Category Archives: tutorial

Cast on tricks, fixing mistakes, and classes at OFFF

The Go Tell the Bees KAL is underway, and we’re having a grand time chatting over in the Ravelry thread. It’s not too late to join the KAL; we’re knitting at our own pace and just having fun. Some of the tips that have come out of the cast on thread are particularly helpful, so I thought I’d share them here.

I chose the cable cast on for the beginning of this project, which starts at the lower edge. Why not use a long tail cast on? Because the cast on is huge, 350-400 stitches. I’d hate to run out of yarn just before my goal.

Why not use the two ended long tail cast on? Because I’m using a gradient/ombre ball of yarn, which means that the other end is a different color. I thought it might be pretty that way, but I tried it and it wasn’t at all pretty.

Also, the first row after a long tail cast on is the purl/bumpy side, which is part of why it wasn’t pretty, for this particular pattern. The first row after a cable cast on is the knit/smooth side, which is what I wanted.

The tip for any long cast on is to use markers to help you count. You can place them after every 20, or 50, or whatever number of stitches, and then not have to count all the stitches at once after you’re done. Much better than long counting, and coming up with a different number several times.

If you think ahead while you’re casting on, you can place the markers at your stitch repeats. Figure out how many stitches are outside the repeat and add them to the first section, then place the following markers to note your repeats.

A very common error is either missing or dropping a YO. You don’t notice until you’re on the next right side row, when you don’t have enough stitches between markers to work your repeat. I posted this in the last post, but I think it bears repeating. Here’s how to fix it:

I once took a class in fixing mistakes, and that teacher said you should count on the WS rows to make sure you have the right number and kind of stitches. Me, I’d rather relax on those WS rows and deal with mistakes on the next RS row. Both ways work, but I use those WS rows for reading or chatting!

I’m going to be teaching two of my favorite classes at Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival in September. This year’s festival runs from Friday Sept. 22 (classes only on Friday) through Sunday Sept. 24. The theme at OFFF this year is lace, and you know I love that!

I’m teaching Tink Drop Frog, Fixing Mistakes: Lace Edition on Saturday Sept. 23 from 9:30 to 12:30. We’ll be learning ways to fix lace mistakes when you’ve noticed them in the same row, a row or two later, or even later than that! This is an empowering class; you are really the boss of your knitting when you can use these techniques.

I’m also teaching Be Manipulative, Elongated Novelty Stitches on Sunday Sept. 24 from 1:30 to 4:30. The honeybee stitch from Go Tell the Bees is just one of the stitches we’ll be practicing. If you like the lacy look of these stitches, come learn them with me!

Advertisements

Rescuing a dropped YO at WWKIP Day

It was a jam packed weekend! I was a guest designer at the Knit Picks WWKIP Day Knit Pick-nic, where I worked on my Go Tell the Bees KAL.

I love how my mannequin Lacey has my yarn ball tucked into her decolletage. I’m knitting with Knit Picks Stroll Gradient in Ice Sculpture. The project is well under way. While I was knitting, I noticed an error because I was one stitch short in one of my repeats. Usually this happens because I dropped a YO while purling back on the wrong side row. I don’t count stitches on the WS rows; this is my time to chat or watch tv or read. I find the mistake on the next right side row.

Do you have to rip/tink back two rows to fix this? NO WAY. I’d never get anything done. I made a video of this easy fix. It was a chilly day here in PDX, so I’m wearing my Beanstalk/Trellis Vines mitts sample, trying to get warm.

Hope this helps!

The rest of the weekend was a whirlwind. We saw Ira Glass (This American Life) at the Schnitz, I had my Go Tell the Bees KAL party at Pearl Fiber Arts, and I sang with my harmony singing class at a benefit for Artichoke Community Music. Whew!

How was your weekend? Did you knit in public?

Technique Tuesday, and new yarn

It’s been quiet around here, but things are moving along behind the scenes. Sometimes if I haven’t posted for a bit, I just need a jump start, so here’s an increase that I ran across recently.

If you’ve ever used KFB, knit in the front and back of a stitch, you know it’s an easy way to increase. It’s easy, and great for garter stitch where the bump from the increase doesn’t show. In stockinette, it does show, and you have to decide if that bump is a bug or a feature. But I recently ran across YarnSub’s post on Knit Front Slip Back (KFSB), which avoids the bump, and thought it was worth sharing. You can click the link for pictures and a video, but basically it’s knit in the front of the stitch, go into the back of the stitch as for KFB, but just slip that back of the stitch to the right needle without working it. VoilĂ !

