Sunday, December 18, 2011

I-Cord on Straight Needles (Single Points)

Yes, I am a little I-Cord obsessed tonight.  I have been wanting to share some I-Cord info for a long time now, and today seemed like the perfect time.  And if the three videos I made today weren't enough, I plan a video on using the Embellish Knit for making I-Cord in record time at some point in the near future.  I decided that the Beaded, Spiral and this one were enough I-Cord lessons for one day though!

Usually, you will see instructions for I-Cord on Double Pointed Needles (DPNs) or even circular needles.  Maybe you only have straight needles, or "single pointed needles", if you will.  Don't despair - you can still knit I-Cord on your straights!

Cast on the required number of stitches
Do not turn the work - instead, slip the stitches onto the other needle, so the working yarn is toward the back end of the needle, instead of near the tip as it would be if you were knitting normally.  
Now, knit the stitches
Do not turn the work - simply slip the stitches back to your other needle as before.  Knit the stitches again.

Keep knitting and slipping your stitches back to the empty needle until the cord is as long as you want it.  Bind off as you normally would, snip the yarn and pull through the last stitch, weave in tails.  

See, I told you it was easy!   

Here is a video.  Enjoy!

Spiral I-Cord

Sample was knit with Lily Sugar n Cream on US Size 6 needles - 4 stitches

I have been thinking about spiral/curly I-Cord for some time now.  None of the info I found (like HERE) was what I was looking for.  The curl was produced after the length of the cord had been knit - when I bind off, I like that to be the end!  I am not too fond of binding off and still having something left to do (seaming, anyone?).  You can even do a mini version of my Amazing Curly Scarf to make spirals - I believe this is the method in Knitting Over the Edge.  But I didn't want that look either.  So, this morning I got out some yarn and needles, and played around until I came up with this method.  I am not saying I am the first to do it like this, because I am sure someone else out there has done this before me, but I didn't find any instructions for spiral I-Cord during my search that was like this.

It is very simple to do and I willingly admit that I am darn proud of myself for having an idea that actually works!  So, without further ado, here is what I did.  I am assuming that you already know how to make the standard I-Cord by the way.

Cast on 4 stitches - you can use either DPNs or a circular needle

Slide stitches to the other end of the needle as normal and knit all stitches
Row 2 - Knit 2, Slip 1, Knit 1
Row 3 - Knit 2, Slip 1, Knit 1
Row 4 - Knit all stitches

Repeat Row 2 - 4 until cord is the desired length

What to do with the curly I-Cord?  Maybe replace the standard fringe on a scarf with these nifty spirals, or top off a hat.  You can even add beads - I have a tutorial on that too. You are only limited by your imagination.

This is by no means the only way to knit a spiral cord.  I encourage you to play around with different yarns and needle sizes, and even a different number of stitches.  Perhaps add another row or two where the stitch is slipped - heck, slip two stitches.  You may come up with a better curling cord.  If you do alter this "pattern", I would love to see what you come up with!

Here is a brief video of the technique.  Enjoy!

Beaded I-Cord

If you are looking for a way to add some pizzazz to your I-Cord, beads might be the answer you are looking for.  Here are two ways to add beads to your I-Cord.

I suggest pre-stringing the beads, since I-Cord is fiddly enough as it is.  Having the beads on your yarn from the start is more convenient.  Also, if you are following a pattern you will place the beads as directed by the pattern.  Otherwise, put them where you like, as many or as few as you like.  

Method One:

When you reach the point where you would like to have your bead, slide the bead up the yarn and to the needle.  Bring the yarn to the front of the work, and slip the next stitch on the left needle purlwise.  Take the yarn back to the back of the work, and continue knitting.  (I find it helpful if I hold the bead in place with my thumbnail at this point)

Repeat this where ever you would like to place a bead on your I-Cord.

Method Two:

When you reach the stitch where you would like to have a bead, insert the right needle into it, but don't knit it just yet.  Next, slide your bead up the yarn to the needle.  Now, make the knit stitch, pulling the bead through the stitch along with the yarn.  Continue knitting.  On the next row when you get to the stitch with the bead on it, slide the bead up over the needle and to the back of the  stitch.  When you make the new stitch, the bead should pop out to the front of the I-Cord.

