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When you change color in knitting the color change can be a beautiful or unsightly, it all depends on your design. Changing color in knitting is all about planning. Planning your color change is also based on your stitch pattern. I will give you some simple guidelines to know when to change color either in stripes or color blocking to ensure your knitted piece looks amazing.
Tips to consider for color change in knitting:
Consider and swatch for the stitch pattern you are using. If your pattern is reversible (like garter stitch or some types of lace) color change in stripes or color blocking doesn't matter but you should be consistent with which side is visible when changing color. Always change color on the same side or else your stripes or blocking will look "off" and sloppy. If you are working in stockingette then change color on the right side so the stripe will look smooth on the right side and the two-tone purl bumps that are created will be on the wrong side.
When working your color change on stockingette, finish working you main color (MC) on a wrong side row. Start your contrast color (CC) on a right side row. Work one more row (wrong side) and then work with your MC. These 2 CC rows will make one stripe. If you are doing a color block with many rows of your CC then always start your CC on the right side and finish it on the wrong side.
If you are working stripes 4 rows or less, carry your yarn up the side of your knitting by looping your working yarn around it before you work the first stitch of each right side row. Carrying your yarn for larger stripes may distort your piece depending on your knitting style or can get sloppy. Carrying your yarn helps avoid weaving in a ton of loose ends.
Speaking of weaving in ends, be sure you weave in ends into the same color in your work. If you weave them in in-between stripes even if it is in the back, you may see that color poking through on the right side when the piece is worn or used.
If you use these tips when incorporating or designing with color change you can avoid heaping of frustration from ripping out rows and redoing design elements. You can be sure that at least one thing will go right J
Creating your own knitting chart is a great way to create a visual representation of your pattern, an easy way to make changes and quickly and easily communicate your design to other knitters. Creating your own knitting chart requires some knitter's graph paper plus a key of symbols that you will use to represent different stitches and designs. You can reference other popular symbols from magazine or online knitting icons, such as Knitty, or you can create your own. If you choose commonly used symbols it will make it much easier for other knitters to quickly work your pattern. Should you choose your own (either because it fits your pattern better or because the symbols are easier for you) just know that you should provide a clear and well marked legend for others who will be knitting from your pattern.
Knitter's graphed paper is similar to regular graph paper but it is wider than it is tall which mimics the shape of a knitted stitch. Each square of the graph paper corresponds to one stitch in your pattern. The graph paper represents the size of stitches to make the visual depiction of the pattern easy to read and follow along. A Chart can map out right side and wrong side rows or just right sides rows (if all wrong side rows are explained, i.e. purl all wrong side rows). If your chart features right side and wrong side than it should be read from bottom to top starting on the right side for row 1 and left side to right side for Row 2, repeat. If your chart is only right side rows then it is read from bottom to top with each row being read from right to left.
Fill each square with the symbol that represents that stitch. If your pattern increases or decreases use blank space accordingly to signify no stitches as the pattern takes shape.
Silvia's upcycling projects are a hoot to read about and also bring hope to every girl's lone drawer of t-shirts that are too big, too obscure or too ugly to be worn but for whatever reason are also not to be thrown out. She turns them into underwear. How fun is that? Her underwear has introduced me to the world of elastic lace for panties instead of fold over.
Silvia has a plethora of projects in both yarn and fabric that I so want to recreate from my own stash. And she can knit anyone I know under the table. I could not even turn out projects like than back when I was a swinging single with not children or dogs to tie up all my time. I don't know how she does it but I suspect she has 4 arms. Her writing, style and sense of humor are also my cup of tea. I find myself giggling when catching up on her blog. She is a little dry and a little silly, just what I look for in a good knitting/sewing/crafty blog. I encourage you to check out Silvia's blog; I am sure you will be as inspirited as I am.
After you have been knitting for a while you might consider branching out from written patterns to charted patterns. At first it might seem like a new language that was deciphered using the Rosetta Stone but it is not that difficult and a real time saver in the end. Charts can be easier to read than written directions because they don't have language to get in the way. Plus they save paper which is a great thing when travelling with your knitting or if you are printing out a pattern. A smaller pattern means you can also use a magnetic chart keeper to help you out.
Before you begin reading your pattern look for a legend to help you learn common symbols for the techniques used in your pattern. A cable or lace pattern legend will feature many symbols while a color chart legend will include all of the colors needed for that pattern (you can opt for your own color choices) and a textural chart legend will outline where to change from knit stitch to purl stitch.
Charts are read from bottom to top and from right to left when working on the right side and from left to right when working on the wrong side. This holds true unless it is otherwise noted that all wrong side rows are worked a certain way everytime (i.e all wrong side rows are purled) or all wrong side rows are worked as the right side rows or you are kntting in the round. Remember to read it in the same direction that you are working your stitches. Each space on your chart represents a stitch. If you are knitting in the round or your pattern stipulates how to handle wrong side rows so they are not included in the chart then every row on the chart will be read right to left and represents a rightside row.
