Knitting: April 2011 Archives
Fair Isle and intarsia are not the only options for adding color to your knit work. Duplicate stitch is another way to add one or several colors to your knitting after it is completed. In fact, duplicate stitch can be the easiest of any of the color work options since there are no bobbins or extra strands to mind. You simply knit your piece and then go back and add in your duplicate stitches in another color. Duplicate stitch is a great way to add just a hint of color or to add a non-repeating design element.
To complete a duplicate stitch of a knit stitch is to
recreate a 'V' or upside down 'V'. Take your threaded tapestry needle and come in from the back at
the bottom of your 'V'. Go back in at the top right of the 'V' and come out on
the top left of the 'V'. Go back through to the back of your work at the bottom
of the 'V'. (or vice versa is you prefer to duplicate the upside 'V' rows instead)
Now, the duplicate stitch for the purl stitch is a little tricky but there is more than one option. If you want a true duplicate stitch than there will be 2 rows of stitching. While the knit stitch creates 'V's the purl side creates 'S's. There are curved bumps (that look like 'n') and concave bumps (that look like 'u'). This is best depicted in pictures rather than words.
To do a single row of purl, use a loose backward embroidery stitch. This will easily mimic one row of purl stitches should you not want the double row look.
Duplicate stitch is a great way to add a custom or personalized look after the fact or an easier way for you to insert color into a knitted piece. With duplicate stitch there is no need to try out different patterns to get an idea to work. Just knit up the piece and add the color design after.
You can catch more of my knitting ways on twitter @tdangermiller
And find all your steals and deals by following fabric.com @fabricdotcom
Provisional Cast On in Action (sneak peek at April's Project)
Sometimes the cast on is as important as the stitch pattern. Sometimes you need an invisible cast on; sometimes you need to knit from your cast on flawlessly without the tell-tale ridge row that comes from picking up previously knitted stitches. Enter the Provisional Cast On which is an invisible cast on that can be knit from in both directions leaving you with a flawless knitted piece. Most often this cast on is created using waste yarn and working yarn knotted together. You cast on your desired number of stitches and knit on. Once you are ready to pick up your other cast on stitches, you carefully unknot and remove your waste yarn and pick up and knit your stitches. You must be careful because every other stitch from this cast on will be twisted so you must knit it through the back loop. A trifle compared to how useful this cast on is. You can match your cast on to your bind off by picking up the stitches and binding off a second time, so in actuality you have 2 bind offs instead of a cast on and a bind off. You can create mirror images for scarves and other luxury items where perfection is desired. I incorporated this wonderful technique in the upcoming April Free Knitting Pattern Download (so take notes).
However wonderful this cast on it, it can be better. "How could anything so awesome get any better, unless Michael Buble were holding your yarn while you cast on. Surely that is the only way to make it better!" you might exclaim. Alas, no Michael's were employed to make this technique better but only a cable needle. I substituted a flexible cable needle in for the waste yarn. This enables the knitter to forgo unknotting yarn and pick up stitches. When the time comes to knit from your cast on, you need only slide your stitches onto your needle and knit on. It is so simple and wonderfully easy. You can see how I pull it off in this handy video.
Don't forget to tune in later this month for this cast on in action in the April Free Knitting Pattern Download. Yarn used in this blog post was the delicious Lion Brand Recycled Cotton to be featured in this month's pattern as well.
You can catch sneak peeks of upcoming patterns and project by following me on twitter @tdangermiller
Short Rows are one of my favorite knitting techniques. They are so versatile in their application. Short rows can be used for shawl collars, sock toes, hat brims, bust lines (instead of dart-like increases/decreases), sweater necklines and easing over hips in skirts. The list goes on but using short rows is a bit trickier than listing their applications (though knitting short rows is infinitely more fun than listing). To successfully knit short rows you sort-of need to get out of your head and forget most of what you know about knitting. This is different and, I'm not gonna lie, a little weird. Short rows are extra rows invisibly inserted into a knitted piece to add shape and extra ease, depending on pattern. Short rows can form the toe box of toe-up socks like my Free Autumn Stars Sock Pattern.
Short Rows are formed by wrapping certain stitches and then picking up and knitting those wraps. You start by knitting a number of stitches according to a pattern or, if you are designing your own, according to you stitch count, slip move your yarn in front, slip the next stitch knit wise and then turn your work. With your yarn still in back, slip the slipped stitch back to your right needle and bring your yarn to the front (this forms a wrap around your slipped stitch), then purl back according to pattern. When you have wrapped the needed number of stitches and you are knitting (or purling) back to pick up your wraps and knit the slipped stitches you want to pick up and knit (or purl) the wrap with the stitch making sure you are hiding the wrap on the back side.
Try practicing short rows on your own with some cotton yarn (it is the easiest to rip back)- I used Berroco Linsey. If you are thinking of adding short rows to an existing pattern or your own swatching with short rows will help you determine the best fit and shape for you. Plus it makes for good movie and car knitting.
There is always some point in a knitting pattern that I have realized that I'm missing a stitch from a row below. Usually this is with a substantial pattern will 300 or so sts per row (Murphy's Law and all). Not a piece you relish un-knitting, going back finding/fixing the problem and knitting again. Once you have figured out where the problem is it can be easy to fix an increase or add an increase without a lot of frogging and reknitting. Some increases are easier to fix than others.
YO (Yarn over)- this is an open increase that creates an eyelet. To fix a yarn over you just need to pick up the ladder between 2 stitches and put it on your left needle and knit it. Depending on how many rows down you need you increase to be you pick up the ladder from that row put it on your crochet hook (or 3rd needle, if you like) and fix your stitches back up the correct row.
M1 (Make one)- this is a relatively invisible increase. To add or fix a M1 increase you will pick up the ladder from the desired row just like a YO but you will then twist the loop and the place it on your fixing tool and work back up to your working row.
Kf&b (Knit front & back)- this creates a bar or a purl like stitch that adds a decorative or textural detail good for sleeve increases. Fixing a Kf&b can be tricky but with my video tutorial you will have it down in no time!
Spring is here but sometimes not. Here in Georgia, we are bouncing from warm weather to cool to downright chilly and back again. Some days spring weather is in your face and others have you wondering if you read the calendar wrong. You must be prepared for days like these. It is a blessing that layering is in fashion and scarves are at the top of the list. The Swing Scarf is perfect for confusing spring days. Knit from Tahki Ripple in 100% Mercerized Cotton (a fiber treatment to increase the luster of the finished fiber), it is silky, shiny and soft. The hand is akin to well washed linen more than cotton. The pattern is made up of stockinette and lace mesh panels with a few purl rows thrown in for fun. The Swing Scarf is also knit on the bias to keep it interesting to knit and draws the eye when wearing. The ripples in the yarn also make this scarf more than ordinary. The stitch patterns are simple but the ripples create an illusion of more intricate patterns.
The Swing Scarf is a small scarf at just 3 ft. long but the length is just right for spring layers where you don't want to be too burdened or insulated. You can wrap it around your neck and allow the ends to cascade down your shoulders, you can tie it, knot it and tuck the ends into your jacket, or it also makes a fabulous sash for tunics. The Spring Scarf can also be called into duty as a poolside tie back for your hair. This Spring Scarf is knit in Tahki Ripple Taupe but I also recommend the Yellow, Rose and Teal for other spring versions of this scarf. While best worked in a cotton or linen for warm weather, the Swing Scarf will also look amazing in mohair, silk or alpaca for cool weather as well. Oh and this is a quick, fun knit!
Download your copy of the Free Swing Scarf Pattern here