The Throwback Biscotte Style with a Little Stranded Colorwork 101
If you're a knitting addict like me, you don't hear about the latest makeup to hit the shelves or the latest trends to strut the runway..........no no, you hear about the new pattern releases on Ravelry!! And I'm sure you've heard about Andrea Mowry's new Throwback Cardigan. Well, I'm doing it up Biscotte style!!!
Let me tell you, it wasn't easy to choose my colors and I will admit I fret quite a bit over it.....I possibly lost sleep. However, in saying that I could NOT have chosen better colors. I tore open that Biscotte parcel when it arrived like I wasn't going to get to open another!
I decided on Griffon in Lagoon, Hagrid in Natural, Caramel and Chocolate. Yea...sounds like I can chew on the yarn as I'm knitting with it LOL we’ve all been tempted, I'm sure I can't be the only one! But check out these colors!!
Lagoon is THE perfect teal color in my eyes. It's showing up brighter on the screen but in real life its spot on to what I wanted. Hagrid is absolutely the most beautiful yarn I ever..........wait a second! I have to stop myself because I think when you have a yarn addiction you possibly start saying that every yarn is your favorite. But I REALLY REALLY recommend trying Hagrid if you haven't had the opportunity to do so yet. It's TWEED. Seriously, do I have to say any more than that? It's beautiful and I can't wait to knit a whole project with it and not just the colorwork. I'm pretty happy with how it's turning out so far. It's really the perfect marriage of colors!
Griffon, being a little heavier than the yarn recommended in Andrea Mowry's Throwback, even though hers is a "heavy worsted that will also work in aran projects" it's working out very nicely. I sized down my needle to obtain gauge and even though it's a heavier yarn with a smaller needle, the result will be a nice dense chunky sweater. I'm VERY okay with that! If you would like to keep with a worsted weight, Hagrid for the whole project would be absolutely beautiful as well. I can't promise I won't be making a second one using Hagrid for the entire project. I'm not sure if I've mentioned just yet that I LOVE tweed?
Getting into the nittty gritty of stranded colorwork, one might think to pick up your yarn and just start knitting. There is a little rhyme and a reason for which yarn to use in order to get your colorwork to stand out more. As you're knitting with the different colors you'll notice that one starts falling towards the bottom. So, it's important to take note which color you're using as your top strand and which color you're using for your bottom strand. The differences in reversing the strands are minimal but if you can knit it to look its absolute best, why wouldn't you right?
So in my case when I'm using Lagoon,my main color, and I add in Natural, one of my accent colors, I will make sure that the Lagoon strand stays at the top and the Natural strand crosses over on the bottom. The bottom strand is called the dominant strand and the top strand is called the non dominant strand. The reason for this is that the bottom strand has a longer yarn strand if you're looking at the back of your work.
This then provides more slack allowing the accent color to pop out instead of being receded back into your work. After all, we're putting the work into this and we want it to look its best. And of course in this case, we're making a cardigan whereas the inside will be seen quite often. Insuring to use strands consistently throughout your work will leave a very tidy inside as well. In saying that, if it was a pullover I'd have the inside looking the best it could as well....Hi, my name is Andrea and I am an OCD knitter.
Another thing to keep in mind when doing colorwork is that sometimes we use a tighter tension since we are pulling yarn across stitches and holding multiple strands in one hand, there's just more going on! There are also knitters who may knit colorwork at a looser tension. But knowing which category you are in before diving into your project can be helpful.
I have a tendency to knit a tad tighter so I needle up a half size for my colorwork sections. If looking once again at my project, my colorwork is knit in a lighter weight yarn. So when getting into the colorwork section where I have no main color being used I will needle up a full size vs. a half size to maintain the same stitch size.
Knowing which is your dominant and non dominant strand will not only result in a better looking inside but will also help you to knit quicker even while holding multiple strands. I was surprised at how quickly my hands adapted to multiple strands. Your hands pick up the rhythm pretty fast. It's kind of like watching someone type really fast on a keyboard. They use 2 hands and their fingers just know where to go. It amazes me every time I see it!
And here is my finished cardigan. I am very pleased with the outcome and I have to say I really enjoyed knitting stranded colorwork. It wasn't difficult but just enough to keep me on my toes. And knit with Griffon, it knit up so fast! There's nothing like a chunky knit sweater! Even though I made it work with the colorwork being a lighter weight yarn than the main yarn, I probably would recommend using either all Griffonor all Hagrid.
Both would result in beautiful looking cardigans. However if you love the look of mine as much as I do with Lagoon being a Semi-solid and the colorwork being that beautiful tweedy look of Hagrid, keep in mind if you knit colorwork a tad tighter like I do you have to account for up sizing your needle for that PLUS for the fact that it's a lighter weight yarn. The extra effort was worth it and I love the cardigan but the yarn is what really did it for me!
Have you tried Biscotte's Griffon or Hagrid yet?