February, 2014

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Just a little of what I’ve been up to lately. Haven’t knit in a few months,  let alone tinkered with many new concepts,  but February has turned out to be a constructive month on the knitting home front.

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English Knitting Methods Video

Just uploaded the first of a series of videos I’m creating to accompany my previous posts about different hand knitting methods. Check it out: 

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Individual Jogless One Row Stripes

1. At the beginning of the row, add new color and knit one full round.

2. When you come back the first stitch you made in the new color, slip this stitch purl-wise. Knit one below in to the next stitch.

4. Cut the yarn with a tail to weave in later.

Optional: To add the next color, slip two stitches (the knit one below and the previously slipped stitch) and add new color into the first slipped stitch. This keeps the beginning of the rounds from “traveling”.

This technique is best for places in knitting where you want just one row of contrasting color separated by at least two or three rows of a second color.

For multiple rows of alternating color each round, helix knitting is a better solution.

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TheDudeWhoKnit’s Boomerang Toe

To create this type of short row toe, I borrowed from the Boomerange heel (aka Bumerangferse in German where it is more commonly seen). It is meant to be used in place of a standard short row toe without altering the rest of a sock pattern. It eliminates the need to double wrap any of the stitches used in short row toes. It results in a more subtle looking short row toe. In the directions below, I use the Right Side Wraps and Wrong Side Wraps I mentioned in my post My Take on Short Rows. You could just as easily replace these wraps with a standard wrap and turn, however.

Casting On and Setup:

Using a provisional cast on (I generally use a crochet chain cast on, but you could you can use any provisional cast on you’re comfortable) cast on half the total number of stitches for the circumference of your sock. Purl across the first row of loops in your provisional cast on to anchor everything together.

 Short Row In:

Step 1: On your first right side row, knit until you have only two stitches left on your left needle. Make a Right Side Wrap in to the second stitch from the edge. Turn work.

Step 2: Purl until there are only two stitches left in the row. Make a Wrong Side Wrap on the second stitch from the edge. Turn work.

Step 3: Knit across, make a Right Side Shadow Wrap on the last normal stitch before the stitch you wrapped in the previous row.

Step 4: Purl up to the stitch before the increase you made in the previous row. Make a Wrong Side Wrap. Turn.

Repeat Steps 3 and 4 until you’ve made shadow wraps on about 50% of the stitches (25% on each side of the toe). Your last wrap will be a Wrong Side Shadow Wrap.

 Middle Band:

Step 1: Knit across. When you come across the Right Side Wraps, pick them all up in one row. When you get to the edge of the work, you will have the stitch you didn’t wrap in the firs row. Make a Right Side Shadow Wrap on this stitch and turn work.

Step 2: Purl across. When you come to the Wrong Side Wraps, pick them all up in one row. Wrap the edge stitch and turn work

 Short Row Out:

Step One: Knit across the right side row until you come across the stitch that is in the same vertical column of stitches as the last Right Side Shadow Wrap you made (the last wrap should be two rows down). Make a Right Side Shadow Wrap on this stitch and turn work.

Step Two: Purl across the wrong side row until you come across the stitch that is in the same vertical column of stitches as the last wrong side wrap you made. Make a Wrong Side Shadow Wrap in this stitch. Turn Work.

Step Three: Knit across the right side row. When you come to the Right Side Shadow Wrap you made in the last row, pick it up and then make a Right Side Shadow Wrap on the next stitch on the left needle. Turn work.

Step Four: Purl across wrong side row. When you come to the Wrong Side Shadow Wrap you made in the last row, pick it up (p2tog tbl) and then make a Wrong Side Shadow Wrap the next stitch on the left needle. Turn Work.

Repeat Steps Three and Four until you pick up the last Right Side Wrap (the one on the edge of the work).  You will still have to Wrong Side Wraps on the right edge of your work.

Joining in the Round:

At this point, un-do your provisional cast on and slip all of the stitches onto a set of circular needles or DPNs. Knit one row in the round. When you come to the Wrong Side Wraps at the end of the round, pick them up the same way you would k2tog. You will need to pick up an extra stitch or make one stitch at some inconspicuous point on the bottom half of the sock to make an even stitch count the same way you do for any other short row toe. After this round is knit, you can continue to knit your sock in a normal fashion.

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Hand Knitting Methods 4: Stitch Orientation

Tying in with the knitting styles and techniques, I’ve been discussing a stitch orientation quite a bit. I figured I should just pop a few quick notes about stitch orientation here for that and future reference.

