Stranded colourwork


Life has been busy recently and I don’t have as much time for knitting as I’d like to. The only project I’m working on in the evenings is my first real stranded colourwork garment: the Stavanger Jumper. It’s a free Drops pattern and I’m knitting it with Drops Alpaca, which is just so amazingly soft and wonderful. I’m still feeling intimidated by Fair Isle/ Scandinavian patterns, but I think that the only way to change it is through practice, so I decided to give it a try.

My first attempt was really bad: because this yarn is so thin and light, it’s more difficult to keep the right and even tension than while using a heavier yarn. However I decided not to give up and keep knitting and as I progressed along the yoke, my tension improved a little.

Look at the absolutely dreadful upper part and compare it to the bottom of the picture: this shows how my tension improved as I kept knitting.

Well, right after I’d finished the yoke, I unraveled it and started again, with some changes to the colour scheme. Initially I followed the original pattern but I didn’t like the yellow and dark pink together with the other colours, so I amended parts of the colour chart. This is my second attempt at the Stavanger jumper’s yoke:

I’m already imagining weaving in all those ends…

I think these shades look better together, or maybe that’s just my preference. The tension is still not good (and again it is definitely worse closer to the neck opening, where I used shorter circular needles – it improved a lot as soon as I had enough stitches to switch from 40 cm to 60 cm and then 80 cm long needles). This time though I think I’ll keep it. It doesn’t have to be perfect and I hope I’ll improve with practice, but for now this is what I’m able to knit with this lightweight yarn and I like it enough to wear it, despite its faults. I could probably try a less ambitious beginners pattern but I generally prefer to jump head first into something more challenging – this lets me see the progress faster, even if the learning process is difficult ๐Ÿ™‚

Despite finding stranded knitting challenging, I’m also enjoying it a lot. To the point that I ordered some more Scandinavian and Fair Isle knitting books and I’m already thinking about all the sweaters and hats I’m going to knit in the future!

17 thoughts on “Stranded colourwork

    1. Lol, I usually act that way and often regret it later… at least the worst that can happen here is some wasted yarn and bitter disappointment ๐Ÿ˜‰


  1. It looks pretty darn good to me, and once it’s on you, the fabric should sort of stretch into place. Blocking will no doubt do wonders.

    The second colour combination is more pleasing to the eye. Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your encouraging words! I hope it will look better after blocking too, but even if it doesn’t, I’m still going to wear it ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

  2. One of these days, I’m going to get into the color work knitting. In order to do that, I’m determined to learn to carry thread in my right hand the same way I carry it in my left (continental knitter). Once I master that technique, I can hold a color in each hand and knit colorwork very efficiently. As you point out, practice is the key. Thread tension is always a bugbear for knitters from the first day you ever pick up a knitting needle to forever — LOL!. Each time you learn a new technique, you have to practice to get thread tension right. But, “practicing” means making things, so when you’re practicing new techniques, you get to knit more stuff!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Positive thinking – I like it! I’m trying out different ways of holding threads, the one that seems to work best for me is holding both threads in my left hand. I knit continental and adding another thread seems easier for me than holding threads in two hands, and the yarn doesn’t twist this way. Maybe with practice I’ll find something that works even better, who knows?

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  3. You’re doing great, and like others here, I think the top section will get better after blocking and wearing.
    My vote is for the second colorway as well. (And gosh you’re right, so many ends to weave in!)
    I too hold the yarn with two hands because the single hand one didn’t work out, but I think I should try a project sometime to practice single hand.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I tried 2 hands method but it didn’t work for me, although I’m still experimenting so who knows where will it all end ๐Ÿค” There is a youtube video on stranded knitting and tension by Arne and Carlos (designers from Norway) and they show a two hands method that looks really intriguing, I might try it out in the future. Whatever works best…

      Liked by 1 person

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