Posts in How To
Stitches I Love: Crossed Shell

Who doesn't love new stitches to play with? Stitch dictionaries are one of my go to sources of inspiration for new designs.  I just love seeing the versatility of what crochet can do.

One of my favourite stitches is the crossed shell.  I used it in the Waterfall Shrug in Hook, Stitch and Give and its a stitch that I continue to be drawn to in my design work.

crossed shell stitch tutorial by Slugs on the Refrigerator

Its one of those stitches that is a total pain to establish, but once you get it, its very easy to just keep going, with enough repetition to make it easy to remember, but enough interest to keep you going. This is an excellent stitch for things like stoles and scarves.

Abbreviations:

UK Terminology Used.

  • ch = chain
  • chsp = chain space
  • dc = double crochet (US single crochet)
  • tch = turning chain
  • tr = treble crochet (US double crochet)

The pattern calls for a repeat of 8 stitches + 5 for the beginning chain. For this example, ch 29.

Set up Row: 3tr in the 5th ch from the hook (tch counts as 1tr and 1ch), miss 3ch, [1dc, miss 5ch, 3tr in next ch, 2ch, working back in to the 2nd ch missed, 3tr, miss 5ch from the stitch just made] twice, 1dc, miss 3ch, (3tr, 1ch, 1tr) into ch. Turn. 2 completed CS sts and 1 half CS at either end.

Set Up Row: Step 1: Make 3 tr in the 5th chain from the hook. Your turning chain counts as 1 tr and 1 chain. 

Set Up Row: Step 1: Make 3 tr in the 5th chain from the hook. Your turning chain counts as 1 tr and 1 chain. 

Step 2: Miss 3 chain and make 1 double crochet in the next chain. 

Step 2: Miss 3 chain and make 1 double crochet in the next chain. 

Step 3: Miss 5 chains and make 3 trebles in the next chain.

Step 3: Miss 5 chains and make 3 trebles in the next chain.

Step 4: Chain 2.

Step 4: Chain 2.

Step 5: You are now going to work back over the trebles you just made by working 3 trebles into the 2nd chain you missed when you missed 5. Make sure to work these stitches loosely, as you don't want to pull the other cluster of trebles down. 

Step 5: You are now going to work back over the trebles you just made by working 3 trebles into the 2nd chain you missed when you missed 5. Make sure to work these stitches loosely, as you don't want to pull the other cluster of trebles down. 

Step 6: Miss 5 chains from the cluster you just made (or 1 stitch from the first set of trebles you made). Double crochet 1. 

Step 6: Miss 5 chains from the cluster you just made (or 1 stitch from the first set of trebles you made). Double crochet 1. 

Step 7: You will now repeat Steps 3 - 5. 

Step 7: You will now repeat Steps 3 - 5. 

 Step 8: Miss 5 chains from the cluster you just made (or 1 stitch from the first set of trebles you made). Double crochet 1. 

 Step 8: Miss 5 chains from the cluster you just made (or 1 stitch from the first set of trebles you made). Double crochet 1. 

Step 9: Miss 3 chain. Make 3 trebles, 1ch and 1 treble into the last chain of the row. Turn

Step 9: Miss 3 chain. Make 3 trebles, 1ch and 1 treble into the last chain of the row. Turn

Row 1: 1ch (does not count as a stitch), 1dc into tr, 3ch, miss 1ch and 3tr, 1tr into dc, [3ch, miss  3tr, 1dc into 2chsp, 3ch, miss 3tr, 1tr into dc]  twice, 3ch, miss 3tr, 1dc into chsp. Turn.

Row 1:   Step 1: Chain 1. 1 dc into the 1st treble.

Row 1: 

Step 1: Chain 1. 1 dc into the 1st treble.

Step 2: 3chains, miss 3 trebles, 1 treble into the dc in the row below, 3 chain, miss 3 trebles, 1 dc into the 2-chain space at top of the shell.

Step 2: 3chains, miss 3 trebles, 1 treble into the dc in the row below, 3 chain, miss 3 trebles, 1 dc into the 2-chain space at top of the shell.

Step 3: 3 chain, miss 3 trebles, treble into the dc, 3 trebles. 

Step 3: 3 chain, miss 3 trebles, treble into the dc, 3 trebles. 

Step 4: Miss 3 trebles, dc into the 2-chain space at the top of the shell stitch, 3 chain, miss 3 trebles, 1 treble, 3 chain, miss 3 trebles, 1 dc into the 3rd chain of the beginning chain. Turn.

Step 4: Miss 3 trebles, dc into the 2-chain space at the top of the shell stitch, 3 chain, miss 3 trebles, 1 treble, 3 chain, miss 3 trebles, 1 dc into the 3rd chain of the beginning chain. Turn.

Row 2: 1ch (does not count as a stitch), 1dc  into dc, miss 3chsp and 1tr, 3tr into chsp,  [2ch, 3tr into missed 3chsp, 1dc into dc, miss  3chsp and 1tr, 3tr into 3chsp] twice, 2ch, 3tr  into missed 3chsp, 1dc into dc. Turn.  

Row 2:  Step 1: 1 chain and make 1 dc into dc.

Row 2:

Step 1: 1 chain and make 1 dc into dc.

Step 2: Miss next 3-chain space and treble. Work 3 trebles into the next chain space, chain 2.  

Step 2: Miss next 3-chain space and treble. Work 3 trebles into the next chain space, chain 2.  

Step 3: Crossing back over the stitches you just made, make 3 trebles into the 3-chain space you just missed. 

Step 3: Crossing back over the stitches you just made, make 3 trebles into the 3-chain space you just missed. 

Step 4: dc into the next dc.

Step 4: dc into the next dc.

Step 5: Repeat steps 2-4 across the row, finishing with a dc into the last dc of the row below. Turn. 

Step 5: Repeat steps 2-4 across the row, finishing with a dc into the last dc of the row below. Turn. 

Row 3: 6ch (counts as 1tr and 3ch), miss 3tr,  1dc into 2chsp, [3ch, miss 3tr, 1tr into dc, miss 3tr, 1dc into 2chsp] twice, 3ch, miss 3tr,  1tr in dc. Turn. 

Row 3:   Step 1: Chain 6 - this counts as 1 treble and 3 chains. 

Row 3: 

Step 1: Chain 6 - this counts as 1 treble and 3 chains. 

Step 2: Miss 3 trebles, dc into the 2chain space at the top of the shell.  Chain 3, miss 3 trebles and treble into the next dc. 

Step 2: Miss 3 trebles, dc into the 2chain space at the top of the shell.  Chain 3, miss 3 trebles and treble into the next dc. 

Step 3: Continue working this bridging pattern across, with dcs into the top of the shell stitches and trebles into the dcs in the row below, with 3 chain spaces bridging the gaps between the stitches. 

Step 4: Treble into the final dc of the row below. Turn.

Step 4: Treble into the final dc of the row below. Turn.

Row 4: 4ch (counts as 1tr and 3ch), 3tr in tr, miss 3ch, [1dc in dc, miss 3ch and 1tr, 3tr into 3chsp, 2ch, 3tr into missed 3chsp] twice, 1dc into dc, miss 3ch, (3tr, 1ch, 1tr) into 1st ch of turning chain. Turn.

Row 4:  Step 1: Chain 4 (this counts as 1 treble and 3 chain). NOTE: this is different than standard practice, but gives a nicer finished edge

Row 4:

Step 1: Chain 4 (this counts as 1 treble and 3 chain). NOTE: this is different than standard practice, but gives a nicer finished edge

Step 2: Make 3 trebles into the first treble.

Step 3: dc into the 2-chain space at the top of the shell. 

Step 3: dc into the 2-chain space at the top of the shell. 

Step 5: [miss the 3-chain space and treble and work 3 trebles into the next 3-chain space. Chain 2. Working back into the 3-chain space you just missed, make 3 trebles. Dc into the 2-chain space at the top of the shell] twice.

Step 6: miss 3 chains and work 3 trebles, 1 chain and 3 trebles into the 1st ch of the turning chain of the row below. Turn. 

Work Rows 1 - 4 as many times as required. Finishing on an even row gives the crochet a nice even finished edge. 

Half Hexagon How To


Half hexagons are used to fill in the gaps at the edges of joined hexagons. Unlike their full sized counterparts that are worked in rounds, half hexies are worked in rows. 


In my experience, half hexies are harder to get perfectly in shape, they require a bit of blocking or edging to pull that turning line straight.  However, its easily done and in no time you have a perfectly-formed space filler.


Row 1: Starting with a magic loop, 3ch (counts as 1tr), [1tr, 2ch, 1tr] twice, 1tr. Turn. 6 sts.

 

Row 2: 3ch (counts as 1tr), [1tr in each tr to the 2chsp, (1tr, 2ch, 1tr) into the 2chsp] twice, tr to end. Turn. 10 sts.

 

Continue to work row 2 until you have the desired number of stitches. 

 

Give the hex a good blocking. 

You can join your hex to others using the technique here.

How To: Basic Hexagon

Hexagons are a fun and versatile crochet motif that can be used for a variety of uses including blankets, table runners, doilies and potholders. Once you have the basics down, you can change the colours or stitches in the pattern to create designs that are uniquely your own. 

This tutorial is based on making 7 haxagons, but really, you can make as many as you like and join them. Next Tuesday, we'll look at half hexagons to neaten the edges. 

Materials:

2x 50g balls of Debbie Bliss Rialto DK (100% wool) 105m in Grey (004) (Col A)

1x 50g ball of Debbie Bliss Rialto DK (100% wool) 105m in Fuschia (034) (Col B)

4 mm/US 6 hook.
Tapestry Needle.

Gauge:

Each motif measures 15cm/6” across using a 4mm/US 6 hook.

Gauge isn’t crucial to this pattern, but will effect the size of the final object and the amount of yarn used.

Abbreviations:

This version of the pattern uses UK terms
Ch       Chain
Rnd     Round
Tr        Treble Crochet

 

WRITTEN OUT INSTRUCTIONS:

Motif pattern (make 7):

Step 1

Step 1

 

Step 1: ROUND 1: Start with Col A and a magic loop.

Step 2

Step 2

Step 2: Chain 3 (this counts as 1 treble stitch).

Step 3

Step 3

Step 3: Working into the centre of the magic loop make 1 treble. Chain 2.

Step 4

Step 4

Step 4: Continuing to work into the centre of the magic loop, treble 2, chain 2.

Work Step 4 a total of 5 times. You should have 12 treble stitches including your 3-chain at the beginning of the round.

Step 5

Step 5

Step 5: Join with a slip stitch into the top of the 3-chain that started the round.

Step 6

Step 6

Step 6: Round 2: Chain 3 (counts as 1 treble), treble in the next stitch.

Step 7: Work 1 treble, 2 chain and 1 treble all into the 2-chain space.

Step 8

Step 8

Step 8: Work 1 treble into the next 2 stitches. Work 1 treble, 2 chain and 1 treble into the 2-chain space.

Work Step 8 a total of 5 times.

Step 9

Step 9

Step 9: Join with a slip stitch into the top of the 3-chain that started the round. You should have 24 treble stitches including your 3-chain at the beginning of the round.

Step 10

Step 10

Step 10: Round 3: Chain 3 (counts as 1 treble), work treble into each of the next 2 stitches. Work 1 treble, 2 chain and 1 treble all into the 2-chain space.

Step 11

Step 11

Step 11: Work 1 treble into the next 4 sticthes. Work 1 treble, 2 chain and 1 treble all into the 2-chain space.

Work Step 11 a total of 5 times. Work 1 treble into final stitch of round.

Step 12

Step 12

Step 12: Join with slst into the top of the 3-chain that started the round. You should have 36 treble stitches including your 3-chain at the beginning of the round.

Step 13

Step 13

Step 13: Round 4: Chain 3 (counts as 1 treble), work 1 treble into each of the next 3 stitches. Work 1 treble, 2 chain and 1 treble all into the 2-chain space.

[Work 1 treble into each of the next 6 stitches. Work 1 treble, 2 chain and 1 treble all into the 2-chain space] Work the sequence in [] a total of five times. Make 1 treble into each of the next 2 stitches. Join with slst into the top of the ch-3. . You should have 48 treble stitches including your 3-chain at the beginning of the round.  

Step 14

Step 14

Step 14: Round 5: Chain 3 (counts as 1 treble), work 1 treble into each of the next 4 stitches. Work 1 treble, 2 chain and 1 treble all into the 2-chain space.

[Work 1 treble into each of the next 8 stitches. Work 1 treble, 2 chain and 1 treble all into the 2-chain space] Work the sequence in [] a total of five times. Make 1 treble into each of the next 3 stitches. Join with slst into the top of the ch-3. . You should have 60 treble stitches including your 3-chain at the beginning of the round.

Step 15

Step 15

Step 15: Round 6: Chain 3 (counts as 1 treble), work 1 treble into each of the next 5 stitches. Work 1 treble, 2 chain and 1 treble all into the 2-chain space.

