Friday, July 11, 2014

Weaving in Yarn Tails for Intarsia Designs

I will not be making a blog entry until August 1st.  I will be preparing for the conference in New Hampshire or at the conference.

I devoted a day to getting my handouts and kits prepared and shipped off to the conference.  I had to get them there by the 16th.  I tend to put off things like that so I wind up shlepping an extra very heavy suitcase.  Not this year!

Just a few lessons arrived for review.  I am really under the wire for getting stuff knit for the Winter Issue of Cast On.  I looked at a calendar the other day and realized I am running out of time, especially since I will not be able to get much knitting done while at the conference.

On a different (less whiny note), I got a list of my students signed up for the Finishing Course in NH and I contacted them all to see if they wanted PDF copies of the handout before the course.  The handout has so many photographs which don't copy all that well so I want them to have the chance to get a color copy if they want it or to load it onto a tablet.  Most have contacted me to get the files.

This is the final entry for intarsia.  When I was reviewing for the Masters Program, many Level 2 knitters could do the argyle sock but the final result was ruined by how they wove in the yarn tails.  Anyone who has purchased a Christmas sweater knit in Asia knows what I mean.  If you look at the inside of those sweaters you will find a collection of knots.  If the sweater is tight all of those knots mean that it doesn't stretch all that attractively accross the chest.  There may be holes or Santa's hat may be distorted.  It is especially noticeable on a sock.

An intarsia design isn't complete until the ends are woven in.  This also gives you an opportunity to clean up the design.  If you notice any overly large stitches you can use a tapestry needle to shift the excess yarn the closest yarn tail.  Experience has taught me that the best way to weave in a yarn tail in stockinette in the middle of a row is to use the duplicate stitch method.  I have done TONS of videos on this and several blog entries (just check the index).  The problem with doing this on an intarsia design is that the stitch path can be difficult to see.  The key thing is to look at the RS of the work as you do it to make sure the tail doesn't show through and doesn't distort the design.  Stretch it!

This technique requires that you weave in the yarn in the direction the yarn tail would have taken if it were knit.  This can cause panic as it mean that the yarn tail will cross over into another color.  If you slightly split the stitches as you weave in the tail, this guarantees that the tail will stay on the WS of the work and won't poke through.  I've woven black yarn over white with no problems.

The following photos shows the RS and WS of the work.  This is the link to the video:  Weaving in Yarn Tails in Intarsia Designs

Salon will be on Sunday this week from 1:30-3:20.  Hope you can make it!

The Thigh High socks have been blocked but I still have to weave in the yarn tails.  I think I will make a pair for me.  They are very comfortable (I did have to try them on!) 

I've started on the Nordic Sweaters.  They are so much fun!  There will be for a baby, one for a child and one for an adult.  I am doing different designs for the sizes.  The baby size has a fawn instead of a deer.  It is unbelievably cute.   The yarn is from Baah.  The main color is a deeper red than this shows.  The contrast is actually a pale, pale green.  The child's sweater will be in a deeper green and the adult will be blue.  I got the draft of the Fall issue yesterday with the children's argyle vests.  The models we used (absolutely adorable) inspired these sweaters.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Intarsia Part 2

This entry will be brief.  I didn't look at the calendar when I promised finish up the intarsia tip this week, not that I have any big plans other than cooking and knitting.

Just when I thought I was finished winding balls of yarn....I realized I hadn't thought about table decorations so I got some yarn in the colors of the conference literature and here we go again.

I looked at the calendar and realized that the conference is coming up soon and I haven't put my handouts together for the two classes I am teaching.  One of my students has taken me up on my offer to do the homework (for a fee) so I have that to do as well.  I know what I will be doing next week.  One of my classes is sold out which is nice.  I am teaching the two day finishing course.  I am always surprised that students don't sign up for both days.  Day 1 is sold out but there are a few spots left in Day 2.  I will do some homework in case there are last minute sign ups.

The number of students that sent in lessons and signed up for the courses have really dropped off this month. It is officially summer vacation time.  

Last week's tip was the introduction to intarsia.  The technique itself isn't difficult.  What makes intarsia a challenge is yarn management and tension issues.  As I said last week, I've always found diagonal designs in intarsia the most satisfying.  The tension seems easier to control.  Where I've had difficulty is on vertical columns.  Tension at the color joins can be difficult.  When you begin and end rows, tension can be an issue.  Changing colors in a vertical line is a lot like beginning and ending rows.  The key thing is to avoid pulling the yarn tightly when changing colors.  When you do this, you pull yarn from several of the stitches just knit, not just the last one.  Using just your needle tips helps as well.  Another thing you can try is to wrap the yarn the opposite way for the new stitch which means you have to work it through the back on the next row.  I've tried all of these and have found them somewhat helpful but the best way to fix the tension is to look at the work when you are done BEFORE you have woven in the yarn tails and to use a tapestry needle to manipulate the stitches.  For that reason, I don't weave in my yarn tails until the piece is done.  Yes, this is a gigantic pain as it would be much more pleasant to do it as you go along but you have more control over the piece if you do it this way.  The videos shows the techniques I tried.  Vertical Intarsia

This photograph show the RS of the intarsia design.  Notice that the tension on the right side is slightly better than the left side.  I haven't fixed the left side yet.  Next week I will do a video on clean up and weaving in the yarn tails.

Here is a photograph of the WS.  Notice how the colors are interlocked at the join.  If you don't follow the rule of picking up the new color under and to the right, you will get holes.

Salon will be on Saturday from 1:30 to 3:30.  I have to drive to the airport late in the afternoon.  

I finished one sock.  I've changed the name to thigh highs.  They are longer than over the knee.  I haven't blocked the first one yet.  I'm hoping to finish the second on early this week.