I'm a Knitter. The capital K means every day, everywhere.
I'm co-owner of Cabin Fever with my sister Lyn. We have published over 100 patterns and 11 books. I'm also working on a new set of patterns for Gauge Free knitting. This blog is all about modifications you can use to knit garments the correct size and fit.
I lost my sock knitting mojo several months back. How does this happen to a devoted sock knitter? What could have caused it? How can I get it back?
It was disconcerting not have a small project in my purse at all times. Everything else I was working on, being the sweater knitter that I am, was too large to carry around. What to do? What is happening here? I’m so close to this pair of socks being done and can’t pick them up to finish.
After a couple months of fretting thinking, no blinding flash of insight here, it occurred to me that I had made myself a rule for socks that was getting in my way: I would knit all my socks in a different style of knitting than my usual method. For me that was knitting in the English, throwing method. I learned the continental method of knitting from Ruth, a girl in my university residence, who learned it from her German neighbour and have always knit this way.
Apparently knitting in a different style can help with the pain and strain of knitting. Any change to your knitting changes your posture. Your head, shoulders and hands are in different positions so that you are not always sitting exactly the same way for the many hours you knit. I thought that knitting socks with my other hand would be a good rule. I would always have one project on the go that was worked in the throwing method.
It worked for a while and then it didn’t. I never got really good at it. I never felt comfortable and I don’t know how you purl easily in the throwing method because to me it continues to be so very, very awkward. My sock mojo left. Not good.
Last week I decided to buy some new sock yarn. No rules this time. I started knitting on Thursday, in my usual continental, double pointed needles fashion and, guess what, it’s fun again. I’m most of the way down the leg already and anxious to get going today to do some more.
Maybe the lay-off was needed. A couple months of no-sock-knitting has shown me that I still love knitting socks. I will have a project in my bag at all times. Back at it and happy to be here.
I like Garter Stitch. I like that it’s cushy. I like to work it in the round with no seams. Yes you have to purl every other round but I still like it.
What I don’t like is this.
That line you get when garter stitch is worked in the round. It’s a jog that looks like a seam where you change the knit round to a purl round. Since there is going to be a line anyway, you might as well knit it flat and sew it up. Sewing is NOT my first choice, ever.
There is no seam line anywhere in the garter stitch. Nowhere. I’m doing the happy dance in my new hat. I knit the crown of this hat like The Blizzard (Top Down) in the Need A Hat book by Cabin Fever (that’s me).
The trick is to use two balls of yarn in the same colour (or two different colours if you want). With ball #1 work one knit round and with ball #2 work the next round in purl. DO NOT TWIST the yarns when you change balls. That’s it. No Seam! Check out the Helical Garter Stitch Tutorial where Jen Arnall-Culliford gives you some extra tips.
Do you have a favourite shawl stitch pattern that you love? Have you ever wondered if it could be used to jazz up a raglan pullover? Could you work with a plain sweater pattern and make it your very own design? That is just what I’m trying now.
I have a reliable Top Down straight-necked Raglan pattern which I will be publishing in the new year. I’m knitting a lace version to wear to the upcoming wedding.
I’m using a couple of triangle shawl stitch patterns from the Knitting Lace Triangles book by Evelyn A. Clark. I have knit the pattern for the Leaf Shawl by Evelyn A. Clark several times already and I know it is perfect for this.
A triangle shawl knit from the top down is actually two triangles with a centre stitch between them.
Each triangle has two increases worked every other row. One increase at the beginning edge and another increase at the far side of the triangle.
Does this sound familiar? Yes, a raglan Front for instance, has an increase worked at the beginning and outside edge, every other round. The sleeve works the same way. Could this work?
Start your shawl pattern part way down the chart so that the stitch count fits into the stitch numbers for the section of the raglan pullover where you wish to place it. You may have to adjust your stitch numbers to accommodate the stitch pattern.
Here is my sleeve at the divide. I’m working the Leaf pattern from the Knitting Lace Triangles book by Evelyn A. Clark.
I also worked it on the Front and Back with two more repeats of the pattern.
OK, call me a knitting overachiever, I then transitioned into the Medallion pattern which will continue to the bottom of the sweater. It’s an exciting knit.
Do you have a favourite shawl stitch pattern? Would you like to be using it in a sweater?
