Friday, July 26, 2013

Picking Up Stitches on a Curved Edge

I fully intended to take photographs but it slipped my mind.  The conference in Indianapolis was lots of fun.  My classes went well.  The meeting was in a lovely area of town.  The students were great.  I hope Charlotte turns out as well.  When I got home, I had lots of lessons waiting.  After a day or two I was completely caught up.

I will be gone from August 1-9 on a road trip so no blog or salon next week.

It is always nice putting a face to a name.  Quite a few of my students were at the conference.  Someone will be picking up my mail while I am out of town. I just won't be getting them back with lightning speed.  I will be able to send out new orders.

There will not be another tip until August 16th.  Many of the new tips will be ones that came up while I was teaching in Indianapolis.

This week will be the last tip on picking up stitches.  This is very fresh in my mind as I taught finishing at Indianapolis.  In previous weeks I have touched on picking up stitches on horizontal edges (bind off edges) and vertical edges (selvedges).  A curved edge is a combination of both types of edges.  Often decreases are made on the horizontal edge to enhance the curve.  Curved edges are most frequently at necklines which is unfortunate since so many knitters more or less fudge picking up stitches on necklines.  Since a neckline is close to the face, you see it every time you look in a mirror so mistakes really stick out.  If you mess up a side seam you can always compensate under the arm which is easily hidden but holes between the body of the neck and the band are pretty obvious.

As with stair step seams, the problem is the where the bind off rows meet and the transition from horizontal edge to the vertical edge.  All of these locations have a space between the column of stitches and it is the natural tendency to put a stitch in the hole.  All that does in make the hole bigger and stretch out the neckline. 

This photograph shows the proper placement of the pick up row.  Notice the the "X's are in the SPACE BETWEEN STITCHES not in the stitch.  For the bound off edge, you pick up ONE stitch for every column of stitches.  For the vertical edge, or selvedge, you pick up an appropriate number of stitches.  By that I mean, a ratio of stitches you have figured out prior to beginning.  (See the earlier tip about picking up stitches on a vertical edge.)

This photo shows a band picked up properly.   Notice there are no holes or gaps.  When you do a band in a different color, it can look a little strange.  I used a different color to more clearly show where the stitches are picked up.

In this photograph, the stitches are picked up with the same color. It is a better demonstration of what the neckline should look like.

This photograph shows where NOT to pickup stitches.  Notice that there are holes where the stitches have been picked up BETWEEN columns of stitches.

The video for this week shows where to pick up stitches on a curved edge properly.  Picking Up Stitches on a Curved Edge

Salon this week will be on Saturday from 1:30-3:20.  There will not be a salon next week or maybe the week after.  It depends on how quickly I can bounce back from my road trip. 

I didn't get that much time to knit in Indianapolis.  DUH!  I taught 18 hours, not including Masters Day and there were functions at night.  I basically went to bed earlier than I have in years.  This was a bit problematic as the Caduceus coat was due this week.  OOOPS!  Good thing I am going to the photo shoot so I can bring it.  I should have it finished by early next week.  I'm on the sleeves now which will take no time at all.  I do have to pick up the front bands but I am using Size 8 needles.

The fronts are blocked.  Disregard the dental elastics.  I will remember to take them out.  The coat is designed to fit Penny Sitler, the Executive Director of TKGA.  She likes to wear garments from the magazine when she is at shows.  Penny is tall and it is designed to come to her knees. 

Here are the sleeves.  I would panic but I know how fast they will go, even though my hands hurt.  (I overdid it hauling things around.)

I did buy a few things at the market in Indianapolis...  I was going around making everyone touch the yarn I bought.  (A knitting conference is the one place you can do that and not sound like a pervert.!)  The yarn is 100% MINK.  I was assured that the mink are not harmed but I didn't investigate too closely!  All I can say is the yarn is luscious.  This yarn is for me but I think I want to do a twin set with it for the Spring Issue of Cast On. 

I have been meaning to get some Kauni to do a sideways garter skirt for me.   I picked some up.  My skirt will have more short rows as I want it to flare more than the one I did for Cast On.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Picking Up Stitches on Vertical Edge

Everything except for loading the car is done for the meeting in Indianapolis.  I am so glad I can drive up.  It took much longer than I expected to get the photos transferred to my iPad in the order I wanted them and to put together the yarn kits.  I am hoping that all my preparations make the classes smoother.  I am disappointed by the quality of the copying of the handouts for the Finishing Class so I have given the students the option of having the actual files.  So many have tablets now they can load the files there or print out the offending pages in color. 

I won't be making a blog entry next week as I will be in Indianapolis.

Things are still pretty slow but I did get a few lessons to review.  I can review lessons up to Monday, the 15th.  After that I will be in Indianapolis until the 21st.  I teach until noon and then will be driving home.  I can process course orders as I will have my iPad with me.

Last week the tip was about how to pick up stitches along a horizontal edge.  This week's tip is about how to pick up stitches along a vertical, (or selvedge) edge.  Pick up stitches in the spaces  between the horizontal bars between the selvedge stitch and the first column of stitches. 

The difficulty in vertical bands isn't where to pick up the stitches but how many stitches to pick up.  Unlike horizontal edges where one stitch is picked up for every column of stitches, you must determine a ratio for picking up stitches.  The reason for this is that there are more rows in an inch that there are stitches.  For example, in the photograph below there are 4 stitches in and inch and 5 rows.  If you pick up one stitch for every row, it might ruffle (more about that later.)  If you look in reference books, they generally say to pick up 4 stitches for every 5 rows or 3 stitches for every 4 rows or some variation of that ratio.  In the photograph below, the 4 stitches for 5 row ratio works.   The Xs mark where there are two horizontal bars between the pick up stitches. 

This generally works but not always.  You should consider the gauge of the stitch patterns of the band and of the body of the piece as well.  For example, if the body is stockinette stitch and the band is K2P2, you might have to vary the ratio a bit.  You don't want a ruffled band but you don't want one that is too narrow either.  The upshot of picking up stitches along a vertical edges is that there is no one rule that applies to all bands.  I recommend saving the gauge swatch and using it to practice various ratios.  If you practice on the actual garment, you run the risk of stretching out the stitches.  It is better to work out the details on a separate swatch.

When you are working with a pattern and it says to pick up a specific number of stitches, you can generally disregard that number.  What if you knit more or fewer rows?  That number won't work.  The exception to this is if the band is worked in a specific stitch pattern which requires a multiple of stitches to complete the pattern.  If that is the case, just make sure you have picked up a multiple of the stitch pattern and you should be fine.  The photograph below shows a band picked up properly.  Notice that it abuts the first column of stitches.  Be sure not to pick up stitches in the first column of stitches.  Here is the video:   Picking up stitches on a vertical edge

Salon will be on Saturday from 1:30-3:20.  There won't be a salon next week as I will be in Indianapolis. 

I didn't knit much this week.  All of the typing and yarn winding really tired out my wrists.  I still am recovering from the surgery to some extent.  I did start the fronts and blocked the back.  One of my students raised an interesting point.  She wanted to know if I had done a swatch to check the drag.  If you have ever knit a project like the Einstein coat which is all garter stitch, you have probably experienced this.  The weight of the yarn and the stitch pattern tend to lengthen the piece.  No, I did not test this but yes, I did think about it.  Most knitters learn about this the hard way, as I did.  When I knit a coat I am very particular about the fiber.  I knit a coat a few years ago using Debbie Bliss Rialto which is a beautiful yarn but it is extremely heavy.  The coat weighed a ton and it lengthened about 3 inches.  For this reason I selected Rowan Kid Classic which is an amazing light yarn. 

Friday, July 5, 2013

Picking up Stitches on a Horizontal Edge

I'm trying to turn over a new leaf and not put everything off until the last minute so I've spent the week finishing up my handouts for the meeting in Indianapolis and organizing my swatches.  Over the years I've created quite a stockpile.  This requires much more work than you would think.  I am doing a few things differently this year which also requires work.  Last year when a student showed up with black eyelash yarn to use in class I made the decision I would put together yarn kits for all of my classes.  This will be a major pain for me.  I also am taking my projector so I have to organize all of the photos for the classes and get them on my iPad.  I'll have to see if this is worth it for next year!

If I thought last week was slow, I was mistaken.  Not a single lesson arrived!  I've gotten several messages saying lessons are on the way so I expect next week will bring a change.

By the way,  I will be out of town July 16-21 for the conference in Indianapolis.  I will be able to process new orders but any lessons that arrive will have to wait until the 22nd.

This week's tip is something that I am very fussy about...probably because I did it wrong for so many years (and I have the sweaters to prove it).  When you pick up stitches along a horizontal edge (bound off edge) you pick up ONE stitch for EVERY column of stitches.  (In upcoming weeks I will do tips for picking up stitches on vertical edges and curved edges.)  Many new knitters, when looking at a bound off edge say, "Isn't that convenient!  Those nice little loops at the top are perfect for picking up stitches."  The problem with this is that the stitches in the band should line up with the columns of stitches in the fabric.  If you use the bound off loops, that will not happen.  The loops actually span the spaces between stitches, not stitches themselves.  The two photographs below show the right and wrong locations for picking up stitches. 

This photograph shows a band picked up properly.  (I used super large needles so you can see the stitches clearly.)  Notice how the white stitches in the body of the swatch line up perfectly with the orange stitches of the band.  It is small details like this that make the piece look professionally finished.

This photograph shows a band picked up incorrectly.  The stitches in the body line up with the spaces between stitches to create the "dread 11s".  ICK!!  As I've said, I did this routinely until I was forced to research the topic for Level 2 of the Masters Program. 

The video shows how to do this.  Picking Up Stitches on Horizontal Edge

I have to drive up to the Cincinnati airport tomorrow afternoon so Salon will be earlier...10am-1pm.  I need Sunday to make some headway on my preparations for Indianapolis.  My time this week has not been my own.

I am almost finished with the back of the Caduceus coat.  It is long...38".  I am just about ready to shape the armholes.   Again, the color in this photograph is completely wrong.  It is red.

I talked to Penny earlier in the week and told her I would have the time to knit up some of the kits she got at TNNA.  I'm going to do two hats and mittens.  I haven't knit from a pattern in about 15 years so this should be interesting.  The samples should match the kits.  I think this kits are so fun.  Here is a link to the designer:  Camas Creek Yarn