Showing posts with label knit. Show all posts
Showing posts with label knit. Show all posts

Knitting Video Tutorial: Twined Colorwork Heel Flap

Twined Knitting Video Tutorial: A new twist on a traditional knit sock heel flap.

Twining is one of my very favorite colorwork techniques. I learned it quite by accident when I was first experimenting with colorwork in my knitting.

After some research, I discovered that twining is a traditional Scandinavian technique known as tvåändsstickning in Swedish and tvebandsstrikking in Norwegian. I'd like to say that this method just feels natural to me because of my Scandinavian heritage, but that's probably just in my head.

A few months ago, I made a pair of socks using twining in the round. I brought them to show the girls in my sock knitting group. On close inspection, one of the ladies commented that twining would work very well on a heel flap and that got me thinking...

I just had to design a pattern with a twined heel flap.

Here's a quick video showing how to do twining in rows.


And an upclose and personal look at both sides of the heel flap.

Twined Knitting Video Tutorial: A new twist on a traditional knit sock heel flap.

The one major difference between knitting a sock with a twined heel flap and a traditional slipped stitch ribbing heel flap has to do with how many stitches you pick up along the edges of the flap for the gusset.

Traditionally for the gusset  you pick up one stitch in each of the stitches along the side of the flap. If you do the same for a twined heel flap, the gusset will be too small. Instead, pick up approximately three stitches for every two stitches on the side of the flap.

If you are ready to try a twined heel flap, the pattern for these Road Trip Socks is available in my Craftsy Shop.




Hello Stanwood Yarn Ball Winder, Goodbye Frankenskeins

My name is Ellen, and I am a yarn-a-holic. My problem isn't necessarily related to buying too much yarn. I am typically a project-based yarn shopper and my skeins do not remain in my stash unworked for very long.

The real issue is that when I finish a project, I simply can not throw away the leftover bits and pieces no matter how large or small they are. I mean, the color is so pretty and someday I might need it for something.

So, I roll the leftovers into a ball and drop them into a bin where they commingle with the other fiber castoffs, eventually morphing into a giant Frankenskein!

Even the cat avoids tangling with this monstrosity of stash yarn.

Hmm... I wonder why I never use my leftovers. Even the cat avoids tangling with this monstrosity.

Then one day in a casual conversation, my neighbor accused me of having every knit and crochet tool known to man. Like that's a bad thing! I immediately went on Amazon to prove my dear friend wrong. Hooks, needles, row counters, stitch markers... Yep, I pretty much have it all.

But wait! What magical fiber related tool do I not yet have? A yarn ball winder. A situation quickly remedied with my purchase of a Stanwood Needlecraft YBW-A.

As soon as it arrived I clamped that bad boy to the table and started deconstructing my giant Frankenskein. Within a couple hours I had a pile of colorful cakes piled across my table.


The winder pleasantly hummed as I wound it all. Cotton, wool, acrylic. I'm not a yarn snob after all.

And now that my yarn is neatly wound and organized by fiber type two questions remain? What stashbusting pattern is next to be designed and what knitting/crochet tool is still missing from my studio?




10 Things to Love About Slow Fashion

10 Things to love about slow fashion: What I learned from mending a sweater

The Slow Fashion movement is gaining popularity around the world. Quite simply, the idea is about choosing more sustainable clothing alternatives such as eco and fair trade fashion, second hand buying, swapping and repairing existing wardrobe items.

As a crafty girl that puts a lot of time and effort into design and making, I can definitely appreciate the fact that quality is better than quantity. So, when my husband's favorite sweater was in need of some TLC, I decided to take the time to repair it instead of just chucking it in the trash.

My husband keeps this sweater in his office and it has likely been worn every work day for the last five years. Unfortuantely it had developed two problems. First, the zipper pull broke off in the laundry. Second, one of the pockets was detached and beginning to unravel.

