Friday, June 16, 2017

Grafting K1P1 Ribbing

Last weekend was TNNA in Columbus.  It was one of the better shows.  There were lots of new vendors and plenty to see.  I showed great restraint in the Cash & Carry department but I did bring home a few things.  I spent most of my time thanking companies that have supported us the past year. I have had to do quite a bit of follow up on the yarn for designers.  I don't know what is going on but it took much longer to get the designers the yarn.  I'm still waiting for one more delivery but the yarn is coming from Canada which is the problem.

I think most of my students are on vacation!  I've reviewed a few lessons but not many.  It has given me time to work on my bee sweater.

My last entry was about grafting in pattern.  That technique really doesn't work for K1P1 ribbing since the half stitch offset cannot be hidden.  If you absolutely have to graft single rib and you want it to look good, there is really only one option.  There are several drawbacks to this technique.  It is a major pain to do (more about that later) and it doesn't produce true ribbing.  You have to lower your expectations.  If you are expecting it to be as elastic as regular ribbing you will be disappointed.

Basically how it works is that you place the knit and purl stitches onto separate needles and you first graft the knits stitches on one side together and when you finish that, you turn the needles over and do the same for the other side.  The photograph below shows this preparatory step.

Notice that you have to use four needles.  I recommend using needles which aren't slippery.  I used carbon needles and even then stitches were slipping all over.

In the photograph below I have grafted one side and have turned over the needles to graft the other side.  The area of the graft will be a bit puffier than the surrounding stitches and will not be as elastic.  The photo also demonstrates a potential issue.  You have to be careful when you transfer the stitches to separate needles.  It is very easy to split a stitch and then you have to contended with that when you graft.  I wish I could say I intentionally split that stitch as a demonstration but, alas, I didn't mean to split it.

Here is the final product and you can see that the "graft" is a bit puffier.  I'm not wild about this technique and I have only used it when I have worked the bands on a sweater as part of the fronts.  When you finish the front necklines, you work the band stitches separately, seam them to the back of the neck and have to either seam them or graft them at the center of the neck.  This isn't terribly noticeable so it isn't the end of the world that it isn't perfect.  Here is the link to the video:  Grafting K1P1 ribbing.

I won't be having salon this week as I have weekend plans, very rare for me.

I am still working on the bee sweater but the end is in sight.  I forget what a lot of work a project like this is.  I'm almost done with the first sleeve.  Here is the RS of the body. 

I always get flak from knitters who think I should knit these things in the round.  Here is a photo of why I knit them flat.  My stranded tension is so much better when I work them this way.

I'm hoping to have it finished by my next posting.  I still have to knit 3 pairs of gloves for the next issue!

Friday, May 26, 2017

Grafting in Pattern

As predicted, I've spent the last two weeks acquiring yarn for the designers of the Fall issue of Cast On.  Of all of the things I now do for the magazine, this is the one that has surprised me the most.  It takes so much time!  I'm still waiting to hear from two companies.  Since TNNA is just a few weeks away I think they may be preparing for it.  Since they've added Cash and Carry to the event, many companies haul a lot of yarn to Columbus.

I didn't get that many lessons to review but I did get my first MiniCourse lesson.  I don't teach many but I did develop one last January for knitting Fair Isle Flat.  I only developed this class to answer the questions I get about how to do it since it is my preference.  More about that under Current Projects.

I have successfully avoided this topic for years for a variety of reasons.  First of all, I find teaching grafting (or Kitchener Stitch) to be a pain.  I've never found a great way to explain it.  Some students get the whole Knit Off Purl On, Purl Off Knit On thing but many don't.  Then there is my general dissatisfaction with the results of grafting in pattern.  (A bit of a side note...I can spend hours and hours trying to find a solution to a knitting problem that can not be solved.  For example, when I knit my first sweater I had trouble getting over the fact that the armhole on the right side was longer since you bind off on the RS of the back and on the left side you bind off on the WS.   I eventually got over this.)

