Sunday, December 4, 2016

December's Video: Slanted Pocket

I had a request a while back for a video showing how to do a slanted pocket. Thanks!  These requests help me come up with teaching ideas.

This is a slanted pocket, and just to make it more interesting, it's also curved:

Saturday, November 5, 2016

New Video for November - Knit Both Sides of a Neckline at Once

Well!  I've been going, and going, and going, like the Energizer Bunny, but this morning I found a little time upload the November video, which shows how to knit both sides of a neckline at the same time.  A simple little thing, but a useful shortcut sometimes!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Take the Ronnie Challenge!

Ronnie generously put me up when I was teaching in Chicago recently.  Mary S. was there, two, and we were just three relaxed, happy, knitting ladies hanging out together. They were so sweet to me - I was tired and didn't have much voice left at the end of those days, but they made me feel incredibly at home.

Ronnie, a dedicated charity knitter, takes on the challenge of working with all kinds of donated yarns.  She says she like to leave them out where she can see the skeins and "let them talk" to her.  Sooner or later, she figures out just what to make of them - and she makes some very nice things.  I'm sure you all realize, as I do, that unfamiliar, "mystery" yarn can be tricky to use, requiring lots of experimenting and adjusting.

At one point, she got quite a mish-mash of interesting yarn and crochet cotton donations.  Here's Ronnie's pool table, stacked with yarn donated for charity knitting:

And, here's Ronnie's pool table, after she turned all this material into knitted goodies:

Ronnie says that she used it up, right down to the last yard or so of each ball.  As a matter of fact, she made this inventory of "before" and "after:"

White Cotton
Little Mended Hearts
Preemie Hats
Blue – Rose
Purple Eyelash
Orchid Eyelash
White Eyelash
Blue Eyelash
Green Eyelash
Pink Eyelash
Black Eyelash
Brown Eyelash
Brown - Black Eyelash
Red – White Eyelash
White Angora

I don't know about you, but I'm dazzled by this accomplishment.

So, here's the Ronnie Challenge - and I should take it myself.  Instead of yarn coming in and taking up semi-permanent residence, let's make soft, warm, useful things from it that someone needs and will truly enjoy!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Saturday, September 24, 2016

MORE Inspiration at Rhythm of the Needles

Yet another beautiful mini-mitten!

You should look at them all.  I've only linked to them occasionally, but there are 19 tiny, beautiful mittens pictured on the blog now!

New but Old - My Sock Knitting Videos on YouTube

For various reasons, I'm taking down the old sock knitting videos on YouTube, and putting up new ones with the music stripped off.

This is something I had been meaning to do, and getting it done this morning reminds me that these lessons were a very cool ribber exploration.  These are a little long, but spend 30 minutes watching, if you'd like to get more out of your ribbing attachment, or if you're thinking about getting a ribbing attachment, or just for a review:
  • This video shows a very practical use for circular knitting with a ribber.
  • This is a darn good sock.  The foot and ankle is seamless, which saves you sewing time and makes a more comfy sock.  I used regular hand knitting sock yarn, which is easy to find and produces the best socks, IMO.  I show how to do each step.
  • The book that goes with this, "Knitting Socks on the Standard Machine," has twelve sizes, from little babies to big guys.  I put a lot of tips in to help you get a good fit and make nice seams.   The book, which comes with a hi-def DVD, is available here.
Here are the videos!  Popcorn not included...

Mary Anne Oger has a new book!

This IS exciting!  Mary Anne Oger is a fantastic machine knitter, who for many years published the incomparable Knit Words magazine.  I have gotten so much over the years from her patterns and other books, and I hope you'll consider picking up a copy of her new book at Amazon. 

Right now, Amazon is showing it in stock, eligible for Prime, , and if ordered now, it would be delivered on 9/27.

Click here to see it at Amazon.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

What I'm Knitting

I've actually been knitting quite a few things!  I'm plugging away at a mid-gauge book.  I wanted to include a warm scarf.  Even though the book is written with beginners in mind, I didn't want the usual beginner's scarf - an ordinary rectangle.  I wanted it to be interesting to knit and interesting-looking, as well.  I wanted for fellow knitters to say to the knitter, "How'd you DO that?"  I also wanted it to be easy, not to require a tremendous amount of hand-tooling.

I decided to go diagonal and use a self-patterning yarn.  I like this alpaca blend from Hobby Lobby, "Fair Isle." One day I saw the yarn in the store, and the next morning I had the idea and went back to the store to buy some.  The geometry was great fun - the whole thing is slanted, and initially, I wasn't sure how to get nice scarf ends.  The way it's folded and sewed together solves that problem. 

I am also getting ready to teach at two seminars.  I'll be in Milwaukee weekend after next, and then in Chicago in October. 

Later in October, I'm attending Mary Anne Oger's seminar in Dallas with my girlfriends.  I'm excited about that, as well, since I haven't yet attended one of her seminars and I loved her magazine, "Knit Words."  I hear she does a terrific seminar.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

New Video - Picture Knitting Without Intarsia Carriage

I try to do a new video every month, and I keep hunting for ideas.  Luckily, readers send good questions, and this video is in response to one of those questions:  Can one do picture knitting on just any machine?