The good news about the zipper was that my husband never actually uses it. Also, there was already a redundant set of buttons in place, just in case. This meant I was able to simply remove the zipper and restitch the facing. Easy peasy.
The pocket presented a slightly larger problem, but one that I was able to solve thanks to my knitting experience. Since the pocket was unravelling I needed to re-knit the stitches. Fortunately the yarn was not damaged. After that I used a piece of scrap yarn from my stash to graft the pocket back into place.
So, what did I learn from this slow fashion experience?

1. Slow fashion is empowering!


In just a couple hours, I was able to at least double the life expectancy of this garment. That may not seem like a big deal to some people, but I feel like I accomplished something pretty amazing.

2. Slow fashion discourages a throw away culture.


It is so easy to just throw away a cheap item knowing that you can pick up a replacement at the local big box for a few dollars. Is that the type of lifestyle we really want to embrace and model to our children?

3. Slow fashion is a way to practice creative skills.


This little project gave me a chance to flex my creative muscles. I had to figure out how to make a sturdy repair that looked nice and was functional. I was able to incorporate my engineering, knitting and sewing skills. Just look at those neat little handmade stitches!

10 Things to love about slow fashion: What I learned from mending a sweater

4. Slow fashion saves time.


This may seem counter intuitive because fixing this sweater took a couple hours. If I had thrown it away and purchased a replacement we would have driven to the mall to browse a number of different stores or spent time online searching for the perfect replacement sweater. And of course there is the time spent working to earn the money to pay for a new sweater.

5. Slow fashion saves money.


I used a seam ripper, needle, thread, knitting needles and yarn to fix this sweater. I already had all of the tools and materials in my sewing room, but even if you consider the full price for each of theses items, it would add up to less than the cost of a new sweater.

6. Slow fashion is a way to express yourself.


My repair was fairly basic, but I have seen other mends that involve patching or embroidery and they can be a beautiful way to incorporate new color and texture into an old garment.

7. Slow fashion creates less waste.


It's well known that the fashion industry creates a lot of waste in the production process. My repair minimized the need for the waste from producing a new sweater and kept the existing one out of the landfill.

8. Slow fashion shows you care.


I took the time to fix this sweater, in part because I know my husband really likes it. I hope that every time he wears it he feels the love that I put into every stitch.

9. Slow fashion makes you appreciate the importance of a job well done.


Of course I am proud of my own repair work and glad I took the time to do it right. While I was working, I also noticed the well-thought design elements from the original construction. Who ever chose to add a sturdy facing to the sweater opening was a genius. It was more expensive to manufacture the garment with this feature, but if the facing had not been there, removing or replacing the zipper would not have been an easy task.

10. Slow fashion generates quality time.


As I sat at the table making repairs, my husband sat with me and we were able to savor a cup of coffee, chat about current events and just enjoy each other's company. Definitely time well spent!

10 Things to love about slow fashion: What I learned from mending a sweater
How do you incorporate the concept of slow living into your daily routine?



Twined Colorwork Knitting Video Tutorial

Video Tutorial: Twined knitting is a traditional Scandinavian technique where two yarn strands are twisted around each other creating an unconventional texture.

I am pretty much a self taught knitter. Books, online tutorials and much trial and error. When I first began two-color knitting, I guess I was doing it the "wrong" way. Instead of holding one strand of yarn in my left hand and one in my right, I twisted the two strands around each other with one hand.

Little did I know that this method is actually a traditional Scandinavian technique known as twined knitting (tvåändsstickning in Swedish and tvebandsstrikking in Norwegian). I'd like to say that this method just felt natural to me because of my Scandinavian heritage, but maybe that's just in my head.

On one side of your work, twined knitting looks just like plain, old stockinette. On the other side, the twisted strands become a design element and you get a beautifully textured pattern.

To get an idea about how twined knitting works, here's a quick video so you can see the twisting and untwisting motion of the working yarn strands in action.


The complete pattern for these Spring Violet Socks is available in my Craftsy Shop.

Happy knitting!




How to Knit Star Toes for Socks

Learn how the formula for knitting star toes for any size socks using any yarn.

I have been a knitter for well over 20 years and a sock knitting addict for more than 10, but like many knitters before me, I was very much stuck in the rut of always knitting banded, paired-decrease toes on my socks. It is by far the most common type of toe shaping. And then I discovered the star toe.

