When I was running errands last week, “Takin’ Care of Business” by Bachman Turner Overdrive came on the radio. I surprised myself by—probably decades after the last time I listened to the whole song—singing along and still knowing all the words.
I giggled, remembering how I used to belt out that song in the back seat of my mom’s car.
There is something about a remembered song that lifts me up and settles me down, even if I’m wailing along about a broken heart. These are the songs where you don’t think, you just open your mouth and sing, and it’s all there. Sequence knitting is like that in knitting for me.
Sequence knitting may be the perfect type of knitting for dark winter days, or dark days in general. Step into it cautiously—you may not be able to stop.
Versatile and intuitive
It’s easy to work sequence knitting at different gauges, easy to change sizes, especially if you knit scarves and shawls. The stitch patterns are easy to memorize, so the knitting becomes a rhythm almost instantly. Before you know it, you’re knitting as easily as singing.
And sequence knitting is a great way to experiment with yarns. Use a special skein or a mini or advent kits, sock yarn or chunky—they all work beautifully. It’s also a great way to play and experiment with color combinations or doubling or tripling yarns. You can imagine why I love it.
I recently spent the weekend playing with sequence knitting, I used the pattern Conversing from Cecelia Campochiaro’s new pattern release Three Sequence Knitting Shawls for my swatches. These three patterns for scarves and shawls are a great place to start (or stay) with sequence knitting. Kay did a bit of Anywhere shawl show-and-tell here.
If you want more sequences and shapes to play with, MDK Field Guide 5: Sequences has four designs that beautifully demonstrate what sequences do across the canvases of a wrap, scarf, a hat, and a festive bit of bunting. In both the Field Guide and in her new collection of shawls, Cecelia distills concepts from her book Sequence Knitting that showcases sequence knitted fabrics in over 40 patterns.
Swatch and see
Rowan Felted Tweed and Neighborhood Fiber Company Rustic Fingering
Rustic Fingering is smooth, the stitches are defined, even though it’s a softly twisted single-ply yarn. You can see the pattern exactly, two rows of 2×2 ribbing and a garter ridge.
Felted Tweed has texture. It’s a little uneven, and while the pattern doesn’t disappear, it’s much less defined.
Comparing them side by side, you can see they are both beautiful but different. They maybe suit different moods. For me making a choice would be like choosing between Ella Fitzgerald with her smooth, soaring control, and Billie Holiday with her unique rhythm and that heartbreaking catch in her voice. You won’t be surprised to know Billie was my number-one listen for college breakups.
Let’s look at what I’ve dubbed the Campochiaro Combination. Sequence knitting is wonderful all on its own, but let’s marl it too!
Two strands of Felted Tweed. I wish you could feel the squish of this fabric. I’ve knit all these swatches at a looser gauge than I would for most garments. I want the drape and the softness. I thought the pattern would disappear entirely marling two colors. Because I choose two colors that are low contrast (similar on a gray scale), the pattern held visually.
Working Playing overtime
Next, I chose two yarns that were very different in texture and high contrast. I wish you could feel this swatch for the silkiness—it is so soft, I can’t quit petting it. This is Rustic Fingering and Kid Silk Haze held together. The fabric is busy, and may not be to everyone’s taste, but I think it’s dynamic and exciting. The pattern isn’t entirely lost; I can see where I made a mistake in the pattern, but it’s definitely obscured.
One last sample. I did warn you that it’s hard to stop. I grabbed a skein of handspun yarn (Polwarth/silk) that had a little too much twist in it, making it a little lively.
The marling resolved into some striping, and the twisty yarn makes the texture pop.
I’ll likely not block this when it’s done. I really like the wiggly texture of the fabric.
If you haven’t already, give sequence knitting a try. It may be just what you need to clear your stash, play with yarns, lift a somber mood, or pull you out of a knitting slump.