Showing posts with label tips. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tips. Show all posts

Knitting Technique: 3 Ways to Weave in Loose Ends

Knitting Techniques: 3 ways to weave in the yarn tails on sctockinette stitch - duplicate stitch, zig-zag and diagonal methods

I have yet to meet a knitter that enjoys weaving in the loose ends. But after spending hours, days or even months creating a knit piece, neatly tucking in those yarn tails is necessary to give your work that finished look.

Although some people would strongly disagree with what I'm about to say, there's no single "right" way to weave in the ends. It depends a lot on what you have made, the stitches in your design and the type of yarn you have used.

No matter how you choose to weave in the ends, there are three important guidelines to consider:
  • The yarn ends must be secure so your work doesn't unravel after the first wash.
  • The yarn ends must be inconspicuous so they don't detract from your design.
  • The yarn ends should be woven in so they do not interfere with the elasticity of your fabric.
When you are knitting a pieced garment, like a sweater, it's not unusual to weave the loose ends into a seam. For items like hats, scarves, blankets and socks, it can be a little trickier.

I knit up a little stockinette swatch to demonstrate three different ways to weave in your yarn tails - the Duplicate Stitch method, a zig-zag method and a diagonal method.

Duplicate Stitch

Many experienced knitters will tell you that using the Duplicate Stitch is the proper way to weave in the ends. The idea of the Duplicate Stitch is to copy the path of one row of stitches, on the wrong side of your knitting, as you weave in the end of the yarn, hence the name.

For demonstration purposes I knit one row of my white swatch in a green so you can easily see exactly which stitches you need to duplicate.

When I stretch my work out a little bit, you can see the path of the stitches. If you look at the non-horizontal strands of the green stitches you can see a pattern, that looks something like this / \ / \ / \ / \ / \ .

Notice there are two (white) rows of horizontal bars between the top an bottom of my green stitches. That's where the magic happens.

Slip your needle diagonally up and to the right
You are tracing the / part of the stitch.
Slip your needle down and to the left.
That's the \ of the stitch.
Again up and to the right.
Another /.
Down and to the left.
So far you have \ /\ / .
Continue in the same pattern for a few stitches until your yarn is secured.

This is the wrong side.
Even though I used a contrasting yarn color, you can hardly see the duplicated stitches on the right side of my sample.

Zig-Zag

The Zig-Zag is my favorite method for weaving in loose ends because it is very inconspicuous and does not add as much bulk as the Duplicate Stitch.

I have placed my needle next to the strands that I'll be working into.
Lifting one horizontal strand at a time, pull the yarn diagonally through about 4-6 stitches.
Then do the same going down in the other direction. In a real piece of work I would continue my zig-zag on a little farther.

Again, this is the wrong side.
And this is the right side. I have framed the zig-zag with my fingers and you can see the contrasting yarn barely shows.

Diagonal

This method is very secure, but it is a little more bulky and noticeable than the other two methods.

Like the zig-zag, you want to pull your yarn diagonally through the horizontal strands.
However, instead of going under every strand on the diagonal, pull the yarn through every other strand.
Now, pull the yarn back through the skipped strands.

The tension of the fabric holds the yarn tail very tightly.
On the right side the weaving is somewhat visible, but this would not be as much of an issue when you are weaving in the end of yarn in the same color.
Now finish up those WIPs and UFOs and don't forget to weave in your ends. Happy knititng!




Why Do You Create Handmade?

Crafters, artists and designers from around the world share why they create handmade.

We live in a world where convenience is often king. Most of us can easily obtain everything we need or want from a local big box store. That may be one reason that a lot of people just don't understand why anyone would invest the time (and often money for quality materials) to create something completely by hand.

So why do you create handmade?

I recently posed this question to my crafty followers on Facebook and Instagram. The varied responses I received were better than anything I could think of alone, although you will notice many common threads woven through the answers.

First, some humor


"It's a practical life skill for surviving the zombie apocalypse." alittlebirdhouse on Instagram

"I create handmade because I can!" kwiltypleasures on Instagram

Well Being


"I do it for various reasons. It's therapeutic, it helps me slow down in a hectic world. It reminds me I have a talent, and that I am very, very lucky to have that. And, I realized that I can make other people smile through my creations. The warm happy feeling when I see that is what makes me create." jacs.studio on Instagram → The Little Welsh Studio on Etsy

"I craft because it gives me an outlet for creativity. It soothes my brain. Knitting/crocheting is a place that I strive for perfection in and to expand my knowledge. Some people learn to play complex pieces of music on the piano. I am learning all about the art, structure, design, and even history of fiber arts. It also gives me opportunities to give a piece of myself to people I love." withsnowinmind on Instagram

