Stranded Colourwork

HatI have a lot of 4 ply yarn. This is also known as fingering weight. When I say I have a lot of it, I mean I have giant spools of it from Greece and other European countries, donated to me. They used to be used for a knitting machine (from what I was told) but it’s no longer in use, so all of this fantastic yarn came my way. I have a feeling I’ll be in yarn for a very long time to come. The trouble of course comes from deciding what I should do with such an enormous amount of yarn. Fingering weight yarn is perfect for things like baby items and socks. It’s great for Fair Isle patterns, and shawls with some weight. Ravelry lets me sort patterns by yarn weight, so I’ve got a few ideas in mind already. I would really like to knit a shawl but of course I don’t know the faintest thing about that (yet).

In the meantime I wanted to play around with this yarn. It’s beautiful, and I settled on making the hat over on the left hand side. I used some self striping yarn that gave this beautiful effect, and I made my very first stranded colour piece. Stranded colour is pretty simple, the strands just get carried along the inside of the piece. It actually served to bulk up the hat nicely, tonight I went for a walk wearing it and my ears were toasty warm. The hat itself is very light, but since winter is quite mild I think I’ll still have lots of opportunities to wear this. I may even knit up a matching scarf. Actually the more I think about this the more in love with the idea I become. A nice long scarf that I can wrap around a few times. You don’t always need to have really heavy yarn in order to keep warm. While I continue to decide what I want to do with this new found collection of yarn, I’ve been working away on the cable scarf. It’s a pretty easy pattern and I don’t really have to pay any attention while I work on it.

I also tried my hand at double knitting. This is where you knit with two strands at the same time, and not only that, you knit and purl at the exact same time. In essence you create a double sided piece. I learned I am absolutely no good at this, at least not when there’s a pattern involved. I tried a really simple heart pattern, and used two colours. How the pattern was supposed to work was on one side it would be colour A as a background with colour B as a heart, and then the other side should have been colour B as the background with colour A as the heart. Nope. Somehow I constantly messed up. I’m not sure if my mind is just unable to grasp the concept of the pattern or what it was, but it just would not click. I tried a number of times before growing frustrated and moving back to the scarf. At least that I’ve got down pat.

What do you make with your fingering weight yarn? Have any simple patterns that you think I should try out?

I really enjoyed doing the stranded colour work. I’ve heard a lot of people complain that it caused their piece to become too tight, you really have to watch your tension so that you don’t shape the piece as you work along. I didn’t have that issue at all, and in fact I’m quite proud of the tension that I’ve had throughout my knitting so far. I don’t know if I just pick it up by instinct, but it’s something that hasn’t been an issue (yet). Of course now that I’ve said that I’m sure I’ve jinxed myself.

I do want to find another project or two to work on along side the scarf. I just don’t think that’s going to hold my attention well enough. Shawl? Another pair of socks? Scarf with colour work? We’ll just have to see!

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