Sunday, November 25, 2007

Fun with Fair Isle

I can be a bit paranoid sometimes when it comes to Christmas knitting. I generally start thinking about it in the late summer or early fall, and planning/collecting yarn/searching for patterns often consumes a great deal of my mental energy (only because it's so fun!). I am always scared that I won't have enough time to finish everything, and as a result I'm usually finished well ahead of time.

When it came to the Main Street Fair Isle, however, I was afraid that perhaps this project would sit on the back burner for a while, well beyond the Christmas season. I just wasn't all that motivated to work on it. First I had all those gauge issues with the first sleeve, and then I had to start the body 3 times (with more gauge problems), and I was getting tired of looking at all that maroon.

I decided to pick the project up again after finishing my sister's socks, and to try knitting the second sleeve starting with more stitches. This solution was deemed far more acceptable, and before I knew it I had 2 finished sleeves! Then I figured that I should finish the main part of the body and at least attach the sleeves, and soon I had reached the fair isle part. Who knew that a couple nights of tv would suffice to get all that accomplished?!? Clearly I have been doing way too much knitting on teeny tiny needles, or with fiddly annoying mohair (read: Kidsilk Haze).

So, fair isle! I'd never done it before, but how hard could it be, really? Then I realized that parts of the pattern called for 3 colours to a round. Ah, crap.

Main Street Fair Isle colour_02

Green, blue, and purple on one round (at the left), and then maroon, blue, and green on the next round (at the right). That calls for a lot of floats in the back!

Main Street Fair Isle colour_03

Also, I put in a lifeline in case I screwed things up beyond repair. This part of the fair isle turned out fairly well, but there are parts where I think I could have been a little looser with the floats (I tried my best). There is a bit of puckering here and there, but on the body the sweater lies more or less flat so it's not too bad. I think a good blocking should also even things out a bit.

The fair isle got much easier as I went along, mostly because the later rows only called for 2 colours per round (another lifeline couldn't hurt, though).

Main Street Fair Isle colour_04

A photo of the colourwork along with the raglan decreases.

Main Street Fair Isle colour_05

The sweater should be pretty much done soon, way before Christmas! I'm going to make my mom do the bind-off at the neck, because she's probably better/more experienced at doing a sewn k1,p1 bind-off than I am. So she'll get to participate in the making of her own Christmas gift, beyond providing commentary on the gauge/sizing. Oh, and she paid for the yarn, too. =P


Karen said...

That's awesome! See why I love working with heavier weights? It knits up a lot faster :D

Your colour work looks great! I know what you mean about the floats - you don't want to leave too much so that fingers and things get caught in it, but you can't leave too little cuz it'll pucker if you do. Like everything, I suppose it just takes practice; though yours is looking really nice.

Lifelines - what a good idea and yet I never remember to do that!

Awesomeness for you! That's 2 presents done!

Adrienne said...

Yes, I agree re the heavier weights! I don't know why I'm always drawn to the fingering weight yarns, though. It's strange!

Thanks for the compliments! I have to admit that I'm a bit nervous about the bottom fair isle part -- I tried it on yesterday to see how the neckline was progressing and it seemed to fit a little funny. Maybe it's too tight and doesn't stretch enough around the shoulders? I'd really hate to have to reknit all that (then the lifelines would really come in handy! =P). I'm going to leave it the way it is for now, and see how it fits on my mom.