Friday, August 19, 2016

Double Decreases, Knit and Purl

It has been a rough couple of weeks.  It is a lot of work starting an organization from scratch.  Things are going very well and I think our members are going to be pleased with the new website.  I've been working on the Winter issue of Cast On and it hasn't been easy.  First of all, there are no funds to pay designers for their work.  I didn't even bother to send out a Call For Designs.  I am relying on the fabulous talents and goodwill of our committee members and others.  The magazine will be shorter than in the past but we will be in good shape for Spring.  We had some devastating new last week that our wonderful photographer, Kyle Baugh, died suddenly.  He was only 38 and leaves behind a wife and two daughters.  (His wife and oldest daughters are the models for the Fall issue which is at the printer now. )  Kyle had agreed to do the photography for the new TKGA so I am mourning doubly.  He will be missed. 

It must be getting close to fall!  I've been getting more lessons to review.  Keep them coming!

The tip this week is different ways to make double decreases on both the knit and purl sides.  The photograph below shows the three types.  (Ignore #4 for a minute)

#1 shows a central double decrease.  There are a variety of abbreviations for this--CDD, s2k1p or s2k1psso and probably more.  They all refer to the same technique.  You slip two stitches AS IF YOU ARE GOING TO KNIT THEM TOGETHER, you knit the next stitch and then pass the two stitches over the stitch you just knit.  A very common mistake is to slip the two stitches one at a time.  If you do this, you get #4.  The center stitch should be on top and slipping the two stitches together places the center stich in the correct location. 

#2 shows a different type double decrease.  This is generally abbreviated s1k2togpsso.  I am sure there are other ones as well.  Every designer seems to use a different one but they all refer to the same decrease.  To make this one, you slip one stitch, knit the next two stitches together and then pass the slipped stitch over the stitches you just knit together.  I've seen this decrease used a lot in lace when it is a floral design.  If you are not careful when making this decrease, it can look a bit sloppy.  Single slipped stitches tend to get stretched out so you should be careful with it when passing it over the other stitches.  Notice that the center stitch is underneath the stitches to the right and left.

#3 shows K3tog.  I've rarely seen this used in lace.  About the only place I've used it is in itty bitty bobbles.  When I did this swatch, I noticed that #4 mirrors this.  Good to know if you ever need to mirror a K3tog.

The vast majority of patterns call for decreases to be made on the RS of the work (in most projects the knit side) but in rare occasions you may need to know how to make a double decrease on the WS of the work (the purl side) and that decrease needs to look like the ones above.  Some patterns don't let you know how to do this. 

Making #1 on the purlside is a bit tricky.  I suggest you look at the video if you have any questions.  The first thing to do is to change the orientation of the first two stitches on the needle.  To do this, you slip them one at a time and then return them to the left needle.  This ensures that the decrease won't be twisted.  Next you need to change the orientation of this two stitches AGAIN.  To do this you slip the two stitches together as if you are going to purl them through the back and then return them to the left needle.  Please look at video to see exactly how to do this.  The final step is to purl the 3 stitches together. 

Making #2 on the purlside is not as difficult.  You basically reverse what you do on the RS.  Purl the two stitches together, return this stitch to the left needle and then pass over the stitch to the left. 

To make #3, just purl the three stitches together. 

Here is the video:  Double Decreases, Knit and Purl sides

Salon will be on Sunday, August 21, from 1:30-3:20. 

I've been working on a chevron shawl using some RedFish silk I bought years ago.  I'm going to do a multicolor chevron for the winter issue of Cast On using these colors.  Elff has put together some wonderful color packets.  I'll do it in 3-ply so I can use larger needles.  I'm using 2.25 for the blue one.  I'll have to put it aside soon.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Double Increases

It has been a busy couple of weeks.  Starting an organization from the ground up takes a lot of work.  We have a great board and we have divided up the necessary tasks.  Christina and Mary Beth have great business skills. It looks like our non-profit status will come through by the beginning of next month.  That will be a relief as we can start fund raising.  Our main expense is going to be a website and computer system that actually works.  Anyone who has tried to navigate will tell you that this is much needed.  I'm working on the next issue of Cast On.  The first issue will have to be small due to the financial realities.  Designers do expect to be paid so I imagine we will have mostly "donated" designs.  I've got several in mind.  The good news is that we can make the organization what it should be -- for serious knitters, by serious knitters.

