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.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Yarn-Over Short Rows

This week has gone by so fast.  Not much going on, however.  I'm just waiting for yarn to start arriving for the Cast On garments.

Several lessons arrived.  Nancy's final project for the Finishing Class arrived.  It was an adorable little girl's sweater.  It was a joy to review.  I spent some time working on a new concept for the correspondence courses.  Stay tuned.

Back to short rows...I use this type of short row all the time for socks.  Back in 2000 or 2001 Priscilla Gibson-Roberts did an sock article in Interweave Knits on short row heels in socks.  I'd never really cared for knit socks up to that point.  I have a narrow heel and I found standard gussets uncomfortable, a bit like wearing a diaper on my foot.  Her technique solved my sock issue and I have used it exclusively for any socks I design.  You could use this technique for short rows in other types of garments.  To turn the heel you work a yarnover at the beginning of every row.  For knit rows you have to wrap the yarn over the needle before knitting the first stitch.  For purl rows wrap the yarn under the needle before purling the first stitch.  This leaves you with a stitch/yarnover pair.  

This video shows the technique for creating the short rows. Yarn Over Short Rows Part 1

Here is a video on how to work the short rows.   Yarnover Short Rows Part 2

This photo shows the results.

Salon will be on Sunday from 2-5pm.  Hope to see you.

I finished up the scarf.  I wound up doing a running stitch around the edges to keep it flat.  I think it looks better this way.  

I finished up the front of the wasp wing dress.  It is exactly the same as the front.  I'm now working on the sleeves and hope to finish it up this week.  

Here is a close up of the stitch pattern.

Friday, September 5, 2014

One-Row Horizontal Buttonholes

The past two weeks have been very busy. I was in Zanesville last week for the photo shoot and there again this week for the selection meeting.  It is a 4+hour drive one way.  Growing up out west influenced how I feel about drives like this.  I certainly liked them better before cell phones!  The photo shoot went very well.
The digital version of Cast On for the Fall is is finally up.  It was a tremendous amount of work for the staff.  You have have to be a member of TKGA to access it, however.  I haven't had much time to experiment with it but I did check the links to my patterns which all worked.

I've had lots of new students since I posted last and several students have sent in lessons.  Keep them coming!

This week I've done a video about how to make a one-row horizontal buttonhole.  This is my favorite type of buttonhole to make.  It is very strong and doesn't stretch out much at all.  It does requires some practice.  Don't try out different types of buttonholes on the garment itself.  Use your gauge swatch.  You can figure out the ratio for the band and determine how many rows the band needs to be to accommodate the buttonholes.  I've seen knitters rib out bands three or four times and it really beats up the edge.

Here is the buttonhole in stockinette.

There are lots of references for this buttonhole.  The only thing I have to contribute is that if you do the cable cast on purlwise, the buttonhole will look better.  Notice in the photograph above that the top and the bottom of the buttonhole are smooth.  If you work the cable cast on knitwise, this is how it will look.

I realize that this falls into the category of figuring out how many angels could fit on the head of a pin or looking so close at a leaf you don't see that you are in the middle of a forest but doesn't the buttonhole look better in the next photograph?

Here is the video:

Salon will be on Saturday this week.  Hope to see you!

I finished up the scarf for Martha.  She wanted a small wrap for her neck.  This should do it.  

She commissioned a scarf for Dave, her significant other.  I don't do stuff like this normally but Martha did two water colors of George and Petipa so I couldn't say no.  I can honestly say I have disliked this project more than anything I have ever done.  She wanted a simple scarf with a "U" on it for the University of Utah.  OK.  The best way to do that is with intarsia which is not a reversible stitch pattern.  That meant I could seam it or do in in the round.  I opted for circular.  Anyone who has done intarsia knows it isn't that easy to do it in the round but  Master Knitter, Anne Berk has just released a book called Annetarsia which is all about intarsia in the round.  First, let me say, the book gives excellent instructions on how to do this.  Next, I will never do this again.  If all of those little yarn balls are a pain when working flat, try it with a narrow tube.   The yarn management aspect of it sent me around the bend.  I first started the scarf with Cascade 220 and after about 30" I realized it would be like wearing a blanket around your neck so I switched to Classic Elite Fresco which is a lovely yarn.  As you can see in the photograph I am on the home stretch!!!!!!