Category Archives: tutorial

Beads in knitting and pink spring!

Whoa, 21 days since my last post? Inconceivable! I’ve been knitting up a storm, and paring down a to-do list that grew to anxiety-provoking length. It’s better now. On the to-do list were three video tutorials for the project on the needles. No, the project isn’t hard. But sometimes having an extra visual can make things more clear.

Adding beads to your knitting

One of the videos shows how to add beads to your knitting using the crochet hook method, and also using a BeadAid, which is my favorite beading tool. You can click the link above to watch it.

The video also features my bead tin setup. I hope you enjoy it!

Looking south to the Burnside Bridge

This past week the cherry blossoms have come into their full glory down at the Willamette River waterfront. This is the river that goes through the center of Portland.

Looking north to the Steel Bridge

Gorgeous! I went for a walk with friends last Thursday.

And then DH and I rode our bikes down there on Sunday. It’s a nice 10 mile loop from our house.

The magnolia trees are in full bloom, too.

Camellia Wrap

My favorite camellia hedge is also blooming, even more than in this updated Camellia Wrap picture from 3 weeks ago. It’s definitely Think Pink season around here.

It looks like we’re in for a rainy weekend. Perfect timing. I’ll be teaching two zoom classes this weekend: Deep End Brioche Increases and Decreases on Saturday and Sheepy Steeky Coasters on Sunday. It’s not too late to sign up for either one, but the steeks class has homework so you’d definitely need to address that now.

Happy spring! Or fall, depending where you live. Happy change of seasons, anyway…

Introducing: Brioche Entrée

I love a simple project for teaching a new technique. Brioche Entrée is your very most basic introduction to brioche rib. It only uses the brioche knit (brk) and slip 1 yarn over (sl1yo) stitches, but you still get a brioche rib scarf. No purling needed! I designed this piece to use for a guild presentation, but I’m happy to share it with you.

One skein of super bulky yarn, a pair of US 15/10mm needles, and you’re all set. I used Malabrigo Rasta; this is the Abril colorway.

You can download the pattern here. I made video tutorials for both right hand throwers and left hand continental knitters. I’ve got you covered! This is a simple pattern for brioche newbies, or a quickie pattern for experienced brioche knitters, or both.

Are you a brioche knitter? Am I tempting you to try it? Get it off your bucket list!

Steek with me! Free pattern

I’m in Minneapolis, MN this week to teach from the studio for Craftsy/The Knitting Circle. I did a free steeking event featuring my Boxed Hearts Coasters.

You can download the pattern and find the video here.

My favorite giggle-worthy moment:
Me: Are you just talking because you’re afraid to cut your steek?
Jen Lucas: (pause) YES.

I also taught two slip stitch knitting classes for the Holiday Knits Virtual Event. It was really fun! A lot like teaching via Zoom, but I didn’t have to manage the cameras. I just had to my hands in the frame while knitting (thank you monitor). We had 3 cameras; one on top of the monitor (to see both Jen and me), one overhead (shows on the monitor), and one over the shoulder. Fancy!

I’ll publish the pattern for the slip stitch cowl when I get home; I’m wearing it in the picture with Jen.

I’ll be teaching Brioche Doctor via Zoom on Sunday, December 5 with For Yarn’s Sake. This is my last class of the year. If you’d like to learn how to fix your brioche mistakes, this class is for you! Register here.

HOLIDAY21

And! Tomorrow is the last day of my holiday pattern sale. 21% off any of my self-published patterns through December 3 with coupon code HOLIDAY21; the coupon works on both Ravelry and Payhip.

Looking forward to going home tomorrow. Calvin keeps knocking over the Snowy Woods Log Cabin Blocks pillow and using it as a throne.

But now Bisquee has taken over. She’s definitely the Queen of the House!

Improving my steek

I was perusing Mary Jane Mucklestone’s 150 Scandinavian Motifs the other day, and I was struck by her steek setup.

She uses a six stitch steek, but the two center stitches are the same color. This makes it clear where you cut: between the two stitches that are the same color. Easy peasy!

My first forays into steeking used a checkerboard pattern. I use single crochet to reinforce my edges. I’ve tried slip stitch crochet, too, but I like the way single crochet looks, better. Trial and error, right? The checkerboard pattern kept me on my toes, as far as seeing where to crochet my reinforcement; the color alternated with every stitch.

