Archive for the ‘techniques’ Category

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Stretchy Knitted Icelandic Bind Off

December 19, 2016

Icelandic Bind Off.jpg

 

For most projects, doing a basic bind off is fine, but some projects require a special bind off.  I will never forget a scarf I made many years ago where I did a basic bind off.  To my horror, after the thing was off my needles, I realized that the bind off side had curved.  It also had no give whatsoever and the bind off really ruined the finished piece.  Ever since then, I’ve learned to do stretchy bind offs when needed.

My favorite stretchy bind off is this simple one that uses a tapestry needle from Elizabeth Zimmerman.  But this bind off would not work with my Capella Shawl project, because the bind off edge was just too lengthy and it would not have been practical to use a tapestry needle and such an enormous length of yarn.  So it was the Icelandic Bind Off to the rescue.  This is a stretchy bind off that is perfect for a garter stitch edge and it is done right on the needles.  It’s simple once you do a few of the stitches.  I have step by step photos, followed by a video if that helps you more.

(Scroll to the bottom of this post for the video).

icelandic-bindoff-1icelandic-bindoff-2icelandic-bindoff-3icelandic-bindoff-4icelandic-bindoff-5icelandic-bindoff-6

 

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Magic Loop Tutorial

January 23, 2016

paperdoll gloves magic loop

I have had several requests lately for help in using the Magic Loop method for knitting in the round.  It can be a little daunting to learn.  Since I use Magic Loop so much, I want to help spread the love!  So I made a video (at bottom of post). I hope this video explains things in a way that makes it easier for you to understand, if you are struggling with it.

After you have knit with the method for a while, it becomes super easy.  Some people think Magic Loop involves a lot of fiddling with pulling the needles, etc., but I can knit very fast this way and it becomes second nature.

chinook on magic loop

With Magic Loop, you can try your work on for size!  Try doing that with DPNs – doesn’t work so well

 

There are some reasons I love Magic Loop so much for knitting things in the round:

  1. No DPN (double point needle) tips sticking out! I hate working around those.
  2. Your work isn’t in danger of falling off when you have it on the circular cable (shown on video).  When I put my knitting down, I just slip the work from the needles onto the cable and it’s safe as can be.
  3. If you’re knitting something like a mitten in the round, you can actually slip your work from the needles onto the cable and try the mitten on for size! A big plus.
  4. Makes it super simple to knit something tiny like a thumb or finger.  If you use DPNs, you have to get teeny tiny DPNs to do this and it’s a hassle.
  5. Even if I have a very long circular needle, I can knit a variety of sizes on it, because the cable part just dangles.

 

 

chinookfinger

In this video, I’m using 32″ circular needles, which is a great average size for a variety of different projects.  My favorite circular needles are always Addi Lace. They are super smooth and super sharp, resulting in work that just glides along and needle points that are inserting easily for knitting.

One thing I failed to mention in the video (sorry!) is a helpful little tip:  After you get your project going, the dangling tail yarn becomes your “marker” for the beginning of your work and to tell you where the right side of the work is. This is helpful in case you forget if you have knit half of the round or all of the round – if the tail yarn is dangling on the right, you have completed a round.  Sometimes if you are knitting a project that is just a single solid color, you can get mixed up.

tail end on the left:  you are in the middle of a row.
tail end on the right:   you are at the beginning of a row.

 

If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comment section or email me. Good luck and enjoy Magic Loop!

Elaine

 

 

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Sideways Garter Stitch Vest

March 28, 2015

gartervestblackontop

this vest is vertically reversible!

gartervestgreyontop

If you do not subscribe to Purl Soho’s e-mail newsletter, you really should.  This great little shop in New York’s Soho neighborhood puts out an awesome mailing that includes free patterns.  That is where I saw this pattern for a vest that is done entirely in garter stitch.  It caught my eye right away, so I looked it up on Ravelry to see how  many people were knitting it and what their creative spins on it might be. One great feature of this vest is that you can turn it upside down and wear it the other way, with the contrasting color on top.  Each way gives you a different size collar.

gartervestonneedles

This was such an easy project to knit – it’s just one big rectangle of garter stitch -but it does require doing afterthought armholes, which I kind of love doing.  I’ve done a lot of afterthought thumbs for mittens and afterthought heels for socks, so I know the technique well.