Intarsia (or picture) knitting is a multi-color technique.  It differs from Fair Isle, which is a technique where you carry colors across at the same time.  In Intarsia, you pick up a color, knit it into the part of the row you want that color, drop it, and pick up the next color. 

Yes, Intarsia can be made on just about any knitting machine!  I suppose there might be some unusual or antique machine that simply won't slip past needles, but the knitting machines I know have a setting that lets them slip.  You turn on that slip (or part, or Russel lever) setting, and only selected, that is, pulled-out needles will knit.  That way, you can easily knit pictures.

Intarsia carriages and Intarsia settings make this quicker and easier, but some machines don't have that option.  You can still do it, though.  Here's how:

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Scrappy and Blended Handknits

I actually do this a lot - I will use a number of different yarns to hand knit something.  I have made several afghans using different colors and textures for something beautiful -

Here's a very pretty one at Yet Another Canadian Artisan - listed under "Easy Chair Stash Busting."

It SO hot here - I vote for the easy chair!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

New Video for August - Beautiful Buttonholes on a Folded Stockinette Band

Sometimes we overlook doing a plain folded buttonhole band, but it gives a great result.  It does not require a ribber or any fancy stitches, so you can do it on any machine.

I've seen a lot of different buttonhole techniques for this situation over the years, but I want my buttonholes to look perfect, or at least, look so good that if something's wrong you won't even notice it.  I do not want any lumps, bumps, tight or loose spots, or changes in texture.  Over the years, I've tried all kinds of things and I've finally come up with two preferred techniques that give the effect of the knitting just continuing right inside the buttonhole.  This is the one for a band knitted vertically. I have a little different way to do it if your band is knitted sideways, and I'll put up a video about that later.  It's grafted, and the buttonholes look incredible. 

Yes, this buttonhole can be also used for hand knitting. 

Best of all - if you can do a Kitchener graft from the wrong side, you can do this - it's easy.  And if you don't graft, this buttonhole is do good that it's a great excuse to learn how.

More Adorable Advent Mittens

Over at Rhythm of the Needles, there are several more cute advent mittens:

I really do admire this project!

Monday, August 1, 2016

Mini-Mittens at Rhythm of the Needles

Here's a little hand-knitting inspiration - cute little mittens that make a garland for aChristmas tree.  Have a look!

I admit, I knit a lot of crafty things, but I doubt I'd have the patience to knit a whole garland of these cute little mittens.  Scroll through the blog - I've been looking at these as she puts them up - and each one is different, all beautifully made.  This looks like something I'd much rather machine knit than hand knit.  I love small projects, but you'd have to make quite a few of these.  I suppose, if you ran out of patience, they'd be really cute hung on the tree singly.  As a matter of fact, I have little hats and mittens my girlfriend made that I hang on our tree every year.

While these must take a long time to hand knit, the machine would knock out the little Fair Isle mittens quickly.  I'm impressed at her patience and beautiful workmanship.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Mid-Gauge Shawl Finished

I've been ever-so-slowly working on a new book for mid-gauge knitters, and just finished one of the pattern items for the book. 

This is a large triangular shawl, just the thing for some of the overly-air-conditioned meetings I sit in.  It's made from a slubby mohair blend.

To give a sense of the size, spread out, it's longer than my queen-size bed, and had to be partially blocked, moved and then steamed again.  Steaming was all it needed.  Perhaps it should be brushed a bit to bring out the nap.  Because it's so large, I've been knitting on it, a few minutes at a time, for about a week of found moments. 

The shawl was made in two sections with an invisible Kitchener graft in the middle along the center point.  I started on the tip at one end of the machine and increased as I worked.  The piece was scrapped off when I ran out of needles.  That folded end showing the purl side has a little bit of a rolled look - well, it's not rolling, it's actually a built-in I-cord style slipped edge.

The lace edge is worked as the shawl is knitted, not sewn on later, a hand-tooled increase along with a full-fashioned lace to make a three eyelets each row.  It's easy and goes fast using the triple transfer tool.  I liked the way it looks and the way it lies. 

The mitered corner where the lace changes directions match beautifully, and all I did was Kitchener that center seam.  Even though this fussy yarn hides flaws, it really does look perfect.  Maybe next time I make it, I'll use a plain yarn so the lace shows more. 

This book is intended to be like The Goldilocks Challenge, my bulky beginner project book, but this time, for LK150s and other mid-gauge machines.  The patterns will be accessible to beginners, with the easiest things in the book first and moving to more complex items.  Each project will teach techniques.  I am creating a whole new batch of different, gifty projects.  So far, I have an afghan, baby blanket, baby pants, baby sweater, baby kitty cat hat, sock, earflap hat for all sizes, tam (yes, I'm repeating the good ol' tam, for the folks who have been asking for it in mid-gauge - I do love it for teaching short rowing!), a mitten, a shawl, and now I want to get at least one classic garment for multiple sizes prepped for the book.  I may add another item or two - don't know.  I am subject to bursts of enthusiasm!

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Wonderful Short Video

I hardly ever do non-knitting posts, but I enjoyed this so much I just had to share it -

A short video, Kurt Vonnegut on the "shape of stories."