Friday, November 22, 2013

Tubular Bind Off

I decided I owed Petipa a photo.  Please don't think I am one of those crazy cat people who order furniture for their pets.  My daughter ordered this couch on-line when she got her first job.  She thought she was getting a standard size couch.  We decided to keep it for the cats.

These two photos show the difference between George and Petipa.  Besides being much larger, George is also a lounger.  He looks like he is about to ask for a beer.

It was a slow week.  I reviewed several lessons and that was all.  Plenty of time for knitting.

My current project determined the tip for the week.  I was finishing up a toe-up sock with a tubular bind off.  I prefer knitting toe-up socks as you can try them on in progress.  One of the problems is the cuff.  If you use a regular bind off the top of the cuff will be very inelastic.  There are several techniques you can use but I think the tubular technique is the most attractive.  

Tubular bind offs work best with K1P1 ribbing.  Yes, there are techniques you can use for K2P2 ribbing but I haven't found them very satisfactory.  The columns of stitches tend to slant.  I find it easier to convert the K2P2 ribbing to K1P1 ribbing on the last row.  (I'll show how to do that in my next tip.)

The first step is to work 2-4 rows where you slip every other stitch.  The stranding for the slipped stitches is what makes the bind off so elastic and gives it the tubular appearance.  When you are doing this in the round as you would for socks, you knit the stitch, bring the yarn forward, slip the next stitch which is a purl.  Repeat this until all the stitches in the round are worked.  For the next row, you have to reverse this.  You purl the stitch, bring the yarn to the back, slip the next stitch which is a knit stitch.  You can repeat these rounds again if you want a more tubular edge.

You then cut the yarn and thread it onto a tapestry.  I tend to leave a very long tail.  I once cut it too short.  Trust me, you don't want to do that.  To begin, you insert the tapestry needle knitwise into the first purl stitch.  Pull the yarn tight.  Next insert the tapestry needle purlwise into the knit stitch to the right of the purl stitch you just worked and then into the knit stitch to the left of the purl stitch.  Pull the yarn tight.  Insert the tapestry needle purlwise into the purl stitch between the two knit stitches you just worked.  Drop the purl stitch and the knit stitch to the left from the needle.  This isn't as complicated as it seems.  Once you get into a rhythm, it is easy.  Here is the video:  Tubular Bind Off

Salon will be on Sunday from 2-4pm.  I have to drive to the airport on Saturday.  

I finished up another pair of birthday socks.  I would have finished much sooner if I hadn't changed my mind about the stitch pattern when I had knit half a sock.  I have used this stitch pattern before and I love it.  I call it gumdrops.

I'm not sure I will do a blog next week.  It depends on how tired I am after doing Thanksgiving dinner.  I realized yesterday I really haven't cooked much since my hand surgery.  I am hoping it is better this year.  Last year was pretty grim.

Friday, November 15, 2013


I haven't put in an obligatory cat photo for quite some time.  Here is George enjoying the sun.  He is giving Petipa the evil eye after taking spot on the chair.

I spent the week catching up on things that should have been done months ago.  Luckily, I didn't get too many lessons to review.  I had a TON of emails, however.  I've expanded my duties at TKGA this past month and I had no idea how that would impact my in boxes!

We've decided to add a page to Cast On devoted to correspondence courses.  Those that complete courses will be listed on that page.  We are also going to have a page for the Masters Program.  These changes will be in the Summer issue.  It was a little too late to get them into the Spring issue.

I realized AFTER I had posted the tip last week that I had already done a tip on the topic.  Oh, well.  I guess it wouldn't hurt to check the topics BEFORE posting.  This week I am discussing zippers.  I don't require students to put in a zipper for the Professional Finishing Course but I do have it as an extra exercise if they want.  

The biggest problem with putting zippers in knitted garments is that knitted fabric is stretchy and zippers are not.  Another issue is that the teeth of the zipper can snag and tear the yarn.  Carefully consider the yarn, the stitch pattern and the resulting knitted fabric.  Will the weight of the fabric cause the fabric to sag on either side of the zipper? Is the yarn so fuzzy that it will get caught in the teeth?  Consider alternate forms of closures if the zipper will not enhance the design.  

It seems to be harder and harder to find full-service fabric stores which have much of a selection for zippers.  I now get zippers on line.  Zipper Stop has a huge selection of all types and colors of zippers.  You can even customize the length.  Some knit the garment first and others get the zipper and knit to its length.  It is pretty much up to you.  

As you knit the garment, you should consider the edge where the zipper will be placed.  A standard selvedge can be pretty ugly and a bit lumpy.  I generally slip the first stitch for the edges where the zipper will be placed. This creates a decorative edge and provides a seam line as well.  For the sample, I picked up and bound off a row of stitches in a different color to provide an edge.  The seam is placed in the center of each white stitch.

