Maybe 2016 is for colorwork?

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Last day of 2015. I try to tie up some loose ends regarding my knitting but there are more and that’s okay. These past few weeks has given me a little surprise knitwise and that doesn’t happen often. It all started with this year’s last mystery knit along – a hat in stranded colorwork. As you know, colorwork is not my strongest talent when it comes to knitting and I’ve turned my back to it before. When this hat came along though, I figured I had to try, the MKAL patterns are well written and I thought I shouldn’t be to obstinate when it comes to colorwork.

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I usually get yarn with my patterns but for this one it took forever to arrive. Finally I just got my own yarn and started anyway. It turned out it wasn’t so bad actually and when the yarn finally arrived I quickly cast on a new hat.

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With the actual yarn intended for this hat it went even better and a weekend later I had another hat.

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The big question was how to block  the hats. Finally I blew up two ballons, measured them to get the right circumference and put the hats on the ballons. It worked like a charm and made colorwork really pop.

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Pattern: Stranded in Toronto by Cindy Garland. Yarn, the purple hat: Drops Karisma from Garnstudio, colors 76 dark purple, 21 medium grey and 01 off white. Yarn, the grey hat: Simple Single DK from Stunning String Studio, colors Snow Cloud, Red Canoe and Little Black Dress.

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Apparently these hats wet my appetite because I started planning a shawl, a Christmas shawl. I have wanted to try this yarn out for quite some time, ever since Christine showed it to me, and an opportunity to squeeze it and purchase it came at the knitting fair back in October. That’s also when the idea of a Christmas shawl was born.

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I searched for a long time to find the right pattern but nothing felt right. The months passed and I kept searching for different colorworks. Finally I found one that could possibly work out but it had a little more color work, and more colors, than I thought necessary. The pattern included holly and I love holly, there is nothing that says Christmas as much and as easily as holly (well, maybe the first gingerbreads or a Christmas tree, decorated Polish style with lots of glass baubles).

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I decided to use only one background color and reduce the colorwork to only be a border at the bottom of the shawl. I was happy with the vision I had in my head and was ready cast on. When I did however, the next problem revealed itself. I simply couldn’t figure out the pattern. The needles were too big, the increases were difficult to understand and there just felt that something was missing from the pattern. No one else had knit it so I couldn’t get any help from that. It was late in the evening and I decided to put it off till I was more rested.

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The next morning I had an idea, why not use another pattern as a base and then add the colorwork to that one? I toyed around with needle sizes for a while and started knitting. I knit and knit, plain white stitches (I thought I had made enough white shawls for one year but apparently not), on my in-laws couch on Christmas Eve, at our hotel room, in the car to see babcia and to see dziadek and when we returned back home from Warsaw I had only a few rows of colorwork left. Between the hats and the shawl I did some studying of colorwork and learned that the color you hold closest to you on your tension finger will pop more and I tried to work with that knowledge. That had been the problem on the hats, that I didnt now this and couldn’t take it into consideration.

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The hats were knit in the round so it took a while to figure out how to work stranded knitting from both sides including purl stitches but eventually it worked out. I think that I worry too much about the floats, when I actively try to make them very long by pulling a little extra, they get too long and just really just let them be, it works anyway. The end result is pretty, especially from a distance, even though up close things are a little uneven at times.  I’m happy with it and I will try to use it as much as I can now, before Christmas feels terribly “last week”. I’m mostly happy that my plan worked out so well, with me combining two different patterns and one including colorwork. Maybe I shouldn’t be so afraid of colorwork in the future. That is really something that will make for new possibilites in 2016.

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Patterns: Sonar shawl by Cindy Garland for the shawl construction and Deck the Halls Stranded Shawl by Deborah Tomasello for the colorwork. Yarn: Cheeky Merino Joy from Rosy Green Wool, colors Edelweiss, Rose Garden and Moss.

 

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