Archive for the ‘Tips & Techniques’ Category
Oh no! You cut your yarn tail too short and now you can’t weave in your ends. Or maybe you ran low on yarn while casting on 275 stitches and really don’t want to rip back and start over, just so you have a long tail to weave in.
This is definitely one of those, “Why didn’t I think of that!?” tips.
When working with a notoriously stretchy fiber, it can be hard to tell how your finished project is really going to drape. The stretch and weight of cotton yarn can add inches to a finished sweater. You can’t really tell how much the project will stretch from your swatch alone, since it’s the weight of the entire project that distorts it.
A great solution is to attach clothespins to the base of your swatch to add some weight. Now you can see how much your swatch stretches and factor that into your project. No more surprises!
If you have an account at yarn.com then the Wish List is a great place to save items you’re not quite sure you’re ready to buy, but you don’t want to loose track of. It’s also an easy way to put together a list of can’t-lose gifts for your family and friends.
Step 1: Add items to your Wish List
Step 2: View and edit your Wish List
Step 3: Share your Wish List with friends and family
We all know how important it is to do a gauge swatch, but sometimes your stitches can be hard to see. Knitting and crocheting with fuzzy yarn, ruffle yarn, or even just a super bulky yarn can make counting your stitches really tricky.
To make it easier, hold your project up to a window so the light can shine through. This will allow you to see your stitches for easy counting! Just make sure you don’t stretch your project, otherwise it will distort your stitch count.
Fur has been hitting the catwalk and our shelves, but is there a way to keep in step with this trend while avoiding looking like a Muppet? The key here is to think small. Accessories and details add edge to your wardrobe without going overboard–I’ll show you how.
To play with this trend, I knit myself a quick fur cowl in only a few hours using Prism Plume in the Kilimanjaro colorway. I simply cast on enough stitches to fit around a 40″ US 13 circular needle, twisted my stitches before joining them to create a twist in the cowl, and knit through two hanks of yarn before binding off. The hand-dyed colors of Plume are luscious and it’s super soft around the neck. Fur cowls look great against a cabled sweater for texture contrast, or go monochrome and match your cowl to your jacket or top–it’s like making a shirt you already own into a fur-necked turtleneck! For a retro-inspired shape, try a keyhole scarf like Zelda from Louisa Harding or a fur collar.
Fur vests can be a fun layering piece, but wear carefully and avoid other fur accessories with this one. Berroco’s Granita (left) and Lousia Harding’s Olive (right, from Book 129) feature similar construction styles with different fur textures. Both are meant to be worn open, which creates a long vertical line and helps avoid any ‘wrapped in animal hides’ comparisons. Belts emphasize the waist–always a good thing! I’d pair these vests with something sleek on the bottom, like slim-fitting pants, skinny jeans, or a pencil skirt and tights.
The hardest part of all is deciding which fur yarn you’ll choose! These are not like the eyelash yarns of yesterday–fur-look yarns now come in different fibers and textures ranging from natural-looking fur replicas to colorfully flamboyant options. Rozetti Wicked Fur (bottom left, in color 104 Zebra) is soft, fluffy and comes in natural shades with different color ‘tips,’ just like real fur. If you want a splash of color, check out Louisa Harding Luzia (shown in 02 Ruby and 05 Sapphire) or Filatura di Crosa Jenny (shown here in 08 Almond, but it’s also available in jewel tones). Luzia has a smoother texture that tends to lie flat, which I think looks very realistic in its natural colors; Jenny has longer feathery strands mixed with shorter ones for depth. And Berroco Marmot (in the back, color 3743 Amber) creates a fabric reminiscent of shearling fleece when knitted up.
Will you be trying out one of these fur yarns this winter? How will you be using it?
Coned yarns aren’t just for weaving! Yarns wound onto a cone are wonderful to knit and crochet with. They generally come in fairly large quantities, which means fewer joins and weaving in ends. The only tricky part can be getting the yarn off the cone easily while you’re working with it. You could put the cone on the floor, but your seat may not be high enough to be effective. A great solution is to run the yarn over a tall object so it glides off the cone easily.
Here, I used a tall computer monitor, but a desk lamp would work really well too. If you haven’t worked with coned yarns before, you can try the Valley Yarns 496 Greenway Shawl knit in Valley Yarns 2/10 Merino Tencel (Colrain Lace) and Valley Yarns 456 Sumac Berry Shawl crocheted in Valley Yarns 2/14 Alpaca Silk.
Have you ever held a dripping sweater in your hands and wonder what is the best way to remove the excess water before blocking? Just the right tool may be found in your kitchen.
After I finish knitting or crocheting a project, I like to give it a good soak in some water with wool wash. I’ve tried a number of ways of removing the extra water before pinning it to a blocking board. My favorite and probably the quickest method is to use a salad spinner. It’s a lot more gentle than the spin cycle in my washing machine. I’ve used the towel method, but I don’t love the big pile of wet towels I have at the end. So if the project isn’t too big, I grab my salad spinner.
I’m always impressed by how much excess water I can get out with the salad spinner. (Yay centrifugal force!) A large salad spinner is big enough for many projects such as scarves, shawls, baby garments, lightweight sweaters, and gauge swatches (you do swatch, right?).
What is your favorite method of getting out the water from your project? Leave a note in the comments.
When blocking mittens or fingerless mitts with color-work or lace, the stitches may need to be stretched a bit during blocking to settle into shape. Instead of just soaking your project and laying it flat to dry, you can use blocking wires (or long single point needles in a pinch!) to pull the edges evenly. This lets you block the mittens with minimal pin use and virtually no distortion to the pattern!
All proceeds from the sale of the Safe Passage Hat and Mittens benefit Safe Passage.