Friday, February 24, 2017

Tubular Cast On with Even Number of Stitches


What's wrong with this picture?  It is February 24th, that's what is wrong with this picture.  It looks and feels like mid March.  (By the way, this isn't my yard but a neighbors.)  I feel responsible for the weather.  If I hadn't knit all those gloves, mitts, and hats, there would be snow on the ground. 



STUDENT NEWS
I've got quite a few new students and lessons are slowly arriving for me to review.  I've had some lovely lessons lately which has been very nice.

TIP OF THE WEEK
I decided to do a tubular cast on for the sweater I'm knitting for Cast On.  There are several ways to do a tubular cast on but I get the best results when with the crochet chained method.  The problem with this is that most sources will tell you that you can only work it on an uneven number of stitches.  If you are doing K1P1 ribbing and it will be seamed, this means you have to either add or remove a stitch since the pattern won't line up if you have an uneven number of stitches.  I decided to try and add a stitch while doing the cast on.  It was mindlessly easy.  I just made an E loop at the end of the cast on.  I thought it might not look very good but it fit in just fine. 


Most instruction will tell you to work the first stitch as a knit stitch and then with the yarn held to the front slip the next stitch.  Does it really matter if you knit the first stitch?  No.  I decided for this sample to purl the first stitch since the loop from the crochet edge sort of looked like a purl bump.  The world did not come to an end. 

If you've worked a tubular bind off before you know that you continue to work one stitch and slip the next for at least two rows.  I decided to work this for three rows.  Again, the world did not come to an end.  Here's a photo of the waste yarn removal. 


Here's the final product.  Notice that there is a slight bump at the lower left edge where I made the e-loop.  This will be enclosed in the seam.


Here is the link to the video:  Tubular Cast On with Even Number of Stitches

KNITTING SALON
Salon will be on Sunday from 2-4 pm.  I'm finally getting to one of the Met Simulcasts.  They are doing Dvorak's Rusalka which I have never seen.  While everyone in Lexington will be at the game I'm going to be in the theater!

CURRENT PROJECTS
I finished up the vest and skirt.  I just finished blocking the skirt yesterday.  I still need to weave in the yarn tails, etc. but it was finished enough to put on the mannequin.  I decided to do a tubular cast on for the sweater I'm knitting for Cast On.  I still need to steam it out a bit in places (look at the skirt!)




The sweater is almost finished. I'm using Baah Sonoma in California Poppy.  This color reminds me of my mom.  She loved bright colors and she always had California Poppies in the yarn.  They are such a sweet flower.  The body is finished.  One side has a lower neckline and I designed it so you can wear that in the front or the back.  The sleeves will be picked up and the cap will be shaped by short rows.  They'll be 3/4 length.  I used a tubular bind off for the necklines.  This is the front (or back).  I think I like the lower neckline in the back myself.



Friday, February 10, 2017

Adding Stitches


All of the yarn for my Cast On projects has arrived.  I spent a lot of item getting the yarn to the other designers.  It can take multiple emails and lots of follow up emails.  I think one designer (in Canada) has not got her yarn yet but she should have it soon.

George and Petipa tolerated each other a few days ago to enjoy a rare spot of sun. 



STUDENT NEWS
I didn't get many lessons to review this week.  It has been fairly slow.  I did get several new students, however.  I'm thinking of changing my policy for non-US students.  Postage has got so expensive.  What Naima, my French student suggested was to hold of mailing the swatches back until the course was complete. We do add a bit onto the cost of the course for non-US but it doesn't really cover the postage costs.  I'll keep you posted.

TIP OF THE WEEK
This week's tip, again, is self serving.  The designs Binka and I are doing both require stitches to be cast on at the beginning and end of a row so I decided to do a video on how to do this.  The most common reason for this technique is adding stitches when a thumb gusset is complete.  I rarely add stitches for this as any method you use adds too much space.  I generally just work from one side of the opening to the other and then use the slack yarn between them on the next row to create loops for the stitches on the next round. 

When knitting flat this isn't an option; stitches have to be cast on at the end and beginning of the rows.  No matter what technique you use, the cast on edge is going to be either sloppy or a bit bulky.  The good news is that in the majority of projects, this cast on edge is either going to be seamed or used for stitch pick up so its appearance doesn't matter. 

E or Loop Method
This is the most common method.  I'm not going to discuss HOW to do this (the video shows how to do it) but rather the results.  Anyone who has ever used this method knows that you get a lot of slack yarn between the stitches as you work the first row no matter how tight the loops are (that just makes it harder to work that first row).  The photograph below shows this method.



