Category Archives: tutorial

Tutorial: Fixing a dropped brioche YO several rows down

I promised a video tutorial to 3 of my classes at the last Virtual VKLive, and I made one and sent it along. But I just re-made it with more descriptive detail. Here’s the link on YouTube.

I learned this technique from a video by Nancy Marchant, and then expanded on it as I learned how and why it works. Just another tool in the brioche toolbox!

I put a link to this video on my tutorials page, so you don’t even have to remember where to find it. And if you didn’t know I have a tutorials page, go check it out. I have lots of tips over there, and I’m getting better and better at making videos.

My brioche classes are sold out at VKLive, but you can take brioche classes from me at the Peacetree Fiber Adventures online retreat on July 24 and 25. Register here.

There’s still room in my Minerva Entrelac scarf/cowl class at Virtual VKLive. Register here!

Minerva KAL: Finishing Tier 2

Oh, that last bit, the right edge triangle. It sounds a little tricksy at the end, but it’s not hard. Just keep following the directions, to the end, which is a slightly tricky part. Here’s a video for you:

Then it’s on to Tier 3, which is a piece of cake! 🍰

When you’re finishing Tier 4, with another right edge triangle, picking up the last stitch can be a little tricky. I like to pick up here, in the outside of the first V on the outside edge, so the corner of the triangle doesn’t stick out as a bump on the lovely straight edge.

Now it’s just a matter of knitting away and watching your colors change. Have fun!

Entrelac knitting

You can find the Minerva pattern here on Ravelry. Come knit with me!

If you’re on Ravelry, please make a project page for your Minerva; I’d love to see them there. Ravelry makes it so easy to find them all together. And post on Instagram using #minervakal2020 and #pdxknitterati too. I love seeing your progress.

Just keep knitting…

Edited to add:
All Minerva KAL 2020 posts:
Introducing Minerva Entrelac Cowl/Scarf and KAL
Minerva KAL: Choosing your yarn
Minerva KAL: Casting On
Minerva KAL: Base Triangles
Minerva KAL: Tier 2
Minerva KAL: Finishing Tier 2

Minerva KAL: Tier 2

How are your base triangles looking? Not really triangles, are they? But they’re close enough, and they’ll look good as we go on.

I forgot to ask: If you’re on Ravelry, please make a project page for your Minerva; I’d love to see them there. Ravelry makes it so easy to find them all together. And please post your progress on Instagram using #minervakal2020 and #pdxknitterati so I can see them there, too.

Here’s a short video on how to start the left edge triangle.

And here’s a video on picking up stitches for the first right leaning rectangle.

You can find the Minerva pattern here on Ravelry. Come knit with me!

Knit on…

Edited to add:
All Minerva KAL 2020 posts:
Introducing Minerva Entrelac Cowl/Scarf and KAL
Minerva KAL: Choosing your yarn
Minerva KAL: Casting On
Minerva KAL: Base Triangles
Minerva KAL: Tier 2
Minerva KAL: Finishing Tier 2

Minerva KAL: Base Triangles!

Did you cast on and purl your setup row?

I used a crochet chain provisional cast on. If you’re doing it right, you’ll see the chain. See on the last 3 stitches, I did it wrong? Don’t do that!

Here’s a short video to walk you through the beginning of the first row.

And a video of the transition between the first and next triangle.

Let me know how you’re doing with your project; post on Instagram and use #minervakal2020 and #pdxknitterati so I can see them. And please make a Ravelry page for your project if you’re a Raveler; I love being able to check in on your projects. And post on your blog if you’re a blogger and let me know!

I’m using a bit of Knit Picks Chroma Worsted, I think in Pegasus, to show you this beginning, because I already used my Huckleberry Knits Gradient to do a little knitting last night. I had a Zoom meeting with the knitters who were going to come to my Minerva class that I had to cancel, so it’s a bit ahead of where we are right now.

Biscuit helped me set up my workspace. She was ready for her closeup, under the warm Ott light!

We had a good meeting, but it sure is a lot harder to have a knitting class when you can’t touch the other people’s knitting! And one on one is easier than a large group. So in a pinch, Zoom for sure. But I’d always choose in-person over virtual meeting, if possible.

If you want to join the Minerva KAL, you can find the Minerva pattern here on Ravelry.

If you need a private lesson or tutorial via Zoom, I can arrange that! Shoot me a message.

Knit on, with confidence and hope, through all crises. ~ Elizabeth Zimmermann

Edited to add:
All Minerva KAL 2020 posts:
Introducing Minerva Entrelac Cowl/Scarf and KAL
Minerva KAL: Choosing your yarn
Minerva KAL: Casting On
Minerva KAL: Base Triangles
Minerva KAL: Tier 2
Minerva KAL: Finishing Tier 2

Minerva Entrelac KAL: Casting on

Ready to cast on? Almost! Are you planning to knit a cowl, or a scarf? It’s good to plan your ending before beginning.

