Friday, December 5, 2014

Knitted Cast On

I didn't have time to make a post last week and I am not sure if I will have time during the rest of the month.  It depends on how my cookie baking goes!

I am getting to be bit of a broken record but I didn't receive many lessons to review.  I did get three lessons which I will review as soon as I finish this blog.  I've had several students ask if they can continue after a year has past.  YES!  Just contact me for the updated materials.

This week's tip is about the knitted cast on.  This is one of the easiest cast ons to learn.  I used this cast on for years until someone showed me the Long Tail method.  The reason it is so easy is that it is similar to knitting.  The problem with this cast on is that is it quite loose.  It doesn't provide much support for the fabric which follows and it isn't very attractive.  It is a good choice for lace as it is so loose and its appearance isn't all that noticeable at the bottom of lace.  I've included it in my blog as I used it for the striped dress in the Spring issue of Cast On.  This dress is a top down raglan and you need to add stitches at the underarm.  The cable cast on is too tight and bulky.  I find the "E" or Backwards "E" too loose.  

To work this cast on, you just place a slip knot on the needle.  You then knit into this slip knot and place the loop back on the left needle.   Notice that the edge is a bumpy edge.  It is the same on the RS and WS.

Here is what it looks like when a few rows are worked.  You can see it is quite loopy.  

Here is a link to the video:  Knitted Cast On

After the holidays I will do a tip on another type of cast on which is good for lace.  I've used it a few times.  I will also try to remember to video the process of weaving in the yarn tails at the thumb of one of the mitts.  I had a suggestion to do this a few years ago (Thanks Maris) but I didn't want to knit a mitten just to do the video.  Now that I have all of these mitts to finish I will give it a shot!

There will not be a salon this week as I am going to Vegas where I plan to win big.  I have a house sitter to take in any lessons which may arrive.  

My holiday knitting is going well.  I steamed the hat for Isabel so Jan can send it off to France with the matching scarf she is making.  

We had the selection meeting for the Summer issue on Wednesday (to find out more about that, check my blog here TKGA website  later in the month).  Anyway, I wanted to do something special for Sadie, Jane and Marijane who are involved in the selection process.  I had designed a pair of mitts as the pattern to be sent to new TKGA members and I thought it would be fun to give them all a pair.  I can now do these in my sleep!  That black blob to the extreme right is George's paw.  I cropped him out.  He feels it is his duty to inspect things I knit.

Since I had yarn left over from the shawl I made for Stephanie, I decided to make a hat as well.  I used the same sawtooth edging.  

I finished the mitts for Martha's sister-in-law.  I really do have this pattern memorized!

I decided to make a scarf for Cara as well.  I love this yarn.  It is so soft and the stitch definition is beautiful.

I have a few more things to do before beginning the garments for the Summer issue.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Cable Cast On

It has been a fairly boring week which is nice for a change...I have been dragging my feet getting my proposals ready for the next issue of Cast On.  I know what I will  be doing next week!

I only received one lesson to review this week.  I guess everyone is in holiday mode.  I got a request from someone who had signed up for the Basics course a while back.  Again, as long as I am the instructor of the course, you can continue with it even after a year has past.  When I first started teaching the course I would mail the materials but now I email them.  This has allowed me to keep the cost the same.  

The tip this week is how to work the cable cast on.  This is a very simple cast on, one that many beginning knitters learn as it uses knitting needles.  It produces a very firm, non-elastic edge.  (Hint:  This isn't a cast on to use if you want a stretchy edge, say for a baby hat.)  About the only time I use it is when I am making one-row horizontal buttonholes.    As for many cast ons, there is a smooth side and bumpy side.  This photo shows the smooth side.  

This is the bumpy side.

When you are using a cast on with smooth and bumpy sides, be consistent within the project as to which side you select for the right side of the work.  Which you choose, doesn't matter as long as you are consistent.

This photograph shows the smooth side of the cast on for the right side of the work.

This is the wrong side.  Notice how well the bumpy side of the cast on blends in with the reverse stockinette.