I've had more lessons to review that I expected.  Summer is generally a slow time.  Again, nothing is going to change for the correspondence courses.  I like to remind my students that I do not enforce a time limit but this is NOT the case for the other courses.  The deadline is a year.  

I used double increases for the skirt part of the dress I just finished (see below) and I started to think of the ways to work double increases.  Also whenever I teach eyelet/yarnover buttonholes, dealing with a double yarnover always causes problems.  I decided to group them all together.  

Double yarnovers can be used to create a double increase.  The problem will be that there will be a hole but depending on the project, this might be just fine.

This photo shows three ways of dealing with double yarnovers.

The first step in working any of these double increases is to make a double yarnover.  You don't have to decide what to do until the next row.  The examples assume you are working flat so if you make the yarnovers on a RS, you will work them on a WS row.  Most instructions for the bottom one state to knit into the first yarnover and then into the back of the next yarnover.  I've seen lots of variation on this one.  Sometimes you knit the first stitch and then purl the next.  It really doesn't matter, the results are similar.

This increase is used in the Monkey Socks by Cookie A.  (Some of you may remember when this pattern appeared in Knitty.  I really didn't like the way the double yarnover looked so I did a variation, the one at the top of the swatch.

The next two show a variation where you treat the yarnovers like you would the horizontal strand between two stitches when you make an M1 increase.  You can have them all slant int the same direction or you can mirror them as shown in the photograph.  The video shows the difference when working them.  The hole is smaller with those methods.

This type of double increase works well when you have an even number of stitches as you are making them between stitches.  The next technique works better when you have an odd number of stitches as the increases are on either side of a stitch.

The one labeled A is a central double increase.  I've seen this used in lace patterns.  The instructions for this one are a bit confusing.  You knit into the back of the stitch, then into the front of the stitch, and then you find the vertical strand running up to these two stitches and you lift it onto your needle and then into the back of it.  The videos shows this one, if that sounds confusing.  It does produce a nice increase, sort of the reverse of the central double decrease.

The one labeled B is created by working a right slanting lifted increase on one side of the stitch and a left slanting increase on the other side of the stitch after you've worked the stitch itself.  It does leave a bit of a hole.

The ones labeled C and D use mirrored M1 increases on either side of a central stitch.  If you look close you can see that they are slightly different, depending on the order of M1L and M1R increases.

Here is the video:  Double Increases

Salon will be on Sunday from 1:30-3:20.  See you then!

Yes, I finished it.  It hasn't be blocked yet.  I'm waiting for a day without rain in the forecast.  I can't say this was fun to knit but I am looking forward to wearing it.  Yes, this is for me and No, I am not writing a pattern for it.  

I'm enjoying having time to knit for myself again.  I know I will be doing lots for the winter issue as I know I am cheap, as in free, until our financial situation is more on track,

Friday, July 22, 2016

Kitchener Stitch Without a Tapestry Needle

A lot has happened since my last post.  Between taking a quick vacation over the 4th to preparing for the conference in Charleston, I just didn't have time to make an entry.  The conference went very well and at Masters Day we made an announcement that the management company which owned TKGA was dissolving the entity.  They were willing to give the Masters Committee the organization and its property.  We agreed to take this on and to transform it to a 501c3 non-profit. Here is a link to the announcement which we posted in Ravelry as well as Facebook, etc.

TKGA Announcement

The response has been positive for the most part.  There have been a few complaints which I am handling individually.  If you'e like to put in your two cents, the last line of the announcement has an email I am using for that purpose.

The high point of the conference is always when we pin the new Master Knitters.  We took the opportunity to get a photograph of the Master Knitters who were in attendance.