On my next steeking pattern, I decided to use striped columns, so I was always crocheting into the same colors. Better. But not symmetrical as far as the edge stitches go.

The double center line makes it super clear. Yes, it’s the same as far as crocheting under 2 different color legs, but this makes my heart go pittypat. In a good way. The steek edges are the same color, where I pick up my edgings, so they look the same. That’s a win for me. Symmetry! You can use whatever steek arrangement you like; I like this one best. So far…

If all goes according to plan, this pattern will be offered free via Craftsy/The Knitting Circle for a Live Event on Tuesday, November 30. I’ll keep you posted. I love these little projects for teaching, learning, and gift giving! And I’m glad I learned something, too.

Have you ever discovered a better way to do something, and it was so simple it made you laugh out loud?

Gauge hat, free recipe pattern

What’s this? It looks like a hat, and it is. But more importantly, it’s a gauge swatch. Double dipping here!

Dreyma cover page in KnitCompanion

I want to knit a yoked sweater for DH. I’m planning on Dreyma by Jennifer Steingass. I’ll change the neckline to ribbing rather than the rolled one. Maybe I’ll even learn a tubular cast on. Maybe. There are some short rows on the back, after the yoke patterning, so I’m set for that after the short row classes I took this weekend!

I chose this yarn for DH, Berroco Vintage Worsted, because it’s machine washable, 57% acrylic/40%wool/8%nylon. I want him to get maximum use out of it, without waiting for me to hand wash it on a regular basis. Know your gift recipient! This is slightly lighter in weight than the specified yarn, so my gauge is going to be a little off. I can adjust for that. A hat is a great way to make a gauge swatch. (Yes, I know that Vintage comes in a bulky weight, but I think worsted is more versatile for indoor wear.) And yes, I bought an extra skein of yarn for swatching, and just in case I run out of yarn. Better to have too much than too little for a sweater.

Of course, a gauge swatch for a sweater should be washed and blocked. Treat your swatch the way you plan to treat your FO! Bisquee is helping with the blocking train here.

Hats are pretty simple. Here’s a recipe. Measure your head. You want your hat to measure 1-2“ less than that. Negative ease keeps your hat from sliding over your eyes. Take your estimated gauge (I’m relying on the ballband guess of 5 sts/inch on a US 7. Multiply that by the number of inches you want (20” in this case). That gives me a cast on of 100 sts. I wanted to add this colorwork pattern from Dreyma, which has a repeat of 8 sts, so I cast on 104 instead of 100 (13 x 8 = 104). That would make the hat between 20 and 21”, which is fine. I could have used 96 instead, which would make the hat 19.5”. Same same. I’m using a 16” circular needle.

I like a K2P2 ribbing on the edge, which means my cast on should be a multiple of 4. 96, 100, and 104 are all fine for that. Use a needle 2 sizes smaller than the needle for the body of the hat (US 5 in this case). Knit K2P2 ribbing to desired height. Change to larger needles and knit stockinette until piece measures 5.5” from the cast on (I tried 6.5” first, based on the common wisdom that a hat is as tall as your hand before you start the crown shaping, but it was too tall. 5.5” is plenty.)

Start crown decreases. I like a crown divided into 8 wedges. Ooh, look, my cast on was a multiple of 8! Perfect. (If you don’t have a multiple of 8, decrease some stitches on the first decrease round so that you do.)

I have 8 sections of 13 sts each. I’ll decrease with a k2tog for the last 2 sts of each section.

Rnd 1: *K11, k2tog, place marker, rep from * to end. (You’re just knitting the last 2 stitches of each wedge together to decrease.)

Rnd 2: Knit all sts.

Rnd 3: *K10, k2 tog, slip marker, rep from * to end.

Rnd 4: Knit all sts.

Keep decreasing every other round, until 8 sts remain. Move work to dpns or magic loop or 2 circulars when it gets too tight on the circular needle. (Don’t knit the final plain round after the last decreases. Pointy.) Cut yarn, use a yarn needle and run yarn tail through all sts, twice. Drop yarn to inside of hat, cinch up tight, sew in ends. Done!

When the hat is dry, I’ll check my gauge to see if it changed after washing and blocking. It’s the post-blocking gauge that decides the ultimate measurements of the sweater. But you also have to know the pre-blocking gauge, which you’re going to match while knitting. Measure twice, knit once! Apologies to This Old House.

