Posts Tagged ‘how to’

Reading Crochet Charts

Thursday, June 27th, 2013
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Reading crochet charts can seem daunting to a crocheter that’s never used one before, but they’re not as scary as you might think. Crochet charts are a map of your stitches, they are a visual guide to the stitches you need to create.

The first thing to do is familiarize yourself with the standard crochet symbols, these are the symbols you’ll see in every charted design, no matter what language the written pattern is published in! The Craft Yarn Council has a great list of the most commonly used symbols on their site. You’ll notice that most of the symbols have a physical resemblance to their stitch counterparts.

Know Your Symbols: Check the Legend

As with anything new start simple and familiarize yourself with the process before tackling more complicated projects. Let’s walk through a small swatch in one of the most basic stitches, single crochet.

Here we have a simple, single crochet swatch.

Single Crochet Swatch

The written pattern:
To begin: Ch16
Row 1: Turn, 1sc in 2nd ch from hook, 1sc in ea ch across
Row 2: Ch1, turn, 1sc in ea sc across.
Repeat Row 2 three times more. Fasten off.

The charted pattern:

You’ll see that the charted pattern builds upwards from the foundation chain just like your swatch.

Each row begins with a number that tells you which row you are on and alternate rows change color to help you see which stitches are part of that row and to avoid confusion between rows.

When you compare the chart with the swatch you can see the tail from where you began the chain in the bottom left corner which corresponds to the “Start” symbol and the tail from where you fastened off in the upper left corner which corresponds to the “End” symbol.

Reading Crochet Charts: Charts are a map of your stitches

Take your time and build your experience. The Complete Book of Crochet Stitch Designs by Linda P. Schapper is a great resource for transitioning to using charts. Each stitch pattern includes an image of the pattern, the written version of the pattern as well as the chart.

What’s your favorite tip for reading crochet charts?

 

Reading Knitting Charts

Thursday, June 20th, 2013
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Many new knitters find reading charts to be intimidating, but it’s actually quite easy once you break it down. It’s just like reading written directions.

Stitch Legend

What about all of the symbols? Do they all mean a different stitch?

Just like familiarizing yourself with the stitch abbreviations in the written portion of the pattern you’ll want to get to know your stitch symbols. Take a moment to look at the stitch Legend. Every symbol you see in the chart is there and the Legend explains what each symbol means.

Working in the right Direction

In most cases, you read your chart from right to left on the first row. You’ll notice that when you’re working a pattern in rows that the Row numbers appear staggered on each side of the chart.

If the Row number is on the right hand side of the pattern then this row is worked right-to-left. If the number appears on the left hand side of the chart then this row is worked from left-to-right.

 

Color Your Chart

When I’m working from charts, I find it really helpful to color the different stitches.  It’s easier for me to glance for a color than the symbol. Plus, it’s just fun to color!

(A sticky note or highlighter tape is a great way to keep track of and easily follow which row you’re working on too.)

Use Your Stitch Markers

Often, a chart won’t have the entire piece charted out, just the stitches on either edge and the small section of stitches you repeat across the row. Adding markers at the beginning/end of every repeat makes it easy to keep track of where you are and makes it obvious when to stop the repeat.

Do you have any tips for reading knitting charts?

CAL Week 4: Sugar Sparkles Shawlette

Thursday, April 18th, 2013
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All our crochet work is done! Now we move on to the blocking and see the magic it can have on a finished piece.

You may want to weave in your ends before blocking but don’t trim them yet, let them settle into the new shape with the blocked shawl and trim them when everything is dry.

Here you can see that I’ve pinned the top edge, using blocking wires to keep it nice and straight. Then I pinned the bottom section of the shawlette with another wire and I have a third wire in the center so I can keep everything even.

Once the center section was pinned I was able to pin out the angled increase and decrease sides with a pin in each bobble, here you can see that in detail.

We have a great video with Dena showing you the blocking process. While she is blocking a knit shawl the principles and process are the same.

