Pick a little, talk a little.

I love that Brainylady Alison can be bothered to post while in Borneo, and I can barely manage once a week even though I’m rarely out of sight of a computer.

Two major things happened since we saw each other last. First, while swatching for my Lopi sweater, I taught myself to pick. One step closer to my quest for two-handed Fair Isle joy. If you want to learn how to pick (rather than throw) I recommend the Philosopher’s Wool video – you get an excellent view of Ann Bourgeois picking away, and the sweaters are mighty inspiring. That was an “aha!” moment for me when I saw it last year, though I didn’t really try it until last week; I had added incentive because two rounds with two colors in one hand left me with a tangled mess.

So, I have undone my original swatch, and am following the directions for Anne Featonby’s two-handed Fair Isle class more closely – a few rounds of picking one color with your dominant hand, a few rounds of throwing the other color with your other hand, and then practice alternating stitches. Practice, practice, practice. I’m trying not to rush, recognizing that I’ll feel comfortable with it eventually, but progress is so slow that it’s hard to stay motivated, even though I know in my heart that any sweater on size 11 needles will eventually have its share of zooming along.

The gauge leaves me with a fabric I’m tempted to describe as airy (I can see through it, at least). I think I was getting a Starmore-esque bulletproof fabric for the Lopi when I originally swatched with 8s (20 sts/4 in with Lopi – the wearer would work up a sweat in January!)…I’m going to set aside my worries and follow the pattern, until I see something go horribly wrong. After all, those Alafoss people know what they’re doing, right?

The other thing I’ve accomplished? A pretty spiffy looking heel turning on the first ribtip sock. I now firmly believe that it’s possible to correct any knitting error with enough patience and time. Inadvertent short-row gap? Uneven gusset pickup? History! And Fixation is like elastic-waist pants: hiding a multitude of sins. I wish I weren’t smack in the middle of my Magic Stripe socks, also heel flap models. I feel ready for a little peasant heel 6-point decrease action.

And in the back of my mind, I’m also thinking “You can knit the Veronik Avery cabled chair in the latest IK out of Briggs & Little 2-ply for about $30.” How I wish I had an extra pair of hands…

Bonus link: A step-by-step photo tour on how to spin with a drop spindle

4 thoughts on “Pick a little, talk a little.

  1. Sharon

    Not a bit like guitar-picking, I suppose. That I can do. Your perseverance is inspiring. I’ve decided to add learning fair isle to the list of things to accomplish someday.

  2. Stephanie

    Congrats on the Contintental knitting! You’ll find that it will have an added benefit of taking some of the pressure off that mouse wrist. Just a tip-be sure that your purls are wrapping the same as if you are throwing. Otherwise, you’ll have trouble when you try to do two handed as the purls will angle differently (or have one of those um..moments when you are following a pattern and the purls don’t meet up right. Anyway, great job!


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