Here is a video demonstrating both of these methods.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Catskill Merino Sheep Farm

Check out all of the beautiful yarns from Catskill Merino Sheep Farm.  If you happen to be in or around Union Square in NY City on a Saturday, between 8 AM to 6 PM stop in and see them.  They are there every Saturday of the year.  Below are some pictures from their stand from December 3rd.


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Finding the end of your yarn

Just thought I'd share this tip, incase you have issues finding the beginning of your yarn like I do.  Sometimes this works like magic, but other times I still wind up having to pull out half of the inside of the skein and end up with a huge pile of yarn barf!   I've had success on larger skeins as well as smaller ones.  Sometimes the yarn just does not want to cooperate though.

If there is a false tail sticking out (you know what I mean, the one that you are happy to see because you think it is the tail you need to start knitting, but when you pull on it, it won't budge), just pull it out and tuck it into the ball band.  Then, put your index fingers into each end of the skein and twist them.  If you are lucky, the beginning tail of your yarn will find your finger and easily pull out of the center of the skein.  And because I had a few spare minutes, I made a video  :0)

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Sapphires-N-Purls Podcast Episode 14!

Well, I finally had a chance to record a new show!  It has been quite a while.  This episode was filmed outdoors, so I do apologize for the background noises.

In this episode, I show you the magazines waiting for me to read them, some new yarns I have, and the Martha Stewart Knit and Weave Loom Kit.

There are links to all of the magazines in the "magazine" tab at the top of the blog.  Here they are, in no particular order:

Sabrina Fashion Knits
Sandra Knit Trends
Simply Knitting
Knit Now
Knit Simple and Knit Simple Plus Knits
Knit 'n Style
Interweave Knits
Knit Today
Knit Scene
Knitting Today
Love of Knitting
Australian Knitting
Vogue Knitting
Jane Austen Knits

Linking this one directly:
Woman's Weekly Best of Our Knitted Toys

The Amazing Curly Scarf Pattern that I wear in this episode is a free pattern on the blog, along with a video on knitting spiral scarves.

Lily Sugar 'n Cream scented yarn.  Nice!  None of the fragrances were overwhelming or stinky to me.  The Camomile and Aloe Vera were the ones that appealed to my nose the most today.  The fragrance will of course wash out eventually, but how nice to make a few dish cloths, tie them up with a ribbon and give to a friend?  Just my opinion of course!  Although I found all of the scents to be light and fresh, someone sensitive to fragrances might feel otherwise.  I recommend giving them a sniff yourself if you see them in the store, before buying online.  Today was the first time I have seen them at Michaels; can't find it on their website though!  I've never seen them in my Joann's, but they do sell them on their website.  

You can find out more about Carol's Needleworks and the yarn I got there HERE.

And finally Martha Stewart.  I've always had a love/hate thing with her.  Simply love a lot of her ideas on decorating, cooking and everything else, but hate her attitude sometimes.  I even forgive her for her... ahem... problems in the past.  We all make mistakes, and I am sure the humiliation she suffered was enough to keep her from making the same, or similar, mistakes again.  Anywho,  I suppose the reason I got this knitting and weaving loom is because it seems to be so versatile and has so many possibilities.  I've not done any loom knitting before, but am kind of anxious to expand my knitting horizons.  Does any one own this?  Feel free to let me know what you think, and I would love to see pictures of your finished items.  I will do a more in depth review once I have had a chance to play around with this gadget!

