I have been working on this one a long time, and it's finally ready to go live. As soon as I finish this post, I'll be heading over to Ravelry to publish the pdf.
Read a bit more about the development of the Nordic Christmas stocking here.
Over the past 4 years, this projects has gone through several iterations, with some important lessons learned along the way. The most significant of these being:
-when knitting experts advise that you mustn't switch the positions of your yarns when doing 2-color knitting (you have the main color in your right hand and the contrast color in your left hand, for example), take that advice to heart!
Many years ago I took a 2-color knitting class from Lucy Neatby, and the above was one of the two big pieces of information I took away with me*. I never intended to ignore her advice, however...
I started knitting the very first version of this stocking in 2006. When I was nearing the heel turn, I became really, really sick. Like 102 degree fever sick. So I had to put my knitting aside for a while, as I could hardly sit upright, let alone knit.
Once I started feeling a little better, but not anywhere near fully recovered, I resumed my stocking.
Big mistake. As I was still pretty out of it, I didn't remember (or even consider) which hand held which color previously. I just picked up the stocking, put a yarn in each hand, and started knitting.
It turns out, I swapped the colors. What had been in my right hand switched to my left, and vice versa.
Behold, the result:
See how the stripes change right there at the heel? How the white stripe becomes much more prominent on the lower half? That's because I held the white in my right hand for the first part (the top), then switched it to my left hand (the bottom section).
These next photos are a bit blurry, but you can still see how the main pattern was affected by changing the position of the yarns:
The color that is carried in the left hand travels below the color held in the right hand, and for this reason there the floats created when the color is not in use are a tiny bit longer for the left hand color. This then results in the stitches for the left hand color being ever so slightly bigger, meaning stripes, motifs, etc knitted with the left hand color will be more prominent than those knitted with the right hand color.
You can really see the effects of switching which color goes on which hand when you look at the wrong side of the work:
The point where I switched yarn placement is pretty obvious, is it not?
If this all seems complicated and confusing, here's the simple version:
-decide how you are going to carry your yarns (MC in right, CC in left, etc, according to your 2-color knitting style); write it down on your pattern, and don't switch!
And if you decide to resume an in-progress project when you are still slightly feverish, maybe reconsider? A few more days of recovery probably wouldn't hurt.
*The other biggie I took away from Lucy's workshop was in regards to how floats are handled in stranded color work; specifically, how tacking down floats on the inside of the work impacts the outside of the work. Having never been much for tacking down, I left the workshop feeling fully justified in my knitting style. Thank you Lucy!