Here is the link to the video:  Cable Cast On

This week's salon will be on Sunday from 2:00-4:00.  The Met auditions are on Saturday and I am hoping to get there for at least part of it!  It is always a great event.

I am making good progress on the gift front.  I had quite a bit of time to knit this week.  If I could only stop ripping things out I would get more done.  I decided to make chain mail shawls for Cynthia and Jordan.  They live in Dallas.  I used Berroco Elements which is a metallic yarn.  It is perfect for this project.  The photograph doesn't do the yarn colors justice.  They are gold and silver.

This slouch hat needs to be blocked which I haven't done yet.  You can't really see the pattern.  I will do the finishing on all of this stuff later.

I decided to put a blue stripe in the hat so that it will match the mitts.

I am making a pair of cashmere mitts for Martha to give to her sister-in-law.  Yes, I can be very nice when I want to be.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Tubular Cast On, Part 2

I spent the early part of the week in Zanesville.  On Monday we had a meeting about conference in San Diego in July.  I am very excited.  We have lots of fun things planned.  The Yarn Tasting will be even bigger and better than last year.  Stay tuned.

On Tuesday we had the photo shoot for the Spring issue.  It was a very windy and sunny day.  Luckily, the cold front hadn't moved in yet or we would have had a miserable time.  This photo more or less sums up the day.  We were avoiding the sun like vampires.  (The garment is a linen top...very cute.)  The model is Julia who is a dream to work with.  Sadie and Susan, the stylist are trying to provide some shade.

Very few lessons arrived which was fortunate since I was gone several days.  I spent the better part of the week working on a curriculum we are planning to announce soon.  I'm excited about it!  More to follow...

I've decided to do just one more tip about tubular cast ons.  There are quite a few techniques out there.  I've even done one myself where you use Judy's Magic Cast On (most frequently used for toe up socks).  Tubular cast ons are basically double knitting for a few rows.  In this technique you cast on directly to the needle all of the stitches you need.  (If you remember, when you use the crochet chain method, you have a chain stitch for half the number of stitches plus one.)  It is basically the same cast on you use for a provisional cast on.  

If you look closely, you can see that some of the stitches look sort of like knit stitches and the others purl stitches.  When you turn the work, you knit the "knit" stitches and slip the "purl" stitches with the yarn in front.  You knit the selvedge stitches.  You turn the work and work several rows (from 2-4 depending on how rounded you want the cast on) 

If you are working in the round, you don't need the selvedge stitches and you have to reverse which stitches you slip and work on each round.  I used this technique on a watch cap (photo below) I am working on.  You have to be very careful not to twist the first round.  It is essential to use much smaller needles for the cast on as you can wind up with a lot of slack at the end.  I worked only two rounds of the slipped stitches as I didn't want it very rounded.  Here is the video:  Tubular Cast On Part 2

Salon will be on Saturday from 1:30-3:20.  If you need an incentive to come out in this cold weather, I picked up some Goumas chocolates in Granville which I am going to share!

I thought I'd share one more photo from the shoot.  This is the jacket I did a few months ago.  

My nephew wants a hat for Christmas and black is the color choice.  I used a skein of Berocco Ultra Alpaca.  I didn't notice until I had worked about 5" that I was using Size 5 needles instead of Size 6.  Oh well, he lives in Utah and a dense, warm hat will work.  I used my pattern for the Confident Beginner pattern.  

My niece wants a scarf.  The yarn is a DK Madelinetosh and it is yummy.  I have a skein left and if I have time, I will make a hat as well.  I'd like to use the sawtooth edge as well.

I had enough Seahawk Green to make a hat.  This yarn isn't the easiest to work with and after several experiments I determined a simple watch cap would be the best thing to do.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Tubular Cast On Part 1

This was a very slow week...only 3 lessons to review.  I got a start on my gift knitting.  Our photo shoot is next week and usually at this time I am frantically trying to finish things up but I've made a real effort the last few issues to get things to the office sooner so they can do styling.  This gives me more time for personal knitting.

I've noticed that the number of lessons I receive to review really goes down starting in November.  I think everyone is gearing up for the holidays.  Wouldn't your family member prefer swatches demonstrating increases instead of a hat?  I guess not.