To put it simply stitch orientation refers  to how stitches are sitting on your needles while you knit.

Eastern Style:

 Popular in Arabic influenced knitting as well as Eastern Europe, South America, Asia and Africa, this is generally considered the oldest style of stitch orientation. In Eastern style knitting, the left leg of the stitch is on the front of the needle. When knitting and purling the yarn is wrapped around the needle in a clockwise motion (when staring down the point of the needle from above).

This style works well with all of the knitting methods. It doesn’t make any real difference in English Knitting but it is particularly useful in Continental knitting (this specific combination is commonly referred to as Eastern European Knitting) because it makes the purl stitch considerably easier to execute than it is in Western Continental knitting. It should be noted that eastern stitches in Portuguese Knitting cannot be knitted in the way normally taught and require a slightly modified Portuguese knit stitch (see Portuguese Knitting for further explanation).

Western Style:

Popular in the Western Europe and the English-speaking world, this is the style of knitting that nearly all knitting patterns written in English use, regardless of handhold or knitting method. In Western Style knitting, the right leg of a stitch is on the front of the needle (sometimes said as “the leading leg is forward). When knitting and purling, the yarn is wrapped around the needle counterclockwise.

This style works very well with all of the knitting methods. It does make the purl stitch in Continental Knitting slightly more difficult and the knit stitch in Portuguese as well, though neither are enough of nuisance to deter a knitter from this style.

Combination or Combined Style:

This style appears to be the most recent of the styles and as the name suggests uses a combination of Eastern and Western style stitches. Knit stitches are worked Western Style and the yarn is wrapped counterclockwise. Purl stitches are worked Eastern style and the yarn is wrapped counterclockwise. This results in stitches facing both directions on the knitting needles and requires some care on the knitters part to ensure the right knitting needle is inserted between the legs of the stitches in a manner that won’t twist or cross the stitches.

This style works very well with both English and Continental methods. When worked in Continental Knitting, this is sometimes called Russian Knitting (similar to how Eastern Style Continental Knitting is often called Eastern European Knitting). It also works with Portuguese knitting.

I’ve noticed that a lot of people also refer to Combination Knitting as Eastern Uncrossed Knitting, which I find to be a misnomer maybe unrelated to the terms eastern and western style knitting. Eastern style knitting means that all of the stitches – both knit and purl – have the left leg forward at all times. In Combination knitting there are both eastern and western oriented stitches within a piece of work depending on exactly where you’re at.  (I also question the necessity of the word unwrapped in the name, but that’s neither here nor there).

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Reverse Long Tail Cast On

A quick video tutorial I made for the reverse long tail cast on. This is perfect if you want your first row after casting on to be a right side row.

 

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My Take on Short Rows

After studying the different kinds of short rows, I’ve picked them apart and came up with my own way of working short rows. I borrowed elements from Wrap & Turn short rows, Japanese short rows and Shadow Wraps (which are really just a form of increase/decrease short rows). I also mirrored the purl side wraps so they look nearly identical to the knit side wraps. Here are the notes:

Knit Side/Right Side Wrap:

Knit up to the stitch you need to wrap. Make a right Lifted Increase (aka KRL). Instead of pulling the stitch below up on to the left needle to knit, just insert the right needle through the loop where it is and make a new stitch. This reduces unnecessary stretching and keeps things tidier. Once you’ve made the increase, you can place the new stitch on to the left hand needle where it will sit snuggle next to the right of the original stitch. The original stitch and the newly made stitch will be treated as one single stitch from here on out and are fairly easy identify from the wrong side because it appears that they both come from the same purl bump in the row below. Once you’re new stitch is in place, turn your work and start purling.

A second option, if you’re so inclined, is to slip the newly made stitch on to a bobby pin or paperclip instead of the left needle and let the pin or clip will hang from the front of the work. This isn’t absolutely necessary but it does cut down on the bulk on the wrong side of the short rows, particularly if you are doing things like short row toes or heels where you will need to make two wraps on each of the turning stitches. When you’ve got the new stitch on a pin or clip, turn the work, pull the yarn snug (not tight – your pin or clip should still point downwards, not straight out) and start purling. Do NOT slip a stitch like you do with Japanese short rows. It’s not necessary.

