I am currently knitting a little Christmas present for my 3 year old niece, and some of it involves colourwork, where you create a pattern within the knitting involving different colours, as used in Fair Isle jumpers, although thankfully my project is very basic and small! This is only my second attempt at colourwork. I failed miserably at my first, I just couldn’t get my head around it.
This is how I started my current attempt:
So, I had one strand of golden yellow and one of pink on the knitting needles, plus another strand of pink on a darning needle! I was worried I was going to get all hopelessly tangled up and fail again, but luckily I didn’t and I must say it looks pretty good! I will post the results after Christmas 😉 Some things I learned along the way to help me succeed this time:
- Plan a little ahead for which yarn you use for where; keep the darning needle strand for one side, and the knitting needle for the other.
- Use the darning needle thread as much as you can because it can be woven through and means your yarn isn’t gaping over the back of your work.
- Keep your yarns untwisted and separate!
Maybe next year I will attempt a Fair Isle jumper!
Have you got any top tips for tackling colourwork or intarsia? Do you have a particular method for doing it?
Before I forget, I was amused the other day by a quote from an early 11th-century text called the “Penitential of Burchard of Worms” in a non-fiction history book I’m reading called “Medieval Women” by Henrietta Leyser (published in 1997 by Phoenix Giant). It’s more about weaving but still…:
“Have you ever been present at, or consented to, the vanities which women practice in their woollen work, in their weaving, who when they begin their weaving hope to be able to bring it about that with incantations and with their actions that the threads of the warp and of the woof become so intertwined that unless [some-one] makes use of these other diabolical counter-incantations, he will perish totally? If you have ever been present or consented you must do penance for thirty days on bread and water.”