The Yarn Tasting went very well.  I think I was forgiven for not doing goody bags.  After all, I did wind 3,300 center pull balls.

I didn't get to spend much time in the market but I was thrilled that Dusty's Vintage Shoppe was there.  Michele has the most AMAZING collection of buttons.  Here is a photo of my acquisitions from TNNA and our meeting.  I use the buckles for my Hermes scarves.  Michele is amazing.  She can tell you the history of every button she sells.  She will be at Stitches Midwest, Booth 319 in Schaumburg (and, no, I don't get free buttons.  I just think her booth is AMAZING.)

We displayed four of Charles Gandy's wonderful art instalations.  I'm thrilled Shoeshi came home with me.  Here is the photo I took at the show at the Bascom Museum.

I just have to find the perfect place for it.

I want to reassure my students that the reorganization will not effect them in any way.  You can continue to order the classes and I will continue to review them as always.

One of the things I love about teaching is that I always learn something.  One of the students in my Finishing Class, Patti Giorgi, showed me a different way to do Kitchener Stitch.  With Kitcheners Stitch, like a lot of knitters, I finally mastered one way to do it and wasn't all that interested in investigating different methods.  Patti found this technique in a video which she hasn't been able to find again or we would give that person credit.  I have to admit, Patti showed me this at the end of a very long day of teaching 25 students and I knew I had to go right from class to set up the Yarn Tasting so I wasn't all that enthusiastic about learning it .  After a good night's sleep, I was ready to give it a try.

Rather than use a tapestry needle, you "knit" or "purl" the seaming thread through the stitches.  The main advantage of this method is that you don't have to mess with the seaming yarn as much to get those stitches to match the surrounding stitches...this is a BIG advantage.  Patti swears you can also read the work to see what comes next but I haven't reached that state yet.  

I have done a blog entry on the technique using a tapestry needle, Kitchener Stitch with Tapestry Needle, if you want to compare the methods.  

You begin this method the same way but instead of threading the seaming yarn on a tapestry needle, you get a knitting needle. You either "knit" or "purl" the seaming thread through the stitches but instead of forming stitches on your needle, you pull the yarn all the way through.  Typical instructions call for you to insert the tapestry needle knitwise or purlwise.  In these instructions either knit or purl.  Before reading further, you might want to look at the video as the written out instructions will make more sense.  Kitchener without a tapestry needle

Here are the steps:

Preliminary Steps:
--Cut a strand of yarn at least three times longer than the edge you will seam.
--Insert knitting needle knitwise into the first stitch on Needle 1 and pull the seaming yarn through the stitch. Insert knitting needle purlwise into the first stitch on Needle 2 and pull the seaming yarn through the stitch.

Kitchner Steps:
Once you have taken care of the selvedge stitches you are ready to do the rest of the stitches.  Take care not to pull the yarn through too tightly!
  • "Purl" the first stitch on Needle 1 and pull the yarn through.  Drop this stitch from the needle.
  • "Knit" the next stitch on Needle 1 and pull the yarn through.
  • "Knit" the first stitch on Needle 2 and pull the yarn through.  Drop this stitch from the needle.
  • "Purl" the next stitch on Needle 2 and pull the yarn through.
Repeat these steps until only the selvedge stitches remain.  To finish "purl" the last stitch on Needle 1 and pull the yarn through.  Drop the stitch.  "Knit" the last stitch on Needle 2.  Pull the yarn through and drop the stitch.

The dark blue yarn is the seaming yarn.  This required very little touch up when the kitchener was complete.


Salon will be on Saturday from 1:30 to 3:20.  I generally have salon on Sunday but this week Anzula is doing a truck show at ReBelle which I do not want to miss!  I'm glad they have put Kentucky on there touring schedule.


I'm finally getting time to finish my dress.  RedFish dyed the yarn for me.  I'm using 6 shades of black to gray.  If you look close you can see a very subtle change.  I'm about tready to change to a slightly lighter shade.  I want the sleeves to exactly match the body.  This is a bit of a pain. 

