Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Stranded squirrels

There are knitting techniques that I don't really enjoy.  Stranded knitting is one of them.  So, I don't do it and I tend to be somewhat negative about it.  But, I used to feel the same way about eggplant.  Every couple of years, I'd cook it up - usually a new recipe - and give it another try.  And, one day, the magic happened.  I now not only tolerate eggplant,  I actually like it. 

Why wouldn't this method work for a disliked knitting technique, too?  My mother taught me to knit years and years ago.  But mostly, I'm a self-taught knitter because she really only taught the basics.  For the past few years,there's been an explosion of ways to knit that are new to me.  There are so many cool techniques out there to learn that I've continued to avoid the stranded knitting thing.  As I was taught, I had to carry all my colors around with me which resulted in a huge tangle of yarns.  I learned to use bobbins to keep a semblance of order but it didn't make me much happier.  How I accomplished anything and retained my sanity I don't know.  Must have been that younger brain. 

Here I am, heading into the New Year and looking  for a little something to keep my hands warm.  Stranded knitting certainly does that.  I began one mitten pattern and abandoned it in mound of tangled yarn.  Determined to give it a better try, I went back to the patterns and found this one.  It was even more complex than the one I'd given up one.  How crazy am I?  Never mind,  I cast on and decided that I would - without any previous experience - try holding one of the colors in my left hand.  That was my 'aha!' moment.  It's still a learning thing but it's sure a lot easier without the yarns winding round each other.  Such a little change - big difference. 

Here's what I managed to get done last night.  These are my tall pines which will segue into a row of cute squirrels.  When I saw a big gray squirrel sitting on the deck, I knew it was meant to be.  This knitting is almost fun and maybe it's addictive.  Or maybe I just want to get it done.  Not sure - but I am kind of glued to the couch with my needles and yarn in hand. 


Ginny said...

These pines are lovely, and I cannot WAIT to see the squirrels!! How on earth will yo be able to knit tiny squirrels?? I hope you finish soon, and promise me you will post it, this is your most exciting project yet! I got the Jenga Max Monday, thanks to you! We took it out of the box and set it up, it does look like it will be fun for our family on New Year's eve when we get together! I know it says 8 and up and Anne is only four, but I'm sure she can do it, and you said a five year old did a good job! We will see...I may post pictures of us playing it like you did! Now go and knit!!

Joanna said...

Good for you, taking on something new and challenging. You know it's got to be good for us to keep doing that. And it's so great when we actually make a shift into a new technique. The mittens will be very pretty.

Rudee said...

It's guaranteed'll be hooked, so to speak. I adore this stranded knitting and it really does help to teach yourself to knit both ways. Always a thrower, I'm primarily a picker now and only throw when I'm feeling all thumbs (like when I'm done to a few stitches on double points and things feel clumsy).

My stocking cap is nearly done, and here I am off to look at the patterns you linked.

Rudee said...

Now that I've looked, I think the squirrel pattern is beautiful. The first pattern is, too, but would absolutely require a two handed approach. Once you're comfortable, why not give it another shot? It's deliciously gorgeous and looks like gingham.

Stephanie V said...

Ginny - I'm doing little squirrel legs right now.

Rudee - I'm thinking that is exactly what I'll do.

Mimi said...

Mulitcolour is something I was never very good at, just didn't have the patience, but you're doing a great job there Stephanie, can't wait to see the finished product, please do post pics.
You're edging me closer each time to taking up the needles again, I went to look at that pattern, but don't think I still have a 4-needle set, might look in the attic tomorrow!

deb said...

Can't believe you went from the meditation mitts to the squirell mitts! My trigger finger mitts are similar to the meditation mitts & I held both yarns on my right index finger but spread apart & just alternated which yarn went over the needle by adjusting my finger & left needle slightly per stitch. Took a little while to get into the groove but that is what worked for me on those mitts.


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