Tutorials: March 2011 Archives
A knitted hem is an awesome way to finish or start off your knitting when you are looking for a tailored and clean look. Knitted hems are also the perfect solution to preventing the Stockingette curl. You may also use this technique to place pin tucks anywhere in a project by a small modification.This technique played a big role in the Lollipop Skirt by Bekah Knits. Let's get started.
To add a knitted hem to the beginning of a project, you want to decide how long you want your hem. You can determine this with swatching. However many rows long your finished hem will be, you will knit double. I am going to demonstrate with a 6 row hem. First I cast on according to my pattern and knit 5 rows in Stockingette. Next, on the right side of my work, I purl one row (I will explain this in a bit), then I knit 5 more rows in Stockingette. One the next row (which I will be knitting), I will pick up one stitch from the cast on edge and knit it together with a stitch from my left needle.
You can see that it starts to form a welt, i.e. knitted hem. The purl row in the middle creates a dent on the wrong side enabling the fabric to fold there and give a clean finish. Otherwise, you would be creating more of a tube instead of a nice, folded hem finish. After this row, you can continue knitting according to your pattern.
Now, if you want to add a knitting hem to your project at the end and cast off at the same time, I recommend you add a lifeline where the top of the hem will start. This makes it easy to pick up your stitches in a straight line. You might notice that you cannot see the life line from the back of the work as easily as you can see it from the front but once you start picking up, you will see it just fine. Again, working with a 6 row hem, you will knit 5 rows from the life line in Stockingette. The next row, on the right side, purl one row and then knit 5 more rows in Stockingette.
On the next right side row, beginning picking up the first purl bump on the hem side of the life line and knit it together with the first stitch from your left needle, continue across the row this way. But once you have 2 stitches on your right needle, begin casting off. Once you have cast off all your stitches, weave in your ends and pull out your life line.
If you want to add a welt, or pin tuck into your work, follow the directions above for adding a hem at the end of your work but do not cast off. Continue knitting up, spacing your welts out as you go so they do not add too much bulk. I spaced mine by knitting 7 rows from the top of the first welt to the purl row of the next welt. This creates a cascade of welts.
Part of the challenge and fun of knitting is that it is made of some many components. True, there are just 2 stitches: knit and purl. It is the fact that these 2 stitches can be combined into so many different patterns and that these patterns can then be combined with others and then constructed into so many different combos that makes the possibilities endless. You will never stop learning with knitting and I love that! One of my favorite techniques in knitting is the knit-on edge. The knit-on edge allows you to add another layer to any project regardless of stitch count. You can add a fancy lace border to any scarf or shawl, for instance, without having to get out the calculator again and masterminding a way to reduce or increase your stitch count to accommodate your new stitch pattern. This is because you will be knitting your lace edge sideways and then attaching it to your live stitches by slipping and knitting together stitches. It sounds tricky but it is easy.
Leave your main project still on needles with the edge of live stitches. Once you have decided on your border pattern (it is easier to start with a simple and small pattern, 10 sts or less so you can focus on the technique instead of the design), cast on the recommended number of stitches plus 1. Starting with your first RS row, knit to the end of the pattern instructions which will leave you with one stitch. Slip this stitch knitwise and then knit one stitch from your main project. Turn your work and knit your last stitch (knitted from the main project) and the slipped border stitch together and then follow your border pattern instructions for the wrongside (or row 2). You will continue in the pattern like this, knitting to the last stitch on the RS, slipping this stitch and knitting one stitch from your main project, turning the work and knitting the last 2 stitches together until you have no more live stitches on your main project and ending with a wrongside row of your border pattern. You can then cast off your border pattern.
Congrats your have successfully completed a knit-on edge. My pictures depict an attempt at the Swallowtail Shawl with a modified knit-on edge. I have trouble with mohair and for some reason or another when it came time in the pattern to switch to the border lace pattern, my stitch count was way off. I tried to fix the error but mohair doesn't like to be ripped back. I decided my best course of action was to pick a complimentary lace border pattern to knit-on. This way, my stitch count would not matter and I could complete my shawl with decreased stress and anxiety! It would very well and the finished project was just as beautiful as the original. A knit-on edge is also a great way to finish sweater hems, add detail to a hat brim, or lengthen a too small child's dress. You can add knit-on edge to finished garments as well by picking up stitches on the main project to create live stitches.
I remember few years ago I was watching a quilting show in which they demonstrated a Fons and Porter pressing sheet. I had never beheld a tool such as that before and my eyes lighted up! When I discovered that Fabric.com carried them...well, needless to say there was much jumping and clapping. I am not much of a quilter. I have aspirations but very little opportunity. But I do love to appliqué and any tool that can help me to be more creative and at the same time keep my iron gunk free is for me! I decided to start with something simple to start with and get comfortable with the pressing sheet.
I am making another kid tent for some boys who are big hunting fans. Since every hunter needs a few deer head trophies, deer head appliqués were on the cutting table. I found a free coloring sheet with a shape that I liked and printed it out to use as a pattern. I started by tracing the pattern pieces onto the back of my fusible and basically cutting it out. Then I fused the pieces onto the wrong side of my quilting cotton and cut out the appliqués. Then using my pressing sheet (and removing the fusible backing) I was able to perfectly line up and combine my appliqué. Once my appliqué was complete, I could fuse it to my background and stitch around it. It was so easy and there were no mistakes. I felt a rush of excitement and a surge of ideas flooded into my brain.
*Edited- You use the pressing sheet as a base to build your appliqués. After you have cut out all your appliqués pieces and added fusible (Like Steam a Seam) then you peel the backing off all your appliqué pieces (I have 2 pieces: antlers and the head but I could have added more like the round nose you see below and the ears could have been separate as well). Then using your pressing sheet as a base you place your appliqués pattern underneath the pressing sheet. The sheet is transparent so you can see where to place your appliqué pieces and make sure you are assembling correctly. You can place your appliqué pieces on the pressing sheet and fuse them in layers. Once the appliqués is cool, carefully peel it off the pressing sheet and you can then place your completed appliqué in its finished location whether that be a hoody or a quilt. The pressing sheet allows you to assemble and reassemble your appliqué while checking placement. Then you can assemble without attaching it your finished article. Using the pressing sheet lets you see your finished appliqué before placing it so you can determine where it will fit and look best.You can see right through the pressing sheet (it's a tan color) to the pattern sheet below)
The pressing sheet can be used to solve another of my dilemmas. Whenever a pattern calls for you to cut pieces from fusible interfacing as well as fabric pieces to match, inevitably my fusible pieces and fabric pieces never match as much as I would like. Sometime the discrepancy is as much as ½ in. So usually I cut the fabric piece first and then fuse it and then cut the whole deal out of the fusible interfacing. However, this leads to gunk on my ironing board or iron. With my pressing sheet, I can pull off this feat without the mess. I am super pumped about this. The pressing sheet also comes with a color coded, tulip quilt block appliqué pattern for free! It would also be really great on the front of a messenger bag or backpack.
Let us know what you do with your pressing sheet on our Facebook page or twitter. You can follow Fabric.com to find out the latest deals and you can follow me(@tdangermiller) and get the inside dish on my projects.