As for  her yarn, however... I will definitely take a pass on that.  I have a brief video from when I was checking out the line at Michaels on my YouTube channel.  I really can't believe her name is on this stuff.  It really isn't all that nice, and you don't get very much yarn.  For the price, I'd expect at least twice as much as what you get.  You can get better quality yarn, and a lot more of it, from some of Lion Brands other lines, as well as other manufacturers.  The Mambo is just ridiculous. 5 - yes, FIVE measly yards, for $5-6??  Seriously?  If I am paying about $1 per yard of yarn, that stuff better be spun from gold!  It would actually make a neat rug, but you'd have to buy so much to get a decent sized rug that I would hang it on the wall as art instead of actually put it on the floor and walk on it.  I don't know what else you would do with Mambo; Lion Brand has a bracelet pattern for it.  Not my style!  The Glitter Eyelash is kind of gaudy - but then I don't much go in for that type of yarn to begin with.  Might be nice for some type of holiday decorations though.  OK, enough ranting on Martha's yarn!  You should of course decide for yourself  :0)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

How to Knit a Spiral Scarf

Amazing Curly Scarf - free pattern below.  Want less ruffles?  Check out my Potato Chip Flutter Scarf!

I've knit a few spiral scarves over the years, and they remain one of my favorite knits.  How cool is it that your fabric begins to spiral right before your eyes as you bind off?  And the best part - it is so easy to do!

Also called a corkscrew or potato chip scarf, you can use just about any yarn and needle size you like.  The secret, or trick, to making your scarf spiral is in the increase rows.  That's it!

I do recommend using at least a 32 inch circular needle - you will start out with relatively few stitches and in the end will have hundreds, or even 1,000 stitches that need to fit comfortably on your needles.

All you have to do is cast on a certain number of stitches, let's say 100.  Knit two or three rows; then you will do an increase row to double the number of stitches you started with.  Simply knit into the front and back of each stitch (you could even make YOs if you don't like knitting into the front and back of your stitches) - so if you started with 100 stitches, after the increase row you will have 200.  No need to count to make sure you have exactly double the number.  A few more or less isn't going to make much of a difference.  

Now, knit some more plain rows - however many you knit before, whether it be two or three.  The most I have used between increase rows is three, so while I am sure you could do more, I can't vouch for the looks of the scarf in doing so or the effect this would have on the spiral.

Do another increase row, again doubling the number of stitches on your needles.  

Continue in this manner until you have roughly 800-1,000 stitches.  I say roughly, because the needle size and weight of yarn you use will affect how long your scarf ends up being.  A word of warning though - do remember that as you increase the number of stitches, the length of your scarf will also increase.  One of the first spiral scarves I knit ended up with close to 2,000 stitches, and was about 12 feet long.  That is much too long for most folks!!   Obviously, if you are using a lace weight yarn and small needles, you will need more stitches to get an appropriate length on your scarf; if you are using a larger needle and bulkier yarn, you won't need quite as many stitches.

When you are ready, bind off.  I usually knit one row less than I knit between the increase rows, so for example if you were knitting two rows between increases, knit one row and then bind off.  You can use any bind off you like.  Ta-Da!  You now have a spiral scarf.   (Is this scarf too curly/ruffly for you?  Maybe you will like the Flutter Scarf instead)

Below is a video in which I knit the above scarf.  If you would like to knit the same, go here.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Knitting With Sequins

I've been wanting to add sequins to my knitting for some time now.  When I began searching around for instructions, I found next to nothing!  I did find a snippet from the Knit Simple site, however their instructions were to pre-string the sequins on an auxiliary thread.  I wanted to add them with a crochet hook, like I do beads.   So, after I finally found some sequins, I began playing around to see what method of adding sequins worked best for me.

I had a hard time finding sequins at the craft stores, believe it or not.  I finally found a small bag of multicolored sequins at Michaels.  I also found a website called Cartwrights - where there are more sequins than you can imagine.  All shapes, sizes, and colors from hearts to ghosts and more!  If you are serious about knitting with sequins, then that is where you should go!

You will need a crochet hook small enough to fit through the hole in your sequins, and the yarn you use should fit as well.  If you prefer, you can use a contrasting or complimentary color of yarn that fits your sequins, and knit that along with a thicker yarn.  You could also sew the sequins on later, however that for me seems too time consuming.

Once you have your sequins, yarn and crochet hook you are ready to begin.

Knit to the stitch that you want to put the sequin on.