I put grafting in pattern in that same category since it always results in a half stitch offset which just drives me crazy.  I've learned to get over this as well.  I was working on an infinity scarf for a birthday gift that required grafting in pattern and I stumbled across a video that had the clearest and simplest description of grafting I'd ever encountered.  Jodie Gordon Lucas has a video in her website which I think will click for many knitters.  (QueenieKnits).   It covers any combination of stitches you might encounter (except for K1P1 ribbing or garter which are special cases).

Most Kitchener instructions begin with positioning the stitches to be grafted on two needles, one in front of the other with the wrong sides together.  Jodie's explanation is to look at the stitches as pairs. If they are the same type of stitch (two knits or two purls), you go into the first stitch in the same direction as the type of stitch (knitwise into a knit stitch), then you go into the second stitch in the opposite direction.  If the two stitches are different, a knit followed by a purl) you go into the the stitches in the same direction and the first stitch determines that direction.

Note the length of the paragraph above.  It is short.  That is why I like this method.  It is so simple and easy to remember.  Here is my video:  Grafting in Pattern

Now for the disclaimers about grafting in pattern.  I can't say I've done a ton of research on the topic but most do not mention at all the half stitch offset.  TECHknitter is the exception.  Just how big of a deal is this?  Well, most of the time you are grafting in pattern you are working with some sort of cable pattern or ribbing.  The good news is that the texture of cables and ribbing tend to hide those nasty offsets.  If you look at the photos below you can see that the offset isn't visible in the first.  You only see it in the second if it is stretched.

In an actual project it is barely noticeable.

Here is a photo of the infinity scarf I knit. I haven't woven in the ends yet.  Do you see the offset?

Here is a closeup of the area I grafted.  Can you spot the offset here?

I've just decided this doesn't bother me.

As I said above, two stitch patterns which require special handling in grafting are K1P1 ribbing and garter.  I'll do a video in my next entry on K1P1 ribbing.

Salon will be on Saturday for a change.  The time will be 1:30 to 3:30.  Hope you can make it.

I finished up another birthday present (except for weaving in yarn tails.)

I love this stitch pattern.

I'm finally getting a start on my project for Cast On.  I'm using RedFish 3 ply and size 2.25mm needles.  This is the bottom border.  Beehives are above the bees.  The colors will reverse for the top part of the sweater and the bee design will change.  The honeycombs will interlock.  The photograph doesn't do the colors justice.  I'm knitting this flat as I find it easier to maintain good tension on the floats.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Ugly Bind Off Stitch--Tip of the Week--05/12/17

I'm a week late making posting but it has been a busy couple of weeks.  Getting the magazine out is really a lot of work.  It was released on May 11.  The due date for Fall proposals was the 10th so it all starts again today.  We've selected the designs so I'll spend next week working to get the yarn to the designs and sending out contracts.  We are back on schedule after the reorganization so Winter should be easier!

Lessons are arriving more regularly which makes me happy.   Reviewing knitting is a break from the publishing work.  Keep up the good work.

I've discussed this topic before but I have more insight on the topic due to some research done by a former Co-Chair of the Masters Committee.  Suzanne Bryan is the most analytical knitter I know. She did a very thorough discussion of the topic in her blog.  My tip is the shorthand version.  

I don't even have to put in a photograph to demonstrate what an ugly last bind off stitch looks like since there isn't a knitter I know that doesn't have this problem.  If you don't have this issue you can take a peek at the last blog entry I did on this topic.  I have a good example there.  Ugly Bind Off
The suggestions I made do work but a better and easier solution is to wrap the first few stitches on the row before the bind off the "wrong" way.  This tightens them up and solves the problem.  This video shows the basic technique:  Avoiding the Ugly Bind Off Stitch

Here is the final result.

I recommend you look at Suzanne's blog on this topic for the complete discussion.  Knitting Suzanne's Blog Entry 

Salon will be on Sunday.  Yes, I know it is Mother's Day but the final Metropolitan Opera is tomorrow.  It is my favorite opera...Der Rosenkavalier by Richard Strauss.  It will be a blissful 4 hours and 40 minutes.  


I'll be doing the Fashion Framework Lesson for fall.  It will be on texting gloves.  I'm also doing a stranded sweater with RedFish yarns.  It will be a bee motif. I can't leave the bee chart alone.  I've redone it about 10 times.  Hopefully each redo is an improvement!  I haven't got any of the yarns yet so I've got time to finish up some things.  This extremely boring garment is for me.  It is made with Shibui Linen in my favorite color.  It is replacing a sweater coat I've had for close to 15 years which is looking just a bit ratty.

This is a birthday present for a friend whose birthday was in March.  Yes, I am that far behind.  It will be an infinity scarf.  The yarn is Anzula Luster, color Iris...heaven to work with.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Weaving in Ends at Selvedges

George has been enjoying the nice weather.  He's too big to fit in the windowsill. Other than lounging he has been busy getting into my yarn.  He had left a trail of cashmere all through the house.  I've been getting ready for the photo shoot tomorrow.  This was a very short design cycle and I am still waiting for two boxes.  They are supposed to arrive today...fingers crossed. 

The lessons are starting to arrive.  I reviewed three yesterday.  I have blog entries for everything in the lessons.  You might want to check them before starting to knit.

The tip this week was a special request.  When you are weaving in ends into a project which won't be seamed, you have to figure out how to work them in so that they will not be noticeable.  (If you have seams or an edge where stitches are picked up, bury the ends there.)  Scarves, blankets, shawls and swatches for courses or the Masters Program are the type of projects where this is a concern.  I've already done an entry on weaving in yarn tails at the Cast On or Bind Off edge but if you are adding a new skein or changing colors, this can be a problem.

The rules for weaving in yarn tails is that they don't show through to the RS, they stretch with the fabric and they don't pull free.  This photograph shows several ends.  There is a color change in ribbing and in the stockinette.  

What you do not want to do is to just run the tail up the selvedge stitch.  It can pull free and it isn't elastic.  Weaving in ends in ribbing is easy.  I've done a blog entry on this topic as well.  Weaving in Ends in Ribbing.  If there is stockinette stitch, use the duplicate stitch method.  

Here is the RS of the work.  The tails do not show through to the RS even where the yarn is a different color.  Here is the video showing the technique.  Weaving in Yarn Tails.

Salon will be on Sunday from 2-4pm.  Tomorrow morning we are having the photo shoot.  I'm hoping I can still get to the Met's Simulcast of Eugene Onegin.  

I finished up the infinity scarf for Mira at Baah yarns.  I really like how it turned out.

I also finished the Buff for Elff at Redfish.  It is double knit.

I spent a day last week charting a design for the Fall issue.  I haven't done a stranded sweater with Redfish for awhile.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Picking Up Double Bands

Since my last posting, we managed to get Cast On uploaded.  This time it went a lot smoother so I am hoping this trend continues.  We are trying to get back on the previous publication schedule so I've been working on Summer at the same time.  The good news is that all of this hard work will pay off for Fall.

It is odd but I haven't received many lessons to review in the past two weeks but I've got quite a few new students.  I imagine things will pick up soon.

I got a message a few weeks ago from someone wanting my advice about how to improve the looks of an applied I-cord edging.  I had to laugh.  This is something I have failed to masters.  I've never been satisfied with my ability to do this type of edging and being the person I am, I've spent hours researching it.  My solution is to replace an I-cord edging with a double pick up band.  I like them better.  Again, this is a personal thing.  I'm not trashing I-cord edgings, just my ability to do one I'm happy with. 

Quite a few years ago, I was working on a baby sweater as a gift and I thought it would be nice to have the band look as nice on the WS as it did on the RS and after research I discovered Katharina Buss' method in Big Book of Knitting.  The problem with her method was that you picked up the stitches as normal and then got a second needle and found the bumps of the band on the WS.  Since the sweater was knit on Size 2.5mm needles and was in a dark color, I found that if I wrapped the yarn around not only my project needle but also a smaller needle held behind the fabric that I had stitches on both side of the neckline.  I teach this is a finishing class and students really love it and find all sorts of uses for it.  I've used it for a band similar to an I-cord for many projects. 

The following photos show a variety of ways to finish off the double band.  These two photos show the RS & WS of a double pickup.  To complete the double bind off you have to work the stitches on the front needle with those on the back.  In this case, a three needle bind off is used. 

If you want something that more closely approximates an I-cord, you can use a Kitchener stitch to close the stitches between the front and back needles.