[Work 1 treble into each of the next 10 stitches. Work 1 treble, 2 chain and 1 treble all into the 2-chain space] Work the sequence in [] a total of five times. Make 1 treble into each of the next 4 stitches. Join with slst into the top of the ch-3.  You should have 72 treble stitches including your 3-chain at the beginning of the round.

Joining

Tips for Joining:

Try to work into as long of lines as you join. If you are joining in rows, work the longest row possible first, then join the sides, or as in this example, work around one hexagon first and then join the sides.

Joining Step 1

Joining Step 1

Joining Step 1:  With Col B, align the hexagons you want to join with WS facing, working into the inside loops only, dc into each ch and stitch across the side. (Alternate photo Joining Step Alt).

Joining Step 2: Bring the next hexagon to the adjacent edge of the central hexagon. Join as before, working into the inside loops of the ch and dc sts of each of the hexagons you are joining.

Joining Step 3

Joining Step 3

Joining Step 3: Continue in this manner until all of the hexagons are joined to the central hexagon.

Joining Step 4

Joining Step 4

Joining Step 4: Working from the centre out, join the other hexagons together. When you reach the edge, continue around the outside of the hexagon, working into the chain spaces and both loops of the dc to create edging. 

Originally published in #Crochet magazine. 

Weekend Makes: Rustic Wood Buttons
DIY Rustic Branch Buttons

If you follow me on Instagram, you will not at all be surprised by this latest tutorial.  Impending deadlines, a rather empty end-of-January bank balance and last week's high winds combined beautifully to create a number of buttons for a piece I am currently finishing up for a magazine. 

Over the years, I have spent a lot of money on branch buttons sourced from Etsy.  I wish I had realised how quick and easy they are. 

Materials:

Good branches in the diameter you need for buttons. I used whatever had fallen in the garden, looking for straight ones with a smooth bark and little lichen and moss growth. I found hazel and fruit branches the best, giving a lovely finish.

 A tape measure

A pen for marking depth and buttonholes.

A saw - I used a jig saw for most of them, but also my hand saw worked well.

A drill and a 2mm wood drill bit.

Sandpaper

Finishing treatment. I used a natural beeswax and olive oil treatment similar to this one, but if you are going to wash these a lot, consider a varnish treatment.

Vice. Optional, but definitely makes it all quicker and easier

How To:

Lay out your branches. Mark the depth of the buttons you want.  I found about 0.5cm (or 1/4 inch) about right in terms of giving a secure button.

Secure your branch with your vice if using, otherwise hold secure and start cutting the rounds. After a bit of trial and error, I would make a guide cut with my handsaw and then use the jigsaw, but not required if you are of steady hand.

Once you have collected your rounds, use your drill to make holes for sewing on. If you are concerned about making the holes evenly spaced, measure them out and mark with your pen.

Use your sandpaper to smooth the edges and finish as required.

Before holes.

Before holes.



Foundation UK Treble/US Double Crochet
How to foundation UK treble/ US double crochet from Slugs on the Refrigerator

If I had to pick a "Most Useful" technique from my bag of crochet tricks, I would say that learning how to do foundation (aka "chainless") crochet stitches is it.  They are just so useful in so many ways - anywhere you need a stretchy beginning edge to what you are working on, I would always use foundation crochet. 

Realistically, you can make any of the basic stitches a foundation stitch, but in reality I tend to use Foundation UK Treble/ US Double the most frequently. Its a great start to ribbing on hats and mittens worked from the bottom up or any garment that uses alternating front and back raised/post stitches.  It forms the start of the very popular Slouch and Bobble Hat featured recently in Mollie Makes, Prima Magazine and Irish Country Living from Hook, Stitch & Give

For those of you not familiar with the stitch, I have a wee tutorial below.  I am experimenting with the way I format tutorials here, to see if this is a bit more user friendly (feedback welcome).  You can click through via the tutorial image to get to the PDF version.  

UK Raised Double Crochet Front (RdcF) / US Front Post Single Crochet (FPsc)

One of my favourite stitches, this is my must-have wrong side row of any ripple stitch I use in my designs.  Taking up hardly any space, the UK Raised Double Crochet Front (US Front Post Single Crochet) creates a ridge along the top of the ripple, adding definition, depth and stability to the fabric when worked on the wrong side. I have used it in Achemilla Shawl, Iced Gem and at least one pattern in Hook, Stitch & Give.  It can be used on any wrong side of a ripple to create a similar effect. 

Knowing that people find post stitches tricky, here is my quick guide to this awesome stitch. 

1. Insert your hook around the post of the next stitch, working from the front, around the back then out the front of the fabric.

2. Yarn over hook.

3. Pull through (2 loops on hook).

4. Yarn over hook and pull through both loops on the hook.

You will work the next row of stitches in the top of the post stitches you just made.  

front post single crochet tutorial on Slugs on the Refrigerator

When worked on the wrong side of the fabric, it turns the top of the stitches out, creating the signature rib of stitches on the front.

Happy Crocheting! 

 

Cabled Crochet


Cabled Crochet Basics slugsontherefrigerator.com

As with every single thing crochet, there are about 1.7 million ways to make crochet cables, but today I am going to show you my current preferred method, using UK Raised Treble stitches (US Front Post Double Crochet) against a backdrop of UK Double Crochet (US Single Crochet).  In this method, you work the cables only on the front of the fabric, with the wrong side and spaces between cables always being UK Double Crochet.  Your raised stitches are worked into 2 rows below, which creates cables that really pop. I also find its the easiest method to cable, as after the initial set up, you will work raised stitches only into raised stitches, so there is limited possibility for errot. 

In the example below, I am working a simple 6 stitch cable - but of course cables come in all shapes and sizes. However, this should give you a good start to cabling.  

Click to enlarge and print

 

Raised Treble Front:

Raised stitches form the basis for most cables. It really is worked just like a treble, but  you work your  initial step of the stitch around the post, rather than into the top of, the stitch. 

(click on images for larger views)

1. Yarn over and insert your hook behind the post of the stitch 2 rows below, from the front around the back and through the front side of the fabric.

2. Yarn over and pull through the stitch (3 loops on hook).

3. Yarn over and pull through 2 loops.

4. Yarn over and pull through 2 loops.

Wrong Side:

When you are working this kind of cabled crochet, with the raised stitches going into the raised trebles in the 2nd row down, you will see you are creating 2 layers of fabric.  On the wrong side of the fabric, you will always work into the upper layer of stitches. 