The advantage of this method is that it is easy and it isn't bulky.  The disadvantage of this method is that loops can be very sloppy and oversized.  It won't provide much stability to the edge.  Notice how large the selvedge stitches are at the join.  Again, this edge is generally finished so it won't be noticeable. 

Knitted Cast On
Another method you can try is the knitted cast on.  It provided a bit more support to the edge but it is still fairly sloppy.  It is easier to work the first row with this method than the E cast on. 


Cable Knitted Cast On
This technique produces the best looking and most firm edge.  This is the method used for horizontal buttonholes for that reason. 


Here is the link to the video demonstrating these techniques:  Adding Stitches

KNITTING SALON
Salon will be on Saturday from 2:30 to 4:30 this week.  I realize that this will conflict with the game (if you are coming you know what game I am talking about) but I am driving to the airport on Sunday. 

CURRENT PROJECTS
While waiting for the Cast On yarn to arrive, I knit another texting glove.  I made a pair earlier but I decided I wanted the fingers to be as long as my fingers.  This way they won't get cold but I can push down the glove fingers if I want to type.  By the way, Maris, I do plan to write this up as a pattern once I finish up my Cast On patterns.




I'm doing a vest and skirt in Shibui Rain (the color is Pollen which seems a perfect choice for Spring).  I've finished the body, I just need to do the bands.  The stitches on the neckline will be picked up first and then a wide band with mitred corners for the front and bottom bands.  Stay tuned for the completed project.  Doesn't look like much now.  You can see in this side view that the back is longer than the front and the sides are vented.



Her is the front. 

I'm using Baah yarn for the next sweater I am doing and when I talked to Mira, the dyer, at TNNA I was wearing the Decoration Day sweater I designed years ago.  Mira said she'd love a stranded project and I told her if she sent me the yarn I'd work something up.  She sent two different types of yarns.  I'll work on this when I finish the stuff for Cast On.


Friday, January 27, 2017

Duplicate Stitch, Again...


I was in San Jose last week at TNNA.  Here's a photo of Anzula's booth.  You can see Celia trying to figure out what I am doing.  In the foreground you can see their new bulky yarn, Burly.  Celia joined me at the show.  We had a great time.  Getting home was a major thrash.  You wouldn't think that a flight leaving at 1pm would be a red eye but that is what it turned out to be.  Due to bad weather in Georgia, I didn't get home until 5am.



STUDENT NEWS
A couple of lessons were waiting for me when I got home but it didn't take me long to get caught up.  I spent most of the week ordering yarn for the next issue of Cast On.  It is a very time consuming process so I was glad I didn't receive a glut.

TIP OF THE WEEK
I reviewed several lessons which inspired this weeks topic.  I've said it before that when it comes to weaving in yarn tails using the duplicate stitch method, you either see it immediately or you really have to work at it.  As a reminder, the duplicate stitch method works very well for stockinette stitch as the yarn tail has the same elasticity as the surrounding stitches, it doesn't show through to the RS and it doesn't pull free.  Most other methods don't do this.  I've worked a swatch that has several different things I've seen in swatches lately.   #1 shows a technique I saw in a lesson.  The knitter was attempting the duplicate stitch but didn't quite get it.  #4 and #5 are something you see in quite a few references.  The tail is run diagonally through the stitches.  It is elastic but it does show through.  #2 shows duplicate stitch done correctly but rather than slightly split the stitches on the WS, the needle has gone under the stitches completely as you would for decorative duplicate stitch.  #3 is where the yarn is split.



And here is how the various techniques look on the RS.  If your yarn tail is the same color as the rest of the yarn, the bleed through isn't the end of the world but it does look tacky.  Notice that #2 doesn't look terrible but there is some bleed through.  You don't see any purple on #3.


For students that are having a tough time with this, I recommend working a swatch like the one below.



The one row in a different color can help you see the true path of the yarn on the WS as this photograph shows.  The video shows the technique in more detail.  There are also LOTS of blog entries on this topic.  Check the index.  Duplicate Stitch


KNITTING SALON
Salon will be on Sunday from 1:30-3:20.  The Spalding donuts were a hit last time.  This time I have all the goodies I picked up at TNNA.  I love that they are doing Cash and Carry now, not that I need more yarn!

CURRENT PROJECTS
I finished up a hat for the KAL.  I quite like it.  I still have yarn left so I might make another one while I am waiting for my Cast On yarn to come.  I also wound up knitting several hats for non-knitting friends.  I forgot to get photos, alas.


I'm almost finished with Jan's B-day present, VERY LATE.  She made a resolution this year to start wearing colored things.  This falls into that category!  I designed these socks eons ago.  I called them Leaves of Spring which could describe the color as well!



Friday, January 13, 2017

Double Needle Cast On

Things have been fairly quiet the past two weeks, the calm before the storm.  Today is the deadline for the Spring Cast On submissions so next week we will be making the selections.  Then I leave on Friday for TNNA.  I'm only staying until Sunday morning.

It has been awhile since I've posted any cat photos.  Here is one of George lounging on this sofa.


He was miffed to be disturbed.

STUDENT NEWS
My students are slowly getting back to their class knitting.  I've received several lessons this week. I really like our new ordering system.  It works much better than the way the management company did things.  Students get the first lesson immediately.

TIP OF THE WEEK
While I was on hiatus I got an email from someone wanting to know if there was a loose cast on for a lace project.  I didn't have time then to do a post so I'll do it now.  I was doing a lace sweater a few years ago and needed a loose cast on.  Most sources will tell you to use a larger needle for the cast on.  All this does is produce a sloppy first row.  What you want is more space between the stitches, not bigger stitches.  I found a solution in June Hemmons Hiatt's Principles of Knitting.   Knitters either love or hate this book.  It is very comprehensive but Hiatt does not use traditional terminology to describe techniques and her terminology can be very confusing.  Anyway, she has a technique cast on that produced exactly what I wanted.  She calls it the Double Needle Cast On and she includes in both editions.  The section in the new edition is much longer.  It took me quite a while to decipher her description but I finally got it. 

You need two needles of different sizes.  One should be the project needle and the other should be at least two sizes smaller.  There is NO WAY I will attempt to describe how to do this.  Watch the video. Double Needle Cast On It is basically a variant of the long tail cast on but you loop the yarn on the smaller needle as well.  Here is how it looks in progress.


The thing that really confused me in the first edition is that when you have both loops on the needle you twist the needles clockwise while holding the yarn tightly.  She doesn't explain why this is a necessary step.  In the second edition she does give an explanation.  It locks the cast on loops.  Here is what it looks like on the back.  (I have a photo later where this isn't done.)


Here is the final product.  It is a neat looking cast on.


This photo shows why you would want to use this.  I've stretched I.  Notice the extra space between the stitches.  This makes it perfect for a scalloped edge. I've used it for the base row for entrelac as well.


This photo shows what the cast on look likes if you don't do the clockwise twist.  The edge is REALLY large.  There still is a lot of space between the stitches as well.  In the second edition, Hiatt says is you do the twist on a regular long tail cast on, it gives you a bit of a picot edge.  Try it and see what you think!


KNITTING SALON
Salon will be on Sunday from 2-4pm.  I plan on making an early morning run to Spalding Donuts as incentive in this lousy weather.  If you are ever in Lexington, don't miss Spaldings.

CURRENT PROJECTS
Mary Beth, our Treasurer started a KAL on Ravelry--TKGA's KAL.  I'm doing Shed the Baggage.  I am pretty good at keeping my stash at controllable levels but I have a tendency to hang onto luxury yarns...saving them for something special.  I'm using the KAL to clean them out.  I had two skeins of Miss Bab's Sojourn I got at a show a billion years ago.  I needed a replacement Buff (my husband appropriated mine).  I figured this one will be safe from him.


I used the other skein to make one for my niece who is a equine vet for the start of foaling season (lots of nights spent in barns.)  I love the pattern the yarn made.


Then I dug into the bag of Richesse et Soi from Knit One Crochet Two.  When this yarn was discontinued I bought all that Patternworks had (mostly white).  I've used some of it over the years but I still have about 20 skeins.  I'm going to see how much I can use up.  Up first, texting gloves.


I'm going to continue using it up until I start on my Cast On stuff.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Knitting Backwards

I apologize for not posting an entry for so long.  Between TKGA's transition to a stand-alone non-profit, working on the first digital issue of Cast On and the holidays, I just didn't get to it.  I'm now back to my once every two week schedule. 

I'm now working on the Spring issue.  The Call for Designs is out now.  If you are interested in submitting a design go to TKGA.org and select the Publications tab.  You'll find information there on submitting a design.

