Friday, August 24, 2018

Binding Off in the Round

I've been busy getting the Winter 2018 issue organized.  August is a difficult month to try and order yarn.  Between vacations and fiber festivals it can take quite a few emails to get the designers their yarn.  I spent a lot of time sitting at my computer.  We have 23 projects in the next issue.  That is quite a bit of yarn!  Some are still waiting for while someone (you know who you are, Carolyn) has already sent her project!

I did take time to prepare my handouts for the retreat at the end of September.  I'm teaching at Suzanne Bryan's guild's annual retreat.  I'm looking forward to it as Charles Gandy is the other teacher and it will be wonderful to catch up with him.

Student News
My students definitely are leading more exciting lives that me!  I have received very few lessons to review.  I know fall is approaching as more are signing up for classes.  The minute the leaves start to fall we all think about our knitting!

Tip of the Week
This week's tip was prompted by something the students at the retreat wanted covered.  I'm always happy to customize what I teach.  They wanted to know how to do a circular knitting join.  I've already discussed this in a previous blog entry (Joining in the Round).  What I didn't discuss in that entry was how to end a piece when knitting in the round.

This photograph shows what a circular piece looks like when you bind off.  When you work in the round there will always be a jog at the end which is quite unattractive.  Before you cut the yarn and pull it through, you can knit into the first stitch and work another bind off stitch but it almost always leaves a bit of a hole.

The best way to finish this requires a small bit of embroidery.  Thread the yarn tail onto a tapestry needle and insert the needle under the two bind off loops of the first stitch.

Then insert the needle into the center of the last bind off stitch. If you look at the photo below you can see that I've pulled the yarn fairly tight to match the size of the loops of the surrounding bind off stitches. 

Adjust the yarn tail so that the other loop matches.  Here is the photo of the completed bind off.

Now all you have to do is weave in the tail and the join is pretty much invisible.  Here is the link to the video:  Circular knitting bind off

Knitting Salon
Salon will be on Sunday, August 26 from 2-4 pm.

Current Projects
One of my favorite baristas at Starbucks recently had a baby girl.  She has two sons.  I wanted to make something for the baby but I wanted to make presents for the big brothers as well.  I made a hat in a lovely pale pink from Spud & Chloe but I neglected to take a photo of it.  Here is one of the brother hats.  I used Berroco Ultra Alpaca for them.  The photo shows it in progress where I have used dental elastics to mark decreases and cable crossing.  Naturally I put small pompoms at the top as well.  My friend Jan says they look like Gnome hats.  I'm going to write the pattern up for the Winter issue as they are a very quick knit.

I also finally got to Martha's birthday present.  I forgot to photograph them as well but Martha kindly obliged.  What the photo doesn't show is how wonderful this yarn is.  I picked up a couple of skeins at the DFW Fiber Festival.  It is a local dyer, A Thing for String, and it is a Yak blend.  Donna Estin used the yarn for a sweater in the Fall Cast On.  I've got another skein and I'm going to keep the socks for me.

I signed on to doing the Stitch Anatomy lesson for the Winter issue.  I can't say I like intarsia so I didn't want to do a complicated project.  I came with this kid's sweater.  This is the 12 month size.   I did it in colors I like to describe as the Hudson Bay Blanket palette.

I decided to do a larger size in a more subdued palette.  This photo doesn't do the colors justice but the background is more of an oatmeal color.  I choose Universal Deluxe Worsted as they have a lovely color selection and because Amy Gunderson is wonderful to work with.  It seems like I order the yarn and it delivered the next day.  Obviously I am going to have lots left over so I am going to use it for the Gnome hats.

I got a package from Shibui two days ago.  (Again, a wonderful company to work with).  I'm going to redo a sweater I did back in 2009.  The yarn, Louet KidLin, has been discontinued so I'm going to use Shibui's Silk Cloud and Reed to get a similar effect.  I'm going to make it longer as well.  Since I've almost finished the intarsia sweater I'll swatch soon.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Knit Stitches Next to Purls

I am horrified that it has been 2 months since my last post.  My main excuse is shown under the section Current Projects.  More about that later but TNNA and Cast On haven't helped.

