Wednesday 12 January 2011

Old Moor Progress

I have started knitting the Louisa Harding Old Moor jumper with the Rowan Felted Tweed yarn that J gave me for Christmas, as I wrote about here.   I have got to about halfway up the body.  So I have finished the band in herringbone stitch that forms the hem, which Louisa Harding says "takes its cue from the traditional woven fabrics produced in this area of Yorkshire".  On each row, you knit 2 stitches and then slip 2 stitches, taking the yarn across the front of the fabric.  The herringbone pattern is formed by the staggered horizontal lines of yarn as they are carried across the slipped stitches.

Because of the slipped stitches, the herringbone band is a much firmer fabric than the stocking stitch used for most of the rest of the jumper.  The slipped stitches mean too that there is not an abrupt change from green yarn to grey yarn; it takes three rows to work all the stitches in the new colour.  I like that, and I think the whole band is very attractive.

The pattern is written with the back and front of the jumper knitted separately,  but I decided to knit them in one piece, in the round, on a circular needle, to avoid breaking up the herringbone band with side seams.  Another advantage is that then the yarn carried across the slipped stitches is always on the nearside of the fabric, so that you can easily see whether the zigzags are developing correctly.  If the herringbone stitch is knitted back and forth, then on the alternate (purl) rows, you have to carry the yarn across the far side and it would be harder to spot mistakes.

 This is my second project knitted Continental style, after the Baby Sophisticate  jacket.   Now that I am past the herringbone band, I have a long stretch of stocking stitch in the round up to the armholes, which of course is miles of knit stitches.  So I shall be very good at knit stitches, Continental style, by the time I reach the armholes.  That could be problematic, because after the armholes I shall have to switch to working back and forth and purl alternate rows, and purl stitches are trickier than knit stitches in Continental knitting.  But I think I shall be OK, because I did both knitting and purling in the Baby Sophisticate jacket and my tension seemed to be the same for both.

 I did write in  an earlier post that I was finding knitting on circular needles awkward and slow, but Continental knitting has solved that.  With my original style of knitting, on straight needles, I hold the right needle under my arm, and my right hand holds the yarn and takes it round the needle to make the stitch.  On a circular needle, my right hand has to hold the needle as well as move the yarn, and so I have to keep switching from one to the other.  With Continental knitting, though, you can keep hold of both needles; the left hand holds both the left needle and the yarn, but the stitch is made by the right needle picking up the yarn.  So in theory, there are fewer steps involved, and in practice, hopefully, it will be quicker. 

And I bought myself a set of interchangeable KnitPro needles (i.e. cables and tips), which was an extravagance, especially as I wasn't sure whether I could adapt to Continental knitting at that point, and so how much I would use them. But they are a pleasure to knit with.  

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