In this sample, the stitches have been bound off purlwise.

The basic technique is very simple but any time you are using multiple needles it seems more complicated.  This video shows how to work the technique:  Double Pickups

Salon will be on Sunday from 2-4pm. 

I finished the skirt and top.  I haven't blocked the top yet.  If you look closely you can see all of the stitch markers still in the top.  I haven't written the pattern yet.  I don't really take notes.  I write the pattern from the markers.  Now I have time for other projects!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Hems and Waistbands

I had a wonderful trip up to teach at the Dayton Guild.  It was my second time there.  I really enjoyed myself although it was a long day.  I've spent a lot of time uploading patterns to the Spring issue.  Is should go live early next week.  We just need to put the finishing touches on it.

My students let me have an easy week.  I only got two to review!  I made good use of the time.  I feel like I have been chained to my computer.  I figure it takes about 3 hours per pattern and article.  That doesn't include the time spent on emailing designers and yarn companies.

Another self-serving tip... I actually thought ahead to the Summer issue.  I'm doing a skirt, top down, and I wanted to do the waist band so I can try it on.  I might actually keep this one.  When you do the waistband of a skirt you have to make it elastic enough so that you can put it on.  There is no way you could just cast on (or bind off) for the waist band.  I learned this the hard way the first time I did a skirt without an opening.  I generally knit skirts from the bottom up and just graft the live stitches during the finishing process.  This time I used a provisional cast on and when the waistband was done I put the stitches on a needle and did a three needle bind off without the bind off.  This is very elastic.  As I knit the front to the back I inserted the elastic.  That is another thing I learned the hard way.  It is a miserable experience if you try and insert the elastic when the waistband is almost done.  

The first step is to do a provisional cast on.  I generally do the crochet chain method.  The photo below shows where I am putting the live stitches on a needle.  I generally do a turning row.  For baby projects or socks I might do a picot edge.  (I've done videos on picot hems.  Check the index.)

Next you fold it over and knit together the stitches from the front side to the back side.  For my own projects I almost ALWAYS use my super pointy Chiao Goo needles but I tend to use wood needles to do this.  Using three needles is a big pain especially when the stitches slide off.

Here is photograph of the final product.  The photograph after that is inside of the skirt that I am working on.  If you look close you can see the row marker I put in the skirt to mark an increase.

Salon will be early on Sunday...11:30 am to 1:30 pm.  I'm going to the MET simulcast of Idomeneo on Saturday.  It is a treat after all my hard work this past week.

Before I got the yarn from Classic Elite for the design, I started on the scarf project with the Baah yarn.  I decided to do a provisional cast on and then leave the top stitches live.  I'm going to knit a second one to match with the colors for the flowers reversed.  I will close both ends with a three needle bind off.  I want matching edges.  The inside piece will have to wait until I finish the stuff for cast on.


Here's the skirt.  It will be mid-calf length.  Blocking is very necessary!  It is MUCH fuller than it looks in the photo.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Horizontal Buttonholes

It has been an extremely busy week.  I've been working on getting ready for the photo shoot for the Spring issue at the same time I'm working on the Summer issue.  We've selected the designs we are going to use and now I'm contacting yarn companies for the designs.  This is my least favorite part of the process.  Some companies are great, Shibui, Classic Elite, Cascade to name a few, while others are not so great.  I have to get the yarn to the designers ASAP as we are trying to get back on our old production schedule. 

Here's George.  If you tried this with Petipa, you'd be missing a few fingers.  He is such a good natured cat.  He is enormous!  (You can see the orange sweater in the background.)

It has been slow this week.  I'd had a few lessons and a couple of emails but that is it.  My students are my top priority.  Their lessons always come first.  Maybe they are reading my mind & letting me get all of this work done!

I've done a posting on horizontal buttonholes which was also the topic of my LAST Finishing With Confidence article.  There are quite a few ways to work this type of buttonhole.  Some of the instructions I've seen have run to pages and are extremely complicated. This one is somewhere in the middle but produces a nice result.   The one below is worked in stockinette.

The basic steps for all version of this type of buttonhole requires that you bind off the stitches for the opening using the slip stitch bind off which doesn't use the working yarn.  One the stitches are bound off you use the cable cast on to cast on the same number of stitches.   There are a few extra steps along the way. 

