Dominance Issues

I'm still, miraculously, not sick.  Campbell is greatly improved, but Lindsay and Phillip are still on their lips.  While I await the inevitable, I'm knitting swatches for my Madrona steeks students.

I've learned that knitters have a much easier time cutting up knitting that they didn't make themselves, and have no emotional attachment to.  And since their homework is to complete a 6-ft stole in time for class, I figure the least I can do is make some dumb swatches for them. Sure, they're thrill-seekers, but asking them to complete three more little swatches on top of that stole knitting might be just enough to put somebody over the edge.  So I'm making 75 swatches.

Today I thought I'd use one of them to demonstrate something that comes up all the time when I teach stranded colorwork knitting:  Strand Dominance.  Why does it matter which strand is above and which is below?  The answer is that it doesn't.  Unless you change their positions.  A picture tells the whole sordid tale.  Notice anything different between the lower half of this swatch and the upper half?

How about Now?

No?  Don't worry if the whole thing looks the same to you.  The difference is extremely subtle.  Except when it isn't.  How about now?:

Now imagine if the strands were changing position willy-nilly, rather than precisely halfway up the swatch?  That would make for some very uneven knitted fabric, and some pretty wonky colorwork.  Have a piece of stranded knitting hanging around that you don't love?  Take a look at its strand orientation, and see if a light bulb doesn't come on for you. 

Moral?  Make a command decision as to which strand is above, and which strand is below, and stick with it.  Easy as can be, and so simple, once we understand it!  Knowledge is power, Gentle Readers.  Now go forth, and knit like the Rock Stars you are.