Posts Tagged ‘Tuesday’s Tip’

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 Knitting Tip – Using Unconventional Tools

Tuesday, June 26th, 2012
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Leave it to Kirsten Hipsky for thinking outside the box when she doesn’t have all of her knitting supplies with her. Thanks for sharing your story for this week’s knitting tip.

I had to separate the sleeves on a top-down sweater, but I forgot my tool kit at home! Solution: a tall piece of grass. It was tough enough to slip stitches onto and lasted until I was able to get my kit and transfer them to a stitch holder.

Have you ever used an unconventional item as a knitting or crochet tool before?

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 Weaving Tip – What Do the Numbers Mean in Coned Yarns?

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012
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We’ve had many questions from customers asking what the numbers mean in front of the names of our coned yarns, such as 8/2 Cotton and 2/10 Merino Tencel. I knew Barbara Elkins, founder of WEBS, would be able to explain it well for us. Here’s what Barbara has to say.

Many of the Valley Yarns weaving yarns are named with fractions like 3/2, 20/2, 2/10, etc. The numbers are shorthand for the number of yards to a pound of a particular yarn. We always give you the number of yards per pound (yd/lb.), but if you know what I call the magic numbers, you can figure yardage yourself.

Yarn is sized by the number of yards in a standard one pound skein of yarn, and every type of fiber has its own magic number.

Here are the numbers you need to know:
A standard one pound skein of single ply cotton has 840 yards in a pound (the count).
A standard one pound skein of single ply linen has 300 yards in a pound (the count).
A standard one pound skein of single ply worsted wool has 560 yards in a pound (the count).

To figure the yards/lb. of 3/2 cotton, you multiply 840 (the count) x 3 (the size) and divide by the ply, 2 and come up with 1260, the number of yards in one pound of 3/2 cotton. The yardage of all cotton yarns is derived in this way. The size will be the first number; the ply will be the second number.

To figure the yards/lb. of 20/2 linen, you multiply 300 (the count) x 20 (the size) and divide by 2, (the ply) and come up with 3,000, the number of yards in one pound of 20/2 linen, for example. And like cotton, the size will be the first number; the ply will be the second number.

To figure the yards/lb. of 2/10 merino tencel, you multiply 10 (the size) x 560 (the count) and divide by 2 (the ply) and come out with 2800, the yards/lb. in one pound of 2/10 merino/tencel. Note that worsted count shows the ply number first.

[EDIT: Regarding how the fibers are written–cotton and linen have the size first followed by the ply.  Wool has the ply first followed by the size. Unfortunately, not all publications follow this standard. But on our website, we show wool with the size first and the ply second.]

So if you just remember three magic numbers and the fiber they are associated with, you can generally figure the yards/lb. of many of the yarns you encounter.

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