Friday, August 29, 2014

See You Next Week

I won't be making a post this week as I have had unexpected company.  I will post next week.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Wrap and Turn Short Rows

This week was devoted primarily to pattern writing, not my favorite thing.  I had a technical article to write as well.  I am happy to report that I finished everything and that the garments are safely in Zanesville ready for the photoshoot next week.  The patterns are with the tech editor so all is well.

I only had one lesson to review this week!  I guess everyone is on vacation.  I have corresponded with several students who put the course aside for awhile.  Again, it is my policy not to enforce a time limit.  Do contact me so I can give you the latest versions, particularly for the Basics class.  I revised it back in April to include links to this blog.  

This week's tip is about short rows.  I had a special request.  There are several ways to do short rows and I will probably get around to those techniques but I will start with the most basic, wrap and turn.   All short row techniques have one thing in common.  You do not work to the end of the row.  You turn the work to work the other side. If you just turn the work, for most stitch patterns, there will be a hole at the turn and that is what the various techniques to avoid the holes.  In the wrap and turn method method, you work to where you want to turn, slip the next stitch purlwise, bring the working yarn to the front or back (depending on the stitch pattern), wrap the stitch, and then return it to the left needle.  When all of the short rows are complete, you work the stitch together with its wrap.  This video shows the basic process:  Wrap and Turn Short Rows  

I'm not going to go into all of the uses for short rows as there are many.  Typically, most knitters first encounter them to to shape shoulders instead of binding off stitches incrementally which produces stair steps.  I've used this example for the photographs.

In this photograph I have used short rows to shape the shoulder slope.   For one side, the wrap and turn is done on the RS and for the other, it is done on the WS.

The photograph below shows the short rows in progress.  The increment I chose for the short rows is every four stitches.  If you look closely, you can see the wraps.

When the wraps are worked, they create something that looks either like a "C" or backwards "C."  If the wrap is worked on the purlside, it looks like a "C".  If worked on the knitside, it looks like a backwards "C."  If you look closely at the photograph you can see the wraps.

As I said earlier, there are several ways to work short rows.  For those of you doing the Masters Program, you can select the method you want.  This is something you should practice before doing the final swatch.

There will be salon this weekend.  Contact me for the date and time.

Here is the final photographs of the Holiday Top.  It turned out better than expected.  I did something interesting with the neck and armhole bands.  You need to be careful when doing bands for sleeveless tops.  They can be too heavy.  This one is barely there and it compliments BJ's Cast On.  I hadn't cut the dental elastics out of the piece yet.  They show where the decreases/increases are for shaping.  This is the front.  By the way, I used short rows to shape the back hem!  You can see the wraps if you look close!

This is the back.  Of course, you could wear it the other way.

I finished the mittens as well.  The garland for the photoshoot is about 6'.

Here is a close up.  I did a mini garland for RedFish to display at their shows.  They are going to put together  kits for the garland as you would have LOTS of yarn leftover.  The kits will have enought yarn for six mittens of each color.

Now that I have finished up all of the stuff for Cast On, I am getting a head start on my holiday knitting.  When I was in SLC in May my friend Martha picked out yarn for her Christmas present.  I generally make her socks but she wanted a scarf-y/shawl-y thing.  She picked out some sparkly yarn.  I loved a crescent shawl Mary had just finished and Mary was nice enough to gift me the pattern--Paula Emons-Fuessle's Sister  Bay Shawl.  The scarf will have a crescent shape but I am going to do an applied saw-tooth garter stitch border instead.  I should have it finished by the end of the weekend.

Friday, August 15, 2014

BJ's Cast On

I spent the week finishing up the Nordic sweaters and the patterns.  It always takes much longer than I think to write patterns.  I am glad that I did the charts as I went along.  I've got a good start on the Confident Beginner Garment.  It is turning out nicely.

It was a slow week for me.  I did receive a package from Italy from Giuseppina for the Swatch to Sweater class.  Her design is absolutely lovely.  Several students signed up for courses.  It seems like knitters like to begin classes in the fall.

I know I promised to do more finishing videos but I got distracted by my current project.  It is a fitted top which required a very loose cast on edge.  A few years back I had a student at a conference (BJ) who showed me a wonderfully simple cast on which is very loose.  It is perfect for this project.  I've used it in projects in the past.  It produces a cast on which is the same on the RS and WS.  It looks like little purl bumps.  Here is the RS.  

Here is the WS.  It isn't a long tail cast so you don't need to figure out how much yarn you need.

I've worked a few rows so you can see what it looks like on the RS and WS.  Here is the RS.

Here is the WS.

The cast on requires a bit of practice but once you have it down it is very easy.  BJ's Cast On

There will be Salon this weekend.  Drop me a note and I will let you know the day and time.  It was tough picking a time.  The UK basketball team is playing exhibition games this weekend.

The sweaters are FINALLY finished (except for cutting the dental elastics out of the sleeves.  I hope I remember to do this before the photo shoot!)  Note that the designs are different for each size.  I especially like the baby size.

We decided to do a holiday top for the Confident Beginner series.  When I was a new knitter I was terrified of shaping a garment and finishing it so that is what this project is all about.  The top is fitted and the back (not shown) is longer due to short rows.  Since I do videos for all aspects of these projects, they aren't transportable.  I have to work to the section for the next video.  I would have had this finished otherwise since I worked this week.  The yarn is from S. Charles...two strands held together...mohair and a cotton with sequins.  It really is a lovely fabric.   It is a simple garment.