Photo by test knitter Paula Sadler

If you’re planning to knit a scarf, you can just begin with a long tail cast on. The first row after that is a purl row, because when you turn to knit back after casting on, you’re looking at the bumpy purl side of your cast on. We’re knitting stockinette based entrelac, so we want all those purl bumps on the back! By purling the setup row, we’re getting ready to work from the public side, the right side, the knit side.

If you’re planning to seam your Minerva into a loop cowl, I’d recommend beginning with a provisional cast on. When you’re finished knitting, you can pick up the live stitches from the provisional cast on, and use these with 3 needle bind off to join the beginning to the end. I did this with my Noro Minerva; I’d always rather knit than sew!

The crochet chain provisional cast on is my favorite provisional cast on. I made this tutorial back in 2012; it’s not as pretty as more recent tutorials, but it still works! You can use whatever provisional cast on you choose, though.

And if you just use a long tail cast on because you thought you were knitting a scarf, and somewhere along the way you change your mind? You can also pick up stitches along the cast on edge, and join those to the end with a 3 needle bind off. It’s a little bit tighter, though, so I didn’t love doing that (on the 2 Chroma cowls). I used an elastic bind off, in combination with the 3 needle bind off, to make the seam more flexible. But that’s for later!

OK, let’s go! Cast on, and purl your setup row. We’ll go from there.

You can find the Minerva pattern here on Ravelry.

Edited to add:
All Minerva KAL 2020 posts:
Introducing Minerva Entrelac Cowl/Scarf and KAL
Minerva KAL: Choosing your yarn
Minerva KAL: Casting On
Minerva KAL: Base Triangles
Minerva KAL: Tier 2
Minerva KAL: Finishing Tier 2

Syncopated brioche tutorial

Planning for a Minerva KAL cast on tomorrow, which is Wednesday. Is anyone else having issues of not knowing what day it is, while working from home? What yarn are you using? Color changing? Or do you want to do stripes and sew in all those ends? Knitter’s choice!

While you’re off picking yarn for Minerva, let’s have a look at some brioche. You know brioche is never far from my mind.

If you’ve become comfortable with 2 color brioche rib, you may be wondering what else can you do with it. Let’s syncopate!

What is syncopated brioche? It’s a simple switching from brioche knit to brioche purl, or vice versa, within the row or round. What happens when you do that?

This! See where I changed from knitting with the blue yarn in the rib stitches, to purling with the blue yarn at the leafy border? The blue purl stitches sink into the background in the border. And I switched from purling with the yellow yarn in the ribbing to knitting with the yellow yarn at the leafy border. The knit stitches always stand out more than the purl stitches in brioche rib, so the knit stitch yarn will be your featured color.

Here’s the back of that same sample.

And here’s where two edges meet on my Syncopation Shawl, the leafy side border and the wide ending of this asymmetric triangle shawl.

Here it is in the scarf version of Syncopation.

I made a little video tutorial to explain what happens at that dividing point in syncopated brioche.

Let me know if you find it helpful. And if you’re not a knitter, you can just listen to me yammer soothingly while we all practice social distancing!

Did you ever wonder, brioche selvedges edition

I was wondering about the different ways knitters deal with the edges of flat brioche knitting. Two color, because that’s what I dream about, always.

When I first learned to knit brioche flat, I learned it with a garter stitch selvedge edge. I didn’t like it, because it made horizontal stripes next to the vertically oriented brioche.

Then I went to Nancy Marchant’s book Knitting Brioche, and there was an option for a one stitch selvedge edge, and this is how I’ve been doing it, mostly. There’s a little dance of yarn at the stitch before the first and after the last CC stitch on the CC color rows, after/before slipping the MC stitch at each end.

I took another class, and the teacher said to just leave that next to last stitch yarn where it was, no dancing yarn. It seemed to work fine, too.

So why the dance? I have some time on my hands (#socialdistancing), so I decided to find out.

Can you see a difference between the stitches in the red circle (yes dance) and the stitches in the blue circle (no dance)?

Here’s a video so you can see it all in action.

Still teaching, even though I’ve canceled all my classes for the time being! Just doing it from a distance.

Have fun!

A Tale of Two Decreases

I just made a video tutorial for an alternate version of a left leaning brioche decrease.

The center decrease shown is a right leaning decrease. The one on the right is a left leaning decrease, and it’s fine for most purposes. But it shows a lot of the dark colored wrap of the stitch that is passed over. Most of the time, this doesn’t bother me.

But sometimes, like in my Aspen Leaf scarf, I want the left and right leaning decreases to mirror each other more closely.

The Brioche Unwrapped Decrease moves that wrap out of the way before passing the slipped stitch over. Very tidy! Thanks to Xandy Peters for dreaming this up. I’ve made my own video tutorial, because I want to make sure it will always be available when I link to it in a pattern.

