I will admit to the fact that I haven't done much knitting of late. I blame this on the number of children running around and on the fact that my Etsy shop just hit it's 300th sale since I opened it on Dec 4th. Yesterday, though, I spent the whole day knitting play food for a 5 yr old little girl's birthday party, which was today. I enjoyed just sitting and knitting something that was not lace, or business related, that I decided to cast on something else today. Since I have been out at the barn feeding horses every day for the last 2 weeks, I have realized that my gloves just aren't going to cut it. My fingers are quite long and thin which means they have almost zero cerculation. If I ball them up in the hand of the glove they keep from going numb, which makes me think I need MITTENS, not gloves.
It just so happens I have a lovely fair isle mitten kit by Sarah Annexstad with Misti Alpaca and Noro Silk Garden that my lovely swap partner from the Knitting Parent's Yahoo Group gave me in December.
So, while children were marrinating in the tub tonight, I cast on the first mitten. Knit the first row in main color in K1, P1 rib. Check. I can do that. Rows 2-16 are K1 in main color, P1 in Contrast color. This produces lovely vertical lines up the cuff. Ok, now, I haven't knit fair isle since I knit Alex's Spiderman gloves over a year ago. I am a continental knitter normally, so I put the main color in my left hand and put the Noro in my right just like I learned to do while doing stranded knitting. I knit a few stitches and realize that I have forgotten to put the Noro to the back while I knit with the Alpaca. This means that I now have lines of pretty blue in front of my creamy alpaca knit strips. That's not right. So, I tink back. I now very carefully move the Noro to the back after purling and find this incredibly slow, tedious and anoying. This is going to be a LONG cuff if I have to do this the whole way.
The babies are ready to get out of the tub by now, so I dry them off and put the second load of children in and then rethink the knitting. Oh, I think to myself. Back when I was new to this I used to carry both yarns in the left hand and just picked whichever one I wanted. Since I am only knitting 1 stitch with each yarn before I need the other, the tension won't get uneven, that'll be perfect. So, I switch so both yarns are in my left hand and breeze through a couple of rows of knitting happily swinging both yarns between the needles together for the K1, P1 rib.
I look down at my knitting and see that it is now a beautiful double knit cuff... Hmmm. That is not pretty verticle lines. That is flat alpaca on the outside and flat Noro on the inside. Yes, I remember thinking when looking at the pattern that if I knit 1 with 1 yarn and then purled with a different yarn I would get double knit. I have made quite a few things with double knit before, but I thought surely the designer knew what she was doing. There's got to be a trick here. I examine the knitting closely, then it hits me. In my beautiful double knitting, the running thread between stitches has the alpaca in the front, not the Noro. If I kept the alpaca in the back all the time and just pulled the Noro to the front for the purl stitches the running thread in between will be blue, not cream. Well, why didn't the designer say not to bring them both forward?! That's kind of important. True this pattern was made for a class where she would have shown the students how to do it, but I still think it needs mentioning.
Then it hits me. I bet the designer knits English. It makes perfect sense. She held the main color (the alpaca) in her RIGHT hand, which is her main knitting hand. It would have been more natural for her. With it in the right hand, it could stay in the back all the time without interfearing with the purl stitches. With the Noro in the LEFT hand it can swing easily between the needles back and forth with each stitch without all the cumbersome twisting of the entire right hand and the needles. It maks sense why she wouldn't say anything. It would have been awkward to move both yarns back and forth. It explains everything.
The designer knits English. I'll just pretend I do too. ~.^