If working on stockinette stitch:

1: Place the sequin onto the crochet hook (upside down if using cup shaped sequins)

2: Insert the crochet hook into the stitch you want the sequin on, and pull the working yarn through the stitch - essentially you are making a knit stitch with the crochet hook

3: Now continue pulling the yarn through the sequin

4: Place the new stitch onto the left needle, and purl it together with the original stitch

Continue knitting, adding as many sequins as you like.  On the reverse row, when you come to the stitch(es) with the sequin, purl as you normally would.

If working on garter stitch:

Follow steps 1 - 3 above

4: Place the new stitch onto the left needle, and knit it together with the original stitch

Continue knitting, adding as many sequins as you like.  On the reverse row, when you come to the stitch(es) with the sequin, knit as you normally would.

If any of the sequins want to flip around to the other side of the fabric, give them a gentle tug and straighten them out on the right side.

The above is what works for me.  If you don't like this method, it isn't the only way to knit with sequins.  Play around until you find a technique that works for you.

Here is the video - I hope you find it helpful.  Enjoy!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Carol's Needleworks

Today I stopped in at Carol's Needleworks, in Bridgeville Pa.  A bit out of my way, but I have been wanting to check it out for a while now.  It is a small store, but has a nice selection of yarn, notions and patterns.  The store is neat and organized.  I also had the pleasure of being waited on by Carol herself.  Carol is absolutely lovely!  Probably one of the nicest people I have ever met.  I was greeted by her as soon as I walked in, which is not something you always get upon entering a store these days.  Whenever I go to a yarn store, I always ask if they carry any Lorna's Laces; I've been lusting over Helen's Lace for quite some time, but really didn't want to shell out the bucks before fondling it to make sure I felt it was worth the money.  (For the record, no store I have been in has ever had Helen's Lace, and Carol was the only one who ever offered to order some for me.)  Carol does not carry any Lorna's, but when I told her what I was interested in, she pulled out a color/sample card which had a few strands.  Honestly, it wasn't quite as nice as it looks in the pictures on Jimmy Beans.... sorry.  I was glad I hadn't decided to buy any!  She also suggested a similar yarn by Abstract Fiber called Hepburn, which is 1,000 yards of exquisite merino and silk (80 and 20%, respectively).  The color.... Tequila Sunrise.  How could I resist?  I had to get it.  I also fell in love with Audrey from Schaefer Yarn.  The color I chose is called The Brontes, after the Bronte sisters of course.  Audrey is a scrumptious blend of 50% merino, 50% cultivated silk.  I cannot wait to get this stuff on my needles!!  And, to satisfy my chunky yarn cravings I have been having, I picked up a nice hank of Elaine, also from Schaefer.  Elaine is 99% merino, 1% nylon.  I am not sure what the color is called, that tag must have fallen off.  I don't care what it's name is -- it is fabulous!

If you are in the area, I do highly recommend stopping in at Carol's Needleworks. She definitely knows her stuff, is extremely nice and eager to please all of her customers.  Excellent customer service!  Below are some pictures of the shop, the yarn I got, and one of Carol herself.  She let me take the picture since she was having a good hair day!  Again, very nice lady and I can't wait to see her again!

Here is where you can find Carol's Needleworks:

429 Washington Avenue
Bridgeville, PA 15017

Friday, November 18, 2011

Knitting With Beads

I have long loved adding beads to my knitting.  I have two small beaded bags that I use for going out, just for money, phone, etc. when I don't want to carry a larger bag; I also have a couple of scarves with beads.

If you have never tried knitting with beads, I hope this will encourage you to do so!  It isn't as hard as you may think.

Beads come in many sizes, shapes, colors, and are made from different types of materials.  You can find them in craft stores such as Joannes and Michaels; your local yarn store may even carry beads.  There are also plenty of places online to find beads.

One thing to consider when choosing your beads, is whether or not they will fit onto the yarn you want to use.  If you are in love with a particular bead, but your yarn is too thick to fit through the hole, you can use a thinner yarn to put the beads on, and knit with both strands.  Choose a complimentary color, or a contrasting color - the choice is yours.  If you only want a few beads here and there, sewing them on afterward is also an option.  Something else you may want to consider is how much weight the beads will add to your finished item.  Using lots of big, glass beads for example may make your scarf uncomfortable to wear.

