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Topic: Color Stranding Help  (Read 1200 times)
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ruby_soho
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« on: August 23, 2007 11:24:54 PM »

Help me, I'm having a nervous breakdown.

I decided (perhaps this was my first mistake) to try intarsia/fair isle [what is the difference there?  i'm getting conflicting definitions from the internet] on this blanket:  http://www.goingcrafty.com/journal/img/mst3kblanket.pdf

i started at the bottom and did fine until about the third row of "other color", or the white space in the pattern.  what i was doing was snipping the black yarn, adding the new color onto it via a slipknot, then knitting one stitch (as is called for) and switching back to black using the same method.  this made a huge mess in the back wherein i couldn't distinguish which loose ends i needed to make tighter, and eventually, in the third row of "other color", i pulled the wrong strand too tightly and a giant hole appeared... so i frogged it.  i realize that this is probably due partially, at least, to the fact that i began by cutting really small strands...  but i did some reading and am a little confused about some elements of intarsia and fair isle, especially the "wrapping around" of the color not in use:

ive been looking at tutorials and i know now that i should have just kept the other color yarn connected - i get that part - but do i start the blanket at the very bottom with the other yarn present?  wait until i get to that row and start with the new color wrapped in at the beginning of it?  just add it in the first time i need it and continue? 

any advice or comiseration you have would be helpful... sorry for the long post  Undecided

ETA:  I did some research and found that what i'm trying to do is really stranded color knitting... at least i think it is.  the main problem that i'm having is understanding how to begin - do i start with both colors present?  or do i add the contrast color in at some point - and if it's that, how do i do it?
« Last Edit: August 24, 2007 09:16:06 AM by ruby_soho » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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ruby_soho
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« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2007 09:43:24 AM »

anyone?  please?
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sthomson
« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2007 11:21:19 AM »

Wow, that's a complicated pattern to start out with! Kudos to you for your bravery!

Intarsia knitting is usually done so that each color has it's own "block" with its own yarn. It's the style used when you see a row of hearts on a sweater, for example. Each "heart" gets its own bit of a ball of yarn (separate from the other bits) - you just pick up that strand when you get to it as you're knitting back and forth.

Stranded colorwork (fair isle is a particular subset of stranded work) is suitable for rows where you've got a lot of different color changes all in a row. Each color is carried along and knit in to the fabric on each row. A rule of thumb is that you don't want to "carry" a strand for more than 5 stitches, or the "float" (as its called) could catch or warp the fabric.

(This write-up explains more about the difference between the two)

For your blanket, you'll probably want to do mostly intarsia knitting with a little bit of stranded on the detailed parts like hands and snouts. The first 8 or 9 rows are all-black, so it doesn't make any sense to carry the other color, then each color is pretty segregated into blocks. I'm working on a diagram to show you what I mean.
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« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2007 11:53:38 AM »

thank you thank you thank you!

a diagram would be SO helpful.

here's a question though - how do i add in the contrasting color after the 8 or 9 rows of black?
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sthomson
« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2007 12:18:48 PM »

here's a question though - how do i add in the contrasting color after the 8 or 9 rows of black?
Well, I just sort of start knitting with the new color. So when I come to the black stitch that needs a green stitch on top of it, I stick my needle in as if to knit, but loop some green yarn over the top instead of looping black yarn, and pull it through. Then, I weave in the end through the wrong side of the work.  Also, when you come to the boundary between two yarn colors, you should "twist" the yarns together, meaning that you just wrap one yarn ball over the other before you start knitting again, so that the two strands are locked together.

I made this diagram:

(ugh, sorry it's smooshed. Click here to see a bigger version.

I tried to number each section in the order that you'd start that mini-ball of yarn, although I didn't really take in to account the direction of the rows. So you start with Ball 1 for a few rows, then on row 9 you add ball 2 for one stitch, then start ball 3 (same color as ball 1, but different section of the pattern), switch to green with Ball 4, then back to black with ball 5, and so on.

On row 14, for example, you'll knit with the strand from Ball 1, then drop it and knit with the strand from ball 2, then Ball 3, then 7, then 6, then 4, then 5.  If there's just a few stitches of one color in the middle of another, you can just use one strand for a few stitches without having to start and stop another ball.

KnittingHelp.com has a video about intarsia - I haven't watched it yet, but I'm sure it's excellent.

You might want to start with a smaller intarsia project first, until you get the hang of visualizing the different blocks of color. (of course, I can't really FIND any patterns right now! gah.)
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rachelise
« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2007 12:24:54 PM »

OK, so what you are knitting is definitely intarsia, because you are knitting in big blocks of color.  A general rule of thumb is that if you would have to carry the strand over 1" or more of you kntting you want to add in a new ball of yarn.  It REALLY helps to sit down with you pattern before hand and plan out where each block of color is going to start and end, and how many balls of each color you need to use.  Then start by winding your yarn onto bobbins or into small center-pull balls.  It will seriously help to keep you work from tangling. 

You don't really want to join your new yarn with knots, they WILL work their way through to the front eventually.  To join a new ball of yarn:

1. insert you right needle into the stitch as if to knit (and then just leave both needles hanging out there - don't actually knit the stitch just yet). 
2. lay the new yarn over the stitch that is on the needles so that the tail is on your left and the part attached to the ball is on the right.
3. take the new ball and pass it under the yarn you were previously using  right where it joins the knitting and then back over the top of it going counter clockwise
4. now you are ready to actually knit the stitch that has been hanging out on your needles using the new yarn.  you want to pass both the stitch and the part of the new yarn tail that is hanging out on top of it over the needle when you knit this stitch. 
5. so now you'e finished knitting that first stitch you will notice that the new and old yarns are twisted together in the back and the tail of the new yarn will be on the left side of the stitch just made.  leave them that way and keep knitting with the new yarn. 

every time you switch colors (whether or not you are starting a new ball) at the edges of the big blocks of colors you want to take the new ball and pass it under and over the old strand going counter clockwise before knitting the first stitch with the new color so that you don't end up with gaps between the colors. 

at the end just take those loose ends and weave them in around the boundaries of the color blocks.  Try to always start a new ball at one of these boundaries, and not in the middle of a big block of color.   Unless you are using a really slippery yarn, you shouldn't need knots at all. 

i hope that helps.  i wish i had a good picture to show you.  all those words make it seem way more complicated than it really is!!!
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Muria
« Reply #6 on: August 24, 2007 12:44:11 PM »

I second the knittinghelp intarsia video.  I'm fairly sure I watched it before working on my first intarsia project (around December).  Good luck with the Mystery Science Theater blanket!  I definitely started with a much smaller intarsia project (stuffed calico fun fur cat from Lion Brand), but I bet yours will look great when you're done!
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Muria

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« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2007 01:15:03 PM »

MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000?!?!?!?!
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ruby_soho
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« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2007 01:59:43 PM »

thanks so much, everyone!  this is going to be a lot harder than i imagined, but i'll likely get started on it later this evening.  i'll let you know how it turns out!
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sthomson
« Reply #9 on: August 24, 2007 03:23:21 PM »

MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000?!?!?!?!

"...repeat to yourself 'It's just a show, I should really just relax!"
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