Since Cast On is now digital I have made more references to videos demonstrating techniques.  For the garments I have in the Spring issue, I mention in the patterns that they can find videos for certain techniques so I guess I better to those videos.  This week will be how to work a tubular cast on which I use for the top down raglan striped dress.

A word about the name...I am using "tubular" which is what we call this in the Masters Program.  This technique has quite a few names.  Some refer to it as "invisible" which it is but this term is also used for provisional cast ons.  As far as I know "tubular" is only used for this technique.  The edge is rounded.  This is what the final product looks like.  

You may want to take a look at my blog entry for September 19th of this year where the tip was about provisional cast ons if you haven't used a crochet chain.  I have a photo of where to pick up the loops.  

For the tubular cast on, you work a chain of half of the number of total stitches plus one.  I generally make far more chains than I need as I am too lazy to do the math!  The difference between the tubular and provisional technique is that you pick up one stitch for each crochet bump for the provisional and for the tubular you make a yarn over between each stitch you pick up.  In the photograph below you can see the stitch/yarn over pairs.  When you are working this flat, you will have an uneven number of stitches as you need a selvedge stitch at the end.  If you are working this technique in the round, you can have a yarnover at the end of the round.

The next step is to work several rows where you work one stitch and slip the next.  You need to work a minimum of two rows.  The more rows you work, the more rounded the cast on edge becomes.

If you are working flat, you knit the knit stitches and slip the purl stitches on all rows.  If you are working in the round, you need to alternate this each round.  You knit the knit stitches the first round and slip the purl stitches and on the next round you slip the knit stitches and purl the purl stitches. After 2-4 rows, work in K1P1 ribbing.  Notice that the stitches are overlarge.  When you use this technique work the tubular cast on with smaller needles that the size for the rest of the ribbing.

The final step is to remove the crochet chain.  Be sure you start at the end, not the beginning.  This photograph shows the crochet chain partially removed.

Here is a video showing the process:    Tubular Cast On

Salon will be on Sunday from 1-4 pm.  I am going to a football game on Saturday.  There is still quite a bit of yarn available if you missed out last week.

Some posted a question about the salon....It is just a get-together I host at my house on either Saturday or Sunday every week for friends.  There is absolutely no formal agenda or instructional component.  If you are in Lexington KY over a weekend, send me an email and I will send you my address.  For obvious reasons I don't post personal information in this blog.  It is always fun to have someone drop by.

I had a special request for fingerless mitts in lime green (Seattle Seahawks color).  I generally do mitts with sock yarn but since the only yarn I had was a worsted weight I decided to keep them simple.  I couldn't resist adding the L and R, which I outlined in another Seahawk color.

Last week I wrote up a pattern which we will give to new members of TKGA.  Mitts seem to be what people are requesting this year.  I used the pattern I just did to test it out.  Here are two I have finished for birthday gifts.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Japanese Short Rows

I'm back at long last and and moderately healthy.  It really takes a long time to get over a cold.

Back at the first of the month, I taught at the Tenntucky Fiber Arts Retreat which was a lot of fun.  It was at the Lake Barkley State Resort in KY.  The facilities were great and the meeting was so well planned.  Joseph, Rachel and Ann did a fabulous job.  It will be an annual event.  The participants all had a great time as well.

I then went off to Stitches East to work at the TKGA booth.  Lots of knitters stopped by to say hello.  I had time to visit some booths.  I'm actively looking at yarn for the Yarn Tasting.  I couldn't buy much as I wasn't checking luggage but I did find a few things.  One of the vendors carried Wild Hare fibers and I couldn't resist this bright yarn for a pair of socks.  The green is from Neighborhood Fiber Company.  I hope they can participate in the Yarn Tasting.  I fell in love with their yarns.  The colors are named for neighborhoods in Washington DC, Baltimore and Columbus OH.  I had to get Rock Creek Park, the DC neighborhood I lived in.  I am hoping to see Chevy Chase, DC sometime soon.

