Evolution of Ms. Moody’s intarsia skills…

Commissions are good. Extra cash is always a good thing, particularly during the holidays. And, occasionally, it forces you to use and improve on a skill where you may have been unpracticed to mediocre before. In my case, my friend Lindsay asked for four wristbands for her friend’s two children, with specifications on design that would involve using intarsia.

Intarsia — a knitting technique used to create patterns with multiple colors — has eluded me for a long time. Longtime readers may recall the Sherlock Holmes bag I attempted to knit (way back in 2011!) with a meerschaum pipe and a hypodermic needle on the front flap. Without doing any research whatsoever, I charged ahead with the front flap three different times and was baffled and appalled at the resulting holes and malformed shapes that emerged from my stockinette stitches. Eventually, rather than look up the relevant stitches in any of the books I had or, worse, fielding a call to my soon-to-be ex-mother in law at the time… I continued on with the main color in stockinette and used garter stitches for the pipe and needle.

Laugh now (and I certainly have since then), but I had a six-year-old boy on the train tell me that bag was beautiful!

In any event, my initial efforts with intarsia on this go around were equally as wrong-headed. I remembered to have separate “bobbins” for the design… but I also created bobbins for the main color as well, thinking this was what I needed to allow the wrist band to stretch.

Can you see what went wrong here? I couldn’t until the project was actually finished and I had what looked like a mass of doll hair at the back of what was supposed to be a wristband for an 11-year-old boy. Oh dear.

So, I gave it another shot, reducing the number of bobbins from 24 (yee, gods!) to 14, still a mix of yellow and pink loose bobbins as opposed to working with a main color and bobbins for each of the letters.

A smaller mistake than before but still a mistake and, like the first prototype, I figured out that mistake after the project was completed.

On to Round 3.

At last, it came down to a main color and nine bobbins — one for each letter. Much more neat, much easier to weave in loose ends.

Much better! With that nightmare out of the way, I was ready to move on to the other two wristbands that involved intarsia.

Another nice thing about finally working at this and learning how to do intarsia properly — it took me days to work through the “PANTASTIC” prototype. “METAL” and SKULLY were each finished in less than two hours.

Small detail — when I was out shopping for the winter holidays, I ended up in one of my favorite vintage shops who, it turns out, sells spikes and studs for jackets. Singles. In a bin like penny candy. I couldn’t resist the dark pyramid studs and they lent a great effect to the “METAL” design.

And there we are! Seven years after I started knitting, I’m always excited when I learn something new (or just new to me). As I’m writing this, I just received notice from the delivery service that these wristbands have arrived at my friend’s home.

Just in time for Solstice!

~ by blackmoodcraft on December 21, 2017.

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