Recently the yarn- all 9kg of it!- that I ordered for my colourwork project arrived and I’m feeling like a kid in a lolly shop! I tidied and organized my work area in anticipation and have settled it all into its new home. Rather than being naked in all its glory, each cone is housed in its own bag- I am developing a major phobia of moth attack – so I made up a shade card to keep me tuned into the seventeen different shades I have at my fingertips ; )

Shade card; Shetland yarn from Holst Garn

I’ve put aside (only for a little while!) the project that got me ordering the yarn in the first place, as it involves combining machine knitting and sewing and, apart from the fact that I am a crap sewer, for the moment I just want to focus on getting familiar with using this yarn on my lovely old machine… things like adjusting tension to create the right fabric for any given project, observing how the colours interact and how to play with that and technical issues such as seaming and dressing the fabric once it is made up into a piece. I’m having heaps of fun!

The potential of colourwork on the machine was really clear to me last year when I started learning how to use my machine but I’ve been waiting for this yarn to appear before really starting to explore- I reckon that, like patterning in hand-knitting, it is really all about the combination of yarn and pattern. And that is a very delicate thing. There is a high risk of wrong moves and things getting way too much heavy with colour/ pattern and so I’m trying not to overthink the process and to go by feel. Some things that I thought would work didn’t- which is great because it is opening me up to experimenting more. And that is stimulating quite a lot of ideas for diverse and unexpected ways to use this lovely fabric… and I am also seeing all the skills I now need to work on! So I am making very simple shapes, playing around with density and drape and working on ways to get around the major challenge with this type of colourwork- the floats catching on things.

My lovely machine knitting friend Christine took me along to one of the local guild meetings to have a chat about what I have been doing and making. I felt like a complete sham speaking to a group of women who knew far more about the craft than I do and embarrassed about the meagre number of items I had to show them… so I spoke a lot about my “ideas” and the reason I am so interested in this aspect of machine knitting ; ) It was great to get their feedback (though hard to put myself out there!) and some answers to some of the questions and issues that I spoke of. Another huge reminder of the huge value of community and peer support and why I shouldn’t shut myself in my room and knit all day.

I haven’t had anyone around to model the things I’ve made but will post photos as soon as I do; in the meantime, here are some more “textural” shots ; )

(I can’t seem to show the depth and richness of colour- so much is lost when uploading from iPhoto to WordPress that things end up looking either dull or garish. You’ll have to take my word for the beauty of this yarn.)

Circles and rods double thickness scarf; sky-blue and rust-red

Deco fern neck warmer; sea-blue and dark olive

Cell fingerless mitts; sea-blue and jasper

Orchid kimono sleeves; forest green and sage blue

9 thoughts on “colouring

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