You just knit a length of contrasting waste yarn across the required number of stitches, slip these stitches back to the left needle and knit in your regular yarn.  This leaves you with this contrasting yarn embedded into your piece:

gartervestafterthoughtarmholes

To make the armholes, you slip your stitches just under your waste yarn, picking up one leg from each stitch underneath:

pickingupstitchesgartervest

Here are the stitches on the needles after they are all picked up, both below and above the waste yarn:

afterthoughtarmhole

Now you can get rid of the waste yarn by just picking it out and cutting it as you go to remove it:

pickingoutstitchesforvest

Now it’s a matter of just binding off those stitches you just picked up:

bindingoffafterthought

After they are all bound off, behold – an armhole:

gartervestarmhole

It’s really pretty easy.  A lot of people on Ravelry decided not to do Afterthought Armholes and, instead, just bound off the stitches as they knitted the garment but as I understand it, this method does not make as nice an armhole.  I guess the tension can vary too much.

gartervestside

I really love this vest.  It turned out with a very nice drape – I used a Made in Michigan yarn called Shepherd’s wool that I really love.

Pattern:  Sideways Garter Vest
Needles:  US # 8 Addi Lace 40″ circulars
Yarn: Shepherd’s Wool in Pewter and Black
Ravelry Page

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Mitered Squares Throw With a Fabric Lining

March 3, 2014

miteredsquaresopen

This is one of my favorite projects ever.  This pattern has been around for a while and I was late to the game on it.  It is the Mitered Crosses Blanket that Kay Gardiner made for Japan tsunami relief a couple of years ago.  There are over 900 project pages for it on Ravelry.  I loved this pattern so much and really loved making it.  One of the best things about this pattern is that the project, up until the time that you assemble all the blocks, is very portable.  I took these squares everywhere with we while I worked on them.

instagramshot

closeupmiteredsquares

I changed quite a few things from the original pattern, though. The original called for mitered crosses, of course.  I decided I didn’t want to do the crosses and did squares instead.  I really like the way they turned out. The squares are super easy to make and after a short time, you don’t even need the pattern.  There’s no counting of rows – yay! – you just have to remember to do the decreases on the right side and none on the wrong side. Just make sure you have a stitch marker to mark your corner, where you do your decreases.

mochiplus

I also did not use Noro Silk Garden for two reasons:  I feel it’s a little scratchy and it’s very expensive.  So I searched and found a striping yarn that substituted very nicely – Crystal Palace Mochi Plus.  The colors in Mochi Plus were stunning and it was a hard decision on what colorway to use.  I loved Lake Trail and Leaves & Sprouts but eventually settled on Autumn Rainbow because I started this in the fall and the yarn exactly matched the colors I was seeing all around me.  The  yarn stripes slowly, which I really liked for this.  It is a one-ply yarn so it could be a little felty.  For the background color, I used Cascade Yarns 220 Heathers in Doeskin Heather.

connectingblocks

miteredsquarecloseup

I blocked all the squares first before I sewed them together.  And I did sew them together. I did not do the three needle bind off.  I just thought that sewing them together would be a lot faster.  If you want to do the three needle bind off, be sure to read Kay’s post about how she did it.

icordedging

The i-cord edging takes a while to do but it is SO worth it. It really finished the throw. I did the edging in the striping color instead of the background color, which the pattern called for, and I really think it adds something.  It took me several days to do it, just working a little bit on it every day.  Some people are intimidated by the thought of i-cord but it’s so easy.  Here is how you do it:

icordone

you start out with three stitches on your needle (left).  With the left
needle, pick up a stitch (right). Knit that stitch.

icordtwo

You now have four stitches on your needle.  Transfer all those stitches
over to your left needle (left).  Knit the first two stitches (right).

icordthree

Knit the last two stitches together, through the back loops (left).
Now you have three stitches again.  Repeat.  Easy!

