In my past two posts. I discussed learning to knit in the round using two circular needles and knitting a piece in double knitting. This week's theme is Intarsia.
Intarsia is also called color block knitting. It differs from Fair Isle, which I've never done but is next on my list, in that you do not carry the yarn behind the piece as you knit. In intarsia knitting, you drop one color yarn and pick up a new color, making sure that you wrap the old color with the new to help lock it in place.
I chose a simple skull to start with. How hard could it be simply using black and white yarn in this piece. Boy, was I wrong! I started out by casting on the required number of stitches with the black yarn. As I wanted a piece that I could show a customer, I wanted the skull framed by a black square. I used the skull pattern I had graphed out for my double knitting piece with a few modifications. I had prepared small amounts of yarn wrapped around pieces of recycled cardboard. I had one white and one black. It wasn't until I actually started knitting the skull that I knew I had underestimated how many small balls of yarn I needed. If I thought this project was going to be simple, I was sadly mistaken!
It turned out that for this simple skull, I needed 4 balls of white yarn and 4 balls of black. I stated in my first post that learning to knit in the round using the two circular needle method was like knitting with an octopus, my first experience with intarsia was like trying to knit with an octopus which was fighting with a squid!
The instructions I was following stated that you simply leave all the tails of the yarn hanging behind your piece and weave them in when your through. So I not only had the 8 balls of yarn dangling behind my work, I also had at least 7 tail ends to get in the way!
I can't count the number of times I grabbed one of those tail ends and started knitting with it or I grabbed the wrong ball of yarn to knit with. Often, by the time I realized what I had done, I was either halfway across the row or on the next row. Now, if you read my other Adventures, you know what my response was. If you haven't read them, I can tell you there were a few choice expletives and many throwings of the piece against the nearest wall. Then , when I felt better, I would unpick all the stitches and continue on. I finally finished the piece: