Sunday, September 15, 2013

Many colors

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This absurdly massive stranded colorwork coat project is making me swoon with joy.  I am, for maybe the very first time ever, completely confident in my color choices.  Each time I join a new color, I think oooooh, that’s pretty!  There’s value contrast, and warm/cool is in balance, and there’s plenty of yarn so I don’t have to worry about running out.  The individual pattern bands are made up of four or five two-color rows and two plain rows, which turns out to be perfect because each one lasts exactly as long as my patience for it.  Just when I can’t take any more two-handed knitting, I get two plain rows for a little bit of a breather.  Then the colors change and everything feels fresh again, and it all keeps happening every six or seven rows.  That goes a long way toward keeping this knitter interested.  The other thing that helps—I’m giving a secret away here—is that binge-watching series television on Netflix will distract sufficiently that even a complicated-looking thing like this huge multi-colored knitted coat will appear to knit itself while you are off doing something else.  I swear this is true.  I can’t believe how much of this project is done already.  It’s almost to the armholes!  When did that happen? 

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But of course, I wouldn’t be me if there weren’t some doubt.  For one thing, I am deviating from the pattern as written and knitting this in the round, which is great because the colorwork is all done on the right side and also that the whole body is almost done, but it also means there will be (eek!) a steek.  If you’re new to knitting, a steek is an extra section worked in a garment knit in the round that will later be cut open to make a front opening or armholes or whatever.  Cut.  With scissors.  [As an aside, my theory is they decided to call it a “steek” because that’s kind of the sound that involuntarily issues forth from the knitter as she executes this terrifying maneuver.] Anyway, the thing about steeking is that there is no going back.  No doing what I often do and deciding at the end that your knitted garment is not what you hoped and then unraveling it all again to reuse the yarn.  Once you have steeked a garment, it stays steeked.  It’s a permanent situation, and a done deal.  So it’s always super-scary, and there’s no way around that, at least not for me.  

Also, when I do get to the armholes (just three televison sitcom episodes away, I’m guessing) I will have to either figure out how to steek those too, and and then suss out the shaping (oh my aching brain) or else start working this two-color stranded business back and forth, which is extremely onerous, so terrifically tedious that because of it, well, somebody invented the steek. 

Also, I sense that the finished garment is going to be huge.  This could be that wearable blanket I’m always talking about.

Focusing on the pretty colors.  Pretty! 

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28 comments:

  1. Your blog is great-just the right combination of obsessive crafting, neurosis, news and smiles :D I often 2nd, 3rd and 4th guess myself and its reassuring I'm not alone.

    The quilt and sweater have a very similar colour range (from what I can judge on my tablet) and I love them both. I've knitted since I was 4 and I've never heard of steeking. I'm matching the terror at the thought tho!

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  2. I remember the last steek, I can't believe you are putting yourself, and us, through another one! Jo x

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  3. This is fabulous and entirely the type of project I want to try. I have been analysing and gawking steeking refs for ages, but as I am happy crocheting I really ought to give it a go as most steeking shrieking seems to be the fact peeps can't crochet! Write up your pattern and I'll have a go. Hope you don't go too boss eyed watching the goggle box!! Fiona x

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  4. OMG, I can't believe how far you have got with this, it seems like only a few days that you mentioned starting it and now look how far along you are! It is amazing and I am in awe. Looking forward to seeing it finished even more now.

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  5. It really is beautiful. The colors are perfect.

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  6. Beautiful!! But I don't envy your steeking at all. I had never heard of it before, and I almost wish I hadn't. Good luck!

    Jenn @JennsCraftyWorld

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  7. These colors are PERFECT!!!!!! What a work of art. (I just recently gave up on a fair isle sweater----because it was NOT knit in the round...I know only too well the trials of purling fair isle!!)

    I can't wait to see this one finished!!!!!

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  8. It looks like it's going to be lovely and warm whether it's blanket sized or not! :) And I hadn't heard of "steeking" before. It actually sounds quite terrifying. :\

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  9. That is indeed a thing of beauty. Done one steek, might as well do two!(although I daren't myself, I'm a coward that way!). Good luck. x

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  10. It's beautiful and the colour choices are lovely too, I have never heard of steeking but then I'm a two needle knitter and only venture into the round when I have to. I wouldn't have the courage for steeking I'm afraid, what happens if it goes wrong all that beautiful work done for nothing! I wish you the best of luck!! :)

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  11. Beautiful. You are so talented. I have confidence in your steeking.

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  12. Alice Starmore's Fair Isle Knitting book has good info on shaping armholes with steeks, I've been reading it in detail as my father is desperate for a Fair Isle sweater and I am too soft hearted to deny him.

    Lovely knitting

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  13. It's fun to see how quickly you (with the aid of Netflix) are moving though those beautiful color changes. The harmonies are lovely.

    You are brave to try the Steek. I remember first encountering that concept while reading a book by Alice Starmore, and wondering that, even if many generations of fair isle knitters had managed it, that it was a technique I would ever try. Scaredy cat that I am, I have yet to even try a swatching attempt. And I do love all the fair isle grid patterns.

    Do keep us posted on your bravery.

    xo

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  14. The first time I saw you do this I needed a drink. Good grief,you're at it again. Thanks for the warning, I think I'm out of vermouth.
    BTW- That coat is going to be smashing.

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  15. I absolutely love it!!! Those colours are gorgeous together no wonder you are so confident in them they are delightful! I am totally new to knitting, so new that I don't knit just have an immense desire to learn to! I crochet but want to branch out to knitting soon and your posts are only fueling my urge to start! I think it will be a while before I try a "STEEK!" What yarn are you using?

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  16. Wow you never stop surprising me with how much you can do and how amazing your work is... Can't wait to see the finished project :) love the colors :)

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  17. You shall be proud of this colorway and your neat knitting! It is indeed magical how you manage to knit such things... :) Looking forward to see the finished coat!

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  18. this is absolutely gorgeous, well done

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  19. Just quietly waiting to see the result, having full trust in your ability to steek. Will not be talking nonsense in the presence of higher grade professional level knitting!

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  20. It looks gorgeous! I really love the colors and the pattern. I am quite sure you will work out the armholes!

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  21. I Am in AWE..... of You, your bravery and the fact that this detailed work is accomplished while watching tv blows my mind!!! You My Friend ARE THE BEST!

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  22. Very very beautiful,love your colors,I am knitting a starmore cardigan,and to avoid steeling armholes,i am knitting raglan sleeves,dont know if the word raglan is the same in english

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  23. Hi Kristen, It's beautiful and the colors are perfect!!! Have a happy week!!!
    Love
    AMarie

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  24. This project is a beauty! Loving all your colour choices and the patterns are so pretty, and it sounds the perfect project for you to work on in terms of variety of patterns - no chance of boredom there - and no chance of boredom with the challenge of that steek looming!!!
    Enjoy making the rest of it Kristen, although knowing you (from your blog) by now it is finished, being worn with great enjoyment, and you are already half-way through the next project!
    Gill xx

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  25. I don't know how I got here, from one pattern to another and landed here! I love your blog, everything you do is lovely! Hello and blessings from a wrinkley old granny in Seattle?

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