After I finished the edging, I decided the “wrong” side of the throw was so unattractive I wanted to cover it up.  Plus, I  felt the throw needed a little bit more structure.  So I decided to add a flannel fabric lining.  I wasn’t sure how to do this – I knew I could cut the fabric, hem it on my sewing machine just fine but then I wasn’t sure how to attach it.  This post from TECHKnitting helped me a lot.  It’s about how to use an overcast stitch by hand so that the stitch gives a little, which is required because of the stretchy nature of the knitting.

overcaststitchcloseup

the overcast stitching shows but it is still
preferable to doing a blind stitch because

it gives ease to the knitting

overcaststitch

throwflap

namelabel

name labels from  
  Ananemone Etsy shop 

throwonsofa

The finished blanket is about 44″ x 33″.  Each block is about 11″ square. I did 12 blocks so it’s not a huge blanket, but rather just a nice throw to put over your lap. Between the 100% wool yarn and the flannel, it’s pretty toasty.

Pattern:  Mitered Crosses Blanket
Yarn: Crystal Palace Mochi Plus in Autumn Rainbow
Cascade Yarns 220 Heathers in Doeskin Heather
Needle:  #6 Circular Addi Lace
Ravelry Page

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Super Stretchy, Super Easy Sewn Bind Off

March 25, 2012

When I posted about my finished Guernsey Wrap, I said that I would write about the sewn bind off that I did to finish it.  Jared recommended a stretchy bind off in the pattern and so I did Elizabeth Zimmerman’s sewn bind off.  I think it’s my favorite yet.  It’s not only easy to execute but it has a nice finished look to it and is super stretchy.  Here is how it’s done:

Cut your yarn to a length about 3 times as long as the knitting and thread it onto a needle.  Insert the needle into the first two stitches, purlwise . . .

. . . and draw it through


insert the needle into the first stitch on the knitting needle as if to knit, draw the yarn through and . . .

. . . slip the stitch off

Repeat. 

This creates a super stretchy bind off that actually resembles your long tail cast on.  My new favorite.

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Green Stripey Socks with an Afterthought Heel

April 27, 2011

When I got this great yarn at Rae’s, I wanted to get going on some socks.  This is just a plain, stockinette sock using the technique I learned at Rae’s to knit socks without a pattern, toe-up.  I decided to knit the leg in plain stockinette because I just wanted the self striping yarn to show without any texture.

Barbara, who teaches that sock class at Rae’s, really prefers an afterthought heel, placing waste yarn as you knit, which is easily picked out later for the heel.  Having done socks with both a gusset/heel flap and the afterthought technique, I’ve come to prefer the afterthought heel, too.  It’s by far the simplest method, requiring no pattern or keeping track of short rows and Barbara feels it’s the most comfortable to wear.

Another bonus with an afterthought heel  – you basically knit a whole tube for the sock, from toe to cuff, and so it doesn’t interrupt your self striping yarn or any other pattern that you’re doing.

I also did a Russian bind-off for the cuff, which I really liked using this method (love this lady’s accent). I had tried the Russian bind-off in Wendy Johnson’s book, Socks from the Toe Up, and did not like that version at all.

Pattern:  None!
Yarn: Pagewood Farm, Forest Camo
Yarn for Toes/Heels:  Yarn Hollow Bitty/Jade
Needles:
US #0, circular, using magic loop
Ravelry Page

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Duplicate Stitch

March 31, 2011

Sometimes if I want to add a little color to my knitting, but I don’t want to introduce a new yarn just for a few stitches, I will use duplicate stitch when the knitting is finished to add the color.  It’s easy and quick and your little bits of color actually show up better, I think, than when they are knitted in.  I’m using this technique on the Andalus Mittens that I am knitting right now.

Thread a tapestry needle with the color you wish to introduce.

Step #1: Insert your needle from the wrong side of the work into the bottom of the “V” of the stitch you want to color:

 

Thread tapestry needle through the middle of the stitches of the stitch above the stitch you want to color:

 

Bring needle through:

 

Insert tip back down into the bottom of the “V” of your designated stitch and then bring it up at the bottom of the “V” in the next stitch you want to color:

 

 

Finished Duplicate Stitch:

 

Knowing this technique allows you to add any little bits of color on your knitting anywhere  you want!  In a future post, I’ll show you how to correct color mistakes using duplicate stitch.

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