Friday, January 19, 2018

Counting Rows in Garter and Seed Stitch

I have been working on the Spring 2018 issue of Cast On.  What a lot of work!  This issue has been quite frustrating to work on due to the havoc the weather has played on postal and UPS deliveries.  I pushed the photo shoot back a week in hopes that a few more items would arrive.  Alas, I am still waiting.  The process of uploading the WORD files after our tech editor, Sharon, gets them to me can take a long time.  I spent over 6 hours on one technical article but it will be well worth it to our readers.  That is an explanation of why I don't have much listed under my current projects.  If I am at home, I am sitting at the computer with my dear friend (and enemy) WordPress.

We got great news this week at Masters Day at the DFW Fiber Festival is sold out!  We are testing the idea out of piggy backing on fiber festivals since we are not going to do full blown conferences again.

I haven't posted a photo of George and Petipa for quite some time.  This photograph documents a rare occurrence.  They never are this close together.  They are sharing the sun near a heat register since the temperature is in the teens.

I've had several students finish up the Basics course.  It always makes me happy to see them complete the course.  Once I get Cast On out of the way, I'm going to look at the course and make some revisions.  It's been quite a few years since I've updated it.

This week's tip is prompted by what I have seen in several of the Lesson 3 work of the Basics class which discusses how to measure gauge.  No, you don't knit 10 stitches and then get out the oldest tape measure you have and count the stitches.  I've done several blog entries on how to measure gauge (look at Gauge in the Index and you can find them) but since several students had this issue I decided to do a special post on the topic.  

The photo below is a close up of garter stitch.  In the Basics class I have the students calculate gauge and you have to be able to count rows and stitches to do so.  I have found it interesting over the years to discover that very few knitters know what a stitch looks like unless it is on their needle.  First for the way to count the stitches.  The "frown" is the stitch, the "smile" is the space between the stitch.  If you count the "frowns" and the "smiles" both as a stitch, you will get twice as many stitches as there actually are.  I like to tell my students you can save yourself a lot of grief when knitting a gauge swatch if you jot down the number of stitches you cast on.  Then you don't even need to count them.  (Subtract two for the selvedges.)

Now notice how the "smiles" and "frowns" interlock to make a ridge.  Several of my students have counted the ridges for their gauge.  It takes two rows to make a ridge as the photo below shows where I have stretched the garter stitch.

 You can clearly see the two rows interlocking to make the ridges so....

 Now onto seed stitch.  I've had a couple of students recently count the only the purl bumps for their gauge calculations.  If you look close you can see that there is a knit stitch at the top of the purl bump which is hard to see but it is there.  Yes, you can count the purl bumps for your row count by multiplying that number by 2.  Take care when you measure that you include the knit stitch on top of that purl bump or subtract one from the row count.

I've numbered the rows below.  When you are calculating gauge, it will only be as accurate as your measurement and the number of stitches/rows.  If you get any of those wrong, you gauge won't be accurate.

I won't be having salon this week as I'm not sure how long the photo shoot will take.  I'll have one next week from 2-4 most likely

As I said above, I haven't spent much time knitting.  I did manage to finish all of the texting gloves..4 pairs total.  I love the gloves but finishing is such a PAIN.  All those ends to weave in.  My dear sweet blind Petipa is guarding the last pair.  What really made me happy is that I used yarn I had in my stash for all of them.  They were all worked in Zen Garden yarn I picked up at TNNA several years ago.

I'm going to use up some Kidsilk Haze (I special ordered 10 skeins years ago. What did I think I was going to make!), Richesse et Soie from Knit One Crochet Too (I think it has been discontinued for over 15 years!) and the Mondo Fil metallic  left over from my Rose Gold Hoodie.  It will be a simple hat.  You don't need much of a design with all of these fabulous yarns...

Now I need to start thinking of what to knit for the Summer issue...

Friday, January 5, 2018

Twisted Decreases Again

Yes, I know it has been quite some time since I've posted an entry.  No excuses but I'll try to do better.