There are many tools you can use to help you read your chart one line at a time. You can use a highlighter to color completed lines. A magnetic chart keeper helps to keep your chart in place as well as having moveable magnetic bars that can allow you to only see the line you are working. When working from a chart in a book I recommend making a copy of the chart which you can mark up. This is also a smart tip for any beginners to chart reading; make a few copies so you can mark them up if it helps you learn.
If you are looking for a quick monster consider knitting one up from our "oh so cushy" Lion Brand Wool Ease Chunky. That's what I did and it was swift and lovely. I choose one of Dangercraft's many monsters, Claude the Closet Monster (from The Big Book of Knitted Monsters by Rebecca Danger), and paired him with Lion Brand Wool Ease Chunky in Orchid to make him super big. Claude was worked in size 15 US knitting needles and 2 strands held together. I ended up using 4 skeins with plenty left over for a smaller friend. The finished result is approx 24'' tall. It is a very good size for any kid to play with. Claude's eyes and one lone tooth are embroidered on with one strand of yarn and the same tapestry needle I used to close Claude up. I really got into the stuffing. I decided that I wanted my monster to look well fed with a nice tushy so I added extra padding in those areas and then pounded it into shape.
Claude came together beautifully but I am really in love with the yarn. It is so soft and squishy and it was a dream to knit. The best part however is that is machine washable so should any incident befall Claude I can toss him in the washer and he is as good as new. I am quickly growing tired of these new fangled toys that can only be hand washed. Give me a good washable toy any day. Wool Ease is the perfect blend of wool and acrylic so you get the warmth and softness of wool but avoid the itchiness of wool. So Claude can be cuddled close and often without regrets.
Please be careful though I caught Claude climbing out of the crib early the other day with the help of one of his knitted buddies. I am sure he is behind all my missing socks.
I have been sitting on this blog for quite some time. I really only share it with my closest knitting buddies and I feel that we (you, the reader and I, the blogger) have gotten quite close so I can share. The reason I hardly share this blog is not because I am ashamed to read it. It is not a guilty secret. It is because I love it so, so much and I would cringe and fall into a deep depression should I ever hear anyone disparage it. It is like my baby; I love her so much but don't want anyone to tell me she is ugly (which she is not). But I know you all will love Crazy Aunt Purl.
This blog is a knitting blog the same way lunch with girl friends is about lunch. It is really about chatting and laughing and the eating is a bonus. Crazy Aunt Purl is about Laurie's (the blog mistress) crazy/boring/cat-filled life. I think it is never boring but she might disagree. Laurie is a self described "Thirty-something, displaced Southerner living in Los Angeles with a herd of felines". She is hilarious and an excellent writer. I love escaping with her blog, living vicariously through her adventures whether it be knitting on the bus with all the wonderful humans you can expect on public transportation, LA's wildfires or knitting get togethers. Laurie chronicles her everyday life, dating life and social life in the most entertaining way. I have been a loyal reader since 2007. I never thought I would have a "relationship" with a blog but Crazy Aunt Purl and I are coffee BFFs. Laurie often asks questions so it is easy to feel drawn-in like you are having a conversation (this could also be my wishful thinking). This delusion is furthered by her writing style which is very conversational and filled with giggle-inducing slang. Be forewarned: there is a crazy amount of cute cat pictures on this blog, none of which is unwarranted.
Laurie is also the author of 2 books that combine her life in a fun-filled narrative with knitting patterns. Her second book has over a dozen knitting patterns but it is worth it just for the story alone. If you love knitting, love cats, or love living in Laurie's vibrant world than you will love this blog and her stories. Spoiler alert: one of her cats is out to get her.
Using Double Pointed Knitting Needles (AKA: DPNs) is akin to learning to drive a stick. It is not just steering, gas and brake like knitting and purling. It is multiple needles balanced and held by both hands while knitting and purling. It sounds daunting and it can be very tricky until you learn your way. Each knitter has a slightly different way of holding the needles. Keep practicing if you really want to get it and rest assured that it will come to you just as knitting and purling did once upon a time.
DPNs come in sets of 4-5 needles and are great for small diameter knitting like socks, the tops of hats, sleeves and cording. If you have a set of 4 than your live stitches are on 3 needles and the 4th is your working needle. If your set contains 5 DPNs then you are working your stitches on 4 needles with your 5th as your working needle. As you knit onto your working needle, it becomes a holding needle and the needle you just worked stitches from becomes your working needle. For bigger circular knitting use 5 needles. For smaller diameters use 4 needles.
First, cast on all your stitches onto one needle. It is much easier to cast on to one needle and then transfer those stitches to your other needles than to cast on a few to each needle as you balance the remainder.
See, just letting them hang.