There are probably as many ways to add beads to your knitting as there are knitters.  The most common is stringing the beads onto your yarn before you begin knitting, or adding the beads one at a time as you go along with a crochet hook.  The second method is the one I prefer.   My problems with stringing the beads on beforehand are:  A) If the yarn is a fine, thin yarn the weight of the beads may break the yarn  B) The moving of beads up and down the yarn can cause a bit of fuzziness or pills on the yarn.  If you are using a fine, delicate yarn and prefer to pre-string your beads, just do a few at a time.  When you run out of beads, break the yarn, add more beads, and continue.  This will also leave you with extra ends to weave in, which can be a pain.

As I said, I prefer adding the beads one at a time with a crochet hook.  This method is the fastest and easiest for me, and the beads appear equally well on both sides of the fabric.  There is no worry that a bead may be stubborn and want to show itself on the wrong side of your fabric!  To add beads this way, you will need a crochet hook that is small enough to fit through the hole in your bead.  I use a US Size 11 hook, which is teeny tiny.  Since it is so small, it tends to snag on thicker yarns sometimes as you pull the yarn through the bead.  If that happens, all you have to do is pull the rest of the plies through the bead, and it will be fine once the stitch is back on the needle and you have knit it.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

How to Knit a Scarf

Extreme Pastels Scarf pattern below

Also check out my other scarf patterns.  Video tutorials on each scarf.

Free Patterns:
 Flutter Scarf (a potato chip scarf) 
Amazing Curly Scarf (a spiral/corkscrew scarf)
Lacy Ruffle Scarf 

Available for Purchase:
Quite Contrary Scarf

If you are new to knitting, you may be wondering how to knit a scarf.  Scarves are good beginner projects, because you generally don't need to worry about gauge - something which often confuses newbies.  Scarves can be knit as long as you want, as wide as you want, as skinny as you want.  You can use any yarn you like, any needle size, and any stitch pattern.  It can be simple, such as garter stitch, or something more complicated like lace.

Even though a scarf is a simple project, all of the options can be overwhelming.  If you aren't ready to go it alone, there are more scarf patterns available on the web than you can shake a knitting needle at.  If you would like to design your own, here are a few steps to get you started.

Find a stitch pattern you like.  There are many web sites with stitch patterns if you don't own any stitch pattern books.  The Weekly Stitch has a new stitch pattern posted each week, most with a video demonstration of the stitch.  

Choose your yarn and needles.  If you aren't sure of which needle to use for you yarn, check the ball band and start with the recommend size.  While you don't have to swatch first, you certainly can if you like; you can decide from there if you like how the fabric looks, and if you'd like to make a denser fabric then try a needle size smaller than the one recommended.  If you'd like something looser and airy, shoot for a larger needle size.    Also, a swatch can tell you how wide your scarf will be.  Myself, I just guesstimate and don't worry about it.  Obviously, what type of yarn and needle size you use will affect the width.  Finer yarn will require more stitches, and heavier weight yarn will require less. 

Once you have your yarn, needles and stitch pattern you are ready to cast on.

 There are many cast ons - use which ever cast on you like.  Long tail cast on is one of the most common ones.  Backward Loop is also common, or you can even do a knitted cast on.

Begin knitting your scarf; keep going until it is as long as you want it to be.  Now you can cast off, or bind off.  Use any bind off you like.  The standard knit bind off will do fine, but of course there are many different bind offs.  If you like to purl, you can try the standard purl bind off, or if you crochet perhaps the single crochet bind off will feel most comfortable for you.

If you have knit your scarf with wool or another animal fiber, you may want to block it before wearing it. Blocking is not required, but can open up your stitches and give the scarf a more finished look.  You can always add fringe to your scarf if you like!  Now you are ready to wear your new scarf!

