I have really got the “Iceland” bug!
As well as doing my Lopi Course with Ragga Eirikdottir, I’ve now discovered Icelandic Intarsia, courtesy of Helene Magnusson – the other half of Knitting Iceland – and this wonderful pattern of Helene’s from Knitonthenet.
This is really tuning out to be a romp – a tale of being too clever for my own good and of fashioning knitting equipment out of the recycling bin!
Here’s the Pattern’s pics of what I’m attempting to make…
This is “Flag” and is a free pattern from issue 10 of knitonthenet => Click here for the pattern
After all that intarsia in the flower blanket, I must be mad for taking this on but I was wowed by the cardigan – just the kind of thing I’ve been wearing lately And Lots of ways to wear it!
So what’s Icelandic Intarsia? It’s just like “normal” intarsia but it’s in garter stitch. You do need to take the yarn to the wrong side of the work when you cross them over at colour changes though. Helene’s website has an extremely informative tutorial and some background history so I won’t even attempt to describe it more here.
Flag is knit in Jamieson & Smith 2 ply laceweight – wonderful yarn but very thin! Fortunately it’s knit on 5mm needles so this shouldn’t take me til Christmas to make
I was also surprised at how reasonable priced the yarn was for this project – the whole thing (in my size) for under £30 I’d never get a big Rowan Cardie for that!
The first thing to do with this pattern is to make 2 balls out of each of the balls of yarn (because you have 13 colours on the go at once!!)
That was an evening of “fun with ball winder”…
Frustrating when all you want to do is cast on and get going. At last I had a heap of little yarn cakes…
I rashly decided to cast on with a thumb cast on (cos it was quick!!) and started…deliberately ignoring one of the first instructions in the pattern…
“The key to this pattern is yarn management”
“I can juggle the balls of wool”, I thought , “I’ve been wise and have made centre pull balls…I’m a clever knitter….”
Not as clever as I thought!
Within about 4 rows I was getting in a hopeless tangle. Back to reading the sage advice on Helene’s website about yarn management…
The advice was to make a yarn box out of old cereal boxes to hold the balls of wool in the order you use them ….sounds mad huh??
Apparently, On the right side rows, as you change colours and pass them over each other – the colours twist together and on the wrong side they unwind and untangle as if by magic. I was not convinced!
“It’ll never work!”, “madness!!”
But I had a tangled mess of a project I really wanted to complete so I went into “Blue Peter”mode, got out the sticky back plastic and raided the recycling bin for cereal boxes…
(For anyone who’s not from the UK and wonders what “Blue Peter” is, it’s a much loved children’s TV program that always had a feature on making things from old bottles, cereal boxes and sticky backed plastic…you kinda had to be there!)
A cereal box, a lightbulb box, some strips of card to divide the yarn, some staples and some sellotape later I had the most amazing contraption!
Ben couldn’t stop laughing – TSK!
I wedged the balls of yarn in their slots and tried a couple of row….
First the yarns twisted into a pleasing ladder…
Then on the next row, they obediently untwisted and and were straight and untangled again. I was astonished.
I am truly impressed at how effective the technique is …
…if a little Heath Robinson!
With my yarn now firmly under control in the yarnbox at my feet, I’m whizzing along on the 5mm needles and garter stitch..