Once the shawlette is dry you can unpin, trim any ends that may have popped out during the blocking process, and wear!

Thanks for crocheting along with us! What was your favorite part of this project?

Get your copy of the pattern here and join in the CAL at any time! Week 1, Week 2, Week 3

Tuesday’s Knitting Tip – Latvian Braids

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012
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Today’s Tip is from Emma Welford, WEBS Purchasing Coordinator and contributing designer for Valley Yarns.

If you love the Dreamer’s Braided Pullover, but are intimated by the Latvian Braid detail on the yoke, Emma has created a video tutorial to walk you through the steps. In the video below, she outlines how to construct both a left and right leaning Latvian Braid for the Dreamer’s Braided Pullover, or any future colorwork project! Click here to see more of the Dreamer’s Braided Pullover!


Ready, Set, Knit! #286: Kathy talks with Jeanne Lewis, founder of creativebug

Saturday, October 27th, 2012
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Play Now:

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Guest:
Kathy and Jeanne discuss how creativebug.com came to be. With almost 100 video tutorials and 2 new video classes added each week user have a unique opportunity to learn at their own pace, at times that are convenient to the individual.  There is an exciting variety of disciplines from Print-making and Knitting to Jewelry, Crochet, Sewing and much more.

Valley Yarns in the new issue of Knitscene!

Knitscene Winter 2012 Issue is out and features 2 lovely designs using our own Valley Yarns:

The Chandra Shawl designed by Laura Coccarelli, knit in Valley Yarns Berkshire.

The Gate Pullover designed by Margeaux Hufnagel, knit in Valley Yarns Northfield.

Steve’s Yarn Picks

WEBS Holiday Gift Guide 2012 Catalogs will begin arriving in mailboxes next week.
Upcoming Events:
Franklin Habit will be here for classes and an event in early November. The event is now full!
Event and book signing with Carol Sulcoski on November 10th.

Right click or CTRL+click and Save As to download the MP3 of this Podcast Subscribe to Ready, Set, Knit! in iTunes Subscribe to the Ready, Set, Knit! Podcast RSS Feed

Tuesday’s Knitting Tip – Keeping Even Tension in Ribbing

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012
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This week’s tip coms from Ysolda Teague’s latest book, Little Red in the City. It’s filled with fantastic tips and tricks to making your knitting neater and easier resulting in a stunning finished product.

 

Uneven tension in your knitting results in sloppy looking stitches that can really distract from your stitch pattern and your overall project. This tension problem can be really obvious in ribbing. A lot of people purl looser than they knit. This makes the preceding knit stitch appear sloppy and uneven since any slackness in your purl stitch is actually traveling backwards to your knit stitch.

 

To fix this, work all purl stitches in Eastern style. The difference between Eastern and Western style is simply the direction in which the yarn is wrapped around the needle when working the stitch. Most people knit Western style, which wraps the purl stitches counter clockwise. Eastern purls stitches clockwise. The yarn can be held in either the left or right hand. Wrapping the yarn clockwise follows a shorter path around the needle, putting less yarn into the stitch. On the following row, knit into the back loop of your knit stitches.

 


Tuesday’s Knitting Tip – Converting your Flat Pattern to In the Round

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012
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Thanks to our Purchasing Coordinator and part-time knitwear designer, Emma Welford for this week’s tip!

If you hate purling and dread seaming or just want to challenge yourself with a different construction, try converting your flat pattern to knitting in the round! I’m currently doing this with my Holla Back Tank pattern since I’ve already knit the pattern once and want to keep myself on my toes this time around.

- Read through your pattern carefully before beginning. If it has unusual construction techniques or a lace pattern with special stitches on every row, it will be more complicated or even unsuitable to translating to working in the round. This depends on your skill level and comfort with the contents of the pattern so only you can make that decision.

- Knit your gauge swatch in the round. Like a lot of people, I find I knit slightly tighter in the round than I do flat.