After working the reverse side of UK Double Crochet

After working the reverse side of UK Double Crochet

Crossing

Straight forward raised stitched form the majority of the cable. However, to get that common twist to the cable, a row of stitches that cross are required. This row (Row 7 of the sampler) is worked as follows:

(click on images for larger views)

1. Work up to the cable.  

2. Miss the required number of stitches, RtrF the remainder of the stitches in the cable.

3. Do not go forward, but turn back and RtrF in the missed stitches in the order you missed them (this can be one of the tricky bits and may require a few hook and hand gymnastics to reach back to the first missed stitch). 

4. Continue on the row as normal, missing the first batch of raised stitches you made.  This creates the cross.

 

 

After the cross and you are working the next row in the cable, you will work the raised stitches in the order they come, but you may need to push aside the front stitches to reach the Raised Trebles behind them.

A little bit of practice should get you cabling in no time. Use the stitch pattern above to create a scarf or, fancy something a bit more adventurous?  Why not try some of these cabled crochet patterns: 

Troubleshooting Problems with your Beginning Crochet Chain
Troubleshooting Problems with Beginning Crochet Chain

When you are starting a crochet project and working into the beginning chain, does your work often look like the photo above?

This if caused by a beginning chain that is tighter than your stitches - a really common problem in crochet and one that I suffer from.  Fortunately, its really easily solved. 

If you know that you commonly have this problem, its a good idea to solve it one of two ways. 

Troubleshooting Problems with Beginning Crochet Chain

 

Work with a Bigger Hook for the Starting Chain:

Grab a hook a few sizes larger than you will be working in for the rest of the piece to do your beginning chain. Why not just try to work looser with your normal hook? Its really difficult to maintain an even tension when working in that way and you can end up with a beginning chain that looks a bit rough. I usually work one full size up to do my chain.

 

Start with a Foundation Row:

Another alternative is to use a foundation row - this is also called "chainless" crochet.  If my piece is in UK trebles, I will work the first row in foundation treble crochet.  There are loads of tutorials out there for this kind of starting row:

- Foundation UK Double/US Single Crochet

- Foundation UK Treble/US Double Crochet

 

Even if you don't have problems with your chain being too tight, for anywhere you need a lot of stretch (hems and necklines of garments, or if you are working a hat from the brim up), foundation crochet is usually the best way to go. 

Crochet Colourwork

Of things to keep me up at night, a tea cosy was never on my list. But a few months ago, that was precisely what happened as I tossed and turned over how to get the look in stranded crochet that Knit Now editor Kate had asked for.

Colour work is my favourite thing in knitting, so it makes sense that I would want to use it in crochet.  

The Basics:

1. Colourwork is normally worked in UK double crochet (US single). 

2. Usually, you use a grid chart to change in the middle of the row. Colour changes are worked in the last yarn over of the stitch, so: 

Insert hook into stitch, yo, pull through, yo with colour B and pull through.

 

3. As you work along the row, you carry the unused colour through the stitches and work over it.

 

But as much as I love it, I have always had a couple of problems with crochet colourwork:

1. If the item is worked in the round, the colours are solid, but there is a tell tale right bias to the stitches.  Despite every effort to straighten this, when I do colourwork, my squares are noticeably trapezoidal.

2. If worked in rows, the carried yarn usually shows through the stitches, which creates a slightly muddied  effect.

3. No matter if working in the round or in rows, anywhere there is just 1 stitch of a colour on its own, it is often very untidy.

Now, I have tried lots of technique to resolve these issues.  When working in rounds, I have followed this tutorial of stranding the yarn behind and using tight round joins. In rows, I have tried to keep the yarn to the wrong side as much as possible. Or, like in Lessons in Geometry, I have worked the carried yarn issue into the design to create a woven effect. And the Bunting Blanket from Crochet at Play is designed so only the white is carried through adding to the clarity (but you can still see the white peeping through). 

However, none of these would solve my tea cozy problem...and so I laid awake. I wanted the clean lines of rows with the solid look of rounds. After making 2 tea cosies -  one in rows, one in rounds, I still wasn't happy. 

At the suggestion of Joanne, I tried working in the BLO and finally I could sleep. Not only did this simple change mean that I could eliminate the bias, but it also meant single stitches were much cleaner on their own.

The principle is very simple. Working in rounds and in the back loop only, 

20140610-IMG_2873-Edit.jpg

1. Work up to the last stitch of the current colour.

2. Insert hook into the next stitch, holding the non-working yarn across the top of the stitches to work around it,

3.  Yarn over with current colour and pull through

4.  Yarn over with new colour and pull through with new colour. 

And so, Swiss Cross Tea Cozy was born. No bias, limited yarn showing through and nice clean lines. 

Photo by Rachel Burgess for Practical Publishing

Photo by Rachel Burgess for Practical Publishing

You can buy the pattern in Knit Now's Quick and Easy Crochet Summer Issue. 

Previous Tutorials:


Bonus Week: Lifelines

Lifelines are a really useful thing to know about as your knitting gets more and more adventurous. Joanne takes us through the whys a wherefores today. What is a lifeline?

A lifeline is a line of yarn or thread that you place into your knitting to enable you to have a safe place to come back to if/when it all goes wrong.

Lifelines are particularly useful for cables, lace and any stitch patterns where the stitches are increased, decreased, slipped or rearranged as these are very hard to rip back accurately.

How do I insert a lifeline?

2014-01-27 10.28.47
2014-01-27 10.28.47

When you are at the end of a row and you are certain it is correct, take a piece of smooth yarn thinner than the working yarn, several inches longer than the row and in a contrasting colour.

2014-01-27 10.29.29
2014-01-27 10.29.29

Thread it on to a darning needle and run it one or two stitches at a time under the knitting needle.

inserting lifeline
inserting lifeline

 Continue along the row. Be careful not to split the working yarn. If you are using stitch markers then make sure you go around them NOT through them.

lifeline in place
lifeline in place

Once you have worked through all stitches remove the darning needle and leave the thread in place.

knitting past lifeline
knitting past lifeline

Work the row as normal being careful not to catch the lifeline in your stitch.

worked past lifeline
worked past lifeline

How do I use the lifeline? If you make a mistake you can use the lifeline by removing the needles from the work, gently pull the yarn so it begins to unravel, rewinding the ball as you go, when you get to the row where the lifeline is pull gently and slowly and replace the stitches onto the needle as they are unravelled being careful not to twist them. 

How often should I insert a lifeline?

How upset would you be to have to rip back to the last lifeline you inserted/the start? If you think it would make you:

  1. very cross,
  2. cry a lot, or
  3. curse in front of the children

it is time to insert a lifeline!

Happy Knitting!

