Technical Tuesday: The Nuts and Bolts

This technical Tuesday is not going to be as technical in a knitting sense. As you might have noticed, last week I completely lost track of time and managed not to do any posts. I wasn’t heading into the office on Wednesday, so I definitely forgot to write my posts until Wednesday because I thought it was the weekend. Then I just would have had Thursday’s post up, but at that point it seemed a little pointless as Thursday is my off-topic day.

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The latest self striping sock I dyed for Halloween. Colour name: Witches Britches.

Every January I re-assess the blog, what I am writing, when I am writing etc; I am going to be doing that again this January. I do this to keep up with my needs and what is working for me at that point in time. The past two months have been so crazy busy that I am going to take the rest of November and December to go back and just post when I feel like it.
Schedules are great and I am definitely a fan, but when you’re too dependent on the schedule sometimes content starts to feel too planned. I am going to take some of the time I would be writing and put that time into knitting. Then WRITE ABOUT it! It probably won’t be a whole lot at first, but I do have some fun things still planned. I’ve been sent a product to review, so that will be coming up very soon. I’m currently still testing it out!

Technical Tuesday: Darn Weaving in Ends

One of the first skills you realize is important is weaving in the ends. Its something that can take your garment from looking home-made to hand-made. Everyone strives for the hand-made look; we’re talking fine Italian suits that are $1000 made by nuns, not a garment that was glue-gunned together in someone’s kitchen.

There is a different kind of weaving for many different kinds of stitches so I’ve also linked the Very Pink Knits videos for garter stitch.

And ribbing.

If you’re anything like me and hate to weave in ends at the end of a project, you can always weave them in as you go.

If you’re having problems with your ends staying woven in, check out that first video for sure. It’s an excellent technique and very well explained. It’s almost like back-stitching in sewing. You’re going back to the previous stitch and locking that yarn in even tighter. This is one of those things I learned the hard way, but once you’ve got it, you’re golden!

Technical Tuesday: Pocket Styles

I had a really good question on our Ravelry group about pockets! Pockets are something that is inherently scary with knitting. There are a lot of fears around putting them in and the stretching that could happen. I wouldn’t suggest carrying anything too heavy in them.

There are quite a few videos out there and I picked these three, but if you’re not able to get what you want from these, just search pockets in knitting. There will be a lot of information that comes up!

I’ve got three videos about how to put in pockets, but the placement is important too. There are generally instructions about pocket placement, but if you’re looking to place them yourself I would add the pocket in after the garment is finished. That way you can look at where it would make sense to have pockets.

If anyone has any specific questions feel free to email me or ask about it on our Ravelry group! There is a thread specifically for things people would like me to look up!

Technical Tuesday: Photos

First and foremost I am going to tell you that I am by no means an expert on this subject. I, like everyone else starting out, took horrible photos. I was friends with a couple of people who were really into photography and learned quite a bit from just asking questions.

I don’t have a fancy camera; all the photos I take are on my smartphone. This video gives you a really great founding in the basics of taking photos with your smart phone. The lighting is key. I am really lucky and have some sheer curtains in my living room, which is perfect for indirect natural sunlight. The hardest thing with lighting is getting the colour to show up true. If I am taking pictures of anything for Etsy I have to make sure the colours are perfect because you don’t want someone buying yarn and it being a completely different colour than pictured online.

Something this video mentions is to experiment and have fun with it. I take 15-20 photos for every single photo I post. So don’t think that you’re going to take three photos and they’re all going to be perfect. I might think something looks great, but when I look at it on my computer, not so much.
It’s a process and it takes time. I like to look at product photos from others and see what really appeals to me about that photo. Why is it aesthetically pleasing? What makes me want to make that shawl? Is it the colour? The way it’s displayed? Really breaking down other’s photos into smaller chunks can help you with your own photography practice. Best of luck!!

Technical Tuesday: Keeping the Colour in the Yarn

We have all been there, you just finish knitting a project and throw it in the water to block it and the colour starts bleeding. This can mean many different things and there are several ways to keep the colour in your yarn!

You might be able to predict the first piece of advice I am going to give you… yup, that’s right. Make a swatch and wash it! This is especially important if you are doing something like colour work. If you are knitting with red and white yarn, you’re going to want to be 100% sure that red yarn is colour fast.

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This is the best tutorial I’ve ever seen for fixing in colour that will fade. Whenever I am trying a new yarn, even sock yarn, I wash a swatch to see if it will fade, or bleed; then, if I need to, I can fix the dye in with citric acid and heat. As you can see, this works with finished objects or un-knit yarn alike. It’s one of the most versatile techniques I’ve come across.

Dye Pot

What to do if this is something that is just continually bleeding colour? Like when you buy new dark blue jeans. The colour comes off of those things forever! I’ve heard that washing them with vinegar helps but it seems to me that is just an excess of dye used to get that dark colour and the indigo keeps coming off. If this is the case, I suggest repeatedly washing your garment. I had a commercially dyed yarn that was a burgundy colour, which bled quite a bit when I blocked it and any subsequent washes. After the third wash the colour stopped coming out of the sweater, but the colour never faded, it just released a bit of the extra dye.

Dye Explosion 1

Fading and bleeding are usually the only two problems I have with yarn and colour-fastness. They’re generally either solved with repeated washing or a citric acid soak. The yarns most at risk for this kind of thing are dark and really saturated colour. If they’re not done carefully or correctly there could be issues.

Technical Tuesday: Grafting with Double Knitting

At the Kitchener Waterloo show I had a great question. How to make an infinity scarf with double knitting and graft the ends together. I had never actually thought about how this would be done. Double knitting in itself is fascinating to me so I will post a few videos about the basics then talk about the advice I gave her!

The basic principle of double knitting is to get two right sides. If you search double knitting patterns on Ravelry there are all sorts of patterns for general double knitting, but there are also double sided colourwork as well! I think these patterns are really interesting and absolutely the coolest thing ever! I have a strong dislike for things that are extremely ugly on the wrong side.

This video is of a Kitchener stitch bind off. This will give the basic knowledge of a bind off used for double knitting, but what we are trying to achieve is a seemingly uninterrupted stitch all the way around. For example, if one side is blue and the other side is purple the stitches on your needle will alternate between blue and purple; every other stitch will be a different colour. I suggested that she separate out the blue and purple on two different needles. Do the same thing on both ends and graft the blue stitches to blue stitches and purple stitches to purple stitches.
I explained this the best I could at the show and I hope it worked out. I also thought this was an uncommon and extremely useful question!