It does have a directional lean to it, though, so if I wanted paired increases with one leaning the other way, I’d choose my favorite left and right leaning lifted increases. My other favorite paired increases are M1 (make one) increases by working into the back (right leaning) or front (left leaning) of the bar between stitches.

So many ways to get things done! What’s your favorite increase method?

Currently on the needles for a design project, this drop dead gorgeous 600+ yard gradient cake from Fierce Fibers. This color is Saigon Cinnamon, but every time I look at it, I think of Thai iced tea. I’m through the hard thinking on this project, and about to hit cruise control. Ahhhhhh. It’s a crescent shawl, with conventional lace and a fun new lace motif made with elongated stitches. I’ll work up a 400 yard version, too. Details soon.

What’s on your needles?

Counting cable rows, Art&Craft Pop-up sale

While I’ve got this giant yarn on my needles, I thought I’d share the tip I learned from Norah Gaughan in her two-sided cables class at Columbia Gorge Fiber Festival. (That’s 2 CGFF-related posts in a row. It was a great trip!)

Counting cable crossings

How many rows has it been since I cabled? See the hole where my finger is coming out? That indicates last cable crossing. The first ladder next to my finger is from the cable row. The three other ladders over my finger are the three rows that followed. My thumb is pointing at the ladders, just to be helpful. This shows that I have worked the cable row and three more rows (actually rounds here). According to my pattern, it’s time for my next cable crossing!

Thanks to Biscuit (Bisquee) for helping. If you’d like to follow her on Instagram, she’s @thebiscuitreport. If you’d like to follow me on Instagram, I’m @pdxknitterati. I gave her a separate account so my account could be more focused; we’ll see how that works!

Don’t forget I’m giving away my Addi Turbo US 17 circular; see previous post for details and to enter for a chance to win it.

And I’m about to start the toe of this Super Cabled Christmas Stocking, after this last round of cables. Should be done today. Which is good, because I need it tomorrow. I’m teaming up with several local artists for pop-up Art&Craft Show and Sale.

Pop Up Flyer

There will be paintings, pottery, fused glass, jewelry (earrings, wrap bracelets, more), quilted items, greeting cards, and lots more.

I’m selling a lot of my design samples, because I need room for the next generation. And these deserve a chance to be worn in the world. Here’s some of what I’ll have there. If you’re local, come and say hi. I’ll be there on Friday (tomorrow), and my knits will be there throughout the weekend (although I’m hoping they’ll all be sold by the end of Sunday). Here’s a small sample of what I’m bringing. There’s a lot more…

Pop up knits

On your mark, get set, September!

happy birthday

I love September. It’s my birthday and wedding anniversary month. Lots of good celebrations are ongoing.

September is also the beginning of knitting season. I knit year round, but somehow September knitting feels more special. And I’ve been quite inspired this past couple weeks, finishing two shawls and charting out two more. The two finished shawls are variations on a theme. I noted that the bind off was too tight on the first of these in a previous post, so I had to tink the entire edge after the shawl was dry, and re-knit the bind off. I still need to re-block the shawl.

frogged bind off

I want to share my favorite elastic bind off with you; this bind off makes your edge as stretchy as the rest of your knitting.

Elastic Bind-off
K2. * Insert left needle into fronts of these 2 sts from left to right and knit them off together through the back loops (like making an SSK). One st bound off. K1; repeat from * until one stitch remains on right needle. Cut yarn and fasten off.

I’ve already used this on my second shawl, and blocking went much better! Tight bind offs haven’t been an issue for me previously, but the new-to-me construction of these two shawls requires a really stretchy finished edge. As I’ve said elsewhere, I make the mistakes so you don’t have to.

The next two shawls use another new-to-me construction. I’m almost done swatching the first chart, and I’m in love. I’m not quite sure how I want to publish these four pieces yet, which is why you haven’t really seen them. The two finished ones are out on a design submission, and the two planned ones will be out on another submission. If they aren’t chosen I’ll self-publish them in October, either individually or as an e-book collection, maybe? What do you think? I’m looking forward to sharing them with you no matter how I do it!

Biscuit BellaTrix

To distract you in the meantime, here is a picture of Biscuit/Bisquee/BellaTrix with something polka dotty on her nose. Litter, maybe?

Knit on!

