Sunday, June 1, 2008

I have done the impossible, and that makes me mighty

Yeah, ok, maybe not the impossible. More like the slightly challenging, given my current level of knitting prowess. And maybe I'm not so much mighty as a slightly more experienced knitter than I was a week ago. But I appear to have tackled intarsia. My intarsia experiment was not entirely successful, but given what a chore intarsia has turned out to be, I'm still rather impressed with myself. Here is the browncoat patch panel for a bag that I plan to make:

That looks slightly lumpier than it actually is, because I haven't woven in the ends yet, so it's pinned down on top of all the random strands of yarn. I think it'll look a bit better when it's done.

The pattern, for those who are not quite as obsessively geeky as me, is the patch that's on Mal's uniform in the flashback sequence in the pilot episode of Firefly. I am not quite geeky enough to have found that motif myself: you can buy patches or various things with the patch on them from purveyors of geeky goods. I made this for the Can't Stop the Serenity auction, but I think it's actually probably not good enough to auction off. I'll see when the thing is done, which should be soon. I still have to weave in all the ends, which is going to take approximately as long as it did to knit the thing. After that, I need to connect the front and back panels, knit some straps, and do a lining. I probably won't do the lining unless I'm happy enough with it to think that someone might actually use it.

I knew that a lot of people hated intarsia, but for some reason I got it into my head that their objections were aesthetic. They associated intarsia with hideous Christmas sweaters and clothing with pictures of cloyingly adorable puppies. It didn't occur to me that the issue with intarsia might be that it's actually an enormous pain in the ass. I was deeply surprised by what a pain in the ass it was, because I like stranded knitting, and that seems like it should be harder. But even on DPNs, stranded colorwork is a lot less irritating than intarsia, as far as I'm concerned. I have a feeling that there are a couple of intarsia tricks that one has to figure out for oneself, and then it becomes a little less irksome. For instance, I think that I should keep all the strands of yarn pretty short and just not worry about having to add new yarn fairly frequently. It's less of a pain to weave in a few extra ends than to untangle a really long strand of yarn. But I didn't figure that out until near the end, and I swear that I spent as much time untwisting strands of yarn as I did knitting.

Here, by the way, is the chart that I used, tweaked slightly from the one that I posted way back in February. I'm still not totally happy with it.

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