Friday, June 24, 2016

Picking Up Stitches on Stitch Patterns

I'm sorry I haven't made a post for so long.  There were three things that got in the way.  We had the photo shoot earlier in the month and I barely got my garments done.  Two days after the photo shoot was TNNA which was in Washington, DC this year.  I lived in DC for 12 years so it was great to go back.  In addition to the show, we visited three yarn stores, Second Story Knits in Bethesda (it was the Needlework Attic when I lived there), Loops in Dupont Circle, and Fibre Space in Alexandria.  All were wonderful.  I brought home some souvenirs, naturally.  Since I've been back I have done NOTHING but get ready for the conference.  We will have 34 different yarns at the tasting.    Only 7 more to go!

I have a new student from France.  I generally send the swatches back after I have reviewed each lesson.  She wants me to hang onto them and send them back all at once.  We will give this a try.  I'll photograph them with the letter.  I don't plan on doing this for US students but for international, it worth a try.  International postage rates are obscene.

This entry is due to a suggestion from a reader.  She was confused as to where to pick up stitches along a horizontal edge when the stitch pattern is not stockinette.  I discussed this principle when I did an entry on seaming horizontal edges.  You seam and pick up stitches at the same location, in the center of the stitch immediately below the bind off edge.  For knit stitches, this is in the center of the "V" and for purl stitches it is below the "frown".  Remember the "smile" is the space between the stitches.  This rule applies to all stitch patterns I can think of.  (If you don't know what I mean by "V" or "frown" and "smile" check the index for my blog under stitch anatomy.  It is impossible to finish garments properly if you don't understand stitch anatomy.

This photo shows stitches picked up in seed stitch.

Garter stitch is the same on both sides.   If  you look at the bind off edge, on one side you will see the chains of the bind off.  On the other side, it just looks like a purl stitch edge.  It does make a difference depending on which side you select.   In the photograph below the stitches were pick up on the side with the visible chain.  Notice that the new stitches are on top of the ridge.

This photograph shows where the stitches were picked up on the other side.  Notice that there are several rows of knit stitches.  When you pick up the stitches make sure that you are consistent when selecting what side to use.

Here is the video that shows how to do this:  Picking up Stitches in stitch patterns

Salon will be on Sunday (June 26) from 1:30-3:20.

I have not knit for a week.  I'm winding yarn balls.  Here are two photos from the photo shoot.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Grafting Garter Stitch

I have been frantically trying to get the garments done for the Fall Cast On.  It would help if I wouldn't rip out my work so much.  I broke my resolution of several years ago and didn't write up the pattern for the yoked sweater immediately.  It is so much easier if you do it as soon as the garment is finished.

I haven't had many lessons to review lately which has helped my time management.  Don't be so considerate!  Send in your lessons!

The coat I am knitting has garter stitch short rows picked up on the sides.  After several versions I finally decided the best approach would be to graft a seam from the bottom hem to the underarms.  I don't enjoy grafting but when you want a "seamless" look it is the best way to go.  I didn't want a bulky seam at the sides of the coat.  Grafting garter stitch is really quite easy.  As with anything, the process will be easier if you prepare.

First, make sure you have the same number of stitches on both pieces.  (Yes, you can graft if you have an additional stitch, it is just simpler if you have the same number.  Don't be afraid to decrease a stitch on the last row to accomplish this.)

Second, position the needles properly.  To do this, you have to have an understanding of stitch anatomy.  On one size of the work, the stitches immediately below the needle are purl bumps.

 Compare this photo the photo above.  The stitches immediately below the needle are knit stitches.

For the pattern to be maintained, the "purl" side needs to be facing out on Needle 1.  For Needle 2, the knit side needs to be facing out.  (The video shows how to position the needles.)

Third, you need to decide if you are going to use the working yarn on one of the pieces or if you want to use a separate strand to seam.  There are advantages to both.  If you use the working yarn there is one less yarn tail to weave in.  If you use a separate strand you can do the clean up from both sides, rather than just the left side.  (Clean up is discussed later.)

