Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Alvaros Sweater: I Am Not Going to Allow My Past Experience with Intarsia Deter Me

Wow... I am still waiting for the dust to settle from all of last week's dyeing excitement. I felt like I was a kid on Christmas morning.

Last month, I decided that I wanted to explore knitting techniques that I have either not tried before or have tried unsuccessfully. Intarsia, steeks, creating swatches just to explore stitch form versus just doing it to start a project, taking on projects that require small sized needles, and socks were only some of the things that came to mind.

Now, I have done intarsia once before, on a sock. Notice the singular sock. I still think that I may knit the other to make a pair. I also have to confess that this was my first sock. I knit that sock three years ago. Until a month ago, it was my only sock. The tiny little needles (DP #4, I know not small by many peoples standards) combined with the intarsia drove me crazy. Carrying the one color yarn here and one color yarn there, argh! What can I say, I have big hands. Small needles make me feel clumsy.

I am amazed by the knitters who make dozens of socks. I attend an intermediate spinning class once a month. The first few minutes we share with one another what we have been working on. When I see my fellow spinners/ knitters pull out these beautiful, intricately knit wonders, I mean socks, my heart melts. As the socks are passed around the room, and they reach me, I turn them over, study the heels, the toes. Some of the knitters are now experimenting with placing the seams in different places, and creating different types of shaping through the foot. It is amazing the amount of design and construction in something so small yet so important. Without socks, humans would not be typing on computers right now. Or would they? If you have an idea how evolution could have played itself differently, I would love to hear it. Sock Knitters, you are inspirational and I am going to try harder.

I have a new favorite book titled The Natural Knitter, by Barbara Albright. I love that it includes patterns from many different designers and that it explores a range of varied materials. I also love how it includes excerpts about small farms and businesses.

As my first project, I decided to try the Alvros Sweater designed by Beth Brown-Reinsel. You may think that I am crazy from my past experience with intarsia. Yes, I am a little crazy and somewhat of a masochist.

The design is interesting. The colors are graphic, making a traditional design modern. The pattern calls for small needles. And, the main technique used is intarsia. Perfect. I figure it will be like a puzzle that may take me a verrrry long time to put together. Really, what's the rush? In general, in my life, I am trying to practice more patience. Not knit as if my survival depends on it. Learn how to balance knitting with eating. Sometimes, it isn't just a sharpening of technical knitting skills that occurs over the years, it actually is maturity. I would like to think that I have matured at least a little over the past couple years and that maturity will allow me to ask for the help and patience needed to finish this project. I guess we'll soon find out.

I decided that I would spin all of my yarn for the Alvaros Sweater. Black and cranberry merino. Cream superfine merino. Now, when I was faced with the decision of buying regualr cream merino and superfine cream merino, I thought to myself, now c'mon, could there really be such a difference? Yes! The superfine merino is heavenly. Unbelieveable. It feels like soft, fuzzy air when I spin it. I highly recommend it.

This is what I have knit so far. . .

The border has been really fun. Using the cranberry and black back and forth feels like weaving. I would like to create a pattern for a scarf using this technique.

1 comment:

Michelle (missymarie) said...

You go girl! You are an inspiration to all of us who want to venture out and do something new but for one reason or another never do. Now I am determine to learn how to knit socks. I think I will start out with a basic pattern because I don't think I am quite ready for intarsia. I can't wait to see your progress on your Alvaros Sweater.