Star toes on hand knit socks have a much more rounded, natural shape, and do not have to be joined with the Kitchener Stitch. Also, since the decreased stitches that shape the toe are distributed evenly around the sock so there is no obvious band on the sides of the toe. I personally think socks with star toes are more comfortable and have a sturdier toe.

To make a star toe, you will need to divide your toe sts evenly around 4 double pointed needles. For example if your sock is 64 sts around you would have 16 sts on each needle. To simplify things, we'll notate that as 64/16, or the total number of stitches/number of sts per needle.

And now the secret formula.

Start by finding your ratio of total number of stitches/number of sts per needle in the left column of the chart. Follow the directions then see what row of the chart to look at next.

Total Sts/
sts per needle
What to do Now go to
88/22 [K2tog, k9] 8 times.
Work 9 rnds with no decreases.
80/20
84/21 [K2tog, k19] 4 times.
Work 9 rnds with no decreases
80/20
80/20 [K2tog, k8] 8 times.
Work 8 rnds with no decreases.
72/18
76/19 [K2tog, k17] 4 times.
Work 8 rnds with no decreases
72/18
72/18 [K2tog, k7] 8 times.
Work 7 rnds with no decreases.
64/16
68/17 [K2tog, k15] 4 times.
Work 7 rnds with no decreases
64/16
64/16 [K2tog, k6] 8 times.
Work 6 rnds with no decreases.
56/14
60/15 [K2tog, k13] 4 times.
Work 6 rnds with no decreases
56/14
56/14 [K2tog, k5] 8 times.
Work 5 rnds with no decreases.
48/12
52/13 [K2tog, k11] 4 times.
Work 5 rnds with no decreases
48/12
48/12 [K2tog, k4] 8 times.
Work 4 rnds with no decreases.
40/10
44/11 [K2tog, k9] 4 times.
Work 4 rnds with no decreases
40/10
40/10 [K2tog, k3] 8 times.
Work 3 rnds with no decreases.
32/8
36/9 [K2tog, k7] 4 times.
Work 3 rnds with no decreases
32/8
32/8 [K2tog, k2] 8 times.
Work 2 rnds with no decreases.
[K2tog, k1] 8 times.
Work 1 rnd with no decreases.
[k2tog] 8 times.
Break the yarn and pull through the remaining 8 sts with a yarn needle.

If you are feeling really adventurous, you can substitute a different type of decrease, perhaps skpo, for every k2tog in the pattern. The shape of the toe will remain the same, but the star pattern becomes more noticeable.

Happy sock knitting!




Knitting Pattern: November 2016 Yarnbox Infinity Scarf

Free November 2016 Yarnbox knit infinity scarf pattern featuring Jade Sapphire Exotic Fibres Re<>Luxe Lite recycled cashmere.

My best friend knows me better than just about anyone. Last year for my birthday she supported my fiber addiction and got me the November 2016 Yarnbox Classic.

I was absolutely delighted when my Yarnbox arrived and inside were two luxurious skeins of Jade Sapphire Exotic Fibres Re<>Luxe Lite recycled cashmere. It was love at first sight!

Of course I could have followed one of the patterns that were included in my yarnbox, both were lovely by the way, but I had a vision for an elegant and cozy infinity scarf. It's 7 1/2 inches wide by 55 inches long and is a treat to wear on chilly days.

Gauge


18 sts or 24 rows = 4 inches

Materials


Abbreviations


BO - bind off
CO - cast on
k - knit
k2tog - knit two stitches together
p - purl
RS - right side
skpo - slip one stitch knitwise, knit one, pass slipped stitch over
WS - wrong side
yo - yarn forward and over

Directions


CO 34.

Set-up row (WS): P34.

Row 1 (RS): K2, [k6, skpo, yo, k2tog, yo] 3 times, k2.

Row 2 and all WS rows: P 34.

Row 3: K1, [k6, skpo, yo, k2tog, yo] 3times, k3.

Row 5: [K6, skpo, yo, k2tog, yo] k6] 3 times, k4.

Row 7: K5, [skpo, yo, k2tog, yo, k6] 2 times, skpo, yo, k2tog, yo, k5.

Row 9: K4, [skpo, yo, k2tog, yo, k6] 3 times.

Row 11: K3, [skpo, yo, k2tog, yo, k6] 3 times, k1.

Row 13: K2, [skpo, yo, k2tog, yo, k6] 3 times, k2.

Row 15: K1, [skpo, yo, k2tog, yo, k6] 3 times, k3.

Row 17: K2, k2tog, yo, [k6, skpo, yo, k2tog, yo] 2 times, k6, skpo, yo, k2.

Row 19: K1, K2tog, yo, [k6, skpo, yo, k2tog, yo] 2 times, k6, skpo, yo, k3.

Row 20: P 34.

Repeat Row 1-20 until piece measures 55 inches.

BO and join cast on to bound off edges to form an infinity scarf.

Free November 2016 Yarnbox knit infinity scarf pattern featuring Jade Sapphire Exotic Fibres Re<>Luxe Lite recycled cashmere.

Happy Knitting!




5 Knit Short Row Sock Heels


There are not many things cozier than a well made pair of hand knit socks. I have been knitting socks for years using heel flaps and afterthought heels but only recently discovered the sheer bliss of knitting short row sock heels.

There are two major advantages to knitting short row sock heels. First, the heels are much neater looking than heel flaps. Second, there's no need to go back and insert the heel after the rest of the sock is made as for afterthought heels.

There are five common short row techniques which are all easier than you may expect.
Earlier this month I shared tutorials for each  method. Now I'd like to take a moment to tell you about the advantages and disadvantages of each technique and tell you which are my personal favorites.

Yarn Over Short Row Sock Heel


The Yarn Over Method is my least favorite short row technique.

Pros - It's easy to see where the turning point is so you don't need to count or mark your stitches.

Cons - The diagonal join at the heel the loosest of all the methods and there is a very noticeable gap on each side of the heel that must be corrected when you finish your sock.

Wrap and Turn Short Row Sock Heel


The Wrap and Turn Method is the most commonly used technique for knitting short rows.

Pros - It's easy to find patterns that reference this technique and the diagonal join is tighter than the Yarn Over Method.

Cons - There is still a very noticeable gap on each side of the heel that must be corrected when you finish your sock.

Shadow Wrapped Short Row Sock Heel


The Shadow Wrapped Method uses simple "twin" stitches.

Pros - This is probably the quickest and easiest of all the short row techniques, the turning points are very clear without counting or markers and there is no gap at the side of the heel.

Cons - The diagonal join is significantly thicker on the inside of the sock than the other methods which can be a problem if you have sensitive feet.

Japanese or Pinned Short Row Sock Heel


The Japanese or Pinned Method requires the use of removable pins or markers to lift a strand of yarn up onto your knitting needles.

Pros - The diagonal join of this heel is by far the tightest and neatest of all the techniques.

Cons - The use of pins/stitch markers make this method slower and slightly more challenging than the other methods, especially if you are working with very fine sock yarn.

German or Double Stitch Short Row Sock Heel


The German or Double Stitch Method looks very messy as you are working it and then some sort of yarn magic happens transforming stitches that look like mistakes into a neat join.

Pros - This technique is speedy like the Shadow Wrapped Method, but the diagonal join is not as bulky.

Cons - The diagonal join is not as tight as the Japanese or Shadow Wrapped Methods.

I don't really care for the Wrap and Turn and Yarn Over Methods because of the gap that must be corrected at the sides of the heel. Also, the diagonal joins on both are a little looser than I like. So, I tend to stick with the Shadow Wrapped, Japanese and German Methods whenever I am knitting socks.

I use the Japanese or Pinned Method when I am knitting a solid colored heel. Even though it takes a little longer to work, the diagonal join is noticeably the neatest.

