Back to back

Here’s the back piece of the Starsky jacket. I’ve just got to the point where I’m shaping the raglan armholes now.

cardigan with fair-isle pattern

Doing the pattern has been fun and good practice because I’ve had to learn a couple of new things. My only experience at changing colours in the middle of a row has been with the blanket squares when I had to put some motif in the middle of it. I’ve had a few nightmares with those in all honesty usually because there are gaps when I changed yarn or the motif was puckered.

Now I don’t know if it’s me getting better or just the yarn, but incorporating the brown on this jacket has gone really quite well.

The blocks at the bottom of the piece (and which occur either side of the main section) required me to switch colour every two stitches.

brown pattern

At first I was worried about having a repeat of my blanket square disasters with gaps and puckering etc. But it turned out surprisingly ok. The back of this work looks like this:

back of the pattern

It looks reasonably neat, but I didn’t expect to see the yarn in those arrow shapes.

So when I came to do the same pattern further up the piece, I looked in my Knitter’s Bible about Fair-Isle knitting and how to do that technique.

I realised that with fair-isle I didn’t have to twist the yarn at the back as I had been doing. Why you should twist it with intarsia and don’t in fair-isle I’m not quite sure.

Anyway, this time I just brought the cream yarn over the top each time and the brown yarn underneath each time, rather than always bringing the new yarn from underneath, regardless of colour. The front looks the same but this is what it looks like on the back now:

back of the pattern in fair-isle style

No arrow shapes and it all lies very neatly. I’m quite chuffed.

Now according to my Knitter’s Bible you shouldn’t strand the yarn over more than 3 stitches, but part of the pattern required me to knit 10 in cream and just 2 in brown. So I had to learn yet another technique of weaving in the yarn to carry it along with me. Thanks to some diagrams in a couple of different books, I finally figured out how to do this and was able to carry on quite quickly.  The only slight downside is that the woven brown shows through the cream stitches sometimes, but I guess that’s something that will get better with practice.

Hopefully I’ll get the back finished tonight whilst I watch Brothers & Sisters – my fav show of the week at the moment.


8 thoughts on “Back to back

  1. Looks great! Isn’t it satisfying to be able to do that and have it actually look good?
    The reason, as explained by E Zimmermann, you have to twist the yarn as you pick up a new color with intarsia, is that intarsia is separate blobs of different-colored yarn, and if you don’t twist the yarn as you change color, it will remain separate blobs, either with holes or not even connected! In stranded colorwork, like Fair Isle, the yarn is being carried throughout, so it’s all linked. EZ’s book Knitting Without Tears says it much better than I can; if you’re interested, pick it up at the library or buy it (it’s paperback so not too bad).
    Again, awesome work!

  2. It looks wonderful, I can’t wait to see the finished product. I too need to add EZ to my wishlist. I want to make the February Baby Sweater, and maybe Baby Surprise, but my library doesnt have any books by her and Barnes and Noble has one but the wrong one! Knitter’s Almanac is only $3.99 used on amazon, can’t beat that!

  3. There’s a really good video here:
    that I’ve been using with a fair isle hat I’m working on. It was great for teaching me how to properly hold the yarn and how to weave the yarn as you carry it across several stitches. Although, your work looks really even and neat and I would never guess you had any trouble at all. The jacket is really coming along nicely and it’s fun seeing it come together. I’m going to add some EZ to my library as well, plus I’m really wanting to make the surprise jacket.

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