Brioche Unwrapped Decrease tutorial link

Here you go! If you don’t like the unwrapped decrease, you can always use the other left leaning decrease. You’re the boss of your knitting!

Stretchier bind offs for knitting

I recently received my Parquetry cowl sample back from Fiber Gallery.

When it arrived I decided that I wanted it to be…more.

So I frogged the old bind off and added more to the body of the cowl. And then I decided that I wanted an even stretchier bind off than the suspended bind off that I had used before. Apparently I was very relaxed when I cast on my Parquetry, and that edge was super stretchy! I went poking through Cap Sease’s Cast On Bind Off book, and learned the Russian Bind Off.

I love it! I made a video so you can learn it and love it, too.

Now I have several stretchy bind offs in my knitting tool kit:

Elastic Bind Off, which I like for edges on lace shawls

Jeny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off, which I like for binding off brioche rib

Suspended Bind Off, when just a little extra stretch is needed

And now the Russian Bind Off, when I want even more stretch!

Remember, you’re the boss of your knitting, and you can use whatever cast on or bind off you want in your project. You RULE!

Yarn color dominance tutorial and Soldotna update

I didn’t realize I was almost done with the yoke by the time I finished auditioning my color combinations. Now we’re just flying along!

Remember I said that I hadn’t done a proper gauge swatch? Yeah, that. The stated gauge for this project is 5.5 sts/inch. Now that there was plenty of knitting on the needles, I could see that my gauge was varying between 5.5 to 6 stitches/inch, depending on which color work motif I was working. I was bouncing between holding both yarns in my right hand, and holding a color in each hand, depending on the motif, so that also added to my inconsistency.

I’m going to take a moment here to digress about color work yarn management, and yarn color dominance. You can put a color on each side of you, left and right, and pick up and drop each color as needed. Don’t twist them around each other as you work. This is how I teach my beginning color work class. Another option for yarn management is to carry a color in each hand, so you’re knitting continental/picking with one and throwing/English with the other. The third option is to carry two colors in one hand. Here’s how I carry both in my right hand. (I still can’t manage both in my left.) This is an old video, so it doesn’t address color dominance.

Yarn color dominance! For most knitters, the yarn coming from the left is going to be dominant in your knitting. It’s going to show up more because it’s coming from underneath the other color, which makes the stitch a tiny bit taller because it has to travel further to the needle. See how my white stitches look bigger than the green ones on the vertical stripes on the left, and vice versa on the right? So choose which color you want to be dominant in each 2 color section, and be consistent!

Okay, back to the sweater. I hadn’t washed and blocked a swatch, so that’s another level of the unknown. I’m guessing that the 6 sts/inch section (1×1 vertical stripes) will relax a bit when I wash and block the sweater, so that’s fine. If the piece is a little too narrow, I can block it a bit wider. If it’s a little too wide, I can block it a little longer, which will steal a bit from the width. It’s superwash wool, so it can be very stretchy when it’s wet, and I can play with all that. (This is a big experiment on my part; I’ll let you know how it turns out! You’re my companion in this adventure.)

Anyway, I had planned to work the body in just the Iris (light purple) color, but when I started knitting it that way, it was boring. And the fabric was so much lighter in weight than the color work yoke. So I’ve decided to put in the white flecks for interest. But not the dark purple ones, because they barely show up, so it’s not worth that effort. This all means I’ll have more plain Iris stockinette rounds, which is great for multitasking/reading while I knit.

But! When I checked my gauge on the plain stockinette, I was getting 5 sts/inch, which would give me a 44 inch sweater, rather than the desired 40 inch sweater. My options were to either go down a needle size or two, or to refigure the number of stitches in the body. Since I knew my gauge and liked the fabric with my current needles, I opted for THE MATH. Which wasn’t hard.

When dividing for the sleeves, I needed to make sure I ended up with 200 stitches (instead of 220) for the body. I could do this by casting on fewer stitches at underarm (3 instead of 9), and putting a few more of the yoke stitches into the sleeves instead of the body. Done.

Oh, one more thing? The pattern has the beginning of round set at the center back, so there’s a jog there. That’s kind of pleasing, in that it’s very symmetrical. I like symmetry! But I didn’t really like the jog being so visible. So I moved the beginning of the round to be on the back, where the sleeve division occurs. (So from the beginning of round it’s right sleeve, front, left sleeve, back, instead of beginning and ending in the middle of the back.)

The only thing I wish I had done differently would be to put one more plain round between the white flecks. But I’m not going back again.

Test knitter Ann’s Hopscotch

Onward! I’ll keep knitting, but first I need to get ready to publish my Hopscotch Scarf pattern tomorrow. I’m planning a class at Twisted with this pattern to teach syncopated brioche, and that class listing goes live tomorrow. I know what I’m doing this afternoon…