For heels made with variegated, lightweight yarn I prefer the Shadow Wrapped Method. The bulk of the diagonal join is not uncomfortable with a lighter yarn and I think this is the fastest short row method.

For heels made with a heavier, variegated yarn I go with the German or Double Stitch Method. It's fast like shadow wrapping, but the diagonal seam is not as thick.

No matter which technique you prefer, the nice thing about short row heels is that you can easily substitute your favorite method into any sock pattern that uses short rows.

Happy knitting!




Knitting Tutorial: Shadow Wrap Short Row Heels

Here's a little knitting secret that I would like to share. Once you learn how to knit socks using a short row method, you will likely never make heel flaps or afterthought heels again. They look much neater than heel flaps and there is no need to go back and insert the heel after the rest of the sock is made as in afterthought heels.

At first, the idea of short rows seems a little mysterious, but in my opinion they are easier and actually speed up the sock knitting process.

There are five common short row techniques:
Today, the final tutorial in the series, the Shadow Wrap technique.

For all short row methods, the heel is worked across half of the sock's stitches. You'll notice my round ends at the center of my heel stitches. I am going to slip my non-heel stitches onto a stitch holder for demonstration purposes, but normally you can just keep them on a spare dpn.
Row 1 (RS): Technically this is only a half row and we will work the other half later. Knit to the last heel stitch,
with the right needle, pick up the right leg of the stitch below the remaining stitch.
lift the leg up onto the left needle,
knit the lifted leg and slip the stitch from your right needle to the left,
now it looks like there are two stitches coming out of the same knit stitch (sometimes this is called a twin stitch), turn.
Row 2 (WS): Purl across until one stitch remains,
slip the stitch from your left to your right needle,
with the left needle pick up the "bump" beneath the slipped stitch,
purl the lifted strand,
slip the purled stitch and the slipped stitch from the right needle back to the left, this is another twin stitch, turn.
Row 3: Knit across to one stitch before the twin,
with the right needle lift the right leg of the stitch below the next stitch up onto the left needle,
knit the lifted strand,
slip the knit stitch from your right needle to your left, it's another twin stitch, turn.
Row 4: Purl across to one stitch before the twin,
slip one stitch,
lift the "bump" below the slipped stitch with your left needle,
purl into the lifted strand,
slip both the purl and the slipped stitch from the right needle to the left (another twin stitch), turn.
Repeat Row 3-4 for the desired length. Since Row 1 was a half row, knit to the center of the heel.

for my example I have six twin stitches on each side of the heel and six regular stitches at the center of the heel.
Now it's time to work the other half of the heel.

Row 5: Again this is a half row and we'll work the other half later. Knit to the first twin stitch,
knit both strands of the twin together,
with the right needle lift the right leg of the stitch below the next twin onto the left needle,
knit the lifted strand and slip it form the right needle to the left,
now you have a triplet, turn.
Row 6: Purl across to the first twin,
purl both strands of the twin together,
slip the next twin to the right needle,
lift the "bump" beneath the slipped twin with the left needle,
purl the lifted strand,
slip the triplet from right to left, turn.
Row 7: Knit across to the triplet,
knit the strands of the triplet together,
lift the right leg of the stitch below the next twin onto the left needle,
knit the lifted strand,
slip the knit stitch back to the left needle, turn.
Row 8: Purl to the triplet,
purl the strands of the triplet together,
slip the next twin from left to right,
lift the "bump" under the slipped twin,
purl the lifted strand and slip the purled stitch and the slipped twin to the left needle, turn.
Repeat Row 7-8 until there is one triplet left on each side of the heel. Since Row 5 was only half a row, knit back to the center of the heel.
The remainder of the sock is worked in rounds so I moved my held stitches back onto a dpn.

You need to work one final round to finish the heel.

Rnd 9: Knit to the first triplet, knit all the strands of the triplet together,
knit across the stitches that were held,
knit the strands of the next triplet together,
knit to the end of the round.

The heel is complete.
Here's the heel from the side.


To wrap up my series of short row heel tutorials, in my next post we'll look at all the heels, side by side and I'll tell you which ones are my favorite.