Friday, March 27, 2015

Weaving In CO and BO Tails

I've started contacting companies for the Yarn Tasting at our San Diego conference in July.  Responses have been very good.  So far I actually have yarn from Imperial, Shibui and Swans Island and more arrives every day.

I won't be posting next week as I will be out of town for a few days.  My husband will be home to collect packages.  Due to a snafu about a vacation, I will be flying to Phoenix to drive one of our cars to Las Vegas.  It is a long story but I love road trips so I won't complain!

Again, I like to remind my students to photograph their swatches before they send them to me.  My process is to review the swatches the day I receive them and then to send my letter and the next lesson by email.  Depending on where you live, it might take a couple of days to get the actual swatches.  If you have a photograph of your work, my letter will make more sense and you can get started on the next lesson right away.  I have been very lucky.  I think only one lesson has actually been lost and I have send out hundreds and hundreds of packages since I have started teaching correspondence courses.

This topic was requested by a student.  I've tried to track down the original request but I must have deleted it.  For anyone doing the Masters Program, you know that we recommend that you use the duplicate stitch method for weaving in yarn tails on the stockinette swatches.  When you weave in yarn tails, the goal is that 1) they are not visible on the RS 2) they do not pull free and 3) the fabric retains its elasticity at that location.  Most of the techniques I have seen do not fulfill all of these requirements.  

If you are working on a project where there are seams, the best place to work in the tails is in the seams themselves but if the project doesn't have seams (like swatches) you must place them in the fabric itself.  

One of my students was having difficulty getting started and wanted to know where to start.  That is the topic of this tip.  Here is a photo of the yarn tail at the BO edge.  The needle is in the location where you begin.  

Here is a photo of the CO edge.

Basically you start as close to the selvedge stitch as you can get.  After that you just use the duplicate stitch method.  I've done lots of tips on this method.  Just check the index.  Here is the link to the video:  Weaving in CO and BO Tails

Salon will be on Sunday from 2-4pm.  

I've started on the sweater front.  I have to pick up the pace.  I've got yarn for two more things I am doing for the Fall issue.

Here is the back.  It has been blocked.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Tubular Cast On Using Judy's Magic Cast On

I haven't had the obligatory cat photo for quite awhile.  I am calling this photo the March Miracle.  My cats don't exactly like each other.  The thing you need to know about his photo is that as much as I like my cats, I would not buy a sofa for them.  One of my daughters ordered this for her first apartment thinking it was a full sized sofa.  She gave it to the cats and they love it.

I had a wonderful trip to the Dayton Knitting Guild on Monday to teach.  My blog about the trip is on the website.  If it isn't there yet, it will be soon.

I didn't get many lessons to review this week but I had lots of emails with questions.  Keep the questions coming.  I am pretty good about responding immediately.

This tip falls into the category of self-serving.  I decided I wanted to do a tubular cast on for the Wine Dark Sea sweater.  I am using Size 0 needles the crochet chain method didn't sound too appealing.  I remembered the last time I did this with Redfish yarns I used Judy's Magic Cast On which I generally use for toe-up socks to do it.  When you do a tubular cast on, most sources tell you to use smaller needles as the tubular cast on tends to stretch out.  This isn't necessary if you use this method.  The resulting cast on is much tighter than other methods I have used.  (If you haven't used Judy's Magic Cast On you may want to check this previous posting:  Judy's Magic Cast On).  This photograph shows the cast on.

Most tubular cast on techniques require an odd number of stitches so you have to do some manipulation after the cast on to get an even number.  It is easy to do an even number of stitches with this cast on.

To use Judy's Magic Cast On for a tubular cast on, have half the number of total stitches on each needle.  If you want an uneven number, have one more stitch on one of the needles.  This is what I have done in the photograph below.  (I generally use two circular needles when I am going this for a tubular cast on.  It is less confusing.)

You work two rounds as you would for the toe of a sock.  Notice that there are 7 stitches on one needle and 6 on the other.

 You then fold the work and knit one stitch on the front needle and then purl the stitch on the back needle.  (If you are working an uneven number of stitches, start by purling the first stitch on the back needle and then knitting the first stitch on the front needle.)

Here is the final product.  Notice how tight the cast on is.  No need for smaller needles....

Here is the video which shows how to do this on an uneven number of stitches.  For an even number you start on the front needle.  For an uneven number you start on the back needle. Tubular Cast On using Judy's Magic Cast On

Salon will be on Sunday from 1:30-3:20 and you know why it is on Sunday instead of Saturday!

I am where I was when I decided to start over.  I am MUCH happier with the design.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Avoiding Twisted Lifted Increases

I can't tell you how happy I am not to have a snow scene at the top of this entry.  All of the snow is finally gone! (Replaced by rain, unfortunately.) I drove up to Zanesville on Tuesday in both directions.  We had our selection meeting for the Fall issue of Cast On.  There were some lovely submissions.