I did receive quite a few lessons and despite my general laziness in doing blog entries, I managed to review them all the day I received them.  A reminder...For my non-US students, I will no longer send back the swatches after each lesson.  Postage is just too high and I don't want to increase the cost of the course.  What I have been doing is photographing areas of swatches that need special attention.  I think this will work.

This week's tip was prompted by questions from several students.  In Lesson 2 of the Basics course covers different types of decreases with an emphasis on mirroring them.  If you are an experienced knitter mirroring isn't big news but for new knitters, thanks to the way patterns are written it can be new information.  The way most patterns state how to place decreases is part of the problem--"Dec 1 at each neck edge every RS row 3 times".  How would you know not to place the decrease in the selvedge stitch and that there are other decreases than k2tog.

Unless someone points it out, a knitter may not even notice that they are twisting SSK or SKP decreases which means they won't mirror the k2tog decreases.  In the photograph below I've labeled four left slanting decreases.  (K2tog decreases slant to the right.  If this isn't ringing a bell you might want to look at Mirroring Decreases, an earlier blog.)

A is a properly worked SSK where the stitches are slipped knitwise to the other needle to ensure that they won't be twisted.  Care was taken not to stretch out the looks.  Notice that the stitch on top is open at the bottom as is the stitch underneath.

B is a k2tog tbl (two stitches knit together through the back loop).  Another way to look at this is an SSK where the stitches haven't been slipped.  Compare A and B and you can see that both stitches in B are twisted at the base.  Twisted stitches are more noticeable and don't mirror k2tog decreases.

C is an SKP decrease where the stitch has been slipped purlwise, not knitwise.  This twists the decrease.  To make an SKP properly you must slip the stitch knitwise.  (General rule...if the stitch is going to be used on the same row, slip it knitwise.  If it is to be used on the next row, slip it purlwise.)

D is an SSK where only the top stitch is slipped.  I've had several students tell me that they are sure I haven't seen this before since it is so marvelous a solution to oversized SSK decreases.  Nope.  I'm aware of this decrease technique.   Compare A and D and see if you can spot the difference.  If you don't slip both stitches, the stitch underneath is twisted and yes, this does change the appearance of the decrease.  Feel free to use this technique in your own projects any time but if you are doing the Masters Program, you will be expected to produce an SSK without any of the stitches twisted.  

Here is a link to the video I did of these decreases:  Left Slanting Decreases

Salon will be on Sunday from 1:30 to 3:20.  

Actually I don't feel too bad about not making a posting after I looked at all of the knitting I've been doing.  Between holiday/birthday projects and things for Cast On, I've been busy.  By the way, I learned the hard way this year when I was trying to figure out what I'd given for gifts last year .  I didn't put them in my blog--hence the number of photos this year.

I did take a photo of the first thing I did for the Spring issue and posted it in my last entry.  This is a hoodie knit with Mondo Fil yarns.  One is a cotton strand and the other is a metallic.  The drape of this is really amazing, sort of like light weight chain mail. It is called the Rose Gold Hoodie.  The hood is oversized so that it drapes nicely on the shoulders when not worn.

I realized that we very rarely do designs for children so we bought a child size mannequin and we will have two designs for girls in the Spring issue.  This is a top and skirt worked in Anzula's Gerty, an American Targhee yarn.  I chose it as it is so springy.  This garment is sized from Child's 4 to Adult Small.  If you look closely at the photo to the right you can see our new baby mannequin and yes, it does have Christmas lights on it.  (I took the lights off of the child mannequin to put the clothes on it.  They were a nice addition to my dining room for the holidays.)

I did a bunch of presents....

Socks with zig zag pattern (which I love).

I liked it so much I used it for a couple of buffs (didn't photograph them all)...

My sister and my niece and nephew all wanted hats, in gray.  The first one has a cabled cuff and the last one has a sawtooth boarder and yes, there are lights around the mannequin head which I've named Anne Boleyn.

 I made several pairs of texting gloves (and I still have to do a few more pairs).  I kept one of the pairs I knit for the Fall 2017 issue of Cast On and I have to say, they do keep my hands warm.  When I walked to Starbucks this morning it was 9 degrees. 

Now to start thinking about things for the Summer 2018 issue....