Bonus Week: Lace Taster

We've already had a brief look at the joy of colour work and cables. Today Joanne introduces you to the wonderful world of lace.

lace knitting class pic
lace knitting class pic

What is Lace? Knitted lace is formed by creating yarn overs (sometimes known as yarn forward) and decreases in a pattern to form an open patterned fabric. It can be as intricate and complicated as you like.

Lace uses the same increases and decreases that we use in normal knitting. Here are definitions of the most commonly used stitches.

Yarn Over: (when moving between a knit stitch and a knit stitch)Bring the yarn from the back, over the top of the needle and behind again. A loop is left behind that sits on the needle like a stitch. Right Leaning Decrease: K2tog. Insert your needle into the next 2 sts together and knit them as one. Left leaning decrease: (there are several options here – search ssk and skp for more details but I like k2tog tbl) K2tog tbl Insert your needle into the back loop of next 2 sts and knit them as one. Double decrease: (again several options but only one that doesn't lean) CDD. Insert needle as if doing a k2tog, slip sts over, knit next stitch then pass slipped stitches over the knitted stitch.

Casting on and casting off?

Because lace is really stretchy you need a cast on and cast off that can stretch as wide as the rest of the fabric. YOu can cast on and off loosely but this takes practice and is a little unreliable. I use a special cast on shown in this video.

Slip Knot Cast On.

To cast off I knit two stitches together through the back loop and then pop the worked stitch back on the left hand needle and repeat to the end. (this is such a quick cast off, I love it!)

I'm in! Where do I start?

If you fancy giving lace a try then it is best to start out with an easy pattern. Look for one that is only worked on the right side and where the stitch count is the same at the end of every row.

Bonus Week: Cables Taster
2013-09-28 08.44.29
2013-09-28 08.44.29

Now you have the hang of knitting and purling there are so many exciting places that can take you! Yesterday Libby introduced you to colourwork and today Joanne will introduce you to the joy of cables.

What are cables ?

Cables are created by moving the order of stitches as they occur in a row for decorative effect. They are normally formed by working patterns of stocking stitch (Knit on RS, Purl on WS) on a background of reverse stocking stitch (Purl on RS, Knit on WS) or moss stitch (k1,p1). Cables are normally worked on the right side of the knitting only.

To move the stitches we use a cable needle. It can be a fancy curved one like this or just a normal double pointed needle.

Insert the cable needle into the stitch as if you were going to purl then slip it over to the cable needle without working the stitch. Do this for as many stitches as neccesary. In this example we will slip three over to the cable needle.

inserting cable needle
inserting cable needle

Hold the cable needle at the back

cable needle back
cable needle back

or front of the work depending on the instruction. In this example we are holding it at the front to make a left cross.

cable needle front
cable needle front

Work the correct number of stitches from the left hand knitting needle.

knitting over cable needle
knitting over cable needle

Then work the stitches from the cable needle

knitting from cable needle
knitting from cable needle

Continue knitting from the pattern

cable complete
cable complete

How are cables written in a pattern? Always check the description in the pattern section “special stitches” because variations in terminology do happen. The standard abbreviations work like this: C6F C denotes cable. The number denotes the total number of stitches in the procedure. The final letter tells you where to hold the stitches on the needle F is Front of work, B is back of work. So in these examples: C6F, slip 3 stitches to the cable needle and hold it at the front of the work, knit the next 3 stitches then knit the stitches on the cable needle. There is also a more descriptive convention for naming that is becoming more common (as the most popular charting software supports it) 3/3LC The numbers denote how many stitches are to be worked split by how many are travelling over how many. L or R designates the direction that the stitch is travelling in (for left hold at front, for right hold at back (I use the mnemonic RIGHT=REAR))

So those who have been paying attention will realise that 3/3LC means the same as C6F we used in our last example. And also that this is the very stitch used in the photo tutorial. Clever you for keeping up!

How do I cast on and off for cables? There are no special requirements for cables so you can use your favourite method or the method specified in the pattern. I like a knitted or cabled cast on because they give a smooth attractive cast on with minimal curling on rib.

Top tips for getting cables right

  • Cables distort the surface of the knitting. They contract the fabric meaning that the cabled section will not be as wide as a stocking stitch section. They are also not as elastic as stocking stitch.
  • Anytime you move from a knit stitch to a purl stitch there is a possibility of a ladder because of the way the yarn is moved to make the purl stitch, this is exaggerated when working a cable so be sure to pull the yarn tightly when moving between the two.
  • Cables look much more even and ‘pop’ after blocking. Blocking uses water or steam to smooth, stretch and shape the finished piece.
  • It can be helpful to place a marker at the start of each pattern repeat to help you keep track of where you are and to assist counting and correcting an error.
  • Lifelines are particularly useful for cables, lace and any stitch patterns where the stitches are increased, decreased, slipped or rearranged as these are very hard to rip back to accurately. We will cover lifelines on Thursday.
Week 4: Colourwork in Knitting

Colour, Colour, Glorious Colour!

Changing colour 

Kat has already introduced us to the process of changing colour with her tutorial early in Knit Camp.  I hope that you found this straightforward when knitting Joanne’s Knit Flat Hat.  With this technique you can easily create horizontal stripes in your work, and so you already have the basics of colourwork under your belt.

Let’s explore colourwork a little further though, as the possibilities are quite exciting beyond stripes.  This post is exactly what it says on the tin - a 'Taster', as this subject is huge, and it has been a struggle to decide what to cover.  Forgive me if I have privileged one topic over another, and I hope there is something for everyone here.

Chevron Stripes 

So, you can knit straight stripes across your work, but what about wavy stripes? These are called Chevron Stripes, and they are created by combining colourwork with shaping techniques.  Shaping is spaced evenly across the row, with a gap of a few sts or more between shaping, and alternating between decreasing and increasing.  The position of each decrease or increase is maintained vertically on every other row, and this creates the up and down shape of the stripes.  You can change colour whenever you want (as long as its at the beginning of a row), but I would suggest always changing colour on a right side row, because this way, you can carry the yarns up the side of your work for when they are next in use, and avoid having too many ends to sew in!

This is a fun technique to experiment with.  Chevron stripes can be knitted in st st or garter stitch or a combination.  Carry yarn up the side in the same way as shown for st st stripes.

Katy Blanket
Katy Blanket

This pic is of my Katy Blanket design, showing chevron stripes in stocking stitch

How about knitting with more than one colour in one row?

Knitting with a contrasting colour across a whole row is relatively easy.  However, knitting with more than one colour in one row will need a little more explanation.  The simplest way to do this, is to use what is called the ‘slip stitch technique’.  It gives the appearance of two colours in one row, without any of the effort!  Only one colour is actually employed in any one row, but more than one colour appears in the fabric.  The stitch worked in the previous row in a different colour is carried vertically by slipping it rather than working it.  There are many different stitch patterns that can be created using this technique by varying the number of stitches slipped or knitted, and by varying the wrong side row pattern too.

Here is a very simple pattern you might like to try.  When it says ‘sl pwide’ the pattern means ‘slip the stitch purlwise’ which you do by just inserting your right hand needle into the st as IF you were going to purl it, but then move it onto your right hand needle without purling it.

Bird's Eye pattern
Bird's Eye pattern

Bird’s Eye Pattern (muliple of 2 sts)

Row 1 (RS): *K1 in A, sl pwise; rep from * to last st, k1 in A.

Row 2: P in Yarn A.

Row 3: *sl pwise, k1 in Yarn B; rep from * to end.

Row 4: P in Yarn B

The really serious stuff

Ok, I am just putting of the inevitable - introducing you to the concept of stranded knitting.  Stranded knitting is a generic term which is applied to various different styles of colour knitting, all of which use the same basic technique for getting colours from one position to another in the same row.  The technique involves carrying the yarn across the work horizontally.  

So, let’s assume you are knitting in stocking stitch on a right side row (knit).  Imagine the pattern calls for you to knit one stitch in Yarn A, followed by 3 sts in Yarn B.  Knit the st in Yarn A, then pick up and use Yarn B for the next 3 sts.  So what next?  How do you get Yarn A to the next st, to repeat the pattern?  Drop Yarn B and pick up Yarn A, passing it behind the 3 sts knitted in Yarn B on the wrong side of fabric, making sure that the yarn is at the same tension as the 3 knitted sts.  So, whatever width is taken up by the 3 sts, sitting in a well behaved position on your needle, neither touching nor desperately trying to get away from each other - that needs to be the same width as the amount of yarn that is carried across.  Does that sound over complicated?  Well, its not meant to me.  Please don’t get your tape measure out - just relax!

Carry Yarn B across back of sts knitted in Yarn A
Carry Yarn B across back of sts knitted in Yarn A
Carry Yarn A underneath Yarn B
Carry Yarn A underneath Yarn B

If you would like to really explore this subject in depth, I can highly recommend Ann Kingstone’s book on Stranded Knitting called Stranded Knits:

Many designers, like Ann, primarily use circular needles, and all their colourwork is knitted in the round, which has significant advantatages when knitting with different colours.  However, if you don’t fancy circular knitting or would like to have a go at stranded knitting but don’t feel confident to do circular knitting at the same time, then stranded knitting is perfectly possible on straight needles, particularly if you choose a pattern that doesn’t have too many colours and doesn’t have more than two colours on any one row.  I confess to being a die-hard straight needle knitter, and I knit moreorless everything on straight needles.  All my patterns which call for a bit of stranded knitting are knitted on straight needles.

If you are going to try stranded knitting, apply a bit of technique to your stranding.  Your main colour is your Dominant Yarn, and you would be best advised to carry this across the work at a lower level than the other colour.  If you are working with three colours (more unusual in one row), then there will be three levels.  Carrying the yarn across at the same level is will give your layer of strands an even appearance and moreover, you will not get your different strands of yarn tangled up and twisted as you work.

As previously mentioned, there are lots of different styles of knitting that use the techniques above (and more!).  There is usually a fascinating cultural and historical story and practical purpose behind each of these schools of knitting.   Here are some links for you to explore different styles of colour knitting:

Fair Isle Knitting: Originating from the Island of Fair Isle off the West Coast of Scotland.

Scandinavian Knitting: I couldn't find much on this, but here is a link to some lovely designs in Scandinavian style.

Icelandic Knitting: I was looking for some information about Icelandic Knitting and got distracted by this fantasy of a Knitting Tour of Iceland!

Andean and Peruvian Knitting: I love this National Geographic photo of a Peruvian man knitting a multi-coloured 'Chullo' - a tradional Andean Hat.  There is not much information on the internet about this incredibly interesting tradition of knitting, but I have found out that the men do the knitting and the women do the weaving. This might be a useful fact to bring up sometime...

Intarsia

When a pattern calls for blocks of colour worked over more than 4-5 sts, stranded knitting is not an appropriate technique.  Instead, different sections of colour need to be worked from separate balls of yarn, often wound onto bobbins for ease.  The yarns are twisted together at the point of colour change, to stop holes appearing and keep the evenness of the fabric on the right side.  Intarisa techniques are used to create motifs and collage, or even for patchwork effects.  These might be all over patterns, or they might be a single motif on a plain stocking stitch background.  Intarsia knitting is always worked from a chart, such as the one below.  You might like to try knitting this with some of your left over yarn from Knit Camp.

An intarsia chart for you to try
An intarsia chart for you to try

More tips for colour knitting

A few final thoughts and hints.....

  • Knitting with two colours per row is far easier than knitting with three or more colours.  This doesn’t mean your project has to be restricted to two colours, as other colours can be used in other rows, and the interest created this way.  A good design will be well written with the user in mind.  Scan through the pattern before buying  to see if you are going to have to use more than two colours in any one row.
  • Choose a wool yarn wherever possible, as wool fibres tend to cling together, minimising any holes or evenness in your tension.
  • Join the yarn in loosely, by just starting to knit with the new colour (leaving a 5cm end to sew in later), without tying a knot.  Knots should never be tied in knitting, even when sewing up.  They have a habit of popping through from the wrong side to the right side, and as well as being unsightly, they create extra bulk and unevenness in your fabric.
  • If working with small amounts of lots of different colours, it can be helpful to measure out a length of yarn from your ball, wind it round a bobbin and work from this instead of the ball.  The bobbin is lighter than the ball, and easier to manoeuvre.
  • If you are really keen, and are a continental knitter, you can also get a knitting thimble or Strickfingerhut, which is a guide for holding yarn on your left finger.
  • Knitters who have adopted the English style of knitting, will probably find that they will ‘throw’ the yarn, using their RH, dropping the yarn not used as they pick up the new colour. Alternatively, they may find a method of holding both colours between their RH fingers.  Continental knitters, will hold both colours between their left hand fingers.  Knitters who are accomplished in both techniques, may find that they can hold one colour in one hand and one in the other.   Experiment to find what works for you, as there is no ‘right’ way.

More information and patterns for colourwork

Let's Knit have lots of free patterns using various different techniques for using colour.

Search on ravelry for patterns.  Type in 'colourwork' for starters, then you can refine your search to the items you want to look for.

The UK Hand Knitting Association is a great resource for free patterns, as well as being packd with information for knitters about workshops, tutorials, events and more.  Its well worth familiarising yourself with this site and adding to your favourites.

