Friday, July 10, 2015

Stranded color work, and learning



I'm working lately on stranded knitting. This is the opposite of the garter stitch blanket; it involves charts and pencils and markers and figuring and measuring and ripping back. Sometimes, I need that kind of work, too, an interesting project that keeps me thinking. There's no looking away from it, so I can't work on it while we watch American Horror Story [Yiiiiikes! So creeeeeepy! I might be too chicken for that show! I'm scared of my own basement now!] but it goes really well with coffee and This American Life, which is much more my usual speed.



There's nothing for it but to spread out all over the table and make everyone eat their dinner off their laps because my papers and markers and stuff are all over every flat surface--don't move that, I'm workiiiiing!--but watching the design emerge from what seems in the beginning like a mess is pretty fun. I keep stopping to look at it, even though it is a (pre-blocked) puckered and crumpled pile, and to say oooh, aaahhh! Look! Value contrast! It's so satisfying.

As you know, this is an area where I struggle, and since I don't like to struggle, I am giving myself a crash course in stranded colorwork this week. It's difficult, at least for me, to look beyond color and see the value differences--I see pink and think "Well, pink is a 'light' color, right?" I'm determined to learn to recognize it.

Shooting in black and white mode helps. All of a sudden, aha! See how the first three are pretty much the same? The bells go off in my head. Learning is happening.

I arranged these in what I thought was the correct order, ranging from light to dark, and then shot it in black and white to see how I did. You can see I had a couple wrong at the dark end of the range.

Once the values are all sorted out, it's time to figure out a pattern--Alice Starmore has already done a lot of hard work there, so I just get her to help me with the charts. That book is a wonderful resource. Then, there's measuring, a little math, and away we go.

This should keep me busy for awhile.