Tutorials: November 2010 Archives
A dropped stitch can seem like the end of the world but with some practice and patience you can pick them up like a pro and not bat an eyelash. Dropped stitches used to be a heart attack for me. But once day I decided I had had enough. Too much stress for such a small thing. I knit up a stockinette swatch (4 in. by 4 in) square and set to work practicing. The Stockingette provided me with practice for both knit and purl stitches. Since all knitting is made up of these 2 stitches practicing them will be your bread and butter. I also recommend some time with knit 2 together and purl 2 together. Below you will find some helpful step by step pictures of what a dropped stitch looks like (My dad always says: "The first step to problem solving is recognizing the problem".), the approach and the finished product. The loop is the stitch from the row below and the ladder is the strand of yarn above the loop. Thread the ladder through the loop to fix your dropped stitch.
You want to approach a knit stitch from the knit side or front (side facing you) and pick up the loop and then pick up your ladder. Pull your ladder through the loop toward you. Place repaired stitch back on left needle and knit.
You want to approach a purl stitch from the purl side or the back side (side facing away from you) and pick up the ladder first then the loop. Pull the ladder through the loop away from you. Place repaired stitch back on left needle and purl.
Knit 2 together:
You will approach this the same as a knit stitch but there will be 2 loops and 1 ladder. With the knit side facing you, put your crochet hook into the left loop first then the right loop then pick up the ladder. Pull the ladder through both loops toward you and place on left needle. Knit the stitch.
Purl 2 together:
You will approach this the same as a purl stitch but there will be 2 loops and 1 ladder. With the purl side facing away from you, put your crochet hook through the ladder first, next the right loop first then the left loop. Pull the ladder through both loops and put the stitch on your left needle and purl
Practice all of the above until you feel comfortable. Picking up stitches will become easy and a no brainer with time.
Have you ever considered all the presents you give? If you add up all that wrapping paper, that is a lot of one time use, now to be thrown away paper. Couple that with how pricey wrapping paper is getting these days and it is obvious a solution is needed. Reusable fabric wrapping is on the rise. Not only does it prevent tons of waste but it is beautiful, easy and so satisfying! Fabric wrapping takes no time to make and you will use it all the time. If you are like me you are always giving gifts: bread as thanks to the neighbors for getting my mail while away, repayment to a nurse friend for taking my frantic "my child is sick" calls, and host/hostess gifts. I give at least a gift a month, not counting holidays and birthdays. I always use fabric wrapping. It is so much easier to wrap (no tape!) than paper, it looks luxe and makes me feel so good to give in more than one way. One fabric wrap can last you years and years, saving you hundreds in the long run. Think about it. How many rolls of wrapping do you use each year: 5, 6 or even 10 rolls? The average price per roll is $5, over 5 years for 10 rolls/yr is $250!
Fabric wrapping is easy to make as well as eco-friendly. I will share my pattern for a small/medium wrapping. A half yd of quilting cotton will yield 2 small/med wrappings, 1 yd can yield one med/ large and 1 ½ yd can wrap one large present. You may even want to use Home Dec fabric for larger presents as they might be heavy.
For a small/med cut an 18 in. square from designer quilting cotton. You can finish the edges with bias tape for an extra bit of color or double turn the edges and topstitch. Cut 50 in. of ribbon of any size or rick rack and stitch to the center of the square on the right side of the your wrapping. You can add a second ribbon of the same size, perpendicular to the first. That's it- You're done!
Wrap your presents with beautiful bows. No worries over crumpled plastic bows or ripped paper- fabric wrapping is always lovely. In the off season your wrapping can double as tablecloths (just tie the ribbon in a bow as decoration), runners, napkins or wrap your ornaments in them and store for next year. The possibilities are endless and gift giving takes on a new meaning.
* Wrapped up is Rowan Organic Cotton Chicken
** Coffee may be optional for you but not me!
One of the basics of knitting is knitting I-cord. I made a comment last week on Facebook about how I never use my DPNs. Milinda Paquette kindly reminded me the importance of DPNs if only for knitting i-cord. And i-cord is important in knitting. It is a versatile technique that can be used for straps, ties, and decorative accents on toys or edges. I-cord is almost too easy for its return on value. I-cord is like the bias strips equivalent in sewing. I have used i-cord for pumpkins stems, toy arms, elephant noses, ear flap ties, belts, ETC.
