Wanted: Knitting Reality Coach, or Why Intarsia in the Round is a Good and Bad Thing

Here’s what I think I need: I need a dedicated person to follow me around while I’m knitting and tell me when I’m about to make a decision that will make my life more difficult than it really needs to be.

A knitting reality coach.

Or fairy god-knitter.

Or just a sassy knitting friend—you know,  in the same vein as the infamous Sassy Gay Friend—who’ll be right beside me to pipe up with a “What are you doing?! What, what, what are you DOING?!?” and give my buddy Delusion a kick in the ass every time I make a knitting decision that will lead to sighing, eye-rolling and just general frustration with myself.

This nightmare comes to mind. As does my latest decision…

How angsty could one little squirrel be?

…the Squirrel Sampler Mittens.

The pattern is beyond adorable, from the picot hem to the whimsical little fair isle squirrel. And it’s not terribly difficult, either…unless, of course, you’re me. And you decide to knit them in three colors. And only have that third color on the palms.


That does, in fact, put us into intarsia territory. Intarsia in the round. On US 1 needles. This is not smart.

It is cute, which is good…

All intarsia-crazy up in here…

…but not smart, which is not so good.

The worst part about the whole situation was how utterly clueless I was going in. It didn’t dawn on me until I had attached the orange and knit through the first round that this was going to be far more complicated than originally anticipated. I had a total oh-crap-the-yarn-is-not-going-to-be-where-I-thought-it-was-going-to-be-how-the-hell-am-I-going-to-make-this-ridiculousness-work moment. There may have been some swearing and some fiddling around before I figured out how I would make this work.

Evenually, I caught my stride and it started moving along. But it was precarious for a while. And while I’ve been careful to keep my floats nice and long, there are some tension issues that I really can’t wait to block out.

So, I’ve finished the first outer shell, cast on the second and started the lining on the first—and thank goodness for the lining, because the insides are not pretty. For the lining, I’m using this rich green now-discontinued Fiddlesticks Zephyr laceweight merino/tussah in the “Basil” colorway.

Pretty green lining…to hide all the ugly floats and weaves inside

I like the contrast quite a bit. They’re going to be beautiful mittens when they’re totally done, but really what, what, what was I doing? Oh well, another knitting lesson learned.

I must also take a moment to gush about this yarn: Spud & Chloe Fine. It’s delightful. If you’re looking for a fabulous, solid-color yarn for Fair Isle, or just a nice staple yarn, this totally fits the bill. It’s not horribly expensive, the colorways are saturated and vibrant and the silk content gives it a fantastic hand with just a little bit of sparkle. It’s a tremendous yarn. Go get some.