As part of my “learn something new every month” New Year’s resolution, I’ve been trying to teach myself to be more adept at stranded knitting. (For those of you who don’t knit, stranded knitting is when you work with two colors of yarn at once, alternating small groups of stitches in each color, and you carry the non-working yarn across the back of the piece.) I have a couple of lovely new books of Fair Isle patterns for visual inspiration, and yesterday I practiced for a while on a test swatch.
This, more or less, is what was running through my head:
- I HATE DOUBLE-POINTED NEEDLES. They’re so horribly fiddly. Should’ve just made a much bigger swatch so I could work on circulars. [drops DPN for the 20th time; sotto voce swearing ensues]
- I cannot, to save my life, hold one yarn in each hand, the way that’s supposed to be easiest. Just. Can’t. Do it. I never taught myself to knit Continental-style, with the yarn thrown over the left hand.
- But if I keep just picking up one yarn at a time and holding it with my right hand like I’m used to, the two yarns get hopelessly tangled in no time at all. [more sotto voce swearing]
- OK. Trying the two-hands-at-once method again. I feel like a toddler learning to walk, or something. Am I really that much of a klutz?
- Dropped the needle AGAIN. [more sotto voce swearing]
- My method of yarn wrapping is generally inefficient and weird. I should work on that. I bet this would be a lot easier if I were better at holding the yarn in the first place.
- I’ve been at this for what feels like hours, and this is all I’ve managed to do? Augh.
So, clearly, I have a long way to go. But I keep seeing the most amazing stranded patterns for sheep-themed blankets and Old English socks and all kinds of incredible mittens (mittens with octopuses and koi and beetles on them! astronomical mittens! Cthulhu mittens!), and my desire to be able to make them is greater than my annoyance at my own ham-fistedness. At least I hope so.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have more swatching to do. And probably a lot more swearing.