Week 3: Sewing School

Perhaps the most loathed of knit-related tasks is finishing: edging, sewing up, weaving in ends, blocking...they all get a  bad name.  I get it, when you finish that final stitch, you just want to be DONE.  But, trust me, using some basic finishing techniques will really make your project shine.  

Weaving in Ends:

Once you reach the end of your work, cut the yarn, leaving at least a 6” tail.

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IMG_0770

Pull the tail through the last loop to secure your stitches. Use a tapestry needle to weave the remaining ends in securely into the back of your work. If you are working in rows or garter stitch, there may not be a clear wrong side, so use your pattern for guidance or choose one. Weaving the end into 3-4 stitches in 3-4 different directions will ensure they do not pop out later.

To Knot or Not to Knot:

Some people really like to tie off their yarn. This can work well in some situations to secure your end if your project is going to get a lot of use.  However, knots have a tendency to work themselves to the font of your project and always in a place that is super obvious.  In most cases, if you are working with a wool yarn, the yarn will be "sticky" enough to keep the ends in place an no tying is needed.

Sewing Up and On

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IMG_0773
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IMG_0775

Running Stitch: Thread needle with yarn and work up and down through the fabric with even spaces between the stitches.

or

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IMG_0773
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IMG_0776

Back Stitch: Backstitch is similar to running stitch, except you will work a portion of the stitches back on themselves. Pull the stitch through the fabric and then back into the underside behind where the thread came out. The needle is carried under the fabric to the point of the new stitch, where it is brought up again and back to where the thread was brought up on the last stitch.

There are  other stitches you can use, depending on the effect you want. Blanket Stitch and Whip Stitch are both very popular and can be used for decorative edging. Mattress Stitch is the ultimate invisible seam between two edges of knitting, but can be a bit tricky to get the hang of.

Week 3: Increasing

IncreasingWhat is increasing?

Increasing is the process of adding more stitches to your current row of stitches to either widen your work at the edges, at some point in the row, or create a three dimension shape for your fabric.  Where and how you do the increase determines the effect on your fabric, so it is important to understand the different techniques and what they achieve.

How many different methods of increasing are there?

There are two key methods for the new knitter to learn for increasing the stitch count, without adding any other feature (such as a hole).  This tutorial will teach these two basic methods, and leave the others for later.

What mistakes might I make while increasing?

The most common mistake is to accidentally add an extra stitch, perhaps by winding the yarn around the needle twice, or doing a yarn over by mistake (this will also create a hole!).  When you are practising your increases, make sure you look carefully at the photos in the tutorial and match your efforts up with their appearance to check you are doing it right.

Increasing by knitting into the front and the back of stitch (kfb).

This is one of the easiest methods of increasing, and can be used for most patterns.  At the place where you want to insert an extra stitch, knit a stitch in the usual way, but do not slip it off the needle, instead, insert your needle again into the back of the stitch, knit again and this time slip off the needle.  Note that with this method, the extra stitch will appear after the stitch you have worked into, and will start off as a ‘purl’ loop in terms of appearance.  once you have worked the next row, the new stitch will be incorporated into your stitch pattern.  If you do not want a ‘purl’ stitch to appear, then work the other method (M1).

Because of its appearance, this method is most commonly used when increasing at the edge of your work, rather than when increasing at regular intervals across a row.  For a symmetrical appearance when increasing at both ends, work into the first stitch of the row and the penultimate stitch, rather than the last stitch.

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DSC_0079

1. Knit stitch in the usual way, but do not slip off the LH needle.

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DSC_0080

2. Move your RH needle round to the back of the LH needle and insert it into the back of the loop left on the needle.

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DSC_0081

3.  Knit.

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DSC_0082

4.  This time, slip the loop off LH needle after knitting.

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DSC_0083

An extra stitch will appear on RH needle.

Increasing by making a new stitch (M1)

Use this method where you are working in st st and want your new stitch to look as invisible as possible.  After working one or two rows after this method, the new stitch will blend in, appearing as an extra ‘V’ between 2 previous stitches.  The new stitch appears between the stitch you have just worked and the next stitch, so it is easy to place it symmetrically.  You cannot work a M1 at the beginning and end of a row.  You always have to do it after the first stitch and before the last st.  This method is often used to create a three dimensional aspect to your fabric, space out evenly along a row, so for example, the row might look like this:

Row 1: (K4, M1) rep to last 4 sts, K4.

The M1 technique cannot be used on the very first row of a fabric.  If you need to increase on your first row, you need to use the kfb technique.

I have done this tutorial by increasing 2 sts in from the right hand side of work, just because it looks clearer.

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DSC_0092

1. At the point where you want your extra st, pick up the loop in the row below between the st on your RH needle and the st on your LH needle. If you can’t see this loop the gently pull your RH needle away from the LH needle and it will appear more easily.  Place this loop on your LH needle.

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DSC_0093

3. Knit into the back of the loop and drop the loop from the LH needle.  It is important to knit into the back, as knitting into the front will create a hole.

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DSC_0095

 4. An extra stitch will appear on your RH needle.

Casting Off

What is casting off?Casting off is a technique which creates a selvedge on your knitted fabric, simultaneously securing your stitches and stopping them going any further. If you wish to add to your creation after casting off, you will have to re-create the loops you have lost by ‘picking up’ some more stitches along either the cast off selvedge or one of your other selvedges (your sides or cast on edge). Sometimes casting off also occurs over just a few stitches, when creating an armhole, or buttonhole for example.

How many different methods of casting off are there? There are different methods for casting off, the choice of which can sometimes be determined by either the decorative effect desired or the practical need required. There are definitely less cast off methods than cast on methods however, and even fewer commonplace ones. So for casting off, I would recommend just one method for beginners. As for the cast on tutorial, if you are interested in learning more methods, then I can recommend the book ‘Cast On Bind Off’ by Leslie Ann Bestor.

Can I skip this step and just pull the loops off the needles? No! Without securing your stitches in some way, your knitting will unravel.

What mistakes might I make while casting off? Making a mistake while casting off is not any more drastic than making a mistake in your knitting. The most likely result of any mistake is that one or more stitches will unravel, or will need unravelling. Just tug the yarn gently (the end attached to your ball), and the stitch should come undone. Be careful not to pull too hard or you may undo more than one row. If you have managed to tie a knot that doesn’t respond to gentle tugging, or your stitch has dropped to the previous row, then you may need to unravel back to the previous row.