Work to the position for the buttonhole.
• Bring yarn forward and slip the first stitch on the left needle purlwise.
• Bring the yarn to the back.
• Slip the next stitch on the left needle purlwise to the right needle.
• Pass the first slipped stitch on the right needle over the second stitch (as if to bind off).
• Repeat Steps 4 and 5 until the buttonhole is the desired size.
• Slip the last bound-off stitch to the left needle.
• Turn the work and use the cable cast on technique (inserting the needle as if to purl rather than as if to knit) to cast on one more stitch than you bound off.
• Turn the work.
• Slip the first stitch on the left needle to the right needle and pass the extra cast on stitch over the slipped stitch.
• Work the next stitch in the established pattern.

Is all of this worth it?  Yes, if you need a larger buttonhole or a very strong buttonhole.  I don't use this for every project and I do have to look up the instructions every time so I don't miss a step.   I use the purl version of the cable cast on so that the top half of the buttonhole matches but this isn't necessary. 

Here's the video:

Salon will be on Sunday a bit later than usual.  The photo shoot is Sunday morning.  Tomorrow afternoon I'll be at the Met Simulcast of Traviata which has a special meaning for me.  It was the first opera I saw and will always be a favorite.

I finished up the orange sweater.  The arms on my mannequin are so skinny it makes the sleeves look huge!

Next I finished the hat for the article on jogless joins.  I think it is pretty cute.

I decided to make a double knit buff for Stephanie's birthday.  I started it several times.  I first used the invisible cast on for double knitting.  There were two problems with this.  First I was casting on over 100 stitches and if you've ever used this cast on, you know it is a pain with only 20 stitches or so.  Then this was worked in the round.  I finally gave up and wound up using Judy's Magic Cast On for the first row.  It worked pretty well.  I wanted to get it to Stephanie before this weekend as it is supposed to get cold.  Here are photos of both sides.

And here is the reverse.

I'm now working on a cowl for Baah yarns.  There is nothing to show but I should get a lot done while I'm waiting for the Hanako from Classic Elite to arrive.  I'm making a skirt & top.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Tubular Cast On with Even Number of Stitches

What's wrong with this picture?  It is February 24th, that's what is wrong with this picture.  It looks and feels like mid March.  (By the way, this isn't my yard but a neighbors.)  I feel responsible for the weather.  If I hadn't knit all those gloves, mitts, and hats, there would be snow on the ground. 

I've got quite a few new students and lessons are slowly arriving for me to review.  I've had some lovely lessons lately which has been very nice.

I decided to do a tubular cast on for the sweater I'm knitting for Cast On.  There are several ways to do a tubular cast on but I get the best results when with the crochet chained method.  The problem with this is that most sources will tell you that you can only work it on an uneven number of stitches.  If you are doing K1P1 ribbing and it will be seamed, this means you have to either add or remove a stitch since the pattern won't line up if you have an uneven number of stitches.  I decided to try and add a stitch while doing the cast on.  It was mindlessly easy.  I just made an E loop at the end of the cast on.  I thought it might not look very good but it fit in just fine. 

Most instruction will tell you to work the first stitch as a knit stitch and then with the yarn held to the front slip the next stitch.  Does it really matter if you knit the first stitch?  No.  I decided for this sample to purl the first stitch since the loop from the crochet edge sort of looked like a purl bump.  The world did not come to an end. 

If you've worked a tubular bind off before you know that you continue to work one stitch and slip the next for at least two rows.  I decided to work this for three rows.  Again, the world did not come to an end.  Here's a photo of the waste yarn removal. 

Here's the final product.  Notice that there is a slight bump at the lower left edge where I made the e-loop.  This will be enclosed in the seam.

Here is the link to the video:  Tubular Cast On with Even Number of Stitches

Salon will be on Sunday from 2-4 pm.  I'm finally getting to one of the Met Simulcasts.  They are doing Dvorak's Rusalka which I have never seen.  While everyone in Lexington will be at the game I'm going to be in the theater!

