Now that the Inside Out socks are finished, I needed another small and portable project to hand. At the moment, this is Exchequered. I always like Alice Bell's patterns, and this is no exception.
I am using Patons Diploma Gold, not my favourite yarn, but chosen because this scarf will without doubt be thrown in the washing machine by its intended owner - and I am using black and apple green. DS has pronounced this scarf to be 'extremely cool', which is praise indeed, although I gather that he would have preferred a more fluorescent green. I, however, would not - and I feel that apple green works very nicely. The true colour is rather brighter that it looks in these pictures.
It wasn't entirely easy finding a comfortable method of working. In every row, the stitches are alternately knitted and purled, with both yarns brought between the needles after each stitch. The designer suggests holding both yarns in the same hand, but I like to work fair isle with one colour in each hand, and because old habits die hard, that was my choice here as well.
However, not surprisingly, there was something of a problem when I needed to purl with the yarn in my left hand. I am an English style knitter - yarn in my right hand - of many years standing, and although I can work Continental style as well, I do find that it is awkward for me to purl with the yarn in my left hand if I have one yarn in each hand, as I do here.
This rapidly became really quite frustrating. I do like to knit quickly, and I was beginning to think that this project - supposedly a quick and simple knit - was going to take a ridiculously long time to complete. How to speed things up?
And then I found a solution - combined knitting. I have played around a little with this method before, but I have never before used it to work an entire project. And really, it works like magic. It is hard to believe that this wonderful method has been available to me all these years, and I haven't identified just how useful it is. Purling with the yarn in the left hand is fluid, easy, and very fast. Knitting with the left hand is equally straightforward and equally fast. Somehow, it just feels right.
Problem solved! I can work quickly, my left hand is as fast as my right, and the rhythm of the work is very pleasing. I can see why people become so enthusiastic about this method - I am feeling rather enthusiastic about it myself, at the moment.
Will I become a Combined knitter? At the moment, it feels entirely possible.