I haven't had a photo of George since my sweet Petipa has been gone.  He is doing very well.  In fact, he is a different cat.  I guess he was meant to be an only child.  I always thought he was food motivated.  No, he was motivated to make Petipa miserable.  He has lost a ton of weight and it isn't from grief.  He is very self-satisfied.

I've spent the past couple of weeks putting in 12-18 hour days on the Fall issue of Cast On.  Sharon, the tech editor and I are the only staff and it is a lot of work.  The photo shoot was two weeks ago and as soon as I get them, the magazine will go live.  If you are a member, you will get an email when that happens.  I used the time to put together indices for some of the regular features, primarily for those going through the Masters Program. 

If you are a member and if you are signed in these links will take you to the indices.  There is a lot of good educational material there.

Knitting 911 and Finishing with Confidence  
Fashion Framework and Stitch Anatomy
On Your Way to the Masters

Knitting 911 is a series by Binka Schwan that has instructions for fixing common mistakes.  Finishing with Confidence is a series by me that covers all major topics in Finishing.  The Fashion Framework and Stitch Anatomy series which began in 2009 discusses specific types of garments and individual stitch patterns.  The On Your Way series is applicable to those doing the Masters Program or really anyone interested in improving their work.

Student News

It has been VERY slow.  Knitting has definitely taken a back seat to everything else!  Things tend to pick up in the fall...not surprising!

Tip of the Week

Something I see in lots of lessons have the same cause.  Ribbing, cables, seed stitch type of patterns all can be improved by a very simple thing.  The next time you are working on a stitch pattern where you have knit and purl stitches together, look closely when you bring the yarn forward to make the purl.  I think you will see that you don't bring the yarn completely forward. This excess yarn generally does one of two works its way back into the previous knit stitch making it oversize or it leaves a ladder between the knit and purl.  This causes K2P2 ribbing to look very sloppy where one column of stitches larger than the column to the right.  It causes K1P1 ribbing to be overlarge (compare the size of the knit stitches in the ribbing to knit stitches above the ribbing and you will see what I mean.  It causes ladders to the left of cables and seed stitch to look lacy rather than dense.  

In the photo below the ribbing isn't stretched.  The arrow points to a column where the stitches are distorted due to the excess yarn.

In the photo below the ribbing is stretched.  The arrow at the bottom shows where the yarn was not brought completely forward.  Notice the ladders on the right side of the purl column and that there are no ladders on the left side of the purl.  It is easier to bring the yarn to the back when going from a purl to a knit.  The arrow at the top shows two rows where the yarn was brought completely forward.  No ladders.

Here is a caveat.  I was teaching and a student told me this did not work and demonstrated for me what she was doing.  She was not bringing the yarn forward.  She was yanking it forward and then giving another really hard pull. This just pulls the yarn from the previous stitches and causes an even bigger tension issue.

In a lot of ways I am a lazy knitter.  I hate having to change needles sizes because chances are I will forget to change back and I wind up having to rip out a few rows.  I rarely drop down a size or two or ribbing.  I get bring the yarn forward to eliminate the ladders.  Guess what?  Dropping down needle sizes doesn't get rid of ladders.  It just makes them slightly shorted.

Here is a video of this technique:  Knit Stitch to Purl Stitch

Knitting Salon

I'm not sure I will be having Salon this weekend.  I hope to be putting the finishing touches on the Fall issue.

Current Projects

This sweater called Bird Lover totally took over my Summer.  The gauge for 4" is 44 stitches.  That was doable but ripping out 10" didn't help either.  I did finish it two days before the photo shoot.  The birds can be hard to see but they are there.

They are easier to see in this closeup.

Of course I used RedFish Dyework yarns and as soon as I have uploaded the photographs to the magazine the sweater will go to them for the shows they will be doing.  (I will be getting it back.  I just let these sweaters visit Elff and Sandy since they put together kits for the sweaters.)  What these photos can't show is how soft and wonderful the drape of this stranded sweater.  They are heavenly to wear.  I did finish up the Big Boy sweater to match the baby one I did back in May.  They turned out quite nice.