Posts Tagged ‘how to’

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.

Tuesday’s Knitting Tip – How to Distribute Stitches Evenly When Picking Up Stitches

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012
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Thanks to Tina McElmoyl for this week’s knitting tip, sure to help the next time you need to pick up stitches for a collar or armhole.

When I need to pick up a specific number of stitches evenly, around an armhole or along a hem, I like to mark the pick-up edge at regular points with locking stitch markers. This helps me to distribute the picked-up stitches so that there is a similar amount between each marker. If I’m picking up along a hem, I’ll fold the fabric in half to give me an estimate of the halfway point. If I’m picking up along a circular edge, an armhole for example, I’ll mark the edge at 12 o’clock and 6 o’clock (and maybe also at 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock).

Tuesday’s Crochet Tip – Counting Long Foundation Chains

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012
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Thanks to Kirsten Hipsky for this week’s crochet tip. This is a great tip if counting a large number of stitches in your foundation chain is daunting.

I didn’t figure this one out until a year or two ago, but it made starting my projects so much easier.

If you’re crocheting and have to chain a large number of stitches, just chain until it looks long enough, then chain a bunch extra. Then, when you’re done with your first row, you can just undo any extra chains.

Similarly, if you’re knitting and have to cast on a large number of stitches, you could either use stitch markers to keep track of every 20 or 50, or you could use a simple e-wrap or crocheted chain cast on, make a large number of them, then drop and unravel any excess when you’re done with your first row.

Tuesday’s Knitting Tip – Swatching in the Round by Knitting Flat

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012
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Thanks to Sara Delaney for this week’s knitting tip on Swatching in the Round by Knitting Flat. This is a particularly good tip if you know your gauge knitting in the round is different than when you knit flat.

My friend, and one of our WEBS instructors, Annie Foley taught me this great trick.

When making a gauge swatch you want to work the swatch in the same manner and on the same needles as the peice you are swatching for. If you are planning to work in the round the best way to swatch is, of course, in the round but casting on 80 stitches to swatch on a 16″ needle or working your whole sweater on double points is kind of ridiculous. Why not just cast on 4″ worth of stiches on the 24″ circular needle you’ll be using for the sweater!

The trick is to work the whole swatch like a big i-cord. Knit across your stitches then DO NOT turn your work over, instead simply slide the stitches all the way back to the right-hand end of the needle and begin working them from right to left again. Just be sure to pull your working yarn across the back of the work nice and loose, leaving lots of slack.

This will leave the stitches along either edge looking all loosy-goosy but the center stitches will truly represent your gauge as worked in the round.


Tuesday’s Tip – How to Change Colors in Crochet

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012
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Thanks to Sara Delaney for sharing today’s crochet tip.

Changing color in crochet can be a bit tricky if it happens in the middle of a row(round). There is one simple step that makes the transition seamless and keeps your stitches all the right color.

The trouble many crocheters run into when changing color is 2-tone stitches. You can see the top of the stitch is our old color while the post, or body, of the stitch is the new color.

To avoid this problem you’ll want to begin the last stitch of your current color but STOP before doing the last yarn over.

Now you can grab a loop of your new color and pull through the 2 loops remaining on your hook to finish the stitch.

Continue on, working with your new color.

This technique works with every crochet stitch, just remember to change to your new color with the last yarn over of the stitch and you’ll have a beautiful color transition every time.

Tuesday’s Knitting & Crochet Tip – How to Block Lace with Blocking Wires

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012
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If you’ve ever knit or crocheted lace before, your finished project can look like a crumpled mess when it’s done. It doesn’t really come to life until you’ve blocked it. Blocking is where the magic happens.

You can see in the photo to the right that my Shetland Trader Aestlight Shawl before blocking is oddly shaped. The points are curled, and the Bird’s Eye lace pattern doesn’t pop like it should.

After blocking, the top of the shawl is flat, the points are crisp, and the Bird’s Eye lace really opens up. The shawl fabric also becomes much more drapey and the yarn (Valley Yarns Charlemont) is even softer after blocking.

If you’ve ever pinned out a lace shawl or scarf to block, you may have found it frustrating pinning, adjusting, repinning to get your project to be the size and shape you want. You can use blocking wires to speed up this process. Blocking wires are thin, rigid wires that don’t rust. Instead of pinning the sides of a project with pins, you can run these wires through the edge stitches.

After attaching blocking wires to the sides of your project, you can pull out each side and place pins in just a few spots along the wire. Then if you want to adjust how far out to block a side, removing and replacing just a few pins is so much quicker than 20+ pins.

We’ve put together a quick video to guide you through the steps of how to use blocking wires.

I loved knitting the Aestlight Shawl, my first attempt at a lace shawl. Share your favorite knitted or crocheted lace shawl pattern in the comments. I’d love to add some more lace projects to my Ravelry queue.

Happy Knitting & Crocheting!

– Dena