Since I couldn't carry the top around I started the last project...a mitten garland.  The yarn is from RedFish.  These are all the colors.  The photo is pretty close.  I let Elff pick the colors.  I didn't want standard holiday colors. I am very pleased with how they are turning out.  I think I will make 5 of each color.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Vertical Buttonholes

I had really hoped to finish the Nordic Sweaters this week.  The knitting is done.  I am just sewing them together.  Doing it right takes time, alas.

I only received one lesson to review this week but I got quite a few new students, including one from Bayreuth, Germany which is on my bucket list.  Perhaps I should consider a hand delivery!

As I was teaching the Finishing Course in Manchester, I realized that there were a few topics missing in my videos.  I will fill these in the upcoming weeks.  This week, vertical buttonholes....If you do the Masters Program you have to do three swatches of different stitch patterns demonstrating that you can make an eyelet buttonhole, vertical buttonhole and a horizontal buttonhole.  Some knitters are confused thinking this is how the buttonhole should look on the band.  It refers to how the buttonhole is made.  

There aren't that many ways to make a vertical buttonhole.  The advantage of this type of buttonhole is that it can be any size you want (which makes it ideal for big decorative buttons) and that it is easy to make.  The disadvantages are that it isn't very sturdy and quite a bit of clean up is required.  Oh, those yarn tails!

To make one, you work to where you want the buttonhole and drop the working yarn.  Use another ball to work to the end of the band.  In the photograph I have used a different color,  Work each side of the buttonhole until it is the size that you want and then work the entire row with one ball of yarn.  It can be hard to gauge how big to make the buttonhole so I recommend working a sample first.

When you finish you have to deal with the yarn tails which is actually a good thing.  You can use the tails to snug up the top and bottom of the buttonholes.  If you don't do this, the buttonhole is very loose.  This photograph shows the WS of the buttonhole.  Notice how the tail weaves are woven in.  

Here is the RS.   This is a very neat buttonhole, particularly in ribbing.  This is the link to the video.  George was very helpful in the video.  Vertical Buttonholes


There will be salon this weekend.   Send me a message and I will let you know the date and time.

As I said, I had hoped to finish these sweaters.  No such luck.  The baby size is done and I am halfway through with the child size.

Here is the adult size blocked.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Joining in the Round

The conference was a great success, I am happy to report.  The Yarn Tasting was a particular hit.  Here is a photo of the goody bags as we were sorting the yarn for each.  It gives you an idea of the scale.

We set the tables up as if for a buffet.

Everything went very smoothly and StevenBe and Stephen West were perfect hosts.  They did a trunk show.  Here is a picture of Stephen showing a shawl.  Suzanne Bryan, one of the Co-Chairs of the Masters Hand Knitting Committee is in the background.  The event would not have been possible without her, Binka Schwan and Charles Gandy's help.

The market was great.  I spent quite a bit of time at RedFish picking out yarn for my next sweater.  I was so glad they came.  They had a great market as well.

It was wonderful meeting so many of my students.  It means a lot that they come to the show.  A few course orders were waiting for me along with some lessons to review.

This week's tip is a special request of someone working on the mitten for Level 1 of the Masters Program.  It is something I never really thought about.  I did an informal poll of the Co-Chairs to see what they recommended and I got several different responses so I have included several different methods.

When you work in the round it is necessary to join the last cast on stitch to the first.  The most important thing is that you not twist the stitches.  If you do, you will discover it a few rounds in and the only solution is to start over again.  The next thing to watch out for is that the join be inconspicuous.  If you are not careful you can have a long horizontal strand between the first and last stitch.  

Method 1
This is the method I (and several of the Co-Chairs) use.  When you are finished with the cast on, just go ahead and work the first stitch.  Take care to pull the working yarn tightly.  (This is Step 1.)  The photo shows a mini swatch where I have done this.  Notice the yarn tail.  

When you are finished, use the yarn tail to neaten up the cast on edge.  Think of this as embroidery.  The next photo shows the same swatch with the yarn tail woven in.

Method 2
I've used this method as well.  When you finish the cast on, slip the first cast on stitch from the left needle to the right needle.  Pass the last cast on stitch over the first cast on stitch and onto the left needle.  You then work this stitch.  Crossing the first and last stitch provides a tight join.  The photo shows this join.  It is fairly inconspicuous.

Method 3
This method and the next one both require casting on one extra stitch.  I have to say, of all the methods, this is my least favorite.  You slip the first cast on stitch to the right needle and pass the last cast on stitch completely over the first stitch.  You then transfer the first stitch back to the left needle and work it.  If you look closely at the photograph below, you can see the stitch you have passed over the first stitch.  After a bit of research on the topic, I found that this is the most common method.  I don't think it is all that attractive.

Method 4
As with the last method, you cast on one extra stitch.  You transfer the extra stitch to the left needle and you either knit (or purl) it along with the first cast on stitch.  

 Whichever method you use, weaving in the yarn tail properly can clean up the appearance.    Here is a link to the video:  Joining in the Round

Salon will be on Sunday, August 3 from 2-5pm.  Hope you can make it!

Before I left for Manchester, I finished the Child's Nordic, except for sewing it together.  The sleeves are done as well.  I picked up the neck band before I started the sleeves.  I was concerned I wouldn't have enough yarn.  Since this is all hand dyed, there is a bit of variation between the skeins.  I finished and had 2 yards to spare!

I didn't get much knitting done at the conference but I have finished the back and am working on the charted section of the front for the adult size.  This hasn't been blocked yet.  I should have them all finished up this week.   That is the plan, anyway.  

Obligatory cat photo.  Here is a photo of my poor blind baby, Petipa, checking out this sweater.