"It's a way to relax for me. Others do yoga, I knit and spin. I also love the smile on the faces of the people who appreciate handmade items. It's such a joy to see them wear my handmade hats and shawls and socks. I do feel extremely good and proud when I finally finish a project. It feels like 'look what beautiful things you can create with your hands, out of two sticks and wool'. And of course it's a way of expressing my creativity." kanitterina on Instagram → The Science of Knitting Podcast

It's Who I Am


"Because I HAVE to for one thing. It's part of my makeup. I love the process of creation, seeing where an idea goes. And I love seeing the end result. It exercises my mind--which is important for someone who's suffered brain damage. I couldn't imagine a life that doesn't involve making things." Lin Collette on Facebook

Being Connected


"I love creating it's relaxing and keeps the mind thinking. My grandmother taught me the basic crochet stitches and embroidery at night after dinner she was always working on something. I feel close to her when I crochet even though she has been gone so many years. I don't think there's a person in the world that doesn't feel great when they get good reviews on their work. Makes me smile and we all need more smiles. Just shake your head at that person that obviously doesn't know quality work and keep doing what you do. We crafters know are work is high quality besides it's in our blood!" forpawsandhome on Instagram → forpawsandhome on Etsy

"I create handmade because it helps me to express myself as a woman and share artistic images and cultural pride with others. Many hand crafts come from or are influenced by cultural traditions around the world today and from the past as well. It's a type of self-sufficiency and response to the sped up consumer culture that helps to share and foster a sense of community among people. I love and appreciate the art, the craft, and the soul of handmade. We need to keep on with this movement and support each other and keep growing!" joliefemmebydiana on Instagram → joliefemmebydiana on Etsy

Quality Control


"I create handmade so I know nothing icky or bad goes into the products I use/eat." skinfulessentials on Instagram → skinfulessentials on Etsy

Originality


"I started making my own jewellery because I have always loved one of a kind pieces. You will not find these in a big box store anywhere. That's what I love about handmade. The creative ideas and process that translates into these beautiful pieces of art whether they are made out of yarn, stones, porcelain, paint, whatever the medium. They look like they are made with thoughtfulness, creativity and love, and they are! Walmart can't even compete." AudacityWear on Facebook → AudacityWear on Etsy

"People have always crafted--made things with their hands. I think it satisfies something deeply human in us. For me, beading is a time to get lost in colors, shapes, textures, and composition--also to experience a little of the history and culture different beads represent. For my customers, my pieces are more personal than something they could buy at a department store. Each piece is one of a kind. I think they value the difference." catchingwavesonetsy on Instagram → CatchingWaves on Etsy

Lifestyle and Values


"For some, convenience and speed is something they place a high value on. They would rather spend their time in other ways that they find fulfilling. For others, they place value on the time spent creating - whether it's the joy of learning or the sense of achievement with bringing an idea to life. Neither perspective is wrong. It's just figuring out what is important to you - and embracing that path." dellcovespices on Instagram → Dell Cove Spices Shop

"... I must admit though I do get similar comments, even from students who say things such as 'its a bit uneven and wobbly' when they make a pot. My response is always.... 'well, if you wanted perfection you would by it at Ikea. This is handmade and unique and captures the makers mark' and they always get it! Personally I create because it is part of my overall lifestyle - growing food, recycling and making... I can't imagine living any other way." dawnwhitehand on Instagram → deedeedeesigns on Etsy

"I create handmade items because it's fun, because I can earn a little extra money, because handmade gifts and more personal and loving, because it's less corporate consumer culture, and sometimes because I can turn worn out things into useful things or make reusable alternatives to disposable products." beeasinbumbledesigns on Instagram → BeeAsInBumbleDesigns on Etsy

Showing Love


"I create because it's soothing - I'm much less anxious when I'm knitting or crocheting - and because I want the recipients to feel warm, cozy, and loved." agnesmarielovesyou on Instagram

"I design and create because I love to, and I am grateful that I can. Creativity can be the basis for valued friendships. Whether it is from my garden, kitchen or sewing table it is lovely to share. Those who value handmade make the effort worthwhile." arabella_blossoms on Instagram → arabellablossoms on Etsy

Making the World a Better Place


"I create as therapy for myself, a way to make the world more colorful and beautiful. I also hope that in making my creations it brings pleasure to those who receive it, as either a gift or purchase. I create because without it I lose my color." shawnidarling on Instagram → threefatesfiber on Etsy

"What a great question!... I think I create because I enjoy it for sure, and also because it gives me the impression that I somehow contribute to the world, in a tiny way for sure, but in a concrete one. I find it empowering, and I like the feeling that I can combine productivity and enjoyment, so my free time is occupied with something that produces results and bring me joy and pride." HanjiNaty on Facebook → HanjiNaty on Etsy

Sense of Accomplishment


"Because I love to crochet and knit and the sense of accomplishment of creating something beautiful that I can be very proud to say I made it." RonHelen King on Facebook

Thank you to everyone who shared their answers on both Facebook and Instagram. You creativity, beauty and kindness is inspiring.

