The Best Resource When Stranded (Knitting) on a Desert Island
One of the really cool parts of my job is that I get to work with designers on a regular basis. Such was the case when Kyle Kunnecke visited our video studio a few months ago, filming a series of courses on stranded colorwork. It was crazy—a whirlwind— utter madness. Actually it was none of those things, because Kyle is one of the gentlest, mellowest human beings I know. It WAS a lot of fun, however.
Aside from being kind and funny, Kyle is a great teacher. Stranded knitting normally leaves me cold, as I’m kind of lazy and don’t really care to handle 2 colors of yarn at the same time. Kyle had no time for my whining, but plenty of time to change my mind on the subject with this really amazing thing called Armenian knitting (I’ll get to that in a minute).
In his first course, Kyle teaches all the basics of stranded knitting, including a section on color theory. You really get to appreciate what a crack team of video editors you have when they can do things with graphics and flashy effects and grayscale that make skeins of yarn positively dance on screen. Never have tertiary and analogous colorways shown quite so much verve and esprit de corps when interacting.
But on to the knitting. Kyle walks you through all the ins and outs of stranded knitting, including a section on color dominance that had me thinking “hmm . . . that’s cool. I wanna play around with that”.
What sealed the deal, though, happened next. In stranded knitting, the yarn not in use gets, um, stranded at the back of the work. For traditional Fair Isle, a single color runs for 5–7 stitches (perhaps an inch of fabric) before switching, so the other yarn floating on the back doesn’t become a long snaggy snarl waiting to happen. But what if you flout those rules? What if you want to create pieces (like Mr. Kunnecke’s) where a single color can run for 10, 20, OMG 40 stitches? Won’t such floats practically beg fingers, jewelry, random cat paws and the like to embed themselves in your work and rip it apart? Not if you lock your floats.
One of the secrets to Kyle’s genius as a designer is his embrace of locked floats, otherwise known as Armenian knitting. When you work one color, the other color stranded at the back gets locked to the fabric in every other stitch. Not only does this technique make for tidy, non-snaggy projects, it can create a somewhat reversible design on the wrong side of the fabric. It’s a tremendously useful, cool, and cool-looking technique that should be in the toolbox of every knitter who does stranded colorwork.
Don’t take my word for it—check out these images of some of Kyle’s incredible designs. And be sure to check out Kyle’s new course. You’ll be glad you did!
Kyle’s Introduction to Stranded Knitting is available as an on-demand course you can watch at your own pace, anywhere, any time, on any device.
Want to learn more? Check out these resources.