The basic procedure after the set up is to go into the first stitch on Needle 1 purlwise and then the first stitch on Needle 2 purlwise.  Then do the following:

  • Go into the first stitch on Needle 1 knitwise.  Drop it from the needle.  Go into the second stitch purlwise
  • Go into the first stitch on Needle 2 knitwise.  Drop it from the needle.  Go into the second stitch purlwise.  
Repeat this steps until only one stitch remains on each needle.  Go into the stitch on Needle 1 knitwise and drop it.  Do the same for the stitch on Needle 2.  Grafting Garter Stitch

Are you done?  No.  Now you have to clean it up.  I tend to do this every few stitches as I find it easier.  The one thing you do NOT want to do is to pull the seaming thread tight.  This is a real pain to clean up.

Here is what your work might look like when you have finished the actual grafting.

You can clearly see the oversized stitches.  To fix this, you have to use a needle to shift the yarn from the right to the left so that it matches the tension of the rest of the piece.  In the photo below the needle is in the grafted row.  There is a row above that where the tension is uneven where excess yarn from a yarn tail has worked its way into the stitches to the left.  In a real project, I would use the same technique to fix this as well.  Cleaning up the Graft.

In the example below the yarn has been pulled too tight.  This requires more effort to fix.

I will have salon this weekend as I am not going anywhere for the holiday.  Stop by if you are in town from 1:30-3:20.

I've finished all of the major knitting on the coat.  I've worked the garter stitch, grafted it, picked up the fronts and worked the color.  Since this is such a simple design I decided to try working the sleeves from the top down and picking up the stitches.  I have to say, I REALLY like this method. I've always hated set in sleeves as they've never looked quite right to me.  This solves all of those problems.  I have to finish the sleeves and then graft the povisional hems.  It is going to require seaming as well.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Tubular Bind Off in the Round Redux

Sorry  I didn't post last week.  Sometimes life just gets in the way... More yarn keeps arriving for the Yarn Tasting.  I am seriously behind!  I am getting some great yarn for the door prizes.  I am showing restraint from adding to my stash!

Just a reminder...I don't enforce the one year time limit for completion.  As long as you ordered the course from me, just send me an email to let me know you want updated materials.  If you have the current materials (April 2014) just send in the lesson, no need to email me.

Some contacted me who was having difficulty with a tubular bind off in the round.  I just happen to be working on a sweater which is knit top down where I bound off the bottom and cuffs to match the tubular cast on for the turtle neck.

I really like the looks of a tubular bind off.  If I am doing a project which will be enhanced by a stretchy cast on/bind off, I always chose to do one.   I do them often enough that I don't have to look up how to do one anymore!

I find it much easier to do the bind off on K1P1 ribbing that K2P2 ribbing (yes, I know you can do it but I just prefer the look of the K1P1 ribbing) so I convert K2P2 ribbing to K1P1 ribbing.  I did a blog entry on this a long time ago.  Here is the link:  K2P2 to K1P1.  The next step of the bind off is to do at least two rows/rounds where you alternate slipping stitches with the yarn in the front or back depending on whether it is a knit or a purl.  When you are working in the round, you will work one round where you slip the purl stitches with the yarn in the front and on the next round it will be the knit stitches with the yarn in the back.  For the cuffs I did four rounds.

Before doing the next step, I adjust the stitches so that the first stitch on my needle is a purl stitch and if I am using DPNs, I make sure this is the case for all needles.  I then cut a long tail (longer than I need, invariably) and thread it with a tapestry needle. If you watch the video you will see that I frequently reverse the words for left and right (some form of dyslexia, perhaps) so I try to use the terms knitwise and purlwise which I don't confuse.  My steps follow:

  1. Insert the tapestry needle PURLWISE into the first stitch on the left needle.  (It is a purl stitch...see above.)  Pull the yarn tight.
  2. Insert the tapestry needle PURLWISE into the knit stitch to the right of the purl stitch, across the purl stitch and into the knit stitch to the left of the purl stitch.  Pull the yarn tight.
  3. Insert the tapestry needle knitwise into the first stitch and pull the yarn tight.
  4. Drop the purl stitch and knit stitch from the needle.  
Repeat these steps until all stitches are worked.