Happy Crafting!




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?



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!




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: German or Double Stitch Short Row Heels

Learn how to knit socks using the German or Double Stitch Short Row Heel Method.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 I'll teach you the German or Double Stitch Method.

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): Knit across to the last heel stitch, turn.
Technically this is only half of a row. We'll deal with the other half of the row a little later.
Row 2 (WS): Slip one stitch,
pull the working yarn up over the right needle, this brings both loops of the lower stitch over the right needle making a double stitch,
purl across to the end of the row, turn.
Row 3: Bring the working yarn to the front of your work to the right of your last stitch, slip one stitch,
pull the working yarn up over the right needle, again this brings both loops of the lower stitch over the right needle making a double stitch (it doesn't look pretty),
knit across to the double stitch, turn.
Row 4: Slip one stitch,
make a double stitch by pulling the yarn firmly over the top of the right needle,
purl across to the double stitch, turn.
Repeat Row 3-4 for the required length.

Remember Row 1 was only half a row? Now we need to work the other half.

Bring the working yarn to the front of your work to the right of your last stitch, slip one stitch, pull the working yarn up over the right needle to make a double stitch and knit to the center of the row.
For my example I have 6 double stitches on each side of the heel and 6 regular stitches at the center.
Now we need to work the double stitches together.

Row 5: Knit to the first double stitch,
knit the strands of the double stitch together,
knit the strands of the next double stitch together, turn.
Row 6: Slip one stitch,
make a double stitch by pulling the yarn firmly over the top of the right needle (it's going to look really messy but don't worry),
purl to the next double stitch,
purl the strands of the double stitch together,
purl the strands of the next double stitch together, turn.
Row 7: Bring the working yarn to the front of your work to the right of your last stitch, slip one stitch,
Bring the working yarn up over the right needle to make a double stitch (again, it's going to look messy),
knit across to the next double stitch,
knit the strands of the double stitch together, knit the strands of the next double stitch together, turn.
Row 8: Slip one stitch and bring the working yarn over the right needle to create a double stitch, purl across to the next double stitch,
purl the strands of the double stitch together, purl the strands of the next double stitch together, turn.
Repeat Row 7-8 until one double stitch remains. There are two ways you can finish up your heel.

OPTION 1

Row 9: Bring the working yarn to the front of your work to the right of your last stitch, slip one stitch, make a double stitch, knit across to the last double stitch, knit the strands of the double stitch together, turn.
Row 10: Slip one stitch, purl across to last double stitch, purl the strands of the double stitch together, turn.
Technically Row 5 was only half a row, so we need to work the other half now.

Slip one stitch and knit to the center of the row.

That's it! the heel is complete. I slipped my held stitches back onto a dpn because the rest of the sock is worked in rounds.
Here's the heel from the side.
OPTION 2

Row 9: Bring the working yarn to the front of your work to the right of your last stitch, slip one stitch, make a double stitch, technically Row 5 was only a half row, so knit to the center of the heel.

You should now have one double stitch on each side of the heel. Instead of working a ROW 10 work a ROUND 10.

Rnd 10: Knit to double stitch, knit the strands of the double stitch together, knit across the held stitches, knit the strands of the next double stitch together, knit to the beginning of the round.

Pro Tip: OPTION 1 is a more traditional technique. I personally prefer OPTION 2 because there is virtually no gap at either side of the heel as you continue to work the rest of your sock in the round.

If you used OPTION 1...


Once your heel is complete and you continue working in the round you may notice something discouraging . There is a noticeable hole on each side of your sock. Don't panic. It's actually relatively easy to fix.
If you look at your work closely, there's one strand of yarn that can be lifted and pulled to close the gap. Use a knitting needle to gently lift the strand so the gap disappears.
Now, I'm holding that lifted strand in my left hand. Gradually you can distribute that strand across the sock by pulling up the next strand over,  and then the next, and then the next, working from the heel towards the center of the sock...
until the strand that closed the gap is distributed evenly across the sock.

Repeat the process to close the gap on the other side of the heel.
Learn how to knit socks using the German or Double Stitch Short Row Heel Method.

Next up, the Japanese or Pinned Method of short row heels which is a little tricky to do at first, but in my opinion makes the neatest and tightest heel.