Note to Self...

Learn intarsia.

Perhaps inspired by Mrs. Bookish's delve into color knitting last week, I decided that intarsia should be part of the Subway Knitter's bucket o' skills.

The equipment:


Those are Southwest Trading Company's Bamboo and Classic Elite's Pima Tencel, purchased at Circles while on a knitting outing with Paula.  Both of these yarns are so soft that you want to jump in a pile of them and roll around for a while.  Okay, maybe that's just me.  Take my word for it: very, very soft.

The setting: Knitsmiths

The results:


Not so great.  The frustration level?  It's high!  Wendy, you are so right.  This intarsia business totally bites right now.  So, let's consider this a wobbly first attempt.   I'm putting down my needles and doing something else.  I will master intarsia, just not this very minute.

With that, I officially declare the swatch experiments done!  Let's see what I like best like after washing and blocking.


My opinion, worth what you paid, is that intarsia is best learned (and frankly best executed in general) in wool. Inelastic fibers such as cotton/tencel/bamboo etc. are very difficult to tension correctly in intarsia. Not impossible, but it would be way, way easier on you to start learning intarsia with a wool project.

Don't give up on intarsia yet! You might try a swatch in wool -- it has more stretch to it, so the stitches will block out a little smoother. I did my first (and second) intarsia pieces in cotton and although they look good, I can still see a few tension issues that probably would not have shown up had I used wool. It takes a little while to figure out how tight to twist the yarns, etc. but it will all come together!

Intarsia & Bamboo yarn? Sounds like torture to me. I knit a top out of the Bamboo and hated it - both working with it and the finished product. I do love that colorway you have though... Let me know how you like working with the Bamboo - maybe I just had a bad experience?

I was gonna say the same thing as Claudia, try it on a wool fiber. While your yarn choices are lovely--not the best choice for intarsia. Even acrylic would be better. Or a blend like Encore.

Dude. I so feel your pain. It's just something that you have to suck up and learn I suppose.

I started my intarsia project and it's now an UFO which I have to deal with soon ... it's a cotton jacket and I only have one sleeve done. Claudia is right ... cotton is hard to tension evenly. Besides, I think maybe you should try using solid colours. From the picture, the variegated Bamboo doesn't stand out too much to me. Also, for the first try, I would use much more contrasting colours. Just my 2 cents. ;)

I started out with 100% cotton yarns for intarsia. I believe that the Premiere is a cotton blend, isn't it? It's not stiff enough to hold the stitches well, in my opinion (also, probably not worth much). I've used Tahki Cotton Classic and Mission Falls 1824 Cotton. I took a class to learn intarsia. The mother and daughter who taught the class have written a book that I have found helpful for reference and for tips on how to make things look better when you screw up! Here's the link:

I must say, those yarns are beggin' to be something! Maybe not intarsia, but they're beggin', they want to be stuff! The colors are phenomenal!

Yeah, what Claudia said. I definitely belong to the school of thought that believes that intarsia was invented by the devil. But if you're going to play with the devil, do it in something with elasticity, memory, and grip. I've *started* cotton intarsia before--never finished though. Learn from my mistake. ;)

I know you can do it...don't let it beat you.

I've also found, in my forays into intarsia, that the skinny bands of color are the hardest and fiddliest ones to do. If you stick with the bamboo and cotton, you might want to try a wide stripe of the bamboo.

You are so brave to try Intarsia. That is on my list of things I want to learn, but not quite yet. Too painful.

ha! finally something i can feel superior about. i learned (although far from mastered) intarsia when i didn't have the sense to know that it was hard.

I've been wanting to try Bamboo yarn... but I think it's safe to say I won't be attempting intarsia anytime soon. :)


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