STUDENT NEWS
As part of the reorganization, we have changed the way students get the materials.  As soon as a course is ordered, the student receives a confirmation email with the files attached.  However, if someone purchases more than one course at the same time, only one course will be sent.  Order them separately.  I prefer the new system as students get the materials immediately.  In the past, they wouldn't get them until I received notice from Offingers and then I would send the materials.

TIP OF THE WEEK. 
Another self-serving topic!  My new MiniCourse will be available in January and I spent this early part of this week writing it.  The title is Fair Isle Flat.  It really should be called Stranded Knitting Flat but that doesn't sound as good.  I really resisted developing this course as my method for doing stranded work is anything but traditional and since our organization keeps traditions alive I felt it would be a problem but I have had many requests for this information. 

Most knitters prefer doing stranded work in the round but I like doing it flat for a variety of reasons.  Mainly I think the stranding tension is much easier to manage and I don't mind purling.  In the course, I suggest trying knitting backwards instead of purling. This way the RS of the work is facing which can make following the chart easier.

To knit backwards, don't turn your work when you reach the end of the row.  Just insert the left needle in the last stitch BEHIND the right needle and wrap it over the needle from left to right.  You then use the right needle to pull the stitch through.  The photograph below shows the yarn wrapped properly. 



Like anything you try for the first time, it can feel weird but if you practice it starts to feel more natural.  This also can be something to try if you purl looser than you knit. 

Here is a link to the video where I demonstrate this.  Knitting Backwards

KNITTING SALON
I'm having salon on Sunday even though it is New Year's Day.  It will be from 2-4pm.

CURRENT PROJECTS
I did do a lot of knitting for presents but I didn't photograph a single thing!  It was mostly hats, scarves, mittens and fingerless mitts.  I did think to photograph the hats and mitts I knit for myself.  I had several skeins of Sapphire Jade cashmere that I've had forever.  I have to say these are pretty yummy.  Its been too warm here to wear them but I know that won't last!




Friday, October 14, 2016

Carrying Yarn for Stripes

The transition date is getting closer and closer.  The website is progressing along nicely and soon I will be able to start work on loading patterns for the online version of Cast On.  I've been getting finished garments from the designers.  I just need to find a photographer!  Our fundraising is progressing nicely as well.  The support of our members is very gratifying.  It makes all of this work worth it.

STUDENT NEWS
I was out of town for a few days early this week and I came back to several lessons.  The transition to the new system is not going to change how students order courses except in one way.  When the course is ordered online, the student will be able to download the first lesson immediately.  In the past, they had to wait until the management company notified me.  That could take a few days.  This is a better arrangement.

TIP OF THE WEEK
As it often happens the tip this week is inspired by projects I am working on.  Also, this question often comes up with those working on Level 1 of the Masters program.  For the Winter issue of Cast On, I designed a garter stitch shawl that uses two row stripes and I offered to do the sample knitting for one of our designers who has some family issues which were limiting her knitting time.  Her design is for a scarf (or cowl) that uses single row stripes with three different yarns.  When you work stripes you have to decide whether you want to carry the yarn up the work or if you want to cut it.  My rule is to never carry it over more than two rows.  Maintaining even tension is very difficult if you carry yarn for more than this.  Another issue is the long strands.  If the piece is to be seamed, these strands will make the seam very thick.  If it is something knit in the round, it is very easy to snag the strands.

Even when you are carrying the yarn up just one or two rows, you have to watch your tension.  When you start using the yarn you previously dropped, there is a tendency to pull the yarn tightly to snug up the first stitch.  If you aren't careful, you also pull stitches from the row previously worked in this color.  The photos below show where the yarn has been pulled too tightly. 


The arrow at the bottom of this photo shows where the yarn has been pulled too tightly.  The arrow at the top shows where the tension is too loose. The video shows how this happens and how you can fix it if you notice it immediately.  Carrying Yarn for Stripes


Something else you need to be aware of when carrying yarn for stripes is the effect this has on the appearance of the selvedge.  For the garter stitch stripes, two rows are worked in each color.  This means that the working yarn always returns to the right side of the work.  The yarn is never carried on the left side.  If you look carefully at the photograph below, you can see the carried yarn on the left side (this is the WS of the work).  It looks different from the right side.  For the shawl this is barely noticeable since the yarn is so fine but in a heavier yarn, it would be much more noticeable.

For the scarf I am knitting which uses three colors, the yarn is carried up both sides so the selvedges will match but the strands on the WS are quite noticeable.  (This isn't a problem for the scarf I am working on as it isn't stockinette but seed stitch.  See the photo below.)


Again, I find carrying yarn for more than two rows to be problematic.  It is a pain to weave in yarn tails but the final result is generally worth it.

