last weekend

This is what I achieved last weekend.

Finishing the back of my Ribby Cardi. Good old stoic Ribby. It only gets used as an interim knit — picked up and worked on in between the snappy thrilling jazzy knits I can’t resist (more on that below) — and yet keeps on giving and giving. The material is cosy and firm and satisfying, the colours are blue hues that I love, it’s going to be so warm and, with a spot of luck, even a little bit flattering. It’s also so speedy when I actually get going. This back piece was cast-on before Christmas, ignored for several weeks, and then finished last weekend. The whole project was started more than two months ago and you’d really expect me to be wearing the finished item with pride by now. But no, sleeves and back is where it’s at.

Wouldn’t it have been handy to have a snug-fitting super-warm wool cardigan to wear when it snowed this week and London broke down? Yeah. Never mind. Ribby will keep rolling along slowly, a cast-on here and an inch there, and I’ll probably have it finished just in time for spring. No worries, I think it’ll reward me next winter nonetheless.

So this is the other thing I did at the weekend.

Ohhh fair isle. I have crossed that line and I’ll never go back. And god bless you, Eunny Jang, for your enticing and encouraging endpaper mitts.

I didn’t go for fair isle when I first started knitting again two years ago and I skipped that chapter in Stitch’n’Bitch. Stripes were the limit of any colourwork I was prepared to do. Intarsia was daunting enough, but fair isle quietly scared the crap out of me. So I established that I loved to do stitch patterns instead (which I do), and pretended that fair isle didn’t exist. Unfortunately it kept on silently gnawing at me that I’d let a knitting technique defeat me without even trying it. I consoled myself, though, by saying that I’d never seen a fair isle pattern I truly wanted to knit.

Enter the mitts. Small enough to lure me in, useful enough to make me want them (did I tell you I lost one of my fingerless gloves from last year, just before Christmas? le sigh), pretty enough to make me covet them. And, as it turns out, simple enough for me to make them.

I spent two hours last Saturday locked in deep concentration. I had to face the main reason that I’d put off fair isle for so long — I didn’t know how to knit continental style, and I’d thought I never wanted to learn. Wrong, wrong, wrong. So I took the plunge, took one colour yarn in my right hand and the other in my left, and away I went. And actually, it wasn’t that bad. With a few hours practice I can now do it almost fluently (albeit still quite slowly, but these mitts are so teeny that one round only takes a few minutes). Doing the knitting continental style in my left hand was decidedly weird (I had to learn to knit. But I already know how to knit. Argh, etc.) but not as terrifying or awkward as I’d feared. Sure, for the first few hours I couldn’t grasp the yarn properly like I do instinctively with my right hand. But I remembered back to when I learnt how to knit the English way, and also remembered the glee I felt when I finally got proper tension, and persevered. And lo and behold, now I can knit continental*, and fair isle is no longer the dark art it once was.

It’s also FIERCELY ADDITIVE. Man it is satisfying to see that pattern emerge. I can’t wait for these to be finished.

* I say I can knit continental. This is no lie. Purling continental, however, remains slightly beyond me. Not, I hope, for long.


10 Comments Add yours

  1. sharon says:

    Beautiful! A great colour combination too.


  2. la glitz says:

    Oh, SO pretty! What yarn are you using?


  3. felinity says:

    Aww, thanks! I am using RYC Cashsoft 4-ply, which I’ve only just realised is the same yarn I used for one half of my last fingerless gloves. The colours are much more muted that Eunny’s lovely jewelled look, but the Cashsoft is so warm and, well, soft — it’s a real treat to work with. It’s also half the price of using something like Koigu! I highly recommend both the yarn and the pattern.


  4. Jenn says:

    Those really do look lovely! I debated making hte end paper mits myself but in the end knittys calzon (or something like that) won over and Im knitting them at the moment.. Ribby looks lovely hopefully you are able to finish the front(s) up before the end of this winter and get a wee bit of joy out of it. 🙂


  5. Batgirl says:

    Oooh, the fairisle looks beautiful!

    I am still scared of it! But having now learnt cables (only..two years after learning to knit!) I may well be brave enough soon.

    (er, also, this is Meg of Spacecrafty. my blogger account links to my anon work blog. :g:)


  6. Knitters appeal (not related to your post)Saw the following article recently, so if you lack creativity and are desperate to twist your needles:😉GCxx


  7. oohhhh those are just gorgeous and sooooo neat!! Lovely colour combination. I prefer Endpapers in muted shades like this and am now so tempted to cast on a pair.


  8. TutleyMutley says:

    They look absolutely beautiful – the thing about fairisle (and I’ve avoided lace for same reason as you avoided fairisle) is there’s never more than two colours in a row! And as long as you stretch out the knitting on the needle – the tension sorts itself. Great innit.Never been here before – just browsing the uk knitters ring.


  9. sharon says:

    Your endpaper mitts are stunning. But I can’t comment on that post. 😦


  10. felinity says:

    Whoops! Fixed now, thank you!


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