Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Challenges of Knitting


The Knitters gathered at the guide house as usual to share the joys...yes, I said joys, of knitting with a circle of like-minded folks. It seems several of us choose the "easy" route...socks...something to mindlessly knit while chatting. Several folks were working on a "challenge" project. Jackie was knitting a project from her design class. Her challenge...a prototype from her pattern, colors, fiber selections...its amazing to see what goes into designing.

The spinners group, which includes many of our knitters, have a spring "challenge"-to knit or crochet a shawl or scarf from homespun fiber. Its not just any scarf, but one which requires thinking, paying attention, following the directions...in other words, knitting at a level above me. It is a beautiful piece, all lacy and to see it in many colors is exciting. Maybe, maybe, I could(?) try (?) it. But as Yoda said "try not, do yes!"

And yet another "challenge"-Lucy was knitting the back of a sweater from hand-dyed wool in the gorgeous colors, midnight blues and lights reflecting the midnight sky in the north woods. She stopped, puzzled at what was happening with the yarn. Was it the light, an allusion? There appeared to be a color change where she began a new skein. Now, we all know to check "dye lot" numbers on purchased yarn, but how do you know the consistency of colors in hand-dyed? Overall, the hand-dyed skeins appear similar, and are dyed in the same batch, but I think the answer is you don't.

So, now what? Lucy took all the skeins, wound into balls and compared them to each other in bright light and selected similar skeins to use where the color change would be obviously. In other words, the skeins were matched and preselected for each section of the sweater before she began. As each sections is joined, its looks more like a light reflection. The bottom line is when purchasing hand dyed yarn, know your supplier, and as Lucy did, carefully analyze your yarn. Challenges met, I cannot wait to see the finished projects.

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