Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Jacquard...or not.

My dictionary defines 'jacquard' as 'fabric with an intricate pattern.'

(Hey, Mac users! command-control-d and rollover 'jacquard' and you'll see a definition! Hold it down and roll over any word!)

My Montse Stanley book defines 'jacquard' to include all types of stranded knitting, including Fair Isle, two-color, and I forget what else. For purposes of discussion, I'm about to jump into some Norwegian stranded knitting. Call it jacquard if you want, but that feels a little too highfalutin for me. Because the mittens knit this way are part of my youth, knitted items with these patterns are comfort items for me. "Jacquard" doesn't suit them. And it's not Fair Isle - it's Norwegian, not Scottish.

I want to make my own pair of socks inspired by these and these. You probably aren't surprised to learn I have already made my own selbu chart and started swatching. I've been debating floats vs weaves in my own mind for a few days, and decided that for socks I need to weave. Which is not difficult and helps me get through needle divisions with better tension, except that I have learned that two-handed knitting makes my right hand hurt. I still have the ortho's card from my original doctor visit, and I think I'll be calling him soon for an appointment. Writing seems to bother me a little as well - but not knitting continental-style. Just english. That second knuckle on my thumb and the tendon are a little sore. Not a lot, but enough to bother.

See, if I do floats I can use my knitting thimble, which goes faster and doesn't require me to use my right hand to throw yarn. But if I weave, well...I am not sure how to do this with the yarn in only one hand. (I do think Ms. Montse goes over it, and I will have to check again.) I think I will only weave when I have more than 4 stitches together in one colour. Wool is sticky.

The interweave socks are pretty but I prefer a more Norwegian pattern with more background and less foreground colour. The Strikkegal socks are exactly right as far as the motif goes, but I don't think I need that shaping and I would like a different pattern for the sole.

On selbuvotter, the mittens that feature these patterns, there is usually an intricate pattern on the palm, and the selbu or other charted motif on the back. The thumb mirrors both of these - the inside of the thumb will have the palm motif, and the outside will have the back motif. The borders between the patterns can be striped (like the interweave socks) or striped with a dashed line in the center (like the Strikkegal socks). That part should be a little more simple than your design.

Top side

Palm side

The process is everything I love about Norwegian knitting because it is very simple and it asks you to think through your problem and solve it logically.

Decide on a motif. Make it symmetrical by charting one more stitch than the repeat, then taking it away. (Top and sides.) Find a yarn - typically DK weight on 2.75mm or 3mm needles. Swatch in the round for gauge. Block swatch.

For me, two repeats in DK wool on 3mm needles are too tight. (I don't want a tourniquet.) I will either need to do three or up it to four and use smaller needles.

I may not get anywhere on these but I have been wanting to do this for almost a year, and maybe it is time. So far I've been doing a blue background with brown motif, and I can already see this is wrong. The background needs to be brown and the motif blue, and I'm going to swatch that tonight (if I can get to it). If I come up with something I passionately have to have, then I will knit them.

Either way, I'll take some pictures today.


Blogger bellamoden said...

You blow my mind! Can't wait to see what you come up with.

12:49 PM  
Anonymous Kim said...

Extremely impressive. Anxious to see what you come up with.

6:04 AM  

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