My current work in progress:

Seaforth designed by Alice Starmore, knit in British Breeds 5-ply Guernsey Wool on US 3 needles.


A Couple of Answers

There were a couple of questions in the comments recently, so I shall attempt to post coherent answers here.

Catspaw asked: “Do you knit with a color in each hand? Which color is in which hand?”

A long time ago I did learn to work two-color stranded patterns by holding a color in each hand. But I find it easier and faster to knit with both colors held in my left hand. (I am left-handed, by the way, but knit for the most part right-handed.) I keep the background color on top. I want the foreground color to “pop” and to get that effect, I need to keep it consistently on the bottom.

Everyone is different and knits slightly differently, so you need to find a technique that works well and is comfortable for you. One of the most difficult things about color knitting, I think, is maintaining an even tension so you don’t have annoying lumps and ripples in your colorwork project. By using the two-colors-in-one-hand technique I can maintain a pretty good, even tension in my colorwork. Here’s a close-up of my work, unblocked:


All I need to do to block it is give it a light steaming with my steam iron.

Techknitter had a really good series on color knitting techniques:

Second question from the comments was if I intend to publish the pattern for my current work in progress, the Nordic Scarf. I do and I will, when I finally complete it. It is taking a fair amount of time to knit because it is a big project — fingering weight wool knit in the round to make a double-sided scarf that is pretty wide (like 13″, so that’s 26″ around) and pretty long — I estimate the finished length will be close to 80″. Another factor is lack of knitting time. I rarely pull out knitting at lunchtime anymore (too busy with “real” work at the day job), and never knit on my commute (too crowded for comfort) so my only knitting time is during weeknight evenings (when I also have a million other things to do) and on weekends, when I get most of my knitting done.

This does not concern me overly much as I have no deadline for this piece. The only downside is that it makes for boring blog posts. Look! another 3″ of the same pattern is done!

But here to entertain you is Loki, who has just decapitated his little bird toy. Doesn’t he look proud?



  1. Thanks for the helpful info about colour knitting. I bought the pattern for your wonderful multicoloured cowl – one day I will feel brave enough to try it!

    I’m also a leftie who knits right-handed. It was easier for my mother to teach me that way, and the patterns are written for right-handers, so it is just simpler. But your comment made me curious about whether you are a continental knitter or an English knitter (I think it’s called English knitting?). I do the latter – i.e., I’m a thrower, not a picker. Sending pats for Loki!

  2. patricia says:

    Thanks for the tips- I’ve done one stranded pattern and want to do more- it was fun!

    go Loki! Good hunter!

  3. I am so sad and so glad to hear you have time issues with knitting. I have recently started having the same issues and thought it was just me. I feel that my job is getting in the way of my knitting.

  4. Thank you for the colorwork info as I will be learning from your share as I dabble in this technique…so appreciated!

  5. I’m left handed too and my mum could only teach me the right handed way to knit. I’ve never had any difficulty knitting, but when I tried stranded work it felt as though I was knitting using the wrong hand. I also knit with the right hand needle wedged under my armpit. If I knit with the work on my lap, my tension is terrible.

    I didn’t know there were such terms as English and continental knitting. Don’t know which I am – but as I’m Scottish, probably English knitting.

    Great pic of Loki. I misread the text and thought he had decapitated a real bird!

  6. Charlotte says:

    TechKnitter is such a wonderful teacher – her site’s info has taught me so much on so many subjects & explained anything & everything for every level of knitter. She’s been there explaining things since way before the various large companies began posting tutorials & videos.
    Plus, even though I love your beautiful colorwork, have all your books, & have done many of your shawls & socks, it’s her toy & stocking patterns I do more of for children’s gifts.

  7. As you noted, there are so many different approaches, it’s interesting to learn what techniques work well for others. Thanks for sharing the ones that work best for you.
    Barbara at Knitting | Work in Progress´s last blog post ..Rumor Has It

  8. Tension in colorwork has been challenging for me – I just think I need more practice. I have always used one color in each hand but would like to try two colors in one hand. Loki is so cute!
    Lizy Tish´s last blog post ..Forcing Spring

  9. Wendy,

    Your amazingly even tension in your stranded knitting has always been something I have envied. I have been working on my stranded knitting a lot more lately and am seeing some progress. However, I am still praying that blocking will even out some issues I seem to have no matter what I try. I have been using the two-handed method and am typically a knitter who carries my yarn in the right hand while knitting (English-style). I learned to carry my yarn in the left hand while knitting (Continental) so that I could do some stranded knitting. No matter how much I have practiced knitting in this way (even on simple plain knitting in the round), it never feels comfortable for me in the way that holding the yarn in my right hand does. I truly believe that different styles work better for different people.
    Suzanne´s last blog post ..Putting the Finishing Touches on My Granny Stripe Blanket

  10. The first colorwork project I ever attempted was a long knit skirt (heaven help me) with bands of pattern at the hip and hem, when I was unmarried and still living at home. Big mistake. The patterned areas had a completely different tension than the un-patterned part of the skirt – and that project landed itself somewhere and I presume was disposed of when we emptied mom’s house. So your tension on these projects leaves me open-mouthed. I’ll have to play around with the technique and see what happens.

    And Loki looks very proud of his kill.

  11. Heidi (LunaKitty) says:

    Way to go, Loki!! 🙂

  12. Respect to Iris for attempting a long knitted skirt. That one was always going to be a disaster.

    My mum told me that the first time her mum (my gran) attempted colour work she and her dad had to read out the chart – one blue, two red etc. My gran was a great knitter and did everything really quickly, so if the instructions were not delivered fast enough then hell broke out. Same if a mistake was made. “Throw it in the fire” was my grandpa’s frequent retort. My mum never did colour work herself – must have been put of by her childhood experience.