Category Archives: tutorial

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?

Rescue me! Knit edition

Today I finished clue 3 of my Rose City Yarn Crawl Mystery Shawlette. While I was working the last row, I found a split stitch several rows back. Horrors!

dropped stitch

I knew that the tiny bit of yarn holding things together would break when I wet block this shawlette. You can see that most of the yarn loop that belongs to that stitch is hanging out in front of the fabric instead of being part of the fabric. It’s the bottom stitch of the dark blue stripe. Only a tiny filament of this loop is holding the fabric together. (I had already started laddering down before I thought to take a picture.)

dropped stitch w/ hook

I laddered down to the split stitch: Drop the top stitch of the column off the needles, and then pull the yarn out of each loop on the way down, like a run in a nylon stocking. I then inserted my crochet hook (from front of the fabric towards the back), and carefully pulled each ladder through, in order, with each ladder becoming the new stitch on the hook. Pull up a little more than you think you should, to snug the stitch up with its neighbors on either side. (This is for stockinette; garter stitch is a little trickier.)

dropped stitch fixed

All better! See how the bottom stitch of the dark blue stripe looks the way it’s supposed to now? You can use this laddering technique to fix split stitches, wrong stitches, dropped stitches. If you’re picking up a dropped stitch, it may be a little tight when you hook things up, but you can borrow a bit of slack from the neighbors.

I’ve been teaching this and many other ways to fix knitting mistakes in a class called Tink, Drop, Frog for a while now. It’s always fun seeing knitters learn to take charge of their knitting. Interested? The next one is scheduled at Twisted on April 13 from 12:30 to 2:30. You, too, can fix mistakes like a boss!

Here’s the finished clue 3.

rcyc clue 3

I think it looks like ripples on moonlit water.

rcyc clue 3 b

I added an extra band of roses halfway through the second stripe sequence. They’ll stand out better when properly blocked; I only pinned it out a bit.

rcyc clue 3, close

One more clue, coming this Friday!

Thrumbelina KAL begins today!

We’re casting on for a Thrumbelina KnitALong today! This KAL is not a mystery KAL. All the information you need is in the pattern. We’re sharing questions, tips, progress…

thrumbelina2

Before you cast on, you should read through your pattern for information on how to thrum. You can also watch my thrumming video on youtube.

I just made an extra tutorial on a tip for continental style knitters.

Just remember, it’s important to make sure your working yarn wraps around the thrum, rather than coming up underneath it.

continental thrumming

Edited to add: The Thrumbelina pattern is on sale for 25% off ($4.50 instead of $6) through the end of January. Click here to purchase through Ravelry. I meant to do this earlier, but I forgot! If you purchased this pattern during the month of January, I’ll be contacting you.

Who’s casting on with me? Come join the discussion in my Ravelry group!

Don’t worry; I’m still knitting the Rose City Yarn Crawl Mystery Shawlette KAL. But I’m caught up until the next clue comes out on Friday.

Knit on!

KAL color musings

The Rose City Yarn Crawl MKAL kicks off tomorrow morning. Here’s my new yarn…

RCYC MKAL colors

I’m using Knitted Wit Single Fingering, Tugboat and Clematis. I was going to use the paler color for the sky (MC), and the darker color for the roses, but…

What if the darker color is the sky at night, and the roses are white roses that look blue in the moonlight?

If I turn it around that way, the dark color would be the MC, and the MC is slightly predominant, and I LOVE this deep purplish blue/bluish purple…

Guess I’ll have to decide by tomorrow!

Just in case you need help with your garter tab cast on, I made a video just for you. (youtube link)

Hope to see locals at Twisted for the cast on party, Friday January 17, 5-8 p.m.!

Also, the winners of the Thrumbelina patterns are…

Lucinda and jrbecca! I’ll be sending patterns along through Ravelry shortly. The Thrumbelina KAL begins on Tuesday, January 21. Pop over to the Ravelry discussion and tell me what yarn/fiber combo you’re planning! Here’s mine. This is Knitted Wit Merino single ply in Winter’s Night, and her merino fiber in Turks and Caicos.

image

(Gee, I wonder what my favorite color is?) Are you ready to cast on? I am, and I am!