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Introducing "Ask the Expert"- the Knitter's Edition

May 22, 2010

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Fabric.com is new to knitting, so it follows that most of our customers must be as well. But even the more seasoned knitters have questions that need answers. Forums are great but sometimes your questions can go weeks without answer and finding the right forum can be tricky. Maybe you just need a yarn recommendation, or an explanation of a cast-on. Or maybe your question is trickier than that. Ask it.  Every Wed will feature "Ask the Expert" posts here at the blog.

You can submit your question as a comment on the blog. Every Wed. I will pick 5 questions and answer them. I will try to pick the questions that are the most helpful to most of the readers but, of course, I will also pay heed to those who just need specific help. I encourage all forms of flattery and general sucking up. In fact, I would as far as to say that it will greatly improve your chances of having your question answered. However, we all know how gracious and generous we knitters are so I am sure that even if you call me a "fat cow who dresses in plaids and stripes" (I assure you I do not) that if I find merit in your question, I will answer it while secretly hoping it takes you three tries to get gauge. You can vote on comments too.

I will break the ice by answering a few questions that some of my neighbors have thrown my way in the past few weeks.

Q: What are your favorites when it comes to knitting?

A: That is a broad question so I will toss out the first things that come to mind. I love wool. Love it. It is so soft and colorful. It has great stitch definition but is so springy so I consider it forgiving. It doesn't make my hands feel "weird" like cotton can.

I love hats. You can do anything with them. They knit up in hours. Everyone loves getting a hat. You can make the funkiest hat and it will not look weird if you wear it right. Here is one of my fave's, I make one a year (at least).

Wooden needles are my favorite. I am allergic to nickel and most metal needles are nickel plated. They make my joints ache and my fingers feel tired. I get worn out quickly knitting with metal. I like Acrylic too but sometimes they are too slick for me.

Q: What cast-on do you most recommend for a beginner (and I mean a BEGINNER!)

A: I like 2. The backward loop is the easiest to learn and get started but can be a bit tricky for a newbie to knit the first row due to the nature of the loop being so adjustable. The long-tail cast-on takes more practice to get but it is easy to knit the first row and makes a really nice, neat edge. So it depends on you. Do you want to just cast-on and go or do you really want to make it easier in the long run.

Q: I really want to feel the yarn- I can't get over that to buy online.

A: Unless you are new to fiber, you know what it feels like. Merino more or less feels the same.  The prices can't be beat. You are saving the drive and time plus you can shop in your own home. Do you really need to feel wool again to see that is AWESOME? The bottom line is: you have to trust the site you are purchasing from. If they say it is soft, it is. If they say that it is springy or fluffy or smooth, trust them. If you can't trust their opinion of yarn fibers, why in the heck are you giving them your credit card number!? Fabric.com's merchandisers are pros when it comes to fiber. Every yarn gets put into the store by a real person. They touch it, think about it and write about it. Plus if you need more, you can call their customer service. I am sure they would love a chance to get their hands on it too!

Best of knitting to you: Tara Miller

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First of all, let me say I love your blog! I have found it refreshing from other blogs in that a) you talk solely about knitting; b) you provide extremely useful information; and c) your witty commentary. Ok, so the last part applies to many blogs but I do like your humor. :) I'm a completely addicted new knitter. I knit every day in the hopes of honing my skills and someday being the kind of knitter that everyone else besides me seems to be - really, really good. Among some of the things that still baffle me are selvadge edges. I am trying to remember to slip that first stitch every time I knit flat but it hasn't become second nature to me just yet. My question is how do I slip the first stitch if I'm knitting garter stitch? Does it change for stockinette? Does my working yarn have to be on one side or the other or just where it should be for the type of stitch I'm about to knit? Perhaps a rundown on this topic would be as much help to others as it would be to me.

PS loved the lifeline topic. I have been hearing about it quite a bit lately and found your tutorial to be very clear.

So glad you are her to ask Expert, as I may have gotten in over my head this time! I have always enjoyed knitting since my mother taught me at a young age, and I have one into frenzies on and off in my life as time and children permitted. The children are now fully grown and have added grandchildren to my life now (5 of them). Just thought I'd give you a little background info on me.

At the moment I am restricted to the couch for almost 6 weeks due to a medical reason and I have been knitting up a storm. But, and here's my problem, last week I joined a Celtic Art Lovers group on Ravelry just in time to catch one of the last volunteer spots to test a celtic shawl pattern (Blasda).

This pattern begins with a mitered corner worked with double pointed needles and then continues on from there. I have never started like this and even after looking at the pictures in the directions I can't figure it out at all. I would ask the designer, but she is Polish and English is her second language; so it is not as if she is willing to answer, we are just having a hard time communicating. I would give up the project but I have a good friend that I know would love and appreciate it.

The initial pattern starts with casting on 30 provisional stitches, and then divide the stitches between two double pointed needles and work between them. I can't tell from the pictures, or the directions on how they are doing this. Any help you can give me would be more than appreciated!

If you choose to answer my question, please send it to my e-mail as the URL I listed is for my personal business.

Thanks for whatever you can do, I so want to make this for my dear friend.


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This page contains a single entry by published on May 22, 2010 12:23 PM.

Lazy Weekend & Yoga- New, free knitting pattern was the previous entry in this blog.

Review Monday: Rowan Organic Cotton DK Naturally Dyed Yarn is the next entry in this blog.

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