Next, slip the correct number of stitches purlwise onto your second needle. Then cast on the correct number of stitches onto your second and third and fourth(if you have a fourth). Allow the needles with stitches to hang down as you slide your stitches onto the next in line. Then pick up all your needles and orient all your stitches to face the inside holding your DPNs in a small-ish circle.
Hold two needles in your left hand and 1-2 in your right hand as well as your working needle. It helps to keep your stitches at the center of the non-working needle. This helps for balance as well as preventing them from sliding off. As you work each needle, slide your stitches to the center as you prepare for the next needle.
DPNs are also great for other odd knitting jobs so if you want to purchase a set of DPNs to try them out but worry that they may not be for you, fear not you will use them regardless. I am not a DPN lover but I use mine all the time. I avoid using them for small circular knitting but they make great stitch holders, cable needles, row markers and serve as the occasion 3rd needle for 3-needle bind offs.
When you think about sewing or knitting organization fabric and yarn bins come to mind. This is some serious storage to consider. But when it comes to the little bits, sewing and knitting has it in equal ratio to the big bits. For every huge bin of interfacing and fabric you have, there is a tiny sewing foot, tapestry needle or bobbin that is also in need of organization. Mostly the problem of organizing these bits and bobbins is haphazardly thrown together or rounded up in cups, small bowls or in bags. But there is a better way. This tiny accessories need to be close at hand, and easily found. This means that they need small containers of their own. How, you may ask, do you have a container small enough to properly organize the bits without getting lost themselves? Well, I found the answer on a recent trip to Ikea.
Ikea offers these wonderful small containers, Bygel, that hang off a wall mounted bars. These containers are perfectly sized to fit sewing feet, needles, scissors and marking tools without taking up precious cutting space but they can be detached to be where you need them. Hanging your tiny parts is great because they are easy to find and easy to access. Plus, the bins come in cute colors to brighten your sewing/knitting space. These bins are just big enough to hold a collection of small tools but you can still see in and find what you need. The mouth is wide enough to reach in and the walls are tall enough to support scissors and marking tools so they don't fall out. The bottoms are flat so you can detach and park them next to your sewing machine or knitting chair if you will be using several tools for a project. When they are hanging on the wall all my small accessories are easily within reach.
If you don't have an Ikea around you can make a similar hanging station by using small, wide mouthed Mason jars, adjustable pipe fittings, a length of 1x6 pine board and some screws. Determine how many jars you need and the spacing you want between and then cut your board to accommodate your plans. Paint or stain your board as needed. Then screw each adjustable pipe fitting into the pine board, slide each Mason jar into the pipe fitting and then tighten your fitting. Now this set up is not detachable like the Ikea's Bygel but it will hold your tiny bits just as well and beautifully too.
When designing your own knit project you may go around and around trying to decide which stitch pattern is the correct one. I have had this battle many times. Either I have a distinct vision in my head of what I want my stitch pattern to look like (herringbone, small cable or twisted stitch) or I know how I want the garment to hang but no vision of the texture. In either case I turn to my collection of Stitchtionaries, a dictionary of stitch patterns that show a swatch of the completed pattern with instructions on how to complete the pattern. In these books you can learn a lot of each pattern just based on the small amount of info given and it can help you determine the best stitch pattern for your project.
Most stitchtionaries will only provide you with a picture of the swatch and pattern instructions. On the surface this may seem unhelpful when trying to determine the drape of the fabric created from the pattern or how durable or delicate it is. But this is not always the case. If you look closely you can determine the drape by noticing how the fabric changes from the bound off edges to the middle. If the fabric nips in at the middle then it is a dense fabric that pulls its stitches tight making it hang heavy. If the swatch appears to be the same width from bound off edge to bound off edge than you can guess that it is a lighter fabric that can be easily adjust to hug a shape or hang nicely. The lightest fabrics will be airy laces or eyelet patterns followed by simple textured stitches- like stockinette, twisted stockinette and seed stitch- finishing with some dense stitches like linen, double knit and transverse herringbone.
Be sure you consider not only the drape or density of the fabric a stitch pattern will make but also how well it will play into the overall design of your project. If you are creating a sweater that features many details like ruffles, an interesting neckline or dramatic sleeves, chose a stitch pattern that is simple. This will keep the focus on your main elements. If your overall design is simple like a blanket, dishcloth or sock, go bold or dramatic to spice it up or make it interesting. You can also consider combining stitch patterns to emphasize elements you want noticed. For example you can create a sweater with a simple body shape featuring a bold stitch pattern (like a lace emblem or thick cable pattern) coupled with a simple pattern on the sleeves to keep all the focus on the body. Or you could create a lap blanket with a basic garter or moss stitch center and an attention-grabbing chevron or picot border.
When selecting your stitch pattern make sure you consider the main elements of your design- drape and density, focus and overall look. And finally don't forget to swatch, swatch, swatch!!!!
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