Sunday, March 9, 2008

How to Tuesday : Stranded Knitting/Fair Isle

Tuesday again :) (yes really it is Tuesday here already)

Michaela asked about stranded knitting/floating colours behind your work so that's what this post is about.

Stranded knitting allows you to change colours on the same row (ie changing colours each stitch rather than each row). Probably the best known style of stranded knitting is Fair Isle which describes a style of patterned knitting that originated in Fair Isle near Scotland but people also use the term Fair Isle to indicate any type of stranded knitting. There is a wikipedia page about Fair Isle knitting here.

I use stranded knitting for the hats I make

The red/pink row I swap colours either every stitch or every 2 stitches (e.g 2 row red, row of pink/red alternating then 2 row of red). Sometimes I do the row 1 stitch of each colour and sometimes 2 stitches of each colour. When the hearts are only 2 stitches apart then the floats are not too long and I don't bother catching them. I simply just "float" them behind and pick them up again when I need them. I have read up to 7 stitches is Ok and I would only catch the stitches if the item was for a small child and I was worried about fingers or toes catching on the loose threads. You end up with a reverse image on the wrong side (if I can find my camera...grumble grumble....2 years old....grumble... I will take a pic of the inside of the hat)
I think the biggest thing is tension and that gets easier the more you practice. Read this page about floats and what they are and how to do them!

So..... how to do stranded knitting:

There is a video on knitting help (scroll down) here

There is also instructions here

Both of these sites give instructions on how to hold yarn for both continental and english style knitting.

I subscribe to the knitting in colour blog which is a wonderful resource for anything to do with stranded knitting. There is an excellent list of technique posts on the sidebar and some free patterns. She also has a list of other web based resources.

I also found this blog when link hunting which also looks great. I've bookmarked this one for future reference :) There are some great resources linked in her sidebar.

And finally if you are a Raveler then there is a Stranded group here. TONS of links and information there and would be a great place to ask for help if you need it. Check out the 17 group pages for oodles of links and resources for knitting in colour :)

Happy Knitting!

What shall we do next week?


Diane said...

Your hat is gorgeous, I love it! I really want to learn to do this, I've tried a few times, the hardest part to me is reading the chart, I'm used to written instructions. But someday, I will overcome and do it!

sweetp said...

Thanks, the hardest part with that particular design is the 1st row . After that its quite easy because the hearts just go 1st, 3st, 5st etc. I have been meaning to write up the instructions but I just havent figured out an easy way to explain it lol. one day i will...

Michaela said...

Thanks for the help! I'm about to start a bag and this will help me make sure I don't have all this extra yarn on the wrong side. I'll let you know how it goes!

P.S. Cute hat!!