~ little flowers in the old Shetland dialect ~
I took the colourwork class at Woolarium this winter. The project was Kate Davies’ Peerie Flooers. I decided to change the colours in my own hat. The original colours were beautiful but baby blue is not my jam.
The colours I went with are a little more autumnul than the original. Messing with Kate Davies’ design requires a stiff drink and a deep breath before you set off, but I do love the final colour palette. Ophelie le Chat, the teacher of the class, taught me that taking a grayscale photo of the yarn you’re thinking about will help you make sure you’ve got the balance and depth of colour right for fairisle. The same tip appeared this month on Brooklyn Tweed.
The main purpose of the class, really, was to help us become more comfortable with carrying more than one strand of yarn at a time. We practised by carrying both strands (for fairisle) in the one hand and kind of rotating the fingers each time you switch colours, while maintaining the same knit motion, keeping them untwisted as you go.
I didn’t find this too hard, but on the suggestion of Carolyn, aka knitting guru, I also tried knitting with my left hand continental for the alternate colour. It’s a bit less intuitive, but I do think that in the long run it’s more comfortable – I find it a bit less strain for my right hand and I found that I had a looser, but more even, gauge when knitting that way. It’s still slow for now but I think I’d stick with the half English/half Continental style in future. I feel I knit with a fairly tight tension, which you can tell if you go looking for the little orange pips in the centre of the flowers in this hat. Knitting with the half continental style seems to help keep the tension more comfortable.
Although I’m still pretty slow, I fell hard for fairisle. It’s not too stressful because you’re always knitting stockinette. Because you can take visual cues from the colour in the row below, I think it’s less difficult to work out your place and spot mistakes than when you’re working with lace patterns – but it’s still not entirely a mindless knit. And you just want to keep going to see the next pattern emerge!
I might feel differently once I knit something larger than a hat, but it’s all love at the moment! Also – Rowan fine tweed is a gorgeous yarn with beautiful colours and texture. I really enjoyed knitting with it.
So here’s my peerie floors.
Here’s the outside, pre-blocking:
And here it is after a short soak and a spot of sunlight, stretched over a pitcher:
And a few more to highlight the crown decreases (which gave us a chance to really stretch our colourwork chart brains):
And here’s the guts. So. Many. Ends. I didn’t use any particular technique or tutorial for these. I didn’t do them as I went. I just sat down with a darning needle at the end for a good couple of hours and went for it. Nothing fancy, but it seems well enough.