I do not use a sewing machine to put in the zipper, mainly as I am not a very good seamstress.  I find it easier to put the zipper in by hand.  In any case, the process is to baste the zipper in place first and then sew it in.  Be sure not to have the stitches that might interfere with the zipper teeth.  In the photograph above you can see that I line up the stitches next to the teeth.  

I used a back stitch to ensure that the zipper wouldn't slip as this photo shows.

Here is this week's video:  Zippers

Salon will be on Saturday from 1:30 to 3:20.  No opera this week.  UK does have a football game but it isn't in town.  If I have a request, I will turn the tv on to the game.

I have blocked the yellow socks but I am going to put off weaving in the yarn tails.  For each row of flowers there are four yarn tails.  I don't like carrying up the yarn.  It doesn't do the tension any favors.  The photograph doesn't do the yellow justice.  It is a beautiful buttercup.

I've started on birthday socks which I will finish up before starting holiday gifts.  Luckily, the new cycle of Cast On garments doesn't start until early December.  I am going to try and show some restraint in my proposals.  Jan choose this Madelinetosh yarn for her socks.  She is branching out from GRAY!  I had some  trouble finding a stitch pattern I liked.  The yarn is so dark it obscures any design.  (It photographs MUCH lighter...the name of the color is Ink.) I am calling them  Bow Tie socks.  Yes, I am sure it is an existing pattern I just haven't taken the time to research it.  The pattern I used originally (and knit half of the sock with) had the reverse stockinette beginning immediately after the cable.  I like this one much better.

Here is a close up of the stitch pattern.  

Friday, November 8, 2013

Picking Up Stitches on a Horizontal Edge

I'm back from my travels and don't plan on going anywhere for a while.  I had a great time in west Texas.  I especially enjoyed Big Bend National Park and Marfa.  As soon as I got home I had to get ready for the photo shoot.  I was afraid I wouldn't have time to finish up everything but I made it just under the wire.  The photo shoot was a three-ring circus.  The Fashion Framework article for the issue is about dog sweaters and we had two Teacup Yorkies as models.  We also had 2 year old model.  We got some great photos of all.  My twin set and skirt looked great on the model.  I managed to snap a photo.

I loved how the skirt turned out.  I am going to do a matching jacket for the next issue.  I was very surprised at how well the cables show up.  The yarn provides a very interesting tweedy texture.  Word is out in the industry that tweed is very hot.  I've been thinking about what I want to do for the next issue and I plan to do a tweedy argyle vest.

Several lessons were waiting for me when I got home.  It didn't take me long to get them out.  I really do not like to have students waiting very long for my letters.  I take pride in getting things back quickly.  It has been difficult this past month.

This weeks tip is about how to pick up stitches along a horizontal (bound off ) edge.  In a sweater, you generally find this type of edge in necklines.  Before I discuss how to do this, I should mention that many patterns suggest putting the neckline stitches on holders and then working the band.  I don't do this unless it is a baby sweater.  They have such pumpkin heads you need all the give you can get in a neckline to pull the sweater over there head.  If you bind off the neckline stitches, your neckband will have more support.  Test this by stretching live stitches and then stretching a bound off edge and you will see what I mean.  I think so many patterns have you do it this way rather than explain how to do it properly.  Anyway, I will get off my soapbox and get to the point.

Pick up stitches on a bound off edge in the center of the stitch BELOW the bind off edge, not IN the bind off or between the stitches.  The two photos belabor this point.

The stitches you pick up should continue the column of stitches below.  If you look closely at the photograph below you can see that the columns of stitches continue into the band.  It is little details like this that make something look "handmade" as opposed to "homemade."

If you pick up the stitches between the columns, it pinches the stitches together which results in the DREAD Elevens.

Here is the link to the video:  Picking Up Stitches.  Next week, unless someone has a special need, will be picking up stitches on a vertical (selvedge) edge.

Salon will be on Sunday from 2-5pm.  Saturday is the HD simulcast of one of my favorite operas...not only is the music divine, it has all you want in an opera except a soprano dying of consumption.  You can't have everything.  I saw this production of Tosca a few years ago and it has some of the creepiest staging I've ever seen.  There is also a football game.  

I posted a photo above of the skirt and twin set.  They really worked well together.  I did a pair of socks as well.  Jan suggested I call them "Mary, Mary Quite Contrary."  I had hoped to finish two colorways for the photo shoot.  I did get one pair done but the second pair was photographed "in progress".  

One of these are now done and I should have the other done by tomorrow.  Then I have birthday presents to do (you know who you are!)