Purl Side/Wrong Side Wrap:

Purl up to the stitch you need to wrap.  Re-orient this stitch so it is sitting eastern style (with the right leg of the stitch on the back of your needle) by slipping it purlwise to your right needle and then uncrossed back on to the left needle. DO NOT TWIST the stitch. Once the stitch is sitting eastern style on the left needle, insert the right needle through loop below the eastern style stitch as if to purl. Wrap the yarn COUNTERCLOCKWISE around the needle (opposite of the way you normally purl) and pull the new loop through. You should now have two eastern style loops – your original stitch on the left and your newly created stitch to the right. Again you can either place this newly made stitch on your left hand needle or you can put it on a bobby pin/paper clip that will hang from the front of the work. Turn work and knit.

Picking Up Knit Side/Right Side Wraps:

When you come to the wrapped stitches, knit the original stitch and the wrapped stitch that goes with it together the same way you would k2tog. If you used bobby pins or paper clips, pull them a bit and transfer smaller yarn loop untwisted on to the left needle and k2tog in the same fashion.

Picking Up Purl Side/Wrong Side Wraps:

When you come to the wrapped stitches, purl the original stitch and the wrapped stitch that goes with it THROUGH THE BACK LOOP the way you would for a p2tog tbl.

Double Wraps (for Things like Short Row Toes and Heels):

After you’ve short rowed “in” to the narrowest part of your toe or heel and need to start short rowing back “out” to the original edges of your work, the process is the exact same. You’ll pick up the last wrap you made and then go to the next wrapped stitch in line and pick up a new stitch through the exact same place you picked up the first loop. This will result in the original stitch and two shadow stitches to the right of it. When you pick them up, you’ll work them as a k3tog for the front side row and a p3tog tbl for the purl side rows. I really do suggest using paperclips in this sort of situation because it makes for good looking front side but more importantly results in less of bulk on the back side of the I also suggest using two different colored paperclips to help keep track of which increase loop was made first. You need to put them on the left needle in order to avoid twisting the stitches.

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3 Needle Full Stitch

So I’ve come up with something I’ve tentatively named the 3 Needle Full Stitch and I thought I’d post a link to a quick video I made and include the instructions to see if any of you guys have seen something like it before or would like to give it a go. It’s a knitting technique I based off of Tunisian Crochet Full stitch. The end result isn’t crochet but I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything knit this way either. It makes a really interesting, dense, double-layered fabric. I’d dig any input.

This technique requires three straight needles or DPNs of the same size. You’ll want to use one of your “sticky” kinds of needles and you’ll want to use a size or two larger than you usually would for your yarn. For my swatch, I used size 8 bamboo DPNs.

To start, take one of your needles (the left needle) and, using the longtail technique, cast on any number of stitches you’d like.

Wrong Side Row: Pick up a second needle, this will be your right needle. Use your right needle to purl the first stitch off of the left needle. Then, take a third need and hold it against the back of your work (on “right” side of the work) at a spot between your left and right needle. When that’s in place, take your active yarn and wrap it around the third needle once counterclockwise. Then take your right needle and purl the second stitch off of the left hand needle. Now bind off one stitch on the right hand needle by passing the older stitch on the right hand needle over the newer stitch, leaving one live stitch. Then you’re going to wrap your active yarn around the third needle, use the right needle to one stitch off of the left hand needle, and then bind off one stitch on the right hand needle by passing the oldest purl stitch on the right needle over the newest purl stitch. Continue in this fashion until the end of the row. When you have worked all of the stitches, you will be left with one live stitch on the right hand needle. Transfer this to the third needle without twisting it. This will give you a slip stitch selvedge and also maintain the stitch count for each row. You will now have the same number of stitches as you originally cast on sitting on your third needle. You’ll have worked the right and left needles free.

Now, for the right side row. Turn your work. The needle all your stitches are sitting on (which was the third needle in the wrong side row) is now your left hand needle.  Pick up a right needle and knit the first stitch off of the left needle. Now hold the third needle at the front of your work (on the “right side”) between the right and left needles. Wrap the yarn around this third needle and use the right needle to knit another stitch off of the left hand needle. Bind one stitch off of the right hand needle and continue the same way you did for the wrong side row. You will wrap the third needle at the front of the work in between each knit stitch you bind off. At the end, you will be left with one live stitch on your right hand needle. Transfer it to the third needle without twisting it and turn your work.

Continue working these two rows until your work reaches desired length. End on wrong side row and bind off. You’ll want to use something elastic like a sewn bind off (I suggest Elizabeth Zimmerman’s bind off or the Outline Stitch Sewn Bind Off).

Annotation:

3 Needle Full Stitch

-Cast on any number of stitches

-Wrong Side Row: P1, *wrap yarn around third around needle held behind the work, P1 off of left hand needle, pass first P over new P and off of right needle* repeat until end of row ending in one lived stitch on right needle, slip stitch onto third needle without twisting it, turn work.

