Friday, September 27, 2013

Using a Tapestry Needle to Improve Increases and Decreases

I am ready for the conference next week.  I have everything packed and ready.  I did do three sets of homework for both of the finishing classes.  That was a lot of knitting.  I feel like I should apologize to my students!  Day 1 in particular had so many swatches.  If you are going to seam swatches, you do need two.

I even have the candy for my classes.  I always provide chocolate for my students to help keep them awake.  No, the candy is not a bribe for good evaluations!

Since I will be in Charlotte next week, I will not be posting a blog entry.  I will be traveling quite a bit in October but I should be able to post a blog or two.

Three students completed Lesson 3 of the Basics Class this week.  They all came on the same day.  If you send me a lesson and you want me to email you a copy of my letter the day I review the lesson, I am happy to do so.  Just let me know.

As always, I cannot review lessons if I am out of town (I can process new orders, however.)  This is my travel schedule for October:

October 1-6--Charlotte
October 12-18--Arizona
October 26-November 1--Texas

My house sitter will take in any lessons that arrive during those times and I will review them the day after I get back.

This week's tip was a special request.  I frequently tell my students when I review their increase and decrease swatches that they can use a tapestry needle to clean up the increases or decreases when the swatch is finished.  This tip applies mainly to those who are working on the Masters Program or who are perfectionists! 

When you work increases or decreases the goal is that they don't stand out like a sore thumb from the rest of the fabric.  Most knitters are just happy that they can make increases or decreases, not that they are inconspicuous.  The best way to approach this is to work on the techniques so that the increases and decreases are an appropriate size, particularly if they are mirrored.  I have addressed these issues in prior blog entries.  No matter how you try, there are times when one or two of the increases/decreases stand out.  When that is the case, you can use a tapestry needle to work excess yarn from the increase/decrease out to the selvedge. 

The first step is to stand back three or four feet from the fabric and look at the increases and decreases to see if any stand out.  When you are working on something you may not even notice.  I always try to step back and take a quick look at my work.  You notice mistakes as well. 

The video (Using a Tapestry Needle) shows how to do this.  Do this before you block the piece.  The excess yarn at the selvedge will be hidden in any seams or edges with a band.  For swatches you are submitting for the Masters Program, WORK ON THE TECHNIQUES to make the increases/decreases an appropriate size.  Use this technique sparingly.  If you have half an inch of excess yarn at the selvedge in a swatch, it will be noticeable.

The two techniques which seem to produce larger stitches is the SSK and the left slanting lifted decrease.  I have several suggestions for ways to produce smaller results in the Tips I have done on those topics.

Salon will be on Saturday this week as I want to have all day Sunday to complete my packing for the conference.  It will start an hour earlier so those who are going to the football game will have time to get ready. 

I feel like I spent most of the week knitting homework swatches but I did have time to work on the shell for the twin set.  I've finished the back and am on the home stretch for the front.  I decided to do a placket at the back.  I don't want a wide neck opening.  I'm hoping some button vendors will be at the conference.  I envision some sweet antique pearl buttons.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Purlside Increases

I spent the better part of the week getting my handouts ready for the conference in Charlotte.  Thanks to Laura Farson who convinced me to use a nostepinne to wind the balls of yarn for class.  Center pull balls are so much easier to work with.  It did take bit of time but I think I've got it now.  This is one of the kits.  I'm providing all the yarn needed for the course.  I've learned the hard way that some students can bring in yarns that are not quite right.  I've put in tags and a packet of the dental elastics as well.

I have also committed to doing homework for the finishing classes in case there is a last minute registration.  Generally I close my classes by this time.  We will see if it is worth it.

I received several lessons to review but no new students.  Just a reminder....I will be here all next week but the following week I will be in Charlotte.  I am traveling quite a bit in October.  I will also be gone the weeks of October 12-18 and October 25- November 1st.  If a lesson arrives during those weeks, I will review them when I come home.  I will not be posting a blog during those weeks as well.

