Friday, 24 January 2014

Bicoloured loom knit sampler

Ever since I finished my (almost Radiant Orchid) scarf, I've wanted to play more with my knit looms. Just wish I had a couple in a different size or at least a straight one too, but they're a tad expensive for just some plastic (bought mine on sale, 50 % off) so I might have to give it a go with some sort of DIY solution. Or maybe try and find someone who's tired of her looms and want to give them away?

As I don't need more scarves, nor really any more wristwarmers, and I'm not sure I need a new hat, I ended up focusing on just learning new stitches or variations on the basic stitch instead. Don't know how others feel about it, but personally I think making samplers is fun. (And as with doodling, you don't have to make up a design nor focus on creating a finished result as it's just all about learning and enjoying the process.)

One of the things I wanted to try was alternating between two colours and so I picked up two cheap acrylic yarns from my stash and make this sampler. The yarns aren't exactly the same weight (=thickness), but they work well together. The purple yarn is a solid colour while the thicker, autumnal orange yarn is variegated.

In hindsight, a smart idea would've been to add little tags for each section while still remembering the different variations I tried. Didn't do that as I went through the sampler a couple of times last night and had no problem remembering. That was, however, at close to 2 AM so my judgement may have been a bit clouded and now I'm slightly uncertain about a few of the rows, but I will still try my best a walk you through the variations tried last night. As it was mostly just playing around with the basic knit stitch, I'm not sure if the stitches have any official names. I will just call them by how they're done -- if you know a real name for any of the stitches, please feel free to mention so in a comment below.

 Now, let's look at the whole sample from the beginning. Note that you can click on the two photos of the sampler (the pics with numbers on them) for a close up.

1. First thing I wanted to try was vertical stripes, which you create by alternating between two yarns: every other peg purple and inbetween that orange. Tried two versions, but you can't really see a difference between them in the finished piece.

2. Over to simple horizontal stripes. Just simple one row of purple followed by a row of orange and so on.

3. 1 over 2 variation. Still alternating between the two colours for every row.

4. As above, but 1 over 3.

5. Knitting with doubled thread. Basic knit stitches.

1. Double thread.

2. Horizontal rows with 2 rows of purple followed by 2 rows of orange. First I tried a basic stitch (left) and then 1 over 2 (right) as it was easier to remember which colour to use for the new row.

3. Orange with purple accents made by adding additional loops of purple yarns on every second or third peg on every other row. Hard to see as the orange yarn sometimes almost fully cover the purple yarn (see photo below).

4. Checkered made by doing vertical stripes using basic stitches, but after two rows changing the colours (orange yarn on "purple" pegs and vice versa).

5. Checkered 2x2 as above, but using 1 over 2 stitch. Again, easier to remember when to change colour when always having two loops on each peg when starting a new row.

6. Checkered like in 5, but changing colours every row instead of every other row.

7. Basic knit stitch, but skipping every other peg so a lacy pattern is made.

Just a close-up of the part with purple accents where you better can see the purple stitches blended into the orange knitting.

The last checkered pattern might at first glance look similar to the horizontal stripes (1over 2), but when looking closer you can see that the stitches are offset in the checkered pattern. But there is also a difference you can't really see in the photos: the checkered pattern is slightly thicker as there's more yarn on the back (or, in the case of tubes like this, the inside).

So what's next? I was tempted to try three colours last night, but opted to focus on just two first. So three colour variations might be the next step. I also want to learn a few other stitches -- after all I've never done something as simple as making a purpl stitch! Should probably abandon my tactic to watch a how-to YT video, believe it seemed easy and I now know how to do it, just to go to another room (and house), pick up my loom and realise I forgot a crucial step... Don't like to sit and work in the computer room and I guess I'm more of a book person anyway...

As for the sampler, I'll just hang on to it and use it as a reference, perhaps adding the aforementioned tags. My sis wondered if I made a snake, but I think knitted snakes look better when just changing colours/yarns and not when mixing stitches as the width varies so it'd look like a snake digesting an oddly shaped prey.

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