goofus & gallant go to fair isle

there are two kinds of creative types. there are the progress ones, who are all about getting it done, for pete's sake. and then, there are the process ones, who juuust like to take their sweet time, puttering around for awhile, seeking others' advice and opinions, cogitating, trying out different things, and basically using whatever procrastination technique happens to be at hand to drag the whole thing out for as long as possible. or at least until the deadline arrives. one's a little bit country. the other, a little bit rock n roll. or, in my case goofus and gallant.

with that said, i've made good progress on these. and learned a ton in the process.

as in, i was doing it all wrong. as in, my stranding was too tight and causing these little puckers to form along the vertical striping on the sock. (btw, i am heartened by the fact that i am not alone in my norwegian woes. the adorable and prolific jess over at fig and plum has done an amazing job chronicling her own trials and tribulations with these stockings.)

first of all, i knit in the robust english style, throwing the yarn (and caution) to the wind. but i do it like an ugly american. (i wish i could daintily pick it like those suave, sophisticated continentals, i really do. but that's another story.) which is to say, rather than winding the yarn around my pinky and forefinger, i clutch it between my thumb and forefinger--as if i was holding a toothpick, say, or pulling the head off a beetle. it's not pretty. but it gets me there, ok?

anyway, i had my main color in the skein and my secondary color wound on a bobbin. i would knit merrily along in the main color, drop the main color, pick up the bobbin yarn from underneath so that it would twist around the main color, knit with the bobbin yarn, and so on. the problem was in the twisting. the weight of the bobbin would pull along the float.

what i finally realized after watching this great video tutorial was that the bobbin was not necessary. in fact, it was totally messing me up. (that damn bobbin.) as in, causing the puckering. but thank goodness, there is a simple trick to prevent puckering. it's simply spreading out the group of stitches that you're stranding across. well, knock me over with a feather boa.

it's not necessary to deliberately twist the yarns as i had been doing. rather, as you pick up each yarn and spread out each little group of stitches you're stranding across, it creates a nice, clean strand across the back. if the strand is too loose, no worries. you can always tighten it up later on. but if it's too tight, well, you're SOL, as my stocking detail below so blatantly depicts.

see how the green pattern parts look here? it's all pinched and puckered. it needs to loosen up. it needs a lot of drinks.

ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, now, doesn't that feel better?

here's a closeup of goofus and gallant. see how goofus pulls everything too tight and pisses everyone off? now, notice how gallant is so smooth and even and feelin' fine. don't you just love gallant? of course you do.


Jess said...

heh - this made me chuckle, as my first stockings would have needed to pound 'em back just as fast as yours.

and this post just begs the question - where would gallant be without goofus, anyway? :)

eunny said...

I always thought Gallant was a bit of a namby-pamby pantywaist, myself.

Stockings are looking good :)

Sneaksleep said...

your description of your american knitting cracked me up. i'm a thrower too, and have often envied the nimbler pickers. i have even figured out how to knit that way, but i'm so slow with it (and usually knit much tighter, too) that i always get impatient and go back to throwing before i even finish a whole row. the stockings are looking good!

Anonymous said...

I'm a thrower too! But I guess I lucked out on the stranding because I picked the background yarn to be the top strand for the back. It looks good!

- MJ

clairity123 said...

oh bravo!!!!you are now truly my fair isle hero. It looks wonderful! Is it hard to do fair isle in the round?

yahaira said...

stupid gallant always showing off!

It's looking great and Im glad you figured things out.

Laura said...

Fabulous! Not only did you reference Highlights in your post, but you also threw in some Donny and Marie!!

The socks are looking good, despite your floating issues. I have not yet progressed to stranded/fair isle yet but one day when I do, I'll try to remember what Gallant has learned. :)

mary-margaret said...

I feel like i'm always six monthes behind you. As soon as I decide to tackle something, and work up the courage, you've just taken it on like a pro.

Thanks for that video, it rocks. Well, as much as Fair Isle rocks.

You know what I mean.



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