If you’d like an easy to print pdf of the Gauge Hat pattern, click here.

I don’t get this picky about gauge for cowls and hats; they’ll fit someone. But a sweater is a much bigger commitment of time and yarn, so it’s important to get it right. Ask me how I know.

I knit this sweater for DH, twice! Once in 2006, then completely frogged and reknit the next year. I had made a tiny gauge swatch the first time, and of course it lied to me. The finished sweater was HUGE. The entire sweater served as a giant gauge swatch, and the second knit was a success.

Need to knit a quick gift? There’s still time to knit a hat!

A little frogging

Yes, you *can* frog and recover your brioche knitting.

I accidentally added an extra couple rounds of brioche rib after finishing the leaves; I was wondering about that as I was binding off. Oops.

I had some help. If you don’t remember how to frog and get your brioche back on the needles, you can check out my video tutorial here. And there are lots more tutorials of all kinds on my tutorials page.

All done! Now it’s mimosa time…

The Leafy Origami Cowl pattern is coming in December. I think I may knit one more, withe the colors reversed, just for fun. Knit on!

Binding off in the round

I was just finishing another cowl knit in the round, and I realized that I haven’t shown you how I like to finish my bind off. It’s very neat and tidy.

Easy peasy. Now I’ve shown you my favorite ways to begin *and* end your project in the round. If you missed my post about joining to work in the round, here it is again:

And yes, the new project is yet another brioche cowl. Going on a deep dive here. I just can’t get enough! Sneak peek coming soon.

The Knitting Circle

You may have a knitting circle of your own; i certainly miss my knit nite crew! But the Knitting Circle I want to tell you about is something completely different.

During this pandemic summer, I had the opportunity to make video tutorials for a new venture, The Knitting Circle. It’s a place to learn about knitting, online. The website just launched last week. Now I keep seeing my face chatting away in their Facebook ads. Startling!

The site has blog posts and instructional videos. Due to the pandemic, the teachers made videos in our home studios. I learned a lot about lighting, recording, and editing! They turned out well. Some of the videos are free, and some are premium pieces that require a subscription to watch. The subscription is $49/year, but there’s a special offer for $2 USD for the first year. For that price, I’d subscribe! I think if you sign up for their newsletter, you’d get the offer, or you can claim it through their Facebook ad. I’ve posted their ad on my Facebook page to make it easier for you to find.

Use the link below to get to the site; this is just a picture!

Here’s a link to my blog posts there; they are free content but link to free or premium videos. These are all complete blog posts, no subscription needed to read them.

So why would you want to subscribe to The Knitting Circle, when there are a million videos on YouTube? Curation. The teachers on the site are carefully chosen; we’re experts! My teacher cohort includes Jen Lucas, Corinna Ferguson, Mary Beth Temple, and Jill Wright.

The Knitting Circle is a venture from TN Marketing; they also have sites for sewing, quilting, photography, RV restoration, bowling, and more. They are also the new owners of Craftsy.

I’ve enjoyed working with them, and I learned lots of new skills this summer. Having a knitting studio at home is coming in handy! All of my Zoom classes are there, and my own videos are getting better and better, too.

How has pandemic living changed how you work?

Joining to knit in the round

I’ve been knitting in circles so much lately, so many hats and cowls. One benefit? I’ve perfected my circular join. I used to cast on one extra stitch, and then knit the first and last stitches together. This snugged up the join, and it still will.

But I’ve started using that extra stitch in a different way, and it’s just a bit tidier. I really like the way it looks. I take the last stitch cast on, and pass it over the first stitch that I cast on. I made a video for you!

You do still have to remember not to knit with the tail…

May all your joins be tidy and snug!

Frogging brioche tutorial

Is it possible? Can you frog brioche? Of course. It’s getting it back on the needle that’s tricky. I’m here to help! I’ve had a lot of experience frogging…(for newbies: frogging means rip-it, rip-it, rip-it).

You can rip one row/round at a time, alternating colors, but it’s just as easy to rip them simultaneously. The trick is to rip until you’re close to where you want to end up, and then tink (un-knit, knit spelled backwards) the last row or round, one stitch at a time, picking up each stitch as it’s freed from the yarn. This is also how I frog regular knitting.

After I made this video, I frogged this project completely, because it’s a little too big. But I wanted to show you how it worked, before completely undoing it. It turned out to be just a big swatch!