Posts Tagged ‘how to’

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

Tuesday’s Knitting Tip – How to Knit Clean Stripes in Ribbing

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012
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Thanks to Liz for providing such a simple, yet elegant knitting tip on how to deal with messy looking stripes in ribbing.

I learned this trick while taking a class at WEBS. I don’t think I’ll ever forget it as it is super simple and it yields great results.

If you’ve ever changed colors while knitting ribbing, you’ve no doubt noticed the unfortunate thing that happens in the purl columns. The purl bumps of one color end up showing through in the fabric of the other color, and it creates an unfortunate zig-zagging line. The good news is that there is an easy fix for this.

When you change colors in ribbing simply knit all the stitches for the first round; do not purl. After the first round you can go back to your rib pattern. The result is a very clean line between the two colors. And don’t worry… You won’t even notice that round of knit stitches. They blend in completely.

You can use this technique whether you are working flat or in the round. There are just a few things to take into consideration. The first is that your work must have a wrong side, since that row/round of knit stitches will appear as a garter ridge on the wrong side. As a result, this technique shouldn’t be used on reversible patterns.

The second is that this technique works best on stripes made up of more than two rows/rounds. If the stripe is only two rows then you are basically going back and forth between a knit row and a rib row, and that can affect the integrity of your ribbing.

If your pattern is appropriate for this technique then I suggest you try it. I think you will find, as I did, that it is a simple trick that makes a big difference.

- Liz

 

Tuesday’s Knitting & Crochet Tip – Managing Two Colors

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012
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Some of the simplest tips can be the most useful. This week’s tip comes for Tina, our Education Manager.

If you are working with two balls of yarn and need to keep the strands separate, but also need to keep the yarn in the same bag, use a zip-top bag. Zip the bag closed for a few inches, feed the first yarn out of the bag, zip a few more inches, then pull the second strand out of the bag.  The zipped spaces will keep the two strands separate outside of the bag!

How else have you used zip-top bags to organize your knitting and crochet life? Share your ideas with everyone in the comments.

Tuesday’s Knitting Tip – Shaping in Stitch Patterns

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012
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Fitting a stitch pattern into garment shaping is a challenge every sweater knitter and designer faces. Since each size has different shaping, and since the stitch pattern spans over a large number of stitches, there’s no quick and easy answer for how to work every increase row. So it’s ultimately up to your tastes, how you like to incorporate shaping. But I can give you some tips for making it as easy as possible for you.

My first suggestions is to make a nice, big swatch in the stitch pattern. Try for around 6″ square or at least two repeats of the stitch pattern. Not only is this necessary for finding the right needle size to use, it’s also a good way to get familiar with the stitch pattern before working shaping in it.

Next is to work the body, which usually has less shaping, before making the sleeves. This will also give you time to get familiar with the stitch pattern, and it’ll give a little experience working light amounts of shaping at the armholes and neckline.

When it comes time to work shaping, I like to view the stitch pattern like it’s covering a big piece of fabric that you’re cutting the piece out of, getting little fragments of the stitch pattern at the corners where there’s not enough room for a full repeat. Some might instead prefer to work the increased sections in stockinette or reverse stockinette stitch. In either case, the orientation of the stitch pattern is established when you start the piece. You add on additional repeats to the outside of this as the piece grows, or cut into it as the piece decreases. If there’s not enough room in a corner for the stitch pattern, you can just work it in stockinette stitch.


Increasing every 6th row in seed stitch.


Decreasing every 6th row in moss stitch.

If the stitch pattern uses increases and decreases, like a lace pattern, you have to be careful that the shaping isn’t negated by an unpaired decrease or increase in the pattern. In most lace patterns, every decrease (like a k2tog or ssk) will have an increase (a yo) and every double decrease (like a sl1-k2tog-psso) will have two increases to balance it out. So when you’re adding on to the outside of the stitch pattern, make sure that you’re only adding matched pairs of increases and decreases.


A simple lace pattern, first worked even, then decreased every 4th row 3 times, then increased every 4th row 3 times. Note how the decreases cut into the stitch pattern at the sides and how the increased stitches are worked in stockinette until there’s enough room for elements of the stitch pattern.

Alternately, if you’re feeling really comfortable with the stitch pattern, you can create the shaping with an unpaired increase or decrease in the stitch pattern – like a yarn over at the outer edge without a decrease to balance it out. But this may not be convenient every shaping row.


Another simple lace pattern that happens to work evenly with increasing every RS row. At the beginning, the outer yarn overs provide the shaping. In the second half, these yarn overs are balanced out with decreases, and additional increases built into the garter stitch border provide the shaping.

You may also get some good results by taking some graph paper and drawing the stitch pattern out for the whole piece at its widest, then drawing the outline of the piece you’re shaping to see how the stitch pattern can be built into it.

In general, knowing how to work shaping in a stitch pattern comes with experience, both with the concepts of shaping and with the stitch pattern itself. At some point in your knitting career, you’ll make the jump to seeing a stitch pattern as a visual pattern, not just as a series of instructions, and that will make it easier to tinker with at the edges. If you’re not there yet, start slow with a plain or less shaped garment, or perhaps with a patterned hat. It’s great to challenge yourself in knitting, but there’s no reason to be frustrated when there are so many great projects to knit!

- Kirsten Hipsky, Design Manager

Tuesday’s Knitting Tip – Circular Knitting for Tight Knitters

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012
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This week’s tip comes from Kirsten H. and is a simple solution for tight knitters using circular needles.

If you’re a tight knitter and have problems sliding stitches from the cable to the left hand needle when working in the round on circulars, a set of interchangeable needles may be your best friend. Only the right-hand needle tip determines stitch size, so you can use a smaller needle tip on the left hand side to make knitting and sliding stitches a lot easier.

You may find that going down just one needle size for your left hand needle tip does the trick. But if you’re not knitting in the round, this solution won’t work.

What tips do you have to help a tight knitter loosen up their gauge?

 

Tuesday’s Crochet Tip – How to Join Granny Squares as You Go

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012
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This week’s tip comes from Sara Delaney and is an excellent way to join granny squares. You’ve got to try it out.

Granny squares can be a great, quick project to use up lots of scraps but the additional work of joining them all together can be a bit daunting. By simply replacing some of the chain stitches along the sides and corners of the squares you are joining together you won’t have to bother with a crocheted or a sewn seam. If you crochet them together as you go then there isn’t any seaming at all!

Watch our new video as Sara walks you through the steps of joining granny squares as you go.