Friday, September 27, 2013

Casting on ....the long and the short of it

Everyone seems to have problems when it comes to casting on a large number of stitches. It isn't rocket science but it sure seems that way. How many times have you had to cast on over 50 stitches and run out of tail yarn when doing the long tail cast on? A lot right, I know I have many times and have to pull if off and start all over.

The long tail cast on is the normal cast on I use unless the patterns states otherwise. To do the larger amounts of stitches needed I do the following. Use two skeins of yarn. Yes two skeins, tie a slip knot with a loop with both the yarns held together slip it on the needle. This does NOT count as the first stitch, now you have a "tail" and a working yarn. Cast on as usual, when you are finished and have the right amount of stitches (count them again just to make sure) then cut off one of the skeins.

Now just continue to knit the pattern. When you get to the last stitch, the one that has two loops, take it off and unknot it. Now you have no excuse for not doing a long cast on for an afaghan or sweater.

There is also a cable cast on which will help as well, Very Pinks has this video that will help you.

There is also the backwards loop cast on as well. I bet you didn't realize there were so many cast ons. I know of many people that have been knitting for years and didn't know so you are in good company. Is always good to learn the different types of cast ons. You never know when they will come in handy like the middle of the work or to hide the cast on. Each is there for a different reason.

Happy knitting,


Thursday, September 19, 2013

Fair Isle video

As I have said practice is what it takes to do fair isle color work. This is the video I used to learn to do it two handed. I use the same technique for weaving in my ends in the beginning in a lot of cases. Two-handed Fair Isle knitting.

Happy Knitting


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Down to the wire..

With less than two months before my granddaughter will be born I am trying to finish up some last minute projects for her. Anther blanket, the first one the round one will be a Christmas present since I am that far behind. I am working on a little onsie for her will actually be like a onsie sweater and then a dress romper over that.

I have found a lot of great acrylic yarns that are sooo soft. Vanna’s Choice and I love this Yarn are two of them. They are soft and you can wash and dry them. Though I am making the onsie out of I love this Wool which is even softer.

Here are a couple of pictures of the blanket. Is worked in diagonal box stitch. SmoothFox's Diagonal Box Stitch Square 6x6 is were the pattern can be found. Though I learned this from a lady at the doctors office one afternoon and make it a lot for blankets for all sizes. It works up fast and there is no limit to the size you can have. Of course, I ran out of yarn and is a good thing I used red heart. I used red heart super saver because I remember her daddy and his blanket being dragged through mud puddles, thistle patches and what ever else he could find. The colors are pink and purple it is a really lousy picture from my phone which is unusual.

I will have the outfit finished soon I am sure but have to knit like a mad woman to do it.

Happy knitting


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Fair Isle Knitting

Those complex color work seem so hard. It looks like there are so many colors in some and only two in others. Don't they just look great?

I have been working on fair isle for a few weeks now along with the other projects I have in my WIP area. I have many patterns that I have found on Ravelry and other areas on the net but I really wanted to make my own patterns. Now my problem with some of the patterns is that I can't see them well enough. So to fix this problem I put them in Excel. Yes it takes a while to do it but is well worth it in the long run. Also by having it in Excel I can mark off the rows I have already worked to make it easier to read.

So this is how I do it.

First print out your pattern, then open up Excel, count your pattern at the widest part. Count out the boxes you need. For me the fingerless mitts I am working on had a front and back so needed to count both sides together and add one for the center where you turned the mitt over. Start at the bottom like you would if you were knitting start to copy the pattern to Excel. I would use the color that the pattern was used, such as if was a black and white pattern I would use black. Hold the control key down and you can add more than one stitch at a time. Then go to the top with the little bucket and find the color you need and click. You should have all the little boxes that you clicked filled in. Continue with the rest of your pattern. When you are finished go back and click center and bold then go through all the areas you have colored in with an X this helps when you use yellow to highlight what you have knitted so that you can still see the design work.

This will work for any chart you would like to make yourself as well. I took one of the mitten patterns that I had done and copied it to another page and deleted everything inside so that it was a copy, a blank canvas and started over. Will have to show you at a later date how it turns out.

The thing to remember is that with fair isle you are only using 2 colors at a time. Always hold your yarn colors in the same hands, yes you will have to use both hands. You get used to it and it really isn't hard since you are usually doing fair isle in the round you are always knitting, no purling to do thankfully.

Give it a try you might like it. It is always good to try something and learn something you are afraid of or don't think you can do. With practice you will be surprised at what you can accomplish.

Here is a good video from Jimmy Beans Wool that will teach you to capture your floats. It is a good thing to learn and practice, you can also use this to weave your yarn ends in as you go instead of using a needle. That is what I have been doing.

Well happy knitting!