A common error is to make the stitches too tight or too loose, but usually too tight. Take a look at the photo of the finished cast on row, and try and copy the ‘look’. If the air pocket between your stitch and the needle is too big, your cast on edge will be baggy, if it is too small, your knitting will be pulled in at the top, and so the shape of your work will be compromised. It is important that your tension is even across the cast off row. Some people always swap to a bigger needle to cast off as then they don’t need to concentrate too hard not to do it too tightly. I would experiment before taking this step to see how your cast off turns out.

Once you have cast off, you are ready to sew up you seams and then you have completed your knitting.

Knit two stitches in the usual way.

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DSC_0033

Take hold of the first knitted stitch with your LH needle ready to pass it over the second knitted stitch.

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DSC_0034

And pass it over the second knitted stitch, making sure the second stitch stays on the RH needle.

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DSC_0036

Knit another stitch so that you have two stitches on the RH needle again.

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DSC_0038

And repeat steps 2 - 3.

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DSC_0044

Repeat across the row until you have one stitch left on the RH needle.

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DSC_0046

Enlarge the last stitch and cut the yarn. (Read the pattern carefully at this point as there may be instructions on how long to leave the end).

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DSC_0048

Thread the cut end through the stitch and pull gently until the stitch is the same size as the other cast off stitches.

Week 2: Changing Colours
  • Colour changes are normally worked on Right Side rows - this makes the colour change look clean and neat.
  • When its time to change colours, drop the first colour and, leaving a long tail, knit a stitch with the new colour.
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20140116-IMG_0689
  • The first stitch will be very loose. That is OK, after you work a few stitches in the new colour, you can tighten the stitch by gently pulling on the tail.
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20140116-IMG_0690
  • Continue working in your new colour, leaving your old colour where you dropped it.
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20140116-IMG_0691
  • If you are working stripes in only a few colours and with a stripes only a few inches wide, you can carry your colours up the side of your work. What this means is you do not have to break the yarn each time, just drop the yarn you have been working with, bring the ball end of the new yarn around under the old yarn to wrap it in place and start knitting. This means a lot less ends to weave in.
  • When it comes time to weave in the ends, use a tapestry needle and work the loose ends through a number of the purl bumps on the back of the work. Don't work in a straight line, rather work in a number of different directions to better secure the yarn.
Week 2: Decreasing
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20140116-IMG_0696-Edit

In Knitting, there are 2 main decreases - ones that lean to the left and ones that lean to the right. We will be only looking at 2 here:

Knit Two Stitches Together (k2tog):

This decrease leans to the right.

Insert needle as to knit through the next two sts on the needle, knit them as one stitch.

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20140116-IMG_0698

Slip, Slip, Knit (ssk):

Insert needle into next stitch as if to knit it, slip it onto the other needle without knitting it,

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20140116-IMG_0701

do the same to the next stitch,

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20140116-IMG_0702

insert your needle through the back of the two sts just slipped and knit them together as one stitch.

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20140116-IMG_0703
Week 2: How to Read a Knitting Pattern

I always think its helpful to think of knitting (and crochet) patterns as being written in code. Its not a hard code to crack and most of the tools for deciphering the instructions are found either in the pattern or easily assessable online or in most knitting books. Throughout the pattern, the stitches used will be usually written in abbreviated form. Hopefully, these are detailed at the start of your pattern, but they may not be. In knitting, these tend to be pretty standard, without the added complication of many UK vs US differences. My go to knitting abbreviation resource is the Craft Yarn Council's list. Its a great place to start if there is something you don't know.

Row 1(RS):

At the start of your pattern, you should be able to see if it is worked in rows or rounds. There is often an indication of whether the side facing you is the right side or the wrong side of your work.

*K2, p2; repeat from * to last 2, k2.

* and [ ] are used to show a stitch pattern is repeated. When you have an astrix, this means you repeat stitch sequence between the * and the ; to a certain end point, such as the end of the round, the end of the row, a stitch marker or, in this case, the last 2 stitches.

[K2, p2] 44 times, k2.

When square brackets are used, it means that the instructions inside should be repeated a set number of times. In the case of the Knit Flat Hat, both of these instructions tell you to do the same thing, they are just different ways of expressing them.

Rows 3-10: As rows 1 and 2.

Repeating rows can be written a number of different ways. In this case, you will work rows 1 and 2 a total of 5 times. This may also be written, "Work rows 1 and 2 a total of 5 times".

Work even until the piece measures 10 cm.

When you see "work even" in a pattern, this means that you should work in the main stitch pattern, without increasing or decreasing. It may be that it tells you to work even for a set number of rows, or until your work is a certain length. If you are measuring, make sure you lay your work on a flat surface and don't stretch it out.

Row 2 (4, 6): K3 (5, 7), P3 (5, 7). (6 (10, 14) sts)

Patterns that come in a range of sizes will have instructions in ( ).  Reading from left to right, the numbers relate to the directions for the size from smallest to largest. It may help to go through and highlight the numbers as they relate to the size you are making.

At the end of rows where there is a change to the number of stitches, there should be an indication of what the stitch count should be.  This are often written in ( ) or [ ]. These are not an instruction for making stitches, just an aid to tell you how many you should have.

 

Any other of the basic instructions I have forgotten or any questions? Let me know below!

Week 1: Purl

English Style Purl:

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20140108-IMG_0514

1. Hold your working yarn at the front of your work.

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20140108-IMG_0511

2. Insert your right handed needle  from back to front through the front leg of the stitch on your left needle.

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20140108-IMG_0512

3. Going over the top of your right needle, bring the yarn over and down (counterclockwise) around your needle.

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20140108-IMG_0513

4. Using your right needle, pull the loop you just made on your right needle through the loop on your left needle, letting that loop slide off the left needle.  You should have 1  more stitch on your right needle and 1 less stitch on your left needle.

Repeat steps 1-3 for all of the stitches on your right hand needle or as many stitches as required.

Continental Style Purl:

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20140108-IMG_0488

1. Bring your yarn to the front of your work.

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20140108-IMG_0489

2. Insert your right handed needle  from back to front through the front leg of the stitch on your left needle.

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20140108-IMG_0490

3. Going over the top of your right needle, bring the yarn over and down.

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20140108-IMG_0491

4. Keeping your yarn held down, use your right needle to pull the loop you just made on your right needle through the loop on your left needle.

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20140108-IMG_0492

5. Let the loop from the left hand needle slide off.  You should have 1 more stitch on your right needle and 1 less stitch on your left needle.

Repeat steps 1-3 for all of the stitches on your right hand needle or as many stitches as required.

Note: Continental purl can be a bit tricky at first. Practice  really does make perfect.

That is all of this week's lessons.  Keep practicing over the weekend and if you need any help, head over to the Facebook Group!!