KNITTING SALON
Salon will be on Sunday from 1:30-3:20.  I wasn't able to have salon last week as Saturday was the first Metropolitan Opera simulcast. I spent 5 hours enjoying Wagner's Tristan and Isolde.  Last year I wasn't able to see many of the performances.  I plan to change that for this year.  Sunday I left for Washington, DC. 

CURRENT PROJECTS
I finished up the scarf length of the chevron shawl.  There was enough yarn to knit both the shawl and the scarf.  I like this length as well.  It isn't as dramatic but looks pretty good wrapped around the neck.



While I was waiting for the scarf yarn to arrive, I started on a project I got the yarn for several years ago.  I am going to make a coat from Shibui Linen (for me).  I got started on the back.  I love that the resulting fabric is so light and slightly see through.  Notice how you can see the chair through the fabric.


I got started on the scarf.  I wound up changing one of the colors from those we originally selected.  What can I say?  I like grays (and black).  I love this pattern.  It looks so complex and it is SO SIMPLE.


Thursday, September 29, 2016

Selvedge Seam (Not What You Think)

As always, it has been a busy week.  Our website is improving day by day.  I can't wait until we can do the change.  I just found out today our @tkga.org emails can be activated.  We started our fundraising.  We'd originally planned to do a GoFundMe or something like that but all of those services charge a pretty high fee for collecting the money so our computer guys found us something better that doesn't charge fee Click and Pledge for TKGA.  It immediately sends the form for taxes.  We haven't really advertised this yet and are getting donation.

STUDENT NEWS
I've always noticed I get more lessons to review in the fall and this year is no different.  I seem to get a new lesson every day.  

TIP OF THE WEEK
This week's tip was prompted by Binka Schwan, the Vice President of Education for the new TKGA.  She has created a new series for Cast On, Skill Builder, which is designed for newer knitters but I think anyone could benefit from this series.  It will be accompanied by the Confident Beginner patterns.  Her first design is a chunky scarf with optional pockets.  She sent me the pattern which had lengthy instructions for seaming the pockets.  I offered to do a video for the technique.  

Well, I spent quite a bit of time on this yesterday.  I tend to think I've seen almost everything but I'd not run across this technique before and I found written directions confusing.  This was not Binka's fault.  It is just something very hard to describe with words.  

The pockets for the scarf are folder over and then seamed.  I assumed it was some sort of running or back stitch and I couldn't force Binka's instruction to do what I thought they should do.  She pointed me in the right direction...The Principles of Knitting by June Hemmons Hiatt.  If you haven't encountered this book before, prepare yourself.  There is pretty much nothing you can do in knitting that she doesn't cover.  Unfortunately, the names she gives things are not found anywhere else which makes it difficult to use.  For example, she calls the mattress stitch the running stitch and if you've embroidered or done hand sewing, the running stitch doesn't have much in common with the mattress stitch.

Anyway, this is a technique Hiatt calls Selvedge Seam.  It is used when you want the selvedges stitches to be on the outside of the piece rather than on the inside as they would be if you used mattress stitch.  I have never used this before.  She recommends using is when seaming garments with bulky yarns.  I can't see myself doing this.  Selvedge stitches are ugly so why would you want them on the outside?  The other use fits perfectly for Binka's project.  If you have slipped the first stitch of every row you get a decorative chain and you can use the selvedge seams to join the two pieces and the seam can be decorative.   The photo shows a swatch I knit it up (NOT BINKA'S pattern) .

When you use the mattress stitch technique you have the two pieces side by side and when you pull the seaming thread tight, the selvedge is turned to the inside of the piece.  With this technique the two pieces you are seaming are on top of each other.

I was making this much more difficult than it is when a light went off and I realized that the procedure is worked just like the mattress stitch but from top to bottom rather from side to side.

This photo shows the seam from the side so you can see the path of the yarn. 


I'm not going to write directions for how to do this.  You really need to see it.  Selvedge Seam

KNITTING SALON
Salon will be on Sunday from 1:30 to 3:20.

CURRENT PROJECTS
I finished the shawl, blocked it and wove in the ends. 



Here it is wrapped around.    

























And how it looks from the back.



I also finished up vest.  It is a reworking of something I did for Cast On in 2009. Many knitters used that pattern for Level 2 of the Masters and there were several things wrong with it for that purpose.  I changed it.  I haven't done the final finishing yet. 


Now I'm working on a scarf version of the shawl.  I'm almost done.