This week's tip was a request.  When I did the videos for the double yarnover variations of the eyelet buttonholes, there were some questions about how to work increases on the purlside.  Whenever you work increases on the purlside, the first thing to ask yourself is if the purlside is the RS of the work, say for a cabled sweater.  If this is the case, you don't need to worry all that much.  It is difficult to tell the difference in different types of increases in purl stitches since the "slant" that is so obvious in knit stitches is obscured.  In the photograph below I have labeled the different type of increases (ignore those at the top for now.)  You have to look very closely to even see the increases.  Select the technique you like keeping mind that all you have to do is work the increase purlwise instead of knitwise.  So for a bar increase you would purl into the front of the stitch and then purl into the back.  For M1 increases, since the slant is hard to see, select the one you want.

You will rarely need to make increases on the WS of the work. You may run across a pattern that specifies increases to be placed every 3 rows or 5 rows. This means some of these increases will be on the WS. For the yarnover buttonholes, the yarnovers are worked on the WS.

If you are working an increase on the purlside but it is not the RS, you need to be more selective. For example, if you are working lifted increases, work the right slanting one on the right side purlwise and a left slanting on the left side. They will appear correctly on the RS.


What triggered this topic was how to work the double yarnovers for the eyelet buttonhole variations.   Since you work the yarnovers on the WS you need to think about how you want them to look.  Most instructions say to knit in the front and then in the back but I think this produces a fairly ugly buttonhole.  I like to work two M1 increases.  My preference is for the appearance of the one at the top left.  The video shows this:  Purlside Increases

Salon will be on Saturday from 1:30-3:20 pm.  Hope you can make it.

I put aside my blue sweater once I had worked the buttonholes.  I did not want to try and figure out what I had done in three month's time.  I started on the twin set.  I have to say, this is the softest yarn I have ever worked with.  It is so luscious.


Friday, September 13, 2013

Eyelet Button--Version 3

Last week ended with a drive to Zanesville for the selection meeting for the Spring issue.  The Fashion Framework lesson is on dog sweaters and the Stitch Anatomy lesson is on lace, particular circular lace (can you tell I am avoiding the "D" word--DOILY).  This is something covered in Level 3 of the Masters.  There won't be any doilies other than those in the lesson in the magazine but there will be lots of dog sweaters, including a lace one.

Another slow week...I only had two lessons to review and no new students.  I'd like to say that I got lots done but not so much...

Pre-registration is closed for the conference in Charlotte.  I learned in Indianapolis that there were students who wanted to sign up for the Finishing Classes but since they didn't have time to do the homework, they couldn't.  I'm going to put together some homework packets just in case.  I'm always willing to provide the swatches, if I have enough time.  Obviously, I do charge for it.

I'm putting together the kits for the classes now.  I do learn from my mistakes!

This weeks tip is about the third version of Eyelet buttonholes.  Again, there are lots of variations.  I have just selected three.  I've had some suggestions about future topics so I will take a break from finishing tips next week. 

This version of the eyelet looks like a vertical buttonhole.  In the Masters Program we categorize buttonholes as either eyelet, horizontal or vertical.  This doesn't describe how the buttonhole LOOKS but rather how it is made.  If you are doing Level 2 of the Masters Program, don't include this as a vertical buttonhole.

The photograph below shows this type of buttonhole in stockinette and ribbing.  You can use it for other stitch patterns. 

This buttonhole, as with versions 1 and 2, uses double yarn overs. Instead of using the yarn overs to make two stitches, you knit or purl into the yarn over itself. This isn't noticeable in ribbing but it is in stockinette. If you look at the buttonhole itself you can see the strands of yarn.  It is even more visible on the WS of the work as seen in the photograph.   

