Learning Stranded Colorwork

After about two years of pondering and changing my mind about what pattern to use for Christmas Stockings (for myself and my husband and hopefully future kiddos), I finally found one this winter that really caught my eye.  As luck had it, the kit went on sale shortly after I spotted it.  The kit is no longer available, but the pattern can still be purchased here.
Hearthwarming Stocking Pattern
I knew I had to have these gorgeous stockings, especially since I feel like I could truly enjoy seeing them year after year.  I think I'm a little fussy about Christmas decorations, generally speaking.  I ordered the kit (which makes 2 stockings) and then started fretting right away... because I had never really done stranded colorwork / fair aisle / intarsia / whatever you want to call it.  I wasn't going to start these stockings until I knew I could do a good job making them. 

Queue the Adelaide Sweater

I had purchased
Vintage Modern Knits: Contemporary Designs Using Classic Techniques by Kate Gagnon Osborn and Courtney Kelley
during my visit to Chicago last summer, and the Adelaide sweater on the cover is what sold it.  It would have been a challenge to me at that time, but I had hopes of improving and becoming braver with my knitting. 
Before getting too deeply invested in the sweater, I needed some serious advice about stranded colorwork.  Here are the two videos I found most helpful.

Managing Yarns for Colorwork - Knitting Daily TV Episode 306
I really enjoy Eunny Jang's concise explanations, and the ability to back up the video and watch parts of it over until I finally get it.  Watching this gave me the idea to do my colorwork using both hands, picking one color and wrapping the other.  This keeps the balls from getting twisted, and I thought it was great and very quick.  She starts explaining this technique around 4:32.

Catching Floats in Stranded Knitting by Suzanne Bryan
This was very helpful for me, using the two handed method, but it may not work as well if you're holding both colors with the same hand. 
I'm certain there are other videos for that.
Adelaide Sweater Project Page
There are two things I would have liked to have done a little better. 
  1. The colorwork on the sleeves doesn't have much stretch because I pulled the floats too tight.  Fortunately, I discovered this problem and loosened my grip for the yoke.
  2. I should have chosen a slightly darker color where I have the pink in order to have better contrast with the grey background.

Despite these issues, I am very happy with how my sweater turned out.  It definitely fits well, and I like the cute little tag.


On to the next project: The Quilt Sampler Tam which is found in Mel Clark's Knitting Everyday Finery.  For this project, I decided to dye my own yarn.  I didn't really have anything on hand that was going to work well, and it didn't seem practical or frugal to buy three skeins for such a small project.  Instead, I got one skein of Bare Palette Fingering Yarn and prepared to dye it three different colors.  (I'm realizing that this post is becoming somewhat of a Knit Picks ad, but I assure you it's just a coincidence.) 

I'll be honest - I'm not actually sure how much I need of each color, so I'm just hoping for the best here.
  I may have to improvise at the last minute if I'm not so lucky.
Here's the end result.

I've only just started knitting the Quilt Sampler Tam but you can follow along on Ravelry to see my progress.  It should make a good project for my train ride to Montreal this coming week!

my Ravelry project page for the Quilt Sampler Tam
I'd love to hear about your experiences with stranded colorwork. 
Please feel free to post in the comments below!