"Properly practiced, knitting soothes the troubled spirit, and it doesn't hurt the untroubled spirit either." ~ Elizabeth Zimmerman


Embrace The Tangle

 I have been working on the Bear jacket back all weekend. I'm doing the bears chart. The pattern says to do them in Intarsia, and I have done so with part of them, and did stranded work with the rest. Kind of my own brand of hybrid. Before I got started, though, I did some research on Intarsia to see if there were some tips, tricks, or advice that I wasn't aware of that could make it easier.

For those knitters who don't know, Intarsia is a method of working colors in your knitting without floats. Basically, you use a new ball of yarn for each color change. It's used for making pictures, or shapes that have large areas, like the big black bears on the jacket. 

Usually, the yarn is wound on bobbins for each color change. In the case of the bears, I would have a bobbin for each white section, and a bobbin for each black section. Knitting with that many bobbins hanging is a pain in my back side. They are difficult to manage because they spin around, getting caught and tangled up with each other

As a rule, I don't knit much Intarsia because I don't really enjoy it as much as other methods. These bears are about what I thought they'd be in the enjoyment knitting category. Anyway, back to the subject.

While googling, I found a blog about knitting Intarsia without bobbins. The title of the blog article is "INTARSIA: THE FULL BALL FALLACY AND OTHER TANGLE TIPS" by Kay Gardiner.

The article is about knitting Intarsia by taking 3-5 yards of yarn and just start knitting it, leaving the yarn hanging, without being on bobbins. You end up with a tangle, of course, but she says it's a lot easier to deal with than trying to keep the bobbins straight and says to "embrace the tangle". The author makes a lot of sense, so I thought I'd give it a try. If I don't like it, I can frog it out and find my bobbins.

I have to say, it's so much better than bobbins! Here's my sweater back with the tangle, which is that yarn mess on the right side.

You have to keep the tangle loose so you can pull the yarn you need out of it. I've found I hardly ever have to untangle tight sections. It all has been staying relatively loose. My only complaint about this method is that I will have more ends to weave in because I started out only cutting 3 yard long strands. As I am knitting, I find it easier to use longer pieces. I've been making my strands 5-6 yards long and having no problems with it. I'd like to get used to having longer strands than that eventually.

Here's how my sweater looks from the front at the moment.

I've been doing the tree in stranded 2-color knitting rather than Intarsia because it's easier. I did stranded on the legs too. I switched to Intarsia when the legs were done. I currently have 3 strands of white, and three strands of black. I'm getting close to having the bears done. Only a few more rows. I can honestly say I'm not looking forward to making 4 more of them (two fronts and two sleeves) but at least it's a bit easier now.

I say, chuck the bobbins. Embrace the tangle!

Live long and prosper. \\//

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