique of the "old" strand going over the "new" strand when you switch colors only seems to make sense half the time. If you're confused, just drop both yarns, lift up the old, and bring the new one under it. I'm not even sure if it makes a difference in these cases, but it is best to be consistent, as this gets you into good habits.
  • If you're doing intarsia-in-the-round, counting as you knit helps to make sure you have the right number of stitches. It's easy to forget to increase at the beginning of the round or decrease at the end (or accidentally increase between a stitch which had two yarns - where I was joining up a new strand).
  • If part of the pattern looks really delicate or intricate, forget about it for now. Just knit background color and duplicate stitch it in later. The Xs in my argyles will be duplicate stitched when I'm done with the sock.
  • Intarsia is slow, so understand this up front and you won't be disappointed in your rate of progress. It does seem to be getting faster now that I've done it for a bit, but I get the feeling that it's still going to be considerably slower than plain old knitting, or even stranded knitting for that matter.

That's all I can think of for now.

1 comment:

Nowhere Nick said...

Thanks for the comment and great tips on my hat and knitting socks. I actually have a ton of worsted weight yarn that I have been meaning to make a sweater with but sweaters are frustrating and quite large. So, I have plenty of material for making some winter socks...not that it gets cold for very long here in Florida. I have been wanting to get some books on knitting socks with circ. needles and plan on doing so soon. I actually use wooden dpns. for my socks and I am finding out that that is not such a smart thing to do. As much as I love wooden needles I am thinking I might have to "break on through to the other side." As far as continental knitting goes...Ugh! That is quite frustrating. I am definitely very right handed. I keep making myself try it, at least to break in my left hand. Brioche knitting is different from faire isle knitting because you actually use one coloe per round and slip stitches from the previous round making it appear to have two colors on each round instead of one. The nice part about it is that it is reversable. I am not good at explaining things, but I hope that makes some bit of sense.

Thanks again,
Nick