– Right Side Row: [The third needle from the previous row is now your left hand needle] K1, *wrap yarn around a third needle held at the front of the work, pass firs K over new K and off the right needle* repeat until end of row ending with one live stitch on right needle, slip stitch onto third needle without twisting it, turn work.

– Repeat Rows 1 and 2 until work reaches desired length. End on wrong side row. Bind off knitwise on the front of the work.

Some notes:

The directions look more complicated the actual process is. I had a hard time finding a way to describe

it with usual knitting pattern terms but really all of it can all be broken down into parts that knitters should already be familiar with.  After only a few rows, there is a definite rhythm that makes this go by faster than you’d think. It’s sort of like you’re just doing a yarn over bind off all the way around but you keep your yarn overs on a third needle rather than work them with your main needles.

Be careful how you wrap the yarn around the third needle. Whether you are wrapping the left needle for knit stitches or purl stitches or you are wrapping the third needle, you will ALWAYS wrap the yarn counterclockwise (this is assuming you are working western style stitches, for eastern style stitches, you’ll wrap everything clockwise).

The third needle is always held against the right side of the work because this is where the new loops need to be. The binding off stitches will always be on the wrong side of the work.

As for how to hold the third needle, for the first few wraps of each row, I suggest holding the right needle and third needle together with your left hand. After this, the third needle will be fairly anchored by the wraps and you can let go of it while you work with the right and left needles.

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The Relationship between Knitting and Crochet: Swapping Tools

Just some more fodder concerning the relationship between knitting and crochet. In this particular instance, I show you how to crochet using knitting needles. It becomes apparent after only a few stitches that crochet hooks are indeed more apt to the job, but I find the fact that it’s completely possible to be fascinating. I feel this could be used somehow to combine the two mediums.

The following is a list of common crochet stitches converted to the best of my ability to knitting notation:

-Starting Chain: CO 1 (tie slip knot on to left needle), *K1, slip stitch back to left needle (untwisted)* repeat until desired length

-Chain Stitch: *K1, slip stitch back to left needle (untwisted)* repeat until desired length

-Slip Stitch: pick up 2 stitches, pass first stitch over second, *pick up stitch, pass right stitch over left stitch*

-Single Crochet: *pick up one stitch, k2tog tbl* repeat to end of row

-Half-Double Crochet: pick up one stitch, *yo, pick up stitch, k3tog tbl* repeat to end of row

-Double Crochet: pick up one stitch, *yo, pick stitch, slip 2 stitches to left needle, k2tog tbl, slip one stitch to left needle, k2tog tbl* repeat to end of row

-Treble Crochet: pick up one stitch, *yo twice, pick up stitch, slop stitch and one yo to left needle and k2tog tbl, slip second yo to left needle and k2tog tbl* repeat to end of row

Conversely, crochet hooks can be used to knit. Many Portuguese knitters in fact use knitting needles with very small hooks on the end. Additionally, though usually used by themselves, a pair of Tunisan crochet hooks could easily be used together in the same fashion as a pair of straight knitting needles. The hooked ends even have a slight benefit with certain techniques such as purling Continental or knitting Portuguese.

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The Relationship between Knitting and Crochet: Horizontal vs. Vertical Construction

Knitting and crochet tend to be very segregated techniques despite the fact that they really aren’t that different fundamentally. One element that knitters and crocheters are both acquainted with is the V. This is, of course, the visible shape made by interconnected loops of yarn. For knitters the V is the tell-tale marker of the knit stitch, an attractive slip stitch selvedge, the braided look of a simple cast off, and of course a V on the back of the work means a purl stitch on the front.  For crocheters the V is the front of a starting chain and the loops through which most crochet stitches are made. The biggest difference is that knitting makes Vs one at a time horizontally across several columns, holding live stitches on the needles when not being worked. Crochet, when thought about from a knitter’s prospective, instead makes one V at a time vertically, completing one column at a time before moving on to the next. There are only a few live stitches at a time (generally one through three for slip stitch through treble crochet) which are all worked together before moving on to the next V, which is why there is no need for another needle. Interestingly enough, if a knitter sits down and slip-stitch crochets a flat piece of work through the back loop, after a few rows he might notice a striking resemblance between the fabric made and 1×1 rib knitting…rotated 90 degrees. The same can be said for a seasoned crocheter who sits down to knit 1×1 ribbing. That is of course if you can manage to wrestle their preferred fiber art out of their hands first.

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