Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Adventures in double knitting

It all started a week ago Monday. Well, the action started Monday. I've been inspired by my friend Ember and her double knits for quite some time now. And intending to knit Exchequered all year now. On Monday I went to the library while waiting for the carpool grrls, with pattern, yarn, and a size 5 circular needle in hand. There I finally cast on, with a lot of texted encouragement from Ember. Thank heavens for library books! I was able to look up the cable caston, and realise that I already know this caston, just not its name.

Double knitting is indeed an adventure. I started with both colours of yarn held in my right hand. This means I need to move both strands from back to front or vice versa with every stitch. I was dropping strands and picking them up. It was a mess. On Tuesday, I found a video online that showed how to do it left-handed, and it looked much easier. I tried it, and fumbled along for a few rows. You could see the rapid decline in the stitch quality. My left handed purling still needs a lot of work. I finally settled down with one colour in my right hand, one colour in my left. This works especially well when I'm purling consisting with one colour, and keep that colour in my right hand.

It was pretty exciting, if awkward, when I got through the rows of solid colour and could add my first cheque. Then there was a second cheque, and a third. As I progressed, naturally, my technique improved. I certainly wasn't getting Good, yet, but improving. My stitches were smoother, but there was a still a lot of variation in the size of the stitches.

I knit on this scarf all week, especially at work. It was painfully obvious I wouldn't be able to finish it by Christmas, and I should be concentrating on more attainable projects, but I couldn't stop myself. I was transfixed.

On Friday evening, I decided to make some more hats, and I opened up my folder of interchangable needles to build myself a size 9 needles. In that folder I saw something very disturbing... a size 5 needle end. Let me explain the significance of this. All week I'd been knitting Exchequered on size 5 needles, or I thought I was. But actually, I was knitting with a needle that had a size 5 needle on one end and a size 7 needle on the other. Seriously! I actually do this a lot. I put a smaller needle on the passive end which makes the knitting go a little smoother. I should have known this. I should have measured both ends of the needle before I started. No wonder the stitches were uneven.

Unrecoverable error. Fatal error. Hello, frog pond.

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