Friday, April 25, 2014

Fixing Cables

I've been keeping up with the yarn as it has arrived for the tasting.  The yarns from The Unique Sheep and RedFish are ready.  I'm doing Classic Elite this week. They sent two yarns for the tasting--Soft Linen and Firefly.  We are doing to do some promotional photos at the next photo shoot.  Most of the yarn will arrive after TNNA.  Speaking of which, I will not make a blog entry next week as I will be leaving for TNNA which is in Indianapolis this year.

Again, a reminder...if you want a hard copy of the lesson, please let me know in the lesson you have sent for review.  Otherwise, I will email the lesson to you. Also, I will be out of town Friday-Sunday of next week so if you send a lesson in, I won't be able to review it until Monday.

Anyone who has worked with cables has probably had the experience of messing up a cable.  I do this all the time.  I wish I didn't.  I did a sweater for Cast On a number of years ago and I didn't notice until the photo shoot that I had a cable slanting left when it should have slanted right.  OOPS!  Luckily it was at the armhole.  If I had just stood back and looked at the piece I would have noticed it.  One of my New Years resolutions is to look at each pattern row as I finish it.  It is much easier to fix mistakes at that point.  

It isn't difficult to fix a cable.  It is just messy.  If you have a low tolerance for this sort of thing, rip out your work.  As with fixing dropped stitches in stockinette, sometimes the tension gets screwy.  Tension at the left side of cables can be a problem as it is and if you fix the cable, it can be worse.  (Remember, you can avoid those ugly ladders to the left of cables by bringing the yarn forward tightly when transitioning from a knit to a purl.  

Here is a photo of a cable problem. 

 To fix this, work up to the cable and then undo the problem stitches until you reach the cable.  I put the cable stitches on cable hooks.  The video shows the process of fixing it.  Fixing a cable  Again, this can be a frustrating experience as the video demonstrates.   Some knitters find it easier to just rip out all of the work to the problem site.  I generally try fixing it first and if it doesn't look right, I then rip it out.

Here is the fixed cable.  I was surprised that the tension seemed OK.  After all of the yarn manipulation required, I thought it would look awful.

The Met is broadcasting Cosi fan tutte is on Saturday.  Only one more opera after this one.  I will be in Mozart overload as I am working on a Mozart piece for the piano which has been a dream to play (after Bach's Italian Concerto everything seems easier!)  Salon will be on Sunday from 2-5pm.

I finished up the Boyfriend Scarf & Slouch Hat.  I love how they turned out.  The yarn was heavenly to work with--Juniper Moon Herriot.  I wanted the hat to be VERY simple, both in its appearance and in difficulty rating.  There is a K2P2 band which transitions into K1P1.  It definitely is a "One Size Fits All" hat.   I did lots of videos for it to help the "Confident Beginner."  The patterns will be in the Fall issue..just in time for holiday knitting.  

The scarf and hat were the last of the garments for Cast On.  I am working on a pair of birthday socks.  I love the yarn.  It is 10% bison down and merino from Alisha Goes Around.  I've used it before and will definitely use it again.  The pattern is one I did for Cast On last year--Baby Bees.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Fixing Dropped Stitches in Garter Stitch

I spent time this week putting the yarn for the Tasting at Manchester into center pull balls and even more time working on the tags.  Hang tags are a problem as they tangle and I think I have found a solution.

This photo doesn't do justice to the color of this yarn which is called Pool.  It is gorgeous.  It does give you an idea of the look we are going for.  The tags can be attached to the swatches when knit.

Quite a few students have asked for the revised materials.  I am willing to send physical copies to anyone ordering the course now.  I believe I mentioned earlier that I will be sending electronic copies of the lesson along with my letter.  If you want a hard copy of the NEXT lesson, please let me know BEFORE the lesson arrives so I can include it with the swatches and not have to send it separately.