Scarves are a good way to use up left over yarns; you can use several strands at once, or just knit with one until you run out and then begin with another.  The scarf above was knit with four strands of yarn on large needles.  I wanted to use up some scrap yarn, as well as get it done fast.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Thanksgiving Knitting Patterns

The holiday season starts with Thanksgiving - and turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, and more turkey just when you think you can't possibly eat one more bite.  And then the pumpkin pie!  

Before you eat yourself into a tryptophan coma, here are a few cute Thanksgiving/Fall themed patterns for you to knit up.

Corn on the Cob Pot Holder (requires a bit of crochet knowledge also)
Autumn Leaves Placemat (you will need to sign up for a free account to view this one)

Gobble Gobble!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

How to Knit a Dish or Wash Cloth

Sunday Afternoon Dish Cloth - Get the pattern below!

Experienced knitters may not think much about how to do a simple project, like a dish or wash cloth.  New knitters, however, probably don't know where to start.  I know I didn't.  So, if you are a new knitter, here is a tutorial for you.  If you aren't a new knitter, then here is a quick and easy project if you need a little instant gratification.

There are really no rules for knitting a dish or wash cloth - you can use whatever stitch pattern you like, any size needles, make it big or small, it's all up to you.  You don't even need to make a gauge swatch or block the finished cloth.  I like to make dish cloths to get familiar with new stitch patterns, or just make it up as I go.

There are many yarns to choose from: Lily Sugar and Cream, Lion Brand Cotton Ease, Bernat Cotton Tots, Lion Brand Baby's First, Patons Grace to name a few.  If you are just going to be using your cloth to do dishes, I recommend using a cheaper cotton such as the Sugar and Cream.  You can use the same for a wash cloth, of course, but if you'd like to pamper yourself then use perhaps the Patons Grace or another nicer cotton yarn.

I usually use the needle size called for on the ball band; if you would like a denser, tighter fabric then try a smaller needle, and a larger needle if you'd like a less dense fabric.  Of course, you can always do a small swatch in the yarn you like with different needle sizes to see what results each gives you.

Now, pick a stitch pattern.  There are many to be found on the web, or if you happen to have stitch pattern books, grab a cup of tea ( or something stronger ), sit back, and spend time looking through them.  Maybe there is a stitch you like but have been afraid to try - now is the perfect time to give it a whirl!  Since cloths are so small, there won't be much wasted time if you end up not liking it and can easily frog it and try something else.

Once you have your stitch pattern, you are ready to cast on.  Use any cast on you like.  I like to add borders on my cloths - you do not need one, but if you are going to do a stocking stitch fabric, a border will keep the edges from curling.  I usually like to knit the first 2-4 rows in seed stitch, and then keep a 4 stitch border on each side in seed stitch.  A simple garter stitch border will also do nicely.   Depending on which yarn and needle size you choose, the number of stitches cast on will vary.  In the Sugar and Cream yarn, 40-45 stitches gives me a large sized cloth; 30-35 makes a cloth that is a bit smaller and is just a tad bigger than my hand and feels most comfortable to me.  I cast on depending on what mood I am in that day.

When the cloth is as long as you want it to be, bind off.  If you have added a border, knit as many rows on the top as you did along the bottom edge and then bind off.  You can use any bind off you like, and then weave in the ends.  You can also make a loop to hang the cloth if you wish.  Just cut an extra long tail, about 6 inches or so (better to have too much than not enough), and then single crochet to the end of the tail and attach it to the corner of the cloth.

Now go use and enjoy your new cloth!

Here are some links to stitch patterns:
The Weekly Stitch
Knitting Pattern Central

If you aren't quite ready to design your own, you can find patterns at the links below:
Knitting Pattern Central
Dish and Wash Cloth Mania
Knits by Rachel

I made the cloth in the picture in about an hour, on a Sunday afternoon, so that is the name I chose for it.  This is a smallish cloth - I find it easier to do dishes with something that is relatively the same size as my hand, as opposed to having a lot of extra cloth flopping around. You can view and download a PDF the pattern for the cloth I make in the video here:

1 Ball cotton yarn РI used Peaