I’ve been playing at my machine again, the KH970. It’s really a necessity for every designer. Playing is. Every home DIY’er no matter where you’re dabbling; every designer, every artist needs to play with their materials. Regardless of skill, creatives need to play. In this case, I had lost my mind, I think, and bought another cone of rayon yarn on eBay. Really, it doesn’t make sense for me to buy more yarn. I have at least 200 pounds in the stash. But the picture was so lovely. I thought I was purchasing a cone of variegated yarn. Orange, yellows and creams delighted my eye as I gazed upon my IPAD screen. What arrived, no less lovely, but not variegated or space dyed. It is 4 strands of rayon in 4 different colors loosely spun together. Rather interesting and since the woven fair isle I had just played with was still on my mind, I sat down with this lovely new yarn and a few others for play-time.
One thing I’ve noted is weaving fair isle tends to create a heavier fabric; more so than typical fair isle. Not sure exactly why. Maybe the yarns I chose or due to using 2 yarns of equal weight or maybe something else I don’t know. So I played with my 4 stranded rayon yarn,which feels like an 8/2, and single strands of some lighter yarns. Sigh before I had the KH970 my MK darling was an SK700. I dearly loved that machine but she was temperamental when it came to changes in tension. Any hesitance when feeding thread to her from the cone would result in a flaw, a pulled yarn in the knitting. After a several months I gave up trying to psychically pre-determine which yarn would flow smoothly and which would not. I rewound all my yarns into cakes. I swear, hand on heart, I removed labels and secured them with the yarns. So I would love to note the exact rating of these yarn, but I cannot. They were rather like the crochet yarn your granny use. May she rest in peace.
My first attempts are documented here but not shown. I used 2 strands of a yellow cotton maybe cotton-linen I’d already made a quick test of the multi-strand, multi-color rayon and decided upon a tension 7. Woven FI didn’t work with 2 strands of this stuff. The carriage jammed on the second row. “Landfilled” “Circlular File” designate and restart with 1 strand. There was no contrast so no appearance of patterning. What’s the point of this effort if it is just going to look like the main yarn knit in stocking knit stitch? None to me. So I scratched that idea and began again.
Did not want to use black. Black with orange says Halloween to me which I don’t want to say year round. Frankly, I’m not fond of it once a year. I certainly don’t want to wear it. Halloween that is. Being color challenged, I had studied my color wheel and thought I a grey blue or blued grey might work. The second yarn I worked with is a 1 strand, dark blued-grey, crimped rayon but the same diameter or nearly same as the rayon (below red line). The 3rd yarn (above red line) I worked with was a single strand, lighter greyed-blue cotton about half as thick as the rayon.
It looks better IRL and the color change is very visible. I am disappointed that my scanner did not pick up the difference.
I used pat 399 after several failures with other patterns. I say failures but the machine did what it is supposed to, I just didn’t like the resulting fabric. Firstly, I worked only with patterns Stitch World designates as “Weaving Patterns”. I know from experience that what they recommend will work well for the exact technique specified but that the patterns can be used in other techniques (slip, tuck, etc). You take your chances. Maybe it works. Maybe you make landfill. Some patterns are totally incompatible with the technique you select. You’ll know that by the mess they quickly create. Some patterns are beautiful no matter what you do to them (pat 45 or K1 P1 comes to mind). The patterns I didn’t care for either made a mess or a design/picture/pattern didn’t emerge from the knitting; it was a blob of stranded threads. Not what I wanted. I compared the schematics of the patterns I liked with the unliked and realized I liked best patterns with only 1 black box (never side by side with 2 or more) and no more than 3 white boxes conjoined. Any different combination and I was meh or <blows raspberry>. With that in mind, I scanned the weaving patterns until I found 399. I like it!
BTW my KH970 can reverse the selection IOW the selected needles become the unselected and the unselected are the selected. Rather like the inverse of a photo; the negative. The inverse can also produce fabulous knitting results but just as I didn’t work with tuck, slip of FI patterns, I didn’t get into the inverse variation either.
I prefer the fabric with the light grey (above the red line). I prefer the fabric but not the color contrast. I actually prefer the coloration of the darker grey but it is a heavier fabric. Just personal preference, I am not even sure there is any visual difference in the pic I provided and of course you can’t handle it and feel the tactile difference.
The horizontal stretch was the same as any knit, well SS, tuck or punch lace. Nice horizontal stretch. Would be comfortable to wear. However there was none, zip, zilch, ZERO vertical stretch. I said WHOA! I was thinking of using this for my next project but I am not ready to adapt for nonexistent vertical stretch. I really want to tweak my basic set-in sleeve pattern first and for that I pretty much prefer sweater knits that act like sweater knits.
I also think the floats can be an issue beyond appearance and not just for little fingers. I definitely don’t wholly recommend this for babies, toddlers or the young. I mean there probably are patterns where the floats are not very long and not problem for the very young but they aren’t the patterns I worked with. I’m not thinking of just children though. I purchased a sweater this year. After its first wearing I confided to DH I didn’t think it would be in my wardrobe long because it seemed to reach out and grab everything. I had 3 snags after a 3 hour trip from hotel, to restaurant and back to hotel. True to my prediction, I put it in the trash after 4 wearings with a big hole that started as a snag. I think the same fate could befall some woven FI projects. Definitely would be careful using woven FI as a pillow cover or on something that was frequently in use. Be careful is the operative here. Not all would wear badly. The sweater I discarded? When purchased, I had no idea it was so grabby.
This was a good lesson. Good experience. Not ready to use the FI Weaving or Woven FI n a project, I didn’t block and take a gauge. Which meant I could unravel and place my yarn back on the cone. I’ve had the experience of having done so much testing, I didn’t have enough yarn for a project. Think I’ll try to avoid re-learning that knowledge but keep in mind the results of the Woven FI testing for a future project.