Technical Tuesday: KNITmuch

As I wrote a couple weeks ago I’ve written a few articles for an online blog called KNITmuch, since I’m a little tight on time for this week I am going to post some photos. These are the things I designed for the Red Heart yarn Scrubby.

Double thick Chevron Scrubby dishcloth working on dished in the sink.

Heart Shaped Scrubby Stuffies

Star Stuffie ready to go!

Scrubby May 28 Three

Pleace the soap into the pouch and lather!

I hope everyone enjoyed the patterns and tries out this yarn. I am not a huge dishcloth fan, but these ones are really fun. The colours help too; you know me… I couldn’t possibly make a boring dishcloth.

I would highly recommend checking out some of the other articles as well. There is a photo of some impossibly cute penguins in sweaters and some really informative knitting articles written by Glenna C.

Technical Tuesday: Weaving in the Ends

This is probably my least fun part of knitting a garment for me. It was something I struggled with when I was first starting to knit, how could you just tuck these ends away and expect them to stay there?! What if they came out? My whole garment would unravel! I wrote a post about weaving in the ends as you go, but for those who prefer to do them separately, here are the videos.

There are a number of reasons a knitter would want to wait till the end to weave in all their ends. If you might have to frog the project, it makes actually finding the ends a lot easier. If you’re watching how much wool you’re using and need to see where you added a new ball.

Weaving in your ends is one of the skills that take your knitting from homemade to hand-made. If ends aren’t woven in well, it’s a noiceable feature. Mind you it is a skill that takes time to learn. I know I watched a lot of videos about weaving in ends and I am still learning little tips and tricks to make the ends less noticeable and more secure.

Technical Tuesday: I-Cord

One of the most versatile knitting techniques I have ever seen is the i-cord. This can be used to create a nice edge either on the cast on or bind off side of things. You can also use it to create a stand alone tube which would serve well in any kind of toy knitting.

I think this i-cord bind off would look fantastic on the end of sleeves. In the video the maker mentions a whole slew of uses, any one of them would make hand made garments look more professionally finished.

This is the same cast on I used for the Tanis Fibre Arts Fiddlehead Mitten pattern. It was one of the first modified cast on’s I ever tried, but I absolutely love it! It gives such a nice clean edge, which I am always a fan of.

This is i-cord added on after to clean up the edges of your knitting. I would use this on scarves, button bands or anywhere you have an edge that you wish looked a little neater!

Finally here is the stand-alone i-cord. This is what I used for the arms and legs of the Mochimochi toys I was knitting in Chicago.

Gnome

There are thousands of uses and these are only four of the videos out there catering to i-cords. Give them a try and see where they take you. I feel like i-cords are something of a gateway to really interesting knitting. They look much more difficult than they are and look really great!

Technical Tuesday: It’s all in the Packaging

One thing I am not asked very often, but think it is worthwhile to know, is the difference between a ball, cake, skein and a hank of yarn. This might not seem like a true distinction, but I assure you, they are four totally and completely different things. I admit that I do know the difference but am a terror because I interchange skein and hank as well as ball and cake.

Ball #1

Let’s start with the easiest; a ball. The most common place balled yarn comes from are those without swifts and yarn ball winder. Those who buy yarn from a store take it home and rewind it by hand. Before I had my swift and baller it was a common occurrence for this to be happening in my house. Either me or Paul would be balling yarn in the living room. It wasn’t near as quick as the process with a yarn ball winder so Paul would usually start before I actually needed the yarn. By the time I knit up to the point where I needed another ball, it was done! Click here to read the story about Paul and 1000 yards of lace…

Ball #2

When you end up breaking and heading out for a swift and yarn ball winder, you’ve progressed to the cake! I would suggest if you are looking at a ball winder, you either get a swift at the same time or get a swift first. It is near impossible to cake yarn on a ball winder when it is not on a swift.

Shibui Baby Alpaca Start

I use ball and cake interchangeably because sometimes cakes are referred to as ‘center pull balls’ because you can start using the yarn from the center of the cake, which will allow it to sit in one place while you’re knitting. With a ball, you need to put it inside something like a yarn bowl, bag or yarn buddy of some king. This was a real problem with me and my cats. Sometimes they would steal it right out of the yarn bowl!

Cake #1

The skein is probably the word I misuse the most. A skein is actually the form yarn comes in from most big box stores (some LYS’s too, but most common in big box stores). They come in an oval shape and ready to knit, just like the photo below. This is technically a skein

Hank #1

A hank on the other hand is when the yarn is wound in a circle with choke ties holding it together. When this yarn is displayed at your LYS it is twisted together. When I post photos of un-caked yarn, this is a hank… even though I call it a skein. From now on I am going to make an effort to use the proper names for these forms yarn can take!

Yarn Photoz

I’ll tell you a little anecdote to end this post. When I was looking to buy a yarn ball winder, the planets aligned and all the LYS in my area were sold out. I desperation to get one immediately, (because waiting a few days was obviously going to kill me) I called a big box store to see if they sold them. This was a crafting big box store and the lady who was working in the yarn section was unsure what I meant. I described what I was looking for in detail, even the process of hand balling, so she would get my meaning.

Hank Cat

At this point a light bulb went on somewhere and she realized what I was talking about. Instead of telling me if they carried this implement, she tried to convince me that nowhere sold yarn in hanks anymore. I assured her that hanks of yarn were alive and well in the world and she steadfastly did not believe me. I ended up assuming they didn’t carry yarn ball winders and, secure in my knitterly prowess, I called my LYS back and ordered a yarn ball winder.

Technical Tuesday: Information Overload

I was at something of a loss about what to write for today. Usually when this happens I go on a knitting blog or look at what I am currently knitting and try to think of it from a beginning perspective. Nothing was really popping out at me this time. Procrastination actually saved me for this week.

On YouTube, I actually came across a channel entitled Studio Knit. Usually I focus on one technique and post several videos for that one specific technique, but Studio Knit posts video patterns.

The roses from the pattern above were posted as a mother’s day pattern, but they could easily be used for something else! Valentine’s Day? Simply flowers that could survive the horticultural attentions of anyone possessed of a black thumb.

These videos are only a few of all the ones on this channel, but they are excellent and a small sample of what is posted. If you’re hesitant about any of these projects, there are quite a few beginner videos to help you along the way!

Technical Tuesday: Double Pointed Needles

At the Creativ Festival this past weekend I was knitting in our booth. Quite a few people commented on my ability to use double pointed needles and asked me how I managed to learn. If you’ve been reading the blog for a while, or read older posts, you will know this was not always the case.

I used to loath double pointed needles and I would use any tip or trick to get out of using them. I even, accidentally, discovered how to do something of a modified magic loop method to avoid using them for projects like colour work mittens and sleeves.

I did not watch any kind of YouTube videos to figure it out. No no no, I was determined to learn the hard way. I buckled down and started knitting socks with dpn’s. I will admit it was hard in the beginning; I definitely made mistakes, but that is the beauty of learning, you’re allowed to make as many mistakes as you like!

After a pair of socks or two, something clicked and I got into a rhythm and from there it was magic. I always find it’s easier if you make sure your left needle is under it’s connecting needle and your right needle (or working needle) goes over the next needle. Your needles build something of a log cabin around as you knit.
The beginning is always the most difficult, but don’t give up! At least 90% of being an amazing knitter is sheer unbridled fearlessness… and maybe a touch of stubbornness, but who’s counting?