I flew from Hartford to Santa Fe which took most of the day.  We spent several days in Santa Fe and I had time to visit a lovely yarn store a few miles from downtown--Yarn and Coffee.  I like to look at local yarns where ever I am and they had several.  Their stock was down as the Taos Fiber Festival was the week before.  I did get these two skeins.  You can't see the label of the second yarn, it is Wooly Wonka.

We then went to Durango and took time to do the train to Silverton.  This view reminded me of the sweater I did a couple of years ago.  Durango has a lovely yarn store, Yarn Durango, as well.  I stopped in and got some yarn for to work up a pair of mitts for the free pattern sent to new TKGA members and a pair of Herdy earrings.

I did a lot of knitting during the month and came home to my computer to write up the patterns.  The photo shoot is November 11.

Not many lessons arrived while I was gone but I am ready to review now!

As promised, this is the final video on Short Rows.  It is my least favorite but don't let that influence you.  My recommendation is that you try the various methods and find the one that gives you the best results.  My problem with this particular technique is that it is easier if you use safety pins and I'd rather not use props.  Also, I can never remember how to do it.  Preparing for this video, I looked at several sources and many of them are inaccurate or downright wrong.  Add my bad attitude to the mix and there you go.

The chief advantage most sources give for using this method is that you avoid wraps which doesn't seem to be that big of a deal to me.  Instead after you turn and slip the stitch you place a safety pin or marker that clips to the working yarn.

When you work the short rows you knit (or purl) the slipped stitch and then use the safety pin to pull up a loop to work with the next stitch.  When you work this on the purl side you have to move the loop to the other side of the stitch.  The video goes into this process.  Here is the link:  Japanese Short Rows

If you are doing the Masters Program, be very careful if you use this technique for the short row swatch.  Some sources are better than others.

Salon will be on Saturday from 1:30-3:20.  It will be the Great Yarn Giveawy.  I had not cleaned out my basement studio in a year.  What with my hip problems and all of the deadlines, travel, etc.  I just didn't get around to it.  I took time this week and hauled up tons of yarn.  This is a perfect time of year for this with holiday knitting coming up.  Bring a bag.

First up is the striped dress.  I worked on this at the Tenntucky Retreat and at Stitches.  I finished it up on the flight to Santa Fe.  I discuss the design process of this dress in the blog I am doing for TKGA.  The front and back are exactly the same.

Next up was the dish cloths for the Confident Beginner pattern.  These will be styled as a wedding shower or  house warming present.  The article focuses on how to read charts.  The garter stitch border also provides an opportunity for learning about the differences between garter and stockinette.  The yarn is Quince and Co Kestrel which is a linen tape.  It is ideal for a dish cloth.

Then it was time for the hand towels.  They are part of the same article.  The yarn is CotLin from KnitPicks. They had very little in stock.  We had to change our color selection several times.  I wasn't wild about the black but it would be a good choice for a hand towel...doesn't show the dirt.

Finally some short row shawls.  We had selected this yarn, Kavo from Shibui for another designer but it wouldn't work for the project.  I decided to use it for shawls.  It produces a very interesting fabric.  The shawls are done in garter stitch and it looks like chain mail.  I had enough yarn to work up two samples.  One has short rows worked every fourth stitch while the other has them worked every three stitches.

Now that those things are done, I am moving on to holiday knitting.  

Friday, October 24, 2014

I am back from my travels but I brought home an awful cold as well as some new yarns so I will not be making an entry until next week when I get my voice back....

Friday, October 3, 2014

German Short Rows

I will be leaving for the Lake Barkley Resort and the Tenntucky Retreat as soon as I finish this entry.  I have everything ready.

I spent the first part of the week writing the blog I am doing for the TKGA website.  It focuses on the design process and stuff I have to do as the Executive Director.  Since I am going to Stitches East next week I will try and do a posting about that as well.  Since I had finished the jacket, the blog describes the type of decisions you have to make while designing.  If you are a member of TKGA you can find it at  Sign in and click on For Members.

I will not be posting for the next two weeks as I will be at Stitches and on vacation.  Hopefully, I will have some fun stuff to report when I get back.  I've not been to Stitches East before.