I finished up the vest and skirt.  I just finished blocking the skirt yesterday.  I still need to weave in the yarn tails, etc. but it was finished enough to put on the mannequin.  I decided to do a tubular cast on for the sweater I'm knitting for Cast On.  I still need to steam it out a bit in places (look at the skirt!)

The sweater is almost finished. I'm using Baah Sonoma in California Poppy.  This color reminds me of my mom.  She loved bright colors and she always had California Poppies in the yarn.  They are such a sweet flower.  The body is finished.  One side has a lower neckline and I designed it so you can wear that in the front or the back.  The sleeves will be picked up and the cap will be shaped by short rows.  They'll be 3/4 length.  I used a tubular bind off for the necklines.  This is the front (or back).  I think I like the lower neckline in the back myself.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Adding Stitches

All of the yarn for my Cast On projects has arrived.  I spent a lot of item getting the yarn to the other designers.  It can take multiple emails and lots of follow up emails.  I think one designer (in Canada) has not got her yarn yet but she should have it soon.

George and Petipa tolerated each other a few days ago to enjoy a rare spot of sun. 

I didn't get many lessons to review this week.  It has been fairly slow.  I did get several new students, however.  I'm thinking of changing my policy for non-US students.  Postage has got so expensive.  What Naima, my French student suggested was to hold of mailing the swatches back until the course was complete. We do add a bit onto the cost of the course for non-US but it doesn't really cover the postage costs.  I'll keep you posted.

This week's tip, again, is self serving.  The designs Binka and I are doing both require stitches to be cast on at the beginning and end of a row so I decided to do a video on how to do this.  The most common reason for this technique is adding stitches when a thumb gusset is complete.  I rarely add stitches for this as any method you use adds too much space.  I generally just work from one side of the opening to the other and then use the slack yarn between them on the next row to create loops for the stitches on the next round. 

When knitting flat this isn't an option; stitches have to be cast on at the end and beginning of the rows.  No matter what technique you use, the cast on edge is going to be either sloppy or a bit bulky.  The good news is that in the majority of projects, this cast on edge is either going to be seamed or used for stitch pick up so its appearance doesn't matter. 

E or Loop Method
This is the most common method.  I'm not going to discuss HOW to do this (the video shows how to do it) but rather the results.  Anyone who has ever used this method knows that you get a lot of slack yarn between the stitches as you work the first row no matter how tight the loops are (that just makes it harder to work that first row).  The photograph below shows this method.

The advantage of this method is that it is easy and it isn't bulky.  The disadvantage of this method is that loops can be very sloppy and oversized.  It won't provide much stability to the edge.  Notice how large the selvedge stitches are at the join.  Again, this edge is generally finished so it won't be noticeable. 

Knitted Cast On
Another method you can try is the knitted cast on.  It provided a bit more support to the edge but it is still fairly sloppy.  It is easier to work the first row with this method than the E cast on. 

Cable Knitted Cast On
This technique produces the best looking and most firm edge.  This is the method used for horizontal buttonholes for that reason. 

Here is the link to the video demonstrating these techniques:  Adding Stitches

Salon will be on Saturday from 2:30 to 4:30 this week.  I realize that this will conflict with the game (if you are coming you know what game I am talking about) but I am driving to the airport on Sunday. 

While waiting for the Cast On yarn to arrive, I knit another texting glove.  I made a pair earlier but I decided I wanted the fingers to be as long as my fingers.  This way they won't get cold but I can push down the glove fingers if I want to type.  By the way, Maris, I do plan to write this up as a pattern once I finish up my Cast On patterns.

I'm doing a vest and skirt in Shibui Rain (the color is Pollen which seems a perfect choice for Spring).  I've finished the body, I just need to do the bands.  The stitches on the neckline will be picked up first and then a wide band with mitred corners for the front and bottom bands.  Stay tuned for the completed project.  Doesn't look like much now.  You can see in this side view that the back is longer than the front and the sides are vented.

Her is the front. 

I'm using Baah yarn for the next sweater I am doing and when I talked to Mira, the dyer, at TNNA I was wearing the Decoration Day sweater I designed years ago.  Mira said she'd love a stranded project and I told her if she sent me the yarn I'd work something up.  She sent two different types of yarns.  I'll work on this when I finish the stuff for Cast On.