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September 9, 2005

Can someone call a doctor? I think I caught a nasty case of bad intarsia.

The clapotis bug was going around for a while, but it seems I have caught a case of intarsia. Bad intarsia. My Red Heart hurts from all the bad intarsia.

But first -- can I please PLEASE beg someone out there to make up a book of knitting all done in swatch format? I know some folks like to make a whole sweater from the gitgo, but I need swatches. A swatch is like ... having a TV crush. You don't have to commit a lot of time, but it's entertaining. You can love it episodically, you can be done with it in under a half hour, you can learn something new, and then you can move on.

I love me a swatch. Maybe this is because I have Adult Deficit Disorder Knitting Syndrome. I do not know. So if you could just PLEASE write a book with every stitch technique written up in swatch patterns, I would love you and feed you cake. OK?


I bought this book because all the sections (knit, purl, work with color) begin with swatches for practicing. Only ... the authors must have been tired of writing when they made it to the colorwork section.

The color section is kind of like ... "So, just add color, here's a chart, buh bye!"


Yet I started knitting the diamond intarsia pattern anyway. You knit 6 rows in stockinette and then when you get to the design, the pattern offers this stellar piece of instruction:

"Work chart in the intarsia method."


Care to... uh, you know. ELABORATE? Please?

But no, they do not care to share the secrets of intarsia with you. They don't tell you if you need to cut the yarn or make bobbins or anything from the main color, and ya'll I need details, I need really remedial details, OK? I need the kind of details a child -- a very SLOW child -- could understand.

So I wasn't sure what to do with the main color, and YES, YES I DO WANT TO WORK THE CHART IN INTARSIA METHOD, but someone please tell me what the method is? Just a hint? Pretty please?

On the facing page, the authors detail the "stranding" or Fair Isle method of colorwork, not to be confused with intarsia, so after some pondering I figure out that intarsia means "don't strand across the back." Instead, do intarsia IN THE INTARSIA METHOD. Which is still... a mystery. Like Stonehenge.

Do I use cut the main thread and re-attach on the other side? Weave the ends under the contrast color? HELP ME, CREATORS OF STONEHENGE. I want to know your mysterious ways. Send your gnomes... and please, send some decent instructions....

Time passed.

No gnomes appeared.

I decided to weave the not-in-use yarn under the in-use yarn, like I do when want to lock in the yarn tails of any project. But this created a denser intarsia design (since the white yarn was being caught under each pink stitch, on the wrong side of the work.)


Also, I don't think you're supposed to do it that way.


So I decided to stop that madness, and drop the white yarn when not in use. Only ... when I needed it again, it was waaaaaay the hell over on the other side of the design. Too many stitches away for stranding. Which apparently you aren't supposed to do anyway.


So I cut it, YES I CUT THE YARN ... but then you're working with 37 million yarn tails, and is this even close to being right? How do you keep your tension even when adding new yarn every few stitches?


Eventually I finished my swatch, my first piece of... maybe intarsia. Maybe not. I do not know because the book refused to tell me. IT IS STILL A MYSTERY.

Just like Stonehenge.

Posted by laurie at September 9, 2005 8:54 AM