I've heard from knitters who signed up for courses several years ago but didn't complete the course.  Again, my policy is that there is no time limit for completion as long as I am the instructor.  Just send me an email or contact me through Ravelry or this blog and ask for the updated materials.  I'll check my records and if you are a student I'll send the materials.

This week is German Short Rows.  I got a comment on the video I posted this week and if I weren't such a Youtube idiot I would respond there but I am in a hurry to get out of town!  The questions was if you can use a different short row technique when a pattern specifies another one.  YES!  Most patterns (except socks) don't usually specify which technique to use and if they do, it is Wrap and Turn.  You can use whatever technique you want.  The results of short rows are all the same.

My new favorite is the German Short Row technique.  I am so glad I decided to do the short rows techniques for this blog or I probably would have never tried this.  Knitters tend to have their "GO TO" techniques and Wrap and Turn was mine.  I generally try to use a new technique in every project but I got lazy with short rows.

With the German technique you don't wrap and turn.  I could describe this method for hours and it would be clear as mud.  I strongly suggest you look at the video first before reading further.  German Short Rows

This photograph shows the purlside in progress.  The red arrow shows the stitch and yarnover.  As I worked with this technique I learned that you should not pull the working yarn too tight or the short rows will be very visible.  Try and use a consistent technique.

Here is a photograph of the knitside in progress.

What really appeals to me about this technique is that it is so easy to work the short rows.  You just knit (or purl) the stitch and yarnover together.  I like the way the WS appears as well.  

Here is the RS.  I think it looks pretty good.

The next posting will finish up with the Japanese short row technique.

No salon this weekend or next.  Salon will resume on the 19th.  I am very excited that the Met HD season is starting again.  Alas, I will miss Verdi's Macbeth on the 11th as I will be at Stitches.  I'll be on vacation when they encore it and since this is a fly fishing trip I don't see me convincing my fellow travelers to try and find a theater to see it.  Oh well. On the 18th they are doing my very favorite opera of all time...La Nozze di Figaro.  The final sextet is the most sublime music ever written.  

The jacket is done! I finished up the pattern, chart and schematics on Monday.  It took all day.  I wound up naming it the Maggie Prescott Jacket.  I was inspired by a character in the old movie Funny Face.  It looks to me like something she would wear.  

My next project gave me fits.  It is a fitted dress with zero ease.  Julia will model it.  It is knit top-down with raglan sleeves in the round (three of my least favorite things).  The yarn is Rylie by Hikoo, a linen and alpaca blend.  I did the neckband originally and hated it.  I wanted a tubular cast on and it just didn't look like I wanted it to look so I decided to do a provisional cast on and pick up stitches for the band and do a tubular bind off.  I liked that but I didn't like the placement of the increases for the raglan.  After ripping it out 3 times, I finally on my way.  I am keeping track of the progress for my other blog.  I love the yarn. It is very forgiving.  Here is a photo.  

Friday, September 26, 2014

Provisional Cast On Part 2

Quite a few lessons arrived this week.  I think the fall inspires my students to complete their work.  I spend the week working on the jacket for Cast On.  Things didn't turn out exactly as planned!

I will do a blog entry next week before I leave for the fiber festival but I will not do one the next week or the week after.  I will be at Stitches East and then in Santa Fe.  TKGA will have a booth at Stitches.  Drop by if you are there.  While I am out of town, I will be available by email for questions and my housesitter will bring in any lessons that arrive.

I am always happy when students complete lessons and send them in.  Keep them coming!  There was another graduate for the Gauge Class.  Elizabeth did a fantastic job with the lesson.  It is a pleasure to review such lovely work!

As promised, here is another way to do a provisional cast on.  I tend to use this method when I am working with very fine yarn.  It can be difficult to crochet a chain that will match the gauge of the project.  Undoing the crochet chain, even if done properly can be difficult with fine yarn.  I also use this technique when using a fuzzier yarn.