Mail delivery has finally normalized but I received very few lessons this week which is just as well as I was traveling.  Now that the weather is nice again I expect things to slow down.

In several of the Basic Lesson 1s I have reviewed lately I've noticed something I have not seen before.  The lifted increases on swatch 4 are twisted.  It is primarily an issue on the left side but some of the right ones have been twisted as well.  

This type of increase is worked in either the right or left leg of the stitch on the needle.  When worked properly, this elongates the leg and creates an attractive visual line as shown in the photograph below.

If you twist the leg of the stitch you do not get this line.  The photograph below shows correct and twisted increases.  The correct ones are marked with the red arrows and the twisted ones are marked with the black arrows.   An increase is made whether you twist the leg or not but the twisted version is more visible and puckers the resulting fabric.

What I am seeing in some lessons is one or two of the increase are twisted.  This means that the increases are no longer mirrored which further draws attention to the twisted ones.  The video shows the correct way to make the increases as well as how the increases can be twisted.  Avoiding Twisted Lifted Increases

I don't want to interfere with any one's weekend plans for the afternoons so Salon will be tomorrow in the morning from 10am to noon.  I plan a trip to Spaldings Donuts at 6:30am in case you need an incentive to get up on Saturday morning.  

Well, when the back of the Wine Dark Sea sweater was almost finished I noticed the top of the waves were not identical to the bottoms.  I spent a few hours deciding if I could live with this and decided I couldn't so I recharted the waves and started over.  Luckily Elf has plenty of the red yarn.  Here is the correct version.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Alternating Skeins

To quote Yogi Berra, its deju vu all over again.  We had torrential rains all day Wednesday which melted the snow from the last storm (and flooded my basement).  The rain turned to snow and this is what it looked like yesterday afternoon when the snow stopped.  Of course, the selection meeting was scheduled for that day.  There was no way I could go.

I took a break from water removal in the basement with the Shop Vac and shoveling snow in a vain effort to get the car out to walk to Starbucks.  I was amused to see many more people shoveling their walks.  Lesson learned.

The weather caused some problems with mail delivery and there was a delay in getting some of the lessons but all have arrived safely now.  Again, please take photos of your swatches before sending them off. 

CrochetJojo on Ravelry requested this topic.  Many independent dyers recommend alternating their skeins of yarn as there might be subtle differences between the skeins.  Basically this means you use two skeins at once.  In the photo below I have two skeins of Madelinetosh Pairie Color Tart. I bought one of these through Jimmy Bean and the other from a local yarn store.  The colors are quite different.  

If I were to knit up one skein and then join the other, there would be a very distinctive line at the change.  I have a couple of options.  I can alternate the skeins for the whole project.  (This is also a good idea if you are using a yarn which is giving you an unattractive pooling pattern.)  Or I can alternate the yarns for several inches when I am close to running out of the first skein. Yes, there will still be a difference but it will be less noticeable.  I can be quite lazy and depending on the project, I have just started the new skein and not worried.  I have done this for sleeves and it has not been a problem.

The photograph below shows two ways to alternate the skeins.

At the bottom of the swatch I have worked two rows in each colors.  This means that I am carrying up the yarn at the selvedge.   This makes the selvedge thicker.  If you are doing this on a piece which will be seamed it isn't that big of a deal.  The left side of one piece will be seamed to the right side of the other so the  seams on both sides will be the same thickness.  If you are doing a scarf or shawl which will not be seamed, this is more of an issue.   One thing you can try is the technique for single rows stripes (as shown at the top of the swatch).  I've done a blog entry on this before.  You do not carry the yarns up the selvedges.  With this technique you work a knit row with Skein A.  You don't turn the work.  You then join Skein B and knit the next row.  You then turn and work a purl row with Skein A.  You don't turn the work.  You purl the next row with Skein B and so on.  This technique works just fine with simple stitch patterns.  If the pattern is more complicated, like lace or cables or if there are increases and decreases, you have to track the pattern very carefully as you will be doing some of the techniques on purl rows.  Anything you do on a RS row you can do on a WS row but you will have to alter the technique.  This can be a real pain.

What I do when I am faced with this issue is that I swatch.  I knit up a swatch with the two yarns, not alternating colors.  I then look at the swatch in different lights.  I have generally found it isn't that big of a deal.      For a garment, if I am worried, I do the back with one skein the fronts with the others...or the sleeves.  I have even been know to decide that the color change is a "design feature" in a very complicated lace pattern.    I have used this technique to avoid pooling which I detest.

Here is the video:  (Just ignore the phone ringing...When there is an "Official State of Emergency" people tend to call and see if you are alive.  I was so tired from vacuuming up water and shoveling, I just ignored it!)  Alternating Skeins

Alas, the roads are even worse!  No salon this week.

I am well on my way.  The light has altered the way the colors look.  They are much deeper.