Oh, the blogger guilt hangs heavy around my neck. So many FOs to tell you about, and so little time to actually write about them.
I’m going to dust off the old soapbox and talk about one of my favorite techniques. It gives maximum effect for minimum effort, and if you haven’t tried it ~ well, shame on you. Let’s talk about colorwork. I’ll do you one better, though: let’s talk colorwork without stranding. Let’s talk mosaic knitting.
Simply explained, mosaic knitting, also called “slip-stitch knitting,” allows you to work one color at a time in each row you knit with results that look like you positively slaved. Often, depending on the colorways involved, mosaic knitting has a distinctive look that mimics stained glass.
Here you see it in the Sofya Cowl, knit in Spirit
Trail Fiberworks Verdande.* The background color (green) is Crete; the brown is one of my perennial favorites, Kestrel. This was a really quick knit other than the 40-odd rows of corrugated ribbing (Knit the knits in one color; purl stitches are worked in the other color, see?) Even with the ribbing, I was able to knit the larger size in less than a week.
Here is the 411:
Pattern: Sofya Cowl by Jennifer Dassau, size Large
Yarn: Spirit Trail Fiberworks Verdande,* one skein each in Crete and Kestrel
Needles: US 7 Signature Needle Arts circs because I know Verdande will grow when it meets water and I tend to knit colorwork (of every kind) a little loosely.
Mods: None. I had enough of both colors left to have made a 2nd one reversing the colors. (Putting the brown in the background and the green on top.) Maybe even enough to repeat the whole thing if I felt adventurous.
Project Marriage Score: 9 ~ I just wanted to squoosh this around my stubby neck.
Similarly, I used Verdande’s thinner DK sister, Birte, to make the Bubble Wrap Cowl, with Winter Solstice in the background and Sorbet in the “bubbles.” This is another mosaic pattern where you’re working one color per row. Period. That’s all she wrote.
I’ve had a couple of people ask me about executing Row 5 – which is what creates the “bubbles.” If I get a lot of requests, I’ll haul out the camera for some new snaps, but I would explain it thus:
- Insert the tip of your right needle in the 5th loop down ~ the last one you knitted in the background color you are now working (the blue, in this case)
- Using your fingers, unpick the four “bubble” loops, leaving them laying across your right needle, behind the loop you are holding.
- Now insert your right needle the rest of the way through the stitch and knit with the background color, catching the loose strands behind the new stitch you made.
Sanity check: these dropped stitches always occur over the middle stitch of the bubble in the sequence below. If you’re not aligned there, something’s gone awry.
Pattern: Bubble Wrap Cowl by madelinetosh
Yarn: Spirit Trail Fiberworks Birte,* 2 skeins Sorbet (bubble color), 1 sk Winter Solstice
Needles: US 6 Signature circs for this booth sample. I am making one for myself now, and I’ve gone down one needle to a US 5 very comfortably. It is making the bubbles “pop” more.
Pattern marriage score: 9.5. This is both drapey and smooshy in Birte. In my own iteration, I’ve removed a few pattern repeats to make it a single loop about 37 inches around that I will work a full 12 or more inches deep. The original finished size (44 inches) sort of fell between the easy-around twice /or not size for my liking.
There’s more blocking to do, more cowls, more shawls ~ oh, and the holidays and Owl Manor and … you get the general idea. But do yourself a favor and pick up a mosaic knitting pattern and give it a test-drive. You’ll be pleased that you did; I won’t tell a soul it isn’t stranded.
* If you’re reading this before Dec. 18, check the home page for a 25% discount on these yarns at Spirit Trail Fiberworks, and tell Jennifer that Nutmeg Owl sent you!