For this method you can place the live stitches on either waste yarn or a cable.  Since you are going to be transferring the stitches to a needle anyway, why not skip a step.  It can be a bit difficult getting started.  As you will see in the video, you hold the cable over your index finger while your working yarn is over your thumb.  Cables don't exactly mold to your hand.  I am always happy when students complete lessons and send them in.  Keep them coming!  Here is a photograph of the cast on.

When I use this technique, I always put several extra stitches on the needle.  The stitches at the beginning and end of the cast on are hard to manage.  When you have the number of stitches you need you can just drop the extras.  The photograph shows the cast on plus a few rows.  Notice that it looks just like the photograph from last week.

Getting started, as I said, is a bit tricky but once you get going, you develop a rhythm and it goes very fast.
Here is the video:  Provisional Cast On Part 2

Salon will be on Sunday from 2-5pm.  There is a football game on Saturday and the historical home in our neighborhood is having a "Living History" day dedicated to the War of 1812.  They seem to be shooting off guns about every 30 minutes.  There will not be a Salon the first and second weeks in October.

I had hoped to post photos of the completed jacket but I hit a snag on the collar.  (The sleeves are done and are soaking so I can block them tomorrow.)  I thought I had finished the collar last night but when I looked at it this morning I realized that for it to lay right, it must have a facing so I undid it.  I have learned the hard way that if you don't like it as you work it, you should just start again.  The collar I did last night had the reverse st st as the RS and it just wasn't right.  I promise a photo next week!  Here is a photo of the back.  I used cables to shape the waist.   The fronts have no shaping at all.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Provisional Cast On Part 1

It was a busy week.  I looked at the calendar and realized that I needed to get things ready for the classes I am teaching at the Tenntucky Fiber Arts Autumn Retreat.  I have learned the hard way to prepare kits for classes instead of asking students to bring yarn and since I am teaching intarsia and there are 23 + students I was busy winding balls of yarn.  I also had to get the handouts ready.  All of this takes time.

Also, starting in October, I will be doing an additional blog for the TKGA website.  It will focus on the things I do for TKGA as well as my design process.  I'll focus on the designs I do for Cast On.  Sadie is coming up with a format.  I just have to provide text, photos and videos.

I am glad to say that I am starting to get lessons to review and I have heard from several students who started the course but let several years go by.  Again, I am happy to review work even after several years.  Just send me an email and I will send the updated course materials.

I'm jumping around again.  This week's tip is about one method for doing a provisional cast on.   Next week I will do a different techinque.  My current projects often drive what I do for the tips.  I will be doing two additonal tips about short rows...again, my current project uses short rows and I made an effort to use a different technique.

You use provisional cast ons for a variety of reasons.  Most frequently you see it in projects where the cast on edge is joined to the bind off edge.  Instead of seaming, you graft the live stitches.   I've seen patterns where there will be some sort of applied edging.  Yes, you could pick up stitches along the cast on edge but the edge will be more elastic if a provisional cast on is used instead.where you want to seam the cast on edge to the bind off.  

The most common way of doing a provisional cast on is the crochet method.  In this technique you use a crochet hook and waste yarn to make a chain.  You then pick up stitches in the "bumps".  For the waste yarn I find it easier if I use a slipperly yarn for the chain.  I also try to use a very different color from my project yarn.  I make each stitch in the chain fairly large so that it is easier to see the bumps.  And finally, I always tie a knot at the yarn tail at the end so I can remember which end to unravel when I remove the waste yarn.

Here is a photograph of the RS of the chain:

Here is the back side with arrows pointing to the bumps.

Once the chain is complete, you pick up stitches in bumps.  The next two photographs show both sides.

From this point, you just work until you are ready to deal with the live stitches.  The first step is to remove the waste yarn.  You undo the last link in the chain and if all goes well you just pull the waste yarn and the live stitches are freed.  I generally put the stitches on a needle as I go as the photo shows.  Here is a link to the video:  Provisional Cast On Part 1

The other way I do a provisional cast on is to put the live stitches on the cable of an interchangeable needle.  This way you don't have to worry about waste yarn.  Next week...that technique.

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

Yes, it is done!

I have made a start on the jacket.  I am using a provisional cast on and short rows in this project.  More details later.