This week the topic is how to fix a dropped stitch in garter stitch.  The good news is that garter stitch is much more forgiving when fixing mistakes.  As I said last week, fixing a dropped stitch in stockinette can cause havoc with the tension. It isn't as noticeable in garter stitch.  For that matter, dropped stitches are really hard to spot on one side of garter stitch.  I really had to stretch the swatch in this photograph to even see the dropped stitch.  It is virtually invisible when not stretched.  Since you have a choice of which is the RS, you can always select the side where the dropped stitch isn't visible.

This photograph shows the other side where the dropped stitch is visible.  

The basic procedure for fixing a dropped stitch is the same as for stockinette.  You have to ladder down to the dropped stitch and then use a crochet hook to pick up the stitches.  You will notice that the ladders for the purl bumps are to the front of the work and the ladders for the knit stitches are to the back.  The photograph shows a purl bump.

You need to be careful that you work the knit stitches with the ladder behind the stitch and the purl bumps with the ladder in front.  Otherwise, you lose the "ridges".  This can take practice.  Many knitters find it easier to pick up the knit stitches and if you fall into this category you can turn your work to the other side when it is time to pick up a purl stitch as it is a knit on the other side.  Fixing a dropped stitch in Garter stitch

Salon will be on Saturday this week from 1:30 to 3:20.  

I finished up the tunic.  Seaming it was not fun.  As you can see, the front and back are the same.  It is designed to be close fitting on top and flare at the bottom.  I like the way the vertical bands almost look pleated.  I have a light gray of this same yarn to make one for me.  It will be longer than a tunic.

Here is the back:

I've started work on the final project for this issue.  We are starting a new feature called "Confident Beginner".  It will have simpler patterns designed for new knitters and it will be very educational.  The first pattern will feature knits and purls together and the project is a scarf & hat.  Here is the scarf.  It is a checker board pattern.  Depending on the look that you want, you can block it or not.  Obviously the scarf isn't blocked yet.

This swatch has been blocked.  I will block it for the photo shoot.  The hat will use the same yarn but it isn't going to match the scarf.  I'm temporarily calling this the Boyfriend Scarf.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Fixing Dropped Stitches in Stockinette

I had company in town so I didn't get much work done.  I'm continuing to work on the Yarn Tasting event.  A box arrived today from Shibui filled with gorgeous turquoise yarn.  I am going to try and stay ahead of this and start winding the yarn for the tasting so I don't have to stay up all night at the beginning of July.  Classic Elite has signed on and will provide two of my favorite yarns for the tasting.  This event will be just too much fun.

Former students...please let me know if you want the updated materials for your records.  I am happy to send you links.  Current students, please let me know if you want hard copies as well.  I won't send them unless asked.

For the next few weeks, I am going to discuss fixing mistakes.  The most important tip I can give any knitter is to LOOK AT YOUR WORK.  This may sound obvious but it really isn't.  I have noticed that the majority of knitters are so focused on the stitches on the needle that they never even bother to look down at their work.  If you can train yourself to do this every few rows, fixing a mistake is MUCH easier.  I also recommend standing back a few feet and then looking at your work.  You will notice things you just don't see looking at it closely, particularly when working cables.

This week I will discuss how to fix a dropped stitch in stockinette.  The photograph shows a dropped stitch on the RS of stockinette.  Depending on the yarn you are using, a dropped stitch can be hard to see but it can effect the overall tension of the piece.

Here is what it looks like on the WS.  If reverse stockinette is the RS of the work, this is really something you need to fix.  It is very noticeable.

To fix the stitch, you work to the column of stitches and undo that column so that it looks like ladders and then use a crochet hook to pick up the stitch and the stitches you undid.  The video shows this process:
Fixing a Dropped Stitch

Sometimes it is better to rip out the work than fix it.  When you pick up the dropped stitch, it will draw the yarn from the stitches on either side, making them smaller and creating a tension issue.  You can manipulate the surrounding stitches to fix this (as I show in the video) but sometimes it just doesn't look right.  The other thing to watch out for is not to twist the stitch.