There are 2 easy ways to make i-cord: DPNs or knitting spool. Now, if you prefer to use DPNs, which I do, than the shorter the better (like the Hiyahiya 4 in. DPNs) because once you are done knitting a row you don't switch your left and right needles. Slide your stitches to the other end of your right hand needle and then switch your needles from right hand to left. Knit your stitches again, making sure to snug your first stitch. The tail pulls the stitches together and after about 3 rows you notice your knitting forms a tube. If you have a shorter DPN then you have less sliding. Be sure you snug that first stitch but DO NOT pull it too tight otherwise it will be too tight to knit the next row (this took me a while to learn and I hated i-cord until I learned to loosen up a bit). You can make your i-cord as thick as you want but you must knit with at least 3 stitches. If you need it smaller, than sub in a lighter weight yarn. You can make your own knitting spool with an old wooden thread spool and some nails. Spool knitting is fun and really great for kids. To adjust the size you will need a bigger spool and more nails but it is a great kid's craft.
You can also use i-cord as a totally awesome bind off. It is called attached icord and the edge is actually icord that you knit on as you bind off. Interweave has a great video. Attached I-cord is a great finish for blankets, sleeves, slippers and hats.
You might be wondering why I am writing about making tutus right after Halloween instead of before so I will explain. In my house, the weeks right after Halloween were prime dress-up time. With the costume glow still upon us, my siblings and friends would bust out all our old costumes and dress-up clothes. Our other toys were put aside for imaginary princess and warrior games outside more often, enjoying the fall air. Tutus were always my favorite. I would stack them around me, wearing as many as possible; the object of dancing irrelevant. Being that time of year and my own daughter at the age when tutus become the staple of a proper wardrobe, I had to make one or several and write about how easy it was. I have heard from many people and received many comments that tulle is difficult to work with. Another reason for today's entry. I was determined to find a way to make tutus easy and fun for both the maker and wearer!
I scoured YouTube till I found a video by Wowzzy.com for a no-sew tutu that also shared tulle tips. It was easy but I will tell you that as you are cutting your tulle into the rolls put the cut strips under a pattern weight of some kind or whatever is handy. You DO NOT want your tulle unwinding; that is a pain! The tutu by Wowzzy.com requires 4 yds of tulle and 3 yds of ribbon. I made mine for a 2 yr old using our 54 in. wide Tulle in Amethyst (which is a gorgeous dark purple) and Jessica Jones 1 ½ in. Jacquard Blooms ribbon (amazing design) and planned to make a lining out of cotton but nixed it once I saw how my tutu was progressing. It turned out to have much more body than I had thought. From the video, I envisioned a more skirt-like tutu but what I ended up with was much more ballerina-like and better than I hoped. The video was easy to follow and watch while I cut and tied. I folded my tulle several time before I rolled it up since I was using one color and my piece was much bigger than the 4 small pieces used in the video. I cut my rolls to be about 3 in wide and then under folder each roll (carefully not to tangle) so I could fold it and cut each fold so I ended with 3 in. wide strips about 20 in. long. This made for a short, fluffy skirt.
4 yds of tulle and 3 yds of ribbon made 2 tutus in the 2 yr old size. The same yardages would only yield one for a longer skirt or a bigger size. In all each tutu took about 45 min to make with cutting and tying and fighting the tangles. Once wore the tulle gets a little messy (I mean it is no longer straight and wrinkle free) but this adds to the body and fluffiness and really makes it look more like a ballerina's tutu. Plus it is all for fun. This tutu is also easy one and easy off with a delicious big bow in the back. Considering the ease of this pattern and the cost of the materials, I think have several in favorite colors is an excellent investment. Plus they make great stocking stuffers!!!!
Photos by Brandi Watson- Thank you!!
Photos by Brandi Watson- Thank you!!
There are various ways to store your needles, ranging from plastic containers to a jumble at the bottom of your knitting bag. I prefer mine nice and neat so I can see what I've got, sizes and which are missing. I also like to keep my different needle separated: straight, DPN and circular. This gets tricky as you collect more needles but with the right patterns and some sewing time you can create a fun collection of knitting needle cases to fit your needs.
A great needle case makes it easy to keep your needle organized but also serve as a grab n' go for knitting away from home. You never know when you might need a needle change or even your trusty crochet hook for a dropped stitch. A needle case fits in your bag and keeps your tools snug and within reach. There are some great options out there to make your own.
For a great DPN case, I have designed this compact roll that can fit a whole set of DPNs from 0-15 in one compact ribbon roll. All you will need is ½ yd of 2 coordinating fabrics, 1 yd of ribbon and some time. You can download the PDF pattern:Needle case.pdf.
You can match all your cases together or mix and match with a central color for a funky, eclectic look. I love to make and collect needle case and update them every few years. They also make perfect gift that are fast for a special knitter in your house.
**Psst: The DPN case can also be used for crochet hooks, colored pencils and markers!