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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