I started Collette the other day, but haven't accomplished very much. I'm more in the swatching, figuring out stage.
Collette is a complicated pattern. It consists of vertical bands of colour that are knit using intarsia. Each band also had it's own lace pattern. On the back, this means 11 different bands. The good news is that each lace pattern has only an 8 row repeat. The bad news is they're all different.
So there is chart following and a lot of bobbins. I like the sweater enough to make it work, but should I innovate?
Friends told me of a nifty way to do intarsia strips without having to do actual intarsia. It's called the Sliding Loop method and full instructions can be found in the Summer 2001 issue of Knitter's. Jenna and Amy both lent me copies and I've been trying it out.
The gist of it is this. You knit only one strip at a time. You knit the first one as long as you need. Each time you turn to start a right-side row, you carry a bit of contrasting yarn up to mark the little loop that happens when you bring the yarn around.
When you're ready to start your second strip, you cast on and knit one row. Then you insert your needle into that first little loop and pull out a big long loop of your working yarn. You knit the next two rows of your second strip using that yarn and when you're back at the first strip, you tighten what's left, pick up the second loop and do it all again. You do this for each loop. Basically it's like sewing as you go.
I even made a little video so you can see what I'm doing. These videos are really complicated to make, and I ain't no Lucy Neatby, so please view it in that spirit.
My first impressions of this: Fiddly. I feel like it ruins the flow of the knitting. My panels are only 7-12 stitches long in fingering weight, so it's a lot of little things happening. I'm not sure I like it.
Chloe at LK last night encouraged me to be brazen and just do the damned intarsia. The advantages are numerous: I've done intarsia before, I won't have to re-write the pattern, less fiddliness. The disadvantage is those damned bobbins.
The plan is to cast on the big bad back piece and try the intarsia and get a feel for it. Then I'll decide for tradition (how the heck can you make intarsia a verb?) over innovation.