Knitting in two colours

I bought some buttons to match some brightly coloured yarn. Then I decided that bright orange might not be the best colour for premature babies. So I compromised.

Fronts and back in one piece

I am knitting in two colours. The buttons will match the button band, but the colour scheme is a bit calmer. It is also more interesting to knit, even if there are more ends to sew in. The sleeves will have coloured ribbing.

Detail of inside

I have taken two photos of this work in progress. One of the right side of the body knitted in one piece as described in a previous post. I had to wind a second ball of wool, so that I could knit the second band. This would not have been  necessary if I had used the pattern as written and knitted three separate pieces. The second photo is of the inside (wrong side) showing how the two colours are twisted together to make a neat join. Without twisting the yarn when changing colour, the two sections would have to be sewn together afterwards. This technique is used in picture knitting (intarsia).


A knitted teacosy

I recently began to drink decaffeinated tea. As hubby is still drinking the usual sort, we have two teapots on the table. I found that a half-full pot of tea cools down more quickly. We needed a teacosy.

When I was a child older knitters in my family used to make fluted teacosies. I learned how to knit these from them. I am sure I have a pattern somewhere, but I couldn’t find it. However I remembered how the pattern works. What I did find was a bag of assorted yarn. The pattern is for DK yarn, but all my yarn was thinner than that. I used two strands together and spent a proportion of the total time to make the item untangling four strands of yarn!

I cast on 98 stitches. The number of stitches has to be a multiple of 6 with 2 extra for the seams. Two identical pieces are required. Two rows are knitted in the yarn used to cast on; each subsequent row is worked in two contrasting colours. Unlike Fairisle knitting (where the work has to be flat and floats may be woven in during the knitting) the floats across the inside are pulled tight, giving the fluted effect.

Fluted knitting

The first stitch is knitted in one colour, then six in the contrast and another six in the first colour. Repeating the twelve stitch pattern leaves one stitch at the end to be knitted in the next colour. On the reverse row it is important to put the yarn to the wrong side (facing) when not in use. All stitches are worked knitwise.

Instead of knitting one side and then the other, I made both pieces at once using two pairs of size 4mm bamboo knitting needles. I was unsure how far the yarn would go and wanted both sides to match. It meant I had to keep cutting some of the yarn and rejoining it.

Right side of teacosy

An alternativee method is to wind small balls of yarn to divide the oddments into two equal lengths. This may reduce the number of ends which have to be sewn in.

Wrong side/inside of teacosy

I tied the pairs of ends before sewing them.

I worked out the shaping by comparing my work with the teapot.

The openings were neatened by working a row of double crochet. (Warning: crochet terminology is different in UK and US patterns.)


Teacosy from above

Detail of opening with crochet


Avoiding a side seam

A knitting pattern I use over and over again was published by Woman’s Weekly many years ago. It is a charity knitting supplement called Loving and Giving. There are patterns for a premature baby set, a hat and scarf set, fingerless gloves with a mitten top, an Oxfam top, a bed-jacket and bed-socks, men’s socks and a blanket made from squares.

I have not used every pattern in the leaflet, but I have used the premature baby clothes pattern more times than I can remember. A friend of mine, learning that I was knitting premature baby clothes, asked, “Who is expecting a premature baby?”

I explained that I donate the clothes to the special baby unit at the local hospital.

I used to knit Oxfam tops until I learned that the charity was unable to send all the tops they received and had to pay for storage of them. This situation may have changed. (Oxfam tops are T-shirts knitted in bright colours.)

The premature baby set consists of a cardigan, hat, mittens and bootees in three sizes. I do not always knit the cardigan. At present I have a partly completed set and plenty of yarn for more. I sometimes adapt the pattern to avoid side seams. As written the cardigan is made up of two fronts, a back and two sleeves. The button and buttonhole bands are a garter stitch border knitted as part of the fronts. More care is required with the knitting if the two fronts and back are knitted as a single piece, as in the photo. If mistakes are made with the buttonholes, for example, it takes longer to put them right than on a smaller piece of work. The extension to the bands is joined to the heads of the sleeves and the cast off edge of the back.

Fronts and back with bands and extensions

Fronts and back with bands and extensions

I also mentioned knitting avoiding a side seam in an earlier post.

I prefer to have my knitted items used locally than to send them to Knit for Peace. It is better for the carbon footprint. However it is good that there is an organisation, which matches knitted and crocheted items with those in need of them.