It’s done and the bride-to-be likes it. She really likes it.
This was a project from the heart. I was thrilled to be asked to make a wrap and then I, of course, worried about it from beginning to end. I’m really good at that. It’s good to go with your strengths.
I designed a smaller project, the Three Cable Reversible Scarf, as a prototype to make sure my daughter liked it. I got the OK on that and cast on triple the scarf plus a few more stitches between the sets of cables, for a large blanket style wrap.
I think doubled over like this it should be warm enough for a couple of outdoor photos for a January wedding. Brrrr.
Lyn, my sister and owner of Shelridge Yarns, contributed her Classic Worsted W4 wool (colour Fog) which she had dyed. It shows the cables really well and was a delight to knit with.
Now that my one big project is finished I have cast on two fingering weight pullovers for myself and 3 hats. One of these sweaters is to be my lace tunic for the wedding.
I got so excited to start something new I was at the Great Divide before I knew it. I’m giving myself enough time to knit it and see how it turns out. Again knitting without a formal plan, with my fingers crossed the whole time (tricky but I’m getting pretty good at it). Maybe I need a knitting meditation program!
I readily admit that I become obsessed. When I run across something really interesting, all else falls away. I bought a book. That’s often how it starts. I don’t buy many books any more so I did think about it several times before pressing the pay button. I am so happy with it. Have you heard of it? Something New to Learn About Helical Knitting.
Helical knitting is also called Stacked Stripes, Spiral Stripes, Jogless One Round Stripes. It’s all about one round stripes that have no jog where you change colours between rounds.
I love it when someone dives into a topic, as Jen Arnall-Culliford has with this book, and gives you tips and tricks that make a technique work really well.
As you can see in the photos above, where you change colours gives you a tightness. There is no jog in the stripe and the tightness does go away when worn but Jen has a terrific trick for avoiding it all together.
Basic 1×1 Helical Stripes video As you slip the last 3 stitches before changing colours, you move further and further away from the beginning of round marker. In fact for my hat I just took the beginning of round marker out and forgot about it. The tightness is eliminated and it’s really easy to do. Gotta love a trick like that.
If you, like I do, have many, many little odd balls of various yarns in your stash you could join me and knit a bunch of hats to keep your loved ones warm. Winter is here, at least where I live. There will be more hats.
Are you busy knitting gifts? Are you gearing up for the big day in December? It’s not long now. In knitting terms, it’s almost here. Six weeks away. Yikes, what can I knit in time and how many can I make? Do you have some suggestions?
Here are a few of my favourite Cabin Fever patterns that we have made over the years that are quick and interesting to make.
Swirl Infinity Scarf and Hat This hat is fun to knit and you can stash dive for any yarn from worsted weight to chunky weight and get started right away.
As I reach the final stretch of my wrap I find myself starting to panic. What if it’s not as wonderful as I had hoped? What if all I can see are the small imperfections (that make it handmade of course but … you know how this goes). This is the problem with finishing, once it’s done all the judgements begin and the finish line is looming. I have a tendency to slow right down to avoid finishing. I’m pretty indulgent about how my knitting turns out when the knitting is for myself. I encourage knitters to do the same, perfection is a killer. It’s when it’s for someone else that I get stuck. The solution? Start something else?
I am patting myself on the back for sewing all the ends in. I’m up to 7 x 100g balls which means 14 ends. Yes, 12 are sewn in. Yay. I used this video to help me: Weave in Ends in Garter Stitch
To distract myself from being too perfectionist, I knit a hat.
I had several really good reasons, really I did.
I am running a couple of Top Down Hat classes starting in a couple of weeks (Purl3 in Orillia Nov. 14 & 21 ; Twist Yarn in Midland Nov. 22 & 29, Dec. 6) . I had to do some samples, right? I didn’t have to make a hat in fingering weight wool which takes a lot longer, but I did have to make a hat. Now I need to do a couple more with different crowns because that’s the idea for the class. More hat knitting is needed.
This gives me a small project to carry around. I was at a loss without a project in my purse. The wrap is really big now and hardly fits in my knitting tote bag.
I have to use up my stash because it’s not fitting in the closet anymore. So I must use up all the yarn that is starting to leak out. Have to.