While working on my Nordic Rose stocking I did a little experimenting. Why? The pattern for this stocking has large areas of one color, and kind of stretches the Fair Isle method to its limits. How to handle this problem became my challenge.
The first chart section I constructed using the Fair Isle method with short floats, say at least every 3/4 inch, and established breaks on my one circle needle for NA(needle A-front) and NB(back).
The second portion of the chart I changed my needle positions to suit the pattern, allowing me to work across the design portion without any ladders to worry about. I also did not weave in my alternate yarn color as before. The results were stunning.
The upper section of the above photo was done in the second method, repositioning the needles as I worked around the chart. Of course, another benefit of this method is that you yarns don’t get tangled as they remained in the same place all the time(black on the right, red on the left).
The lower section of the example where the floats were kept shorter, shows slight dimples( see photo below)in the surface. This happens no matter how loose you leave the float.
If you use the second method and leave your float too loose, the stitches at the opposite ends of any section of the color can loosen and affect your gauge.
By securing or capturing the alternate yarn at the change of the new color, and then again one stitch before the change at the other end, the float will stay in its proper place. To make the capture of the alternate yarn on the far end of the float smooth, first stretch out the stitches to the right, then bring your yarn(black) firmly across the expanse-
1) wrap as to knit,
2)wrap main color(red) as to knit
3)unwrap alternate color(black)
4)complete stitch with main color (red).
The next stitch will be the new color (black). Now the float will stay in place and lay horizontally(with no discernible dip) across the back of the red stitches. I always tip the work forward to check the tension of the float before proceeding to the next section. I make sure that everything stretches out equally. Taking the time to do this will save you lots of headaches later.
You will notice that the diamond above is very smooth. The long floats on the inside that I deem might pose a problem when sliding on the stocking will be tacked down with a needle and one ply of the background yarn ( in this case, red).
The process of moving the needles as I go has eliminated the need to deal with the “ladders” of circle needle knitting. One thing that makes this easy is that this pattern always has a center back pattern, and the last stitch of the round completes the right side border of this section. This lets me know where the round starts without using a marker.
Below is a photo of a new needle position, as I retain about 10-12 stitches on my right needle, and prepare the left one to knit across the rose diamond section.
It works for me! Give it a try. Below is a practice chart for you to try.
Nordic Rose float Practice Chart
Of course, I could do this pattern in Intarsia, as the center back stitches make an excellent point for a turn around. Hummmmm????
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