I am not a two-color knitting person. I like it fine, but I just don’t get my best knitting feelings from it. So I do it very, very seldom. When I was offered AlterKnit Stitch Dictionary by Andrea Rangel to review I jumped at it because it is outside my usual focus.
AlterKnit: A New Look at Two-Color Knitting
After looking through the book I realized that I was going to have to do some knitting to get a feel for the content. I liked the book well enough—oddly I couldn’t really find anything wrong with it, but I couldn’t tell whether it was good or not. I looked for yarn that I could spare that I had in two colors and settled on Alpine from Mountain Meadow Wool. It is DK weight, and probably not what most would choose for two-color stranded knitting, but I figured it would be nice to knit, and forgiving.
Due to my lack of practice, I started with a 4-stitch pattern, worked as a flat swatch. This was fun and easy. I used Mesmerized on page 27. Because it was only 4 stitches (although 20 rows) I was able to work from the chart in the book. I love my swatch. I used US size 4[3.5mm] needles, and decided I should probably use a US size 5[3.75mm] for my sample. I wanted to do something with more complexity, so I chose Traveller’s Joy and Scales both on page 94.
AlterKnit Stitch Dictionary
At this point I wondered why the charts were different colors. I went back through all the text and could not find an explanation. I blame the publisher. This is the sort of thing that could easily be explained. Also, why are the stitches in the order they are in? Again, explaining the logic of the layout of a stitch dictionary, or grouping the patterns by some logic, would be really helpful. They are not grouped by stitch counts, or name, so what is the logic?
I went looking for the index or table of contents. There is a list of patterns by Name, page, stitch count, and row count on pages 162 and 163. They are sorted by stitch count. Why? Why not have them sorted by Name? And By Page? And By Stitch Count? All are valid ways to remember or search for a pattern. The thing is, when I began looking for the pattern I used in my first swatch, I could not remember the name. I did remember it was 4 sts, so that was how I found it. I would not be able to find the other two patterns except if I remembered the color of the charts or that they were 22 stitches. In this Index, the column headings were given at the beginning of the list and not on any of the other four columns of patterns. This sort of thing irritates me as a user, although it should not prevent you from getting this book. AlterKnit has wonderful, amazing, and new stitch patterns which you likely need to have, in addition to having five good patterns in which Andrea talks about her choices.
AlterKnit Stitch Patterns ITR
I cast on 66 stitches to work the 22-stitch Traveller’s Joy pattern ITR (in the round) using the magic loop. I started with the US size 4[3.5mm] needles for my 2-color 1×1 rib. I cast on using both my colors and the flexible long-tail cast on. I rotated the colors with each stitch so I had a two-color cast on. I worked my knits in the natural and the purls in teal. I used the norwegian purl and held the yarn in both colors in my left hand. I decided holding it was too difficult to do in the large stitch pattern, so I switched to US size 5[3.75mm] needles and worked holding yarn in both hands, with the natural in my left hand. The pattern was pretty easy to follow once I made the chart larger on my printer. I never really found a rhythm for the pattern, so I had to follow each round on the chart and the size of the chart became important. I also wrote in the number of stitches for any string of stitches larger than 3 for ease of following.
I would have loved to know the source or inspiration of the pattern. It would have given me something to think about while working the sample. How did this floral pattern get its name, Traveller’s Joy? I like a little something more in a stitch dictionary.
I had to print out and write on an enlarged chart to do the decreases in the top of my sample, which I worked in the opposite color predominance. The top was pretty small, but the happy accident that resulted pleased me to no end!
I have now cast on and I am working a hat. I worked out a rough gauge from my sample project and cast on 120 stitches. I worked the 1×1 rib in the same manner, except that I was more careful about not getting the yarn wound around each other. I noticed that my right hand is bossy, but not as good as my left for tensioning the yarn.
I increased to 132 stitches for the crown and worked the pattern rounds 1.5 times to get the straight portion of the crown. I am still working on the top which is flat, not peaked, and I had to make a small change to my decrease scheme because there need to be more rounds, but I have a cool idea for the close at the top! I will have final photos in my newsletter on Thursday.
I am giving away a copy of AlterKnit to readers of my newsletter. I am also giving away the hat, and maybe my cool sample. So now is the time to sign up for my newsletter. It is where you find out stuff before anywhere else. Plus, it just has good stuff!
AlterKnit Swatching Info
- US size 5[3.75mm] Addi Turbo 40″ needles for the crown and top of the hat using the magic loop.
- US size 4[3.5mm] Addi Lace 32″ needles for the 1×1 2-color rib using the magic loop.
- Alpine from Mountain Meadow Wool, 100% Mountain Merino® Targhee worsted spun, 3-ply DK, 3.5 oz / 260 yds [237m], Teal and Natural.
- Clover ring markers and locking pin markers.
- I wet blocked and steam blocked my swatch and my ITR sample.
- My flat blocked gauge in Mesmerized: 5.5 sts and 6.75 rows/in OR 22 sts and 27 rows/4″ on US size 4[3.5mm].
- My ITR blocked ITR gauge in Traveller’s Joy: 5 sts and 7.5 rnds/in OR 20 sts and 30 rnds/4″ on US size 5[3.75mm]
- My ITR blocked ITR gauge in 2-color 1×1 rib: 5 sts and 8 rnds/in OR 20 sts and 32 rnds/4″ on US size 4[3.5mm]