How to use yarn dominance to your advantage

I finished the quilted lattice band of the Heladas Hat that I’m knitting for the Indie Design Gift-A-Long, and moved on to the pinstriped body. The stripes are made with a combination stranded colorwork/slip stitch technique. But I noticed that the lovely stripes were sinking into the stockinette stitch so that they were barely visible. Hmmm.

I thought about yarn dominance in stranded colorwork, so I decided to change how I was carrying my yarns. I usually carry two colors in my right hand, and the position of the yarns doesn’t make much difference as long as they keep their relative positions. But it was making a difference in this case, so I switched. I had been carrying the main color in my favored (usual) throwing position, and the contrast color above because it doesn’t get used as often. Swapping them made all the difference. You can see that the first stitch of the contrast color stripe is kind of buried in the stockinette stitch, and above that they pop out. Yay!

heladas yarn dominance

I don’t particularly like carrying the MC in my non-favored throwing position; it’s a little more cumbersome. So for this project I’m carrying the CC in my left hand and picking it continental, which still puts it in the lower position, and lets the color pop.

Do you know about yarn dominance? It’s a fun fact and useful thing to know. Your particular knitting technique may end up making the upper yarn dominant instead of the lower; you’d have to check and see. But after you decide which one is dominant and like it that way, keep your yarns in the same relative postion as you knit your colorwork. Have fun!

And don’t forget that the pattern sale for the GAL ends on November 27 at midnight; the coupon code is giftalong2015. The knitting/crocheting/prizes continue until the end of the year.

Malabrigo Quickie: ZigZag Lightning Cowl

Fall is in the air, at least here in Portland. It’s time to start thinking of ways to keep warm!

ZigZag Lightning CowlShort ZigZag Lightning Cowl

ZigZag Lightning CowlLong ZigZag Lightning Cowl

These are my new ZigZag Lightning Cowls. Knit with Malabrigo Merino Worsted, they’re featured this month as a Malabrigo Quickie pattern.

ZigZag Lightning CowlLong cowl, doubled

Either of these cowls can be knit with two skeins of Malabrigo Worsted in coordinating colors. I love the colors in Malabrigo’s variegated yarns, and pairing a variegated with a semi-solid is my favorite way to make them both shine. I’ve used a slip stitch pattern, so you are only working one color per row. A simple cable maneuver creates the zigzag effect.

ZigZag Lightning Cowls

Are you new to cabling? I’ve made a video tutorial for you! It shows how to make the zigzag lightning cables both with and without a cable needle. You can see it here.

The ZigZag Lightning Cowl begins with a long tail cast on. Do you avoid this cast on for fear of running out of yarn? Fear no more, because there’s a way to ensure you never run out of yarn for this cast on; I wrote about it in my previous post.

This pattern is available through Ravelry; here’s the page link. To celebrate its launch, I”m offering it for $2 off through September 9. Use the code ZIGZAG to get your discount.

Thanks to Malabrigo for the pretty yarn to play with!

Never run out of yarn with 2 tailed long tail cast on

snowy woods knitalong

We’re starting the Snowy Woods knit-along today, and I ask that you start with a long tail cast on. I love the long tail cast on for knitting. It’s stretchy yet firm, and it has definite knit side and purl side. You can choose which side to use as your public side. The only thing I don’t like about this cast on is guessing how long a tail you need to have before you start. There are a couple rules of thumb out there, like multiplying the width of your knitted piece by 3 (somehow related to pi and the circumference around your needle), or wrapping your yarn around the needle the same number of times as the number of stitches you’re going to cast on. but it can still be iffy. Who hasn’t experienced the heartbreak of being a few stitches short? Ouch.

I came across this fabulous method while I was researching cast ons for my Cast On, Bind Off class. You can use two balls of yarn, or both ends of a center pull ball.

Long Tail Cast On knit

Take the two strands of yarn and use both to make a slip knot about 6 inches from the end.

long tail cast on knit

Put this on your needle. This is not a stitch; it’s just holding your yarn together. Choose one of the strands to be the tail, and the other to be the working yarn, and proceed as usual with the long tail cast on. (This is the same as the thumb cast on, if you prefer to work it that way.)

long tail cast on knit

When you’re finished working the cast on, cut the tail (not the working yarn), leaving 6 inches to weave in. (I didn’t actually cut this here, because I use this piece of yarn for lots of demonstrations.)

long tail cast on knit

Turn and work your first row as you normally do. (Notice that the purl bumps are facing you on this row, because you were essentially knitting stitches on when making the long tail cast on.)

long tail cast on knit

When you come to the double slip knot, undo it (because it’s not a stitch) and continue working.

long tail cast on knit

You’ll have two more ends to weave in, but you didn’t run out of tail when you were casting on! I find this especially helpful if I’m casting on hundreds of stitches. No one wants to run out of yarn while doing that!