This week Salon will be on Sunday from 2-5pm.  I hope you can come.  I missed everyone last week.

I am now working on the sleeves of the tunic.  I finished the front and blocked it but since it looks EXACTLY like the back, I didn't bother to photograph it.  What photographs do not show is the absolutely fabulous drape of this fabric.  I am definitely making me one as well.  I should have the whole thing finished up by next week.  Since the digital version of Cast On will have links to videos, I am doing lots of videos for all of my projects now.  It is amazing how far the art of knitting has come in just a few years.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Twisted Stitches

I am very excited.  I spent the week working on the Yarn Tasting event which will be Saturday night of the TKGA conference.  It will be hosted by StevenBe and Stephen West.  I have been contacting yarn companies to provide yarn for the tasting and the response has been fantastic.  So far Miss Babs, Redfish, Blue Moon Fibers, Shibui, and Anzula have committed to provide yarn and I am just getting started.  There will be three stations for the yarn to be for worsted, one for DK, and one for sock/lace.  There will be enough yarn to knit a small swatch--approximately 20 sts by 26 rows but the best part will be the goody bags.  There will be wine and cheese and conversation.

I finished up the revisions for the Basics class and quite a few students (and former students) have asked for the materials.  I will be changing how I process the lessons.  Instead of including the next lesson with the swatches, I will email it, along with my letter, as soon as I review the lesson.  This is what I have been doing for my non-US students for quite some time now.  If you want the revised lessons, send me an email with your full name and I will get it to you.

As I revised the lessons, I realized I have never discussed twisted stitches.  Every once in a while I get a lesson where all of the swatches have twisted stitches.  Generally this happens to self-taught knitters.  What amazes me is that many times these knitters show their work to others, generally yarn store owners, and no one comments on it.  Twisted stitches should be avoided unless you are doing it on purpose, say for Bavarian Twisted Stitches patterns.  The main reason is that twisted stitches have a very different gauge and they can make it difficult when using patterns.  There are several ways stitches can become twisted.

The most common way is to wrap the yarn the opposite way (under the needle for purl stitches and over the needle for knit stitches) and then to work those stitches on the next row through the front.  This twists the stitch towards the right.  (If you work those stitches through the back, they resulting stitch will not be twisted.  Combination knitters do this.)  The next way to twist a stitch is to work the stitches through the back.  This is easier for knit stitches.  You really have to work at this to do it for purl stitches.  This twists the stitch towards the left.  The photo above shows the difference.

I have reviewed swatches where every other row is twisted.  In the Basics class, the first swatch is a garter stitch swatch.  If those stitches are twisted I know the problem is with the knit rows.  If those stitches aren't twisted, it is the purl rows.  My experience has been that this is an easy problem to fix.  Once the knitter realizes their mistake, they solve it.  Twisted Stitches

Once when I was teaching at a conference one of my students was very defensive about their twisted stitches and they preferred the look of twisted stitches.  That is fine as long as the knitter is aware of the difference this can make to gauge.  The only other issue is that when the fabric is stretch, there is much more space between the columns of stitches which can be a problem as well.  The photograph shows the swatch where it has been stretched.

There will not be salon this week as the opera is Saturday (La Boheme) and I have friends in town from Utah.  They have picked a crazy time to visit as UK is in the Final Four.  I suspect that on Sunday I will be going on a Bourbon Tour.  There will be salon the next weekend.

I finished up the argyle vest samples for the Fall issue.  They are sized to fit a 9 month old baby and a 5 year old. I think they are sweet.

I finished the back of the Wasp Wing tunic.  It went very fast.  The front and back are the same.  There will be ballerina length sleeves.  Obviously it is to be worn over something.

 I'm hoping to finish the front this week.  I still have two more things to do.  We are adding a new feature to the magazine called Confident Beginner.  The project will be a slouch hat & scarf.  There will be lots of videos associated with it.  Since the magazine is going digital soon, there will be lots of video links on how to do things for every pattern I write.