- Remove any selvage stitches when calculating how many stitches to cast on and where any shaping takes place.For example, if the front of your sweater says to CO 102 stitches (100 body stitches and 2 selvage stitches) and the back of your sweater says to CO 112 stitches (110 body stitches and 2 selvage stitches), you would CO 210 stitches when knitting in the round.

- Remember that any WS rows will be worked opposite to what they originally state. Purls will be knit, knits will be purled, and lace or cable patterns will be worked backwards. If you have a chart, read the WS rows from right to left.


- Remove any ‘balancing’ stitches outside of the repeats for a lace or cable pattern.

- Don’t be afraid to place multiple markers!I place one color to indicate the beginning of the round, and another to separate the front and the back of the sweater to help me remember to follow the different instructions for each piece. I also like to use stitch markers to separate out lace or cable panels.


- If your pattern calls for sleeves, you could knit them flat and seam them as originally called for.  Another option is to pick up stitches from the armhole and work a short row sleeve cap, then knit the sleeve downwards from there and reverse shaping by decreasing at the intervals where the pattern says to increase. Choose the method you’re most comfortable with!

 

Tuesday’s Knitting Tip – Preventing Ladders

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012
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Thanks to Kirsten Hipsky, our Design Manager, for offering us some great tips on how to avoid ladders. Ladders are gaps created in your knitting when using double pointed needles. They can be prevented using one of a few simple tricks.

“Laddering” is definitely a common dreaded foe when working with double pointed needles. They’re essentially caused by the distance between the two needles, which is greater than the distance between the other pairs of stitches. If you purl looser than you knit, that could also result in more yarn in the gap between needles when working reverse stockinette. Here are some tips for minimizing or eliminating ladders.

- Tighten up your stitches when moving from one needle to the next by giving the yarn a little extra tug after working the first and second stitches.

- Using a set of 5 needles rather than 4 will divide tension more evenly, keeping strain off of the stitches themselves.

- If you’re still having trouble, try knitting a couple of stitches forward from the next needle onto the one you’ve just finished. This will shift the point of tension and help keep a vertical line from forming.

 - I myself have had luck eliminating ladders entirely by knitting in the round on one long circular needle using the Magic Loop method. The circular cord is usually thinner than the needle, so instead of using extra yarn at the gap between needle and cord, it just borrows some yarn from the stitch on the cord. When it comes time to knit that stitch, it expands again to fit the needle, taking up the slack. Others have also had luck using two circular needles instead of Magic Loop.

How do you avoid creating ladders in your knitting? Do you have a trick, or have you stopped using double pointed needles all together?

Tuesday’s Knitting Tip – Pick Up Stitches with a Tunisian Crochet Hook

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012
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I love using interchangeable knitting needles. Late at night or after the yarn shop has closed, I know that I will still have just the right needle size for those spur-of-the-moment knitting projects that I just need to start…right now. Now, many knitting needle companies (Denise, Knitter’s Pride, Addi) have added Tunisian crochet hooks that work with your interchangeable knitting needle sets.

I’ve read about how if you have trouble picking up stitches you can pick them up with a crochet hook and transfer them to your knitting needle. But I find that method a little tedious. A much slicker method is to use an interchangeable Tunisian crochet hook to pick up stitches around a neck or along a button band. As you pick up the stitches with your hook, they slide along and collect on the cord. Once you’ve finished picking up the correct number of stitches, just switch out the Tunisian crochet tip for a knitting needle tip and away you go, knitting the button band or neckband.

Tuesday’s Knitting & Crochet Tip – Photocopy Your Swatches on Graph Paper

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012
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When Kathy O, one of the recent graduates of the Expert Knitter Certification Program, handed in her final project and design journal we noticed an interesting tip!

Kathy knit and blocked her swatches, and then placed them on a photocopier and printed a copy of her swatches onto graph paper. This allowed her to always have her swatches with her for quick reference, without having to carry around the bulk of multiple swatches, or risk damaging the swatches. This can also be done using a scanner.