The key thing to remember is that every stitch will be worked twice.  When you get to the last knit stitch, remember you worked it when you started so all you have to do is drop it and weave in the yarn tail.  Here is a photograph of the finished cuff.  Looks pretty good...

Here are links to the videos.  The first one shows how to begin.  The second one shows how to end.

Part A and Part B

Salon will be on Sunday from 1:30-3:20.

I finally finished the sweater for Elff.  Finishing took quite some time... the yarn is dark and there were lots of rows.  I had to get out my OTT light!  Elff says she like it and will wear it to shows.  If RedFish Dyeworks is at a show, check it out, particularly the inside.  My stranding is very good, if I say so myself.

I then knit my first yoked sweater.  I'd never done one before.  I redid the first section of increases about four times but I liked the final version.  Here is the front.

I wanted the cables to extend a bit further on the back so the back is different.

The cables extend even further on the sleeves.  You can't really see them in the photograph.  I am going to have to steam the center cables on them before the photo shoot.

Now I am working on a coat.  I'll have photos next week.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Inc (or Dec) Every (fill in the blank) Rows

I'm excited as I am driving down to The Highlands tomorrow for the artist's reception and talk at the Bascom Center for the Visual Arts.  Charles Gandy is a member of the Master Committee and a very dear friend.  I am looking forward to it.  Here is the link:  Beyond the Sock.  I hope they allow photographs!  If they do, I will post some in my next entry.

It has been a while since I put in an obligatory cat photo.  Here is my sweet, blind Petipa.

It has been very slow!  I know it is spring but send me some lessons!  

This topic is in response to a request.  A fairly new knitter contacted me when they were confused by some language in a pattern.  It had to do with how often to work increases and decreases.

When I was reviewing swatches for the Masters Hand Knitting program, I noticed that this was a very common problem.  The instructions for a group of swatches specified to work the increases and decreases every other RS row but invariably the knitter would work them every RS row.  Naturally, this impacts the length of the piece.  The bottom portion of the swatch in the photograph below shows the increases worked every RS row and the top portion, every OTHER  RS row.  Generally you see instructions like this when shaping a sleeve or a neckline and it is important that you get it right or you won't get the expected results. 

This process is described a variety of ways in patterns.  In circular knitting, it will never be phrases as every RS or every other RS round as all the rows are RS.  The language you see in these cases is "Dec every 2nd (or 4th) round."  You see this in flat knitter as well and it can be confusing.   It helped me to write it out.

Dec Round:  Make the dec.
First Round:  Knit
Second  Round AND Dec Round:  Make the dec.

This photograph shows decreases and increases placed every 2nd row or every RS row.  The arrows show the increase/decrease row.  (More about this later.)

This is how to interpret "every 4th row".  

Dec Round:  Make the dec.
First Round:  Knit
Second  Round: Knit
Third Round:  Knit
Fourth Round AND Dec Rnd:  Make the dec.

This photograph shows how to place increases and decreases every other RS row or every 4th row. Again, the arrows show the increase/decrease row.

Many knitters do not know how to "read" their work and when I teach I frequently discover my students misidentify the actual increase/decrease rows.  In the two photographs below, the BLUE arrows show the row on the needles when you make the increase/decrease.  The actual increase/decrease row is indicated by the red arrows.  It is important that you be able to identify increase and decrease rows.  If you put your work down you need to be able to see when you need to work the next increase/decrease row.  By the way, the increases are right slanting lifted increases.

Here it he video:  Dec (or Inc) every (fill in the blank) rows

There won't be salon this week as I will be in North Carolina but there will be one the week after, May 1st, 1:30-3:20.

I'm just finishing up the sweater for Elff.  I just have to do the seams & hem now.  It is a good thing.  I am starting to get the yarns for garments for Cast On.