Wednesday, February 04, 2009

The dark side of intarsia

Never, ever tell someone you're knitting something for them. Why? Because they'll make requests.
I told my nephew who's a freshman at Wake Forest that I was going to knit a scarf in his college colors for him. He was thrilled. Then he said, "Can you put a 'WF' on the scarf?"
Being a good aunt, I said, "Sure!" Then he said, "Cool. Can you put my initials on the scarf?"
What was I supposed to say?
So now I'm stuck with intarsia, those annoying color changes mid-row that require lots of dangling little knots of yarn and lots of weaving in of ends. I have to say that I really enjoy working out the pattern on graph paper; it's one of those processes that appeals to the engineer's side of my brain (which I inherited from my father).
And I have to say it looks pretty snazzy on the front:
However, here's the Dark Side of intarsia:

It's enough to give you nightmares, isn't it? The worst part is that with a scarf it will show as the ends get flipped around. So I'm going to have to really make it look neat and tidy when I tuck all the ends in. Ugh!
Here's what I've knitted so far. It's a modification of a pattern in ScarfStyle (my Bible of scarves).
I like it because the stockinette stitch and ribbing switches back and forth between sides, making the "flipping" issue moot (except for the #$%#@#&@* intarsia!).
Any helpful hints about keeping one's sanity while knitting intarsia would be most welcome! Anyone? Anyone?

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Blogger Renna said...

I've not yet tried intarsia, but I think I might be tempted to make an identical scarf in solid black, then seam it together on the sides and ends of the other one, so the intarsia scarf would have a 'back' on it.

It looks great, by the way! :-)

10:20 PM  
Anonymous Emberchyld said...

Pfff. I'd just embroider the initials on and to heck with it. Intarsia is too much effort for some initials, IMHO.

But kudos for you with the nicely charted intarsia!

8:00 AM  
Blogger ~Tonia~ said...

I use fair isle if at all possible or duplicate stitch. I have yet to do intarsia for that very reason.

Yous looks lovely, wish I could talk myself into trying it one day. ;)

9:26 AM  
Anonymous Cathy said...

What I learned to do is double knit. You then have a double thickness of fabric, both sides in stockinette, so there is no wrong side. There are no ends to weave in except beginning and end. You don't have to worry about tension like you do with fair isle. The down side? The back will be a mirror image of the front, so the letters would be dislexic looking.

9:37 AM  
Blogger cksknitter said...

It's beautiful. At least if he loses it, it will have his initials on it!

1:48 PM  
Blogger Becky said...

That is great intarsia! I think a flannel backing would work, although it might be too thick unless you can find some thin fabric.

Don't you just love the requests from those who don't understand? Good luck!

10:07 PM  
Blogger kshotz said...

Holy cow, that's amazing! I would have duplicate stitched it and then backed it. (I like the flannel suggestion! Would fleece work as another option?)

Kim in IA

4:44 PM  
Blogger Nancy Herkness said...

Wow! You guys have great suggestions. I'm going to have to look into double-knitting, and a black fabric to back this scarf with.

Renna, you would be the best aunt ever if you knitted TWO scarves to stitch together. I figure he'll lose this one before he graduates so I'm trying to keep my labor costs down. LOL!

I thought about the embroidery option but I'm terrible at needlework; I never learned how to make it even and neat.

There's always something to learn from my fellow Yarnies! Thanks so much, everyone!

4:57 PM  
Blogger Nancy Herkness said...

Cathy, I just checked out a video on double knitting. That is amazing! I'm fascinated by that technique. Do you think I could do it for just the part of the scarf that's intarsia and do the rest the usual way?

11:07 PM  
Anonymous Cathy said...

Nancy--yes, you can. I did that on my Scottie Hat (ravelry link) and posted a couple of notes on how I did it. Keep in mind that those sections are going to feel like they're taking forever because you're actually knitting a double layer of fabric. But it does work very well.

10:35 AM  
Blogger Nancy Herkness said...

Cathy, thanks so much for the helpful info. I'll be in touch when I need to figure it out for the initials.

6:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whew, I've never tried intarsia, but it looks terribly complicated. Your scarf looks super and you sure ARE a good aunty! I'm sure it will be much appreciated.

8:12 PM  

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