Monday, January 30, 2006

circular intarsia

If this post's title doesn't make a whit of sense to you, count yourself lucky. In that case, I would assume you've never tried circular intarsia. For non-nutty-knitters, intarsia is a way of knitting large blocks of color next to each other. A yarn of certain character or color, say, raspberry, comes from the west, meets up with ochre yarn who has been traveling east. They do-si-do around each other then each go back along their previous path to the paths' end. Then they come dancing together again. (Another way to do color work is when the two yarns trot along in the same direction, arm in arm, sometimes raspberry forming a stitch, sometimes ochre. Good for small interspersing shots of color, but not for large blocks.) Circular intarsia means that when our friends raspberry and ochre pirouette away from each other to the west and east, they discover their planet is round and find themselves meeting again on the dark side of the moon. Do-si-do and away they go, so there are two cross-over points. Simple, right, not so bad if you have two colors. But what if you were a rash rebel and decided you wanted to do vertical stripes? Four needles, five stripes and seven balls of yarn (doubling a couple of the yarns 'cause I spun them too thin).

The biggest problem isn't the ensuing tangle. Between Meep and my habit of stuffing all my yarns into whatever handy hideaway I happen upon, I've become somewhat of an expert (cough, cough, modest blush) on disentangling yarns. No, the problem is remembering which of the five ends to start with every time I put down my knitting and pick it up again. One might think that a reasonably intelligent person might leave off knitting in the middle of a color so as to negate such a problem. Or that a somewhat sentient being, especially a incorrigeably crafty one, might contrive a sort of stitch or needle marker, even a piece of tape with a piece of paper that says "start here." You might wonder who in their right mind would write about this ad nauseum yet still have taken no steps towards solving this little dilemma. Hmmmm...For anyone who is curious, since last night I've been thinking about corralling my 7 balls of yarn into individual little zip lock baggies to decrease their fraternization. Yet as I slide them into my backpack prior to a trek to the gym, they are still quite cozy with each other. But at least they are safe from my Meep.

Don't be fooled by his prostration of innocence, he's just worn out from a hard day of chasing yarn balls.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Help, please!! I discovered your blog while googling for "circular intarsia." I can ALMOST figure it out from you east-west-do-si-do description, but not quite. Do you have any more conventional instructions anywhere? No one else seems to even think it's possible. I just want to do two colors so I can knit a vest in the round and the front and back will be different colors. From your description, it seems you have to cast on in different directions, back to back, in the two colors, but I can't quite figure out how to do that - unless I cast on separately in the two colors and take one off the needle and put it back on backwards - would that work? I'll go give it a try. This is the first time I've ever posted on a blog, but I couldn't find an e-mail address for you anywhere on the page, so I hope this is okay. Thanks!