Knitting: February 2012 Archives
A very simple but often overlooked detail when knitting color work is a seamless transition. This is especially necessary when knitting stripes in the round. You will notice that there is a tiny step when you continue from the end of one round to the beginning of another. In the scheme of things this might be a tiny detail but when knitting something handmade, whether a gift for a beloved friend or a coveted pattern for yourself, you want everything to be perfect because in the end- you made it. Creating seamless stripes (or jogless stripes) frees you from trying to plan your stripes to end in a hidden spot. It allows you to knit a striped sweater, hat or mittens how you see fit and to place that all important beginning marker where ever the heck you want! It is a very simple technique that will amaze. The only really trick is to remember to follow it every time.
Knit with your first color (color A) until your initial stripe is wide enough. At the beginning of the next round, drop Color A and begin working with Color B for one round. When you reach the beginning stitch for the 2nd round in Color B, pick up the stitch below (which will be in Color A) and knit it together with the first stitch (See picture).
This will eliminate the jog and give you a seamless stripe. It will seem weird at first but once you try it you will see the optical illusion it creates because each stripe will be 1 stitch less at the 1st stitch than the remainder of the stripe but the stitch picked up at the beginning from the row below will stretch filling the space so you can't tell unless you count stitches (example: if your stripes are 4 sts wide then at the 1 st of the round they will be 3 sts wide). It is really an ingenious method that has been passed down throughout the generations of knitting to daughters or sons. But often these days a new knitter doesn't learn from a close family member so these handy techniques fall through the cracks of sock classes, knit-alongs and online forums. It is important to pass on the tiny details so be sure to share it at your next knitting gathering!
Check out this picture for a great example of a jogged stripe. You can see the step at the beginning of the round.
In this picture the circled stripes are jogless. You cannot clearly see where one round ends and another begins.
This is a great technique to use on our Free Pattern Download: Telfair Capelet
Organizing my knitting needles and crochet hooks is a battle I am constantly fighting. I am a 5-6 project at a time person so needles and hooks tend to be everywhere at all times. But despite this I still keep my needles and hooks organized so I know that if they are not wrapped up in yarn somewhere then I know where they are. However, It was only when I found some collecting techniques that worked for me that I became this organized. Here are a few that I use and some more that I love from the web that might work for you.
First, I made a needle/hook case (tutorial to sew your own here) and I love it. I made 2 sizes, the first is the full tutorial version and the second is a smaller, half version that I created using the tutorial but working around just the first set of pockets. I love both of my cases because together they fit all my straight needles and enough of my cable needles that I can take them anywhere. The smaller case also fits my DPNs and my hooks. The cases fold up small enough to fit into any knitting bag.
These glass mason jars (I am guessing 32 oz size) that I found on Pinterest work great for grouping all your needles and hooks together by size. Straight, DPN and cable needles of the same size all fit nicely into one jar along with the corresponding crochet hook. Plus they look divine along the top of a book case in a sunny spot. Pair them with this jar stenciling tutorial and you can grab the right size at a glance!
In my studio I love to use colorful ice-cream sundae dishes picked up from thrift stores to house my straight needles and hooks. These bright dishes are the perfect place because I can fit many needles and hooks in each, the cupped shape fans them out to mimic a floral bouquet and the bright colors are a great contrast for the mellow bamboo color or subtle brights of my aluminum needless & crochet hooks.
Last but maybe the most brilliant is this idea I found on Pinterest from Eve Barbour. She envisions using a flatware tray to house all her crochet hooks and knitting needles. When I saw it, I felt the urge to smack myself on the forehead because it is just so clever and so obvious that I can't believe no one has thought of it before. A flat wear tray is the perfect solution and could only be more perfect if it could be integrated into a set of drawers for extensive collections. Then you could have a set of them and pull out each drawer of flatware trays to check your inventory.
From the first stitch Rowan Big Wool feels like a wooly cloud. Once you have 5 rows on your needles you begin to plan sweaters, scarves and pillows. Big Wool is fluffy, soft and cuddly making it very difficult not to plan future projects involving this triple threat: 1) it knits up fast; 2) it is unbelievable soft; 3) now you can get it at an inexpensive price at Fabric.com.
I have been crushing on Bulky Yarns for a while ever since I attempted the Welt and Rib Raglan featured in Interweave knits. It works up in a size 5 needle. This was in 2010 and I am still only half way. I blamed the needles and might have (there were no witnesses) thrown it across the room in frustration. Before this fateful day I had steered clear of bulky yarn because I didn't think I could carry off thick sweaters and (what may be the main reason) I didn't want to pay for less yardage. But once I threw my size 5 project to the ground I did my research and found that yes, bulky yarn carries less yardage but you also need less when you knit it up. Each stitch carries you that much farther meaning that you need 900 yds for a sweater instead of 1200 in worsted. Another point for bulky!
However, until I picked up Big Wool I was never really in-LOVE with bulky yarn. It was a means to an end in helping me explore a new area in knitting and complete projects faster. But Big Wool was a pleasure start to finish. This 3 ply wool did not throw up any snags even though I worked it on huge size 17 straight needles. There was a nice smoothness to the spun wool that is alluded to in other wools but rarely delivered in such a finish. The yarn itself is fluffy but only compacts a little when knit up. The stitch definition is very clear with only a slight wool fuzziness which I love. I don't like stark stitch definition, the fuzz just helps the texture look warm. Big wool is smooth enough to glide over your needles easily but not slick. It is very forgiving and excellent for a beginner looking to learn a new yarn. I do not recommend Big Wool for a first project because the needles are so big. Size 17 needles would be awkward for a newbie unlike a size 8 or 9.
Over all I give Rowan Big Wool 5 stars due to the fine finish of the wool, no snags and excellent stitch definition. Lastly the color selection is dreamy!