The only tricky thing about this buttonhole is to stay in pattern.  Depending on the stitch pattern, you either purl or knit INTO the yarn over.  In the instructions below, notice where it says (knit or purl).  The instructions assume you are working it in K1P1 ribbing. 

  1. Work the knit stitch before the stitch where the buttonhole will be placed. (For K1P1 ribbing this should be a purl stitch.
  2. Double YO, K2tog, complete the row.
  3. Next Row: Work in pattern to the yo, knit* the first yo and drop the second, complete row.
  4. Next Row: Work in pattern to the buttonhole, purl* into the buttonhole, drop the purl stitch, complete row.
  5. Next Row: Work in pattern to the buttonhole, knit* into the buttonhole, drop the knit stitch, complete row.
*This applies to K1P1 ribbing. 

Here is the video:  Eyelet Buttonhole--Variation 3
Salon will be on Sunday from 2-5pm.  Saturday is a busy day.  There is football game, it is Yom Kippur and I have to drive to the airport. 

I already have the yarn for one of the garments I am going to do for the Spring issue.  I am doing a twin set using Lotus Mimi (100% mink).  It is pretty luscious.  Penny wants it sized for her so the color is RED (again).  Good think I like red.  I did the gauge swatch and I am happy to report the fiber responds well to wet blocking.  I haven't started yet as I want to finish up another project.

I have the back and one of the fronts done for this sweater.  I want to finish up this front before starting the next project.  This is a absolutely PLAIN cardigan.  The front band folds over so I have to do buttonholes on the facing as well.  I'm using vertical buttonholes.  I don't mind all the yarn tails as I will use them to reinforce the buttonholes when I'm done.  I am afraid to put this down without finishing it.  Even with notes, I'm not sure I could reconstruct what I am doing.  The buttonholes are exactly 32 rows apart and each buttonhole is 5 rows.  It is easier to finish this up than remember (in 2 months time) what I did.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Eyelet Buttonhole Version 2

I'm doing my blog a day early as I have to drive up to Zanesville, OH for the selection meeting tomorrow.  We are picking the designs for the Spring issue. 

I received several lessons on the Saturday before Labor Day.  I felt bad that they couldn't go out until Tuesday.  Several students have let me know that their work is on the way.  Keep me busy!

I thought I'd finish up with the eyelet buttonholes before going on to a different topic.  This week it is Eyelet Buttonholes Version 2.  This buttonhole isn't all that different from the first version but it does require some pre-planning.  It is used for K2P1 stitch patterns.  The buttonhole is worked over the two purl stitches but you have to begin the technique on the last knit stitch before the two purls stitches.  Decreases are worked on either side of the yarnovers.  The first decrease is an SSK.  This decrease slants towards the left.   Since the stitch to be decreased is a purl, the knit stitch covers up the purl.  A K2tog decrease is used on the other side of the yarnovers.  This decrease slants towards the right so the knit stitch covers up the purl.

As for Version 1, this version uses a double decrease as well.  Since the yarnovers are above two purl stitches, they need to be worked in such a way so that they will be purl stitches on the RS when the buttonhole is complete.  The decreases and yarrnovers are made on the RS so the next row is a WS row.  That means if you want these stitches to be purl stitches on the RS, you will use a knit increase.  I use M1 increases.  It really doesn't matter which way you slant them since you are working them on the WS. 

This photograph shows the buttonhole.  I stretched the swatch so you can see the buttonhole more clearly.  When it is not stretched, the buttonhole is almost invisible.  Here is the video:  Eyelet buttonhole Version 2

Salon will be on Sunday from 1:30-3:20.  On Saturday I will be at the UK football game. 

I have finished the Pepe LePew skirt.  The fabric looks quite stiff but it is actually quite soft.  It has a nice drape. 

I'm still using my Zoom Loom to use up sock yarn.  If you visit, you have to take coasters with you.  They are fun.  The ones that are spread out are made from Zauberball sock yarn.  The repeats are so long the resulting coasters are all different.