On the Snowy Woods Cowl, I want the bumpy side of the cast on (the purl side) to be on the public side of my knitting, and it will be if I use long tail cast on. That’s why I’ve specified which cast on to use. If you prefer to use a different cast on that will leave the smooth (knit) side on the first row, you may wish to adjust your rows so that you still get the right number of garter ridges on your edging.

Are you knitting along with the Snowy Woods KAL? I hope this is helpful to you!

Purling back backwards tutorial

Aloha edging

I’m working the knitted on border of my Aloha Shawlette for the Aloha knit-along. The border is 4 to 6 stitches wide, and it’s tedious to turn my work after every row. The solution? Purling back backwards. You can do it, too.

Edited to add: Some people call this knitting back backwards, or KBB. I’ve seen it referred to both ways. For me, what I think of as knitting back backwards would result in garter stitch. I’ve never done garter stitch with this non-turning technique, but it’s possible, too. I just haven’t needed it yet.

I’m almost done with the shawlette; this is a quick and easy knit! But it’s not to late to join the KAL. You can be part of the chat and prize drawings through my Ravelry group. I’ve just drawn the first prize winner; JBTCat will be getting these fishy stitch markers.

fish stitch markers

You can make stitch markers like these, too; check out my tutorial here.

There are a few more prizes in store, including yarn and a mystery fun thing. Come join the fun!

How to wear a shawlette

I love designing shawlettes; they are a perfect canvas for showcasing the beauty of one or two skeins of gorgeous yarn. But how do you wear a shawlette?

You can wear it just draped on your shoulders.

Sophie's Rose drape
(Sophie’s Rose)

Rosaria 2
(Rosaria, the Rose City Yarn Crawl Mystery KAL)

filigree drape
(Filigree Shawlette)

Or you can wear it with a big side swoop, which is my current favorite. Center the shawlette on one shoulder, let the end at your back come around the opposite shoulder, and swoop the end that’s in front of you up to cross over the hanging end. Give it a little scrunch at the neck; don’t try to keep it flat across the front.

Sophie's Rose mlb

I generally like to wear a shawl pin to help keep things in place if I’m doing the side swoop. I’ve been wearing this leaf stick by local woodworker Rod Wallace (husband of Bobbie Wallace, whom I met at OFFF many years ago) with Sophie’s Rose; it’s the perfect color for this shawlette, and it stays put really well.

image

The side swoop works with several shapes, such as the asymmetric triangle above, the crescent shaped shawl here

Photo May 13, 3 27 36 PM
(Garland Shawl)

and this half circle pi shawl (please excuse the hotel room selfie pic of Midnight in Rosaria)

Rosaria

The shawl pin for this one was custom made by Jill Lawrence of Twisted Sister Arts, specifically for my Rose City Yarn Crawl Midnight in Rosaria Shawlette. Isn’t it gorgeous?

shawl pin 2

Longer, narrower shawlettes can be worn scarf style, like this Fern Shawlette. Scarf style is pretty close to the swoop, just scrunch it up more around your neck rather than your shoulders.

fern

The Autumn Scarf pictured below actually *is* a scarf, but I use this method with longer shawlettes: Fold in half, wrap around your neck, and put the two ends of the shawlette into the loop at the fold in front of you.

autumn scarf

And then there’s the bandana or kerchief style. It works well with triangles and crescents, and especially really long (wide) crescents. Put the center of the shawlette at the front of your neck, wrap the ends around your neck and bring them to the front. A pin is helpful if the ends are really long, but shorter shawlettes can just end on your shoulders.

webfoot 1
(Webfoot Scarf)

As an aside, I was out at Black Sheep at Orenco on Saturday to knit with their Rose City Yarn Crawl KAL group.

image

We had a great time, and I saw this very lovely shawl stick pin by Rod Wallace. I love my leaf stick pin, but he has really upped his game. I may need one of these, too.

image

There you have it! I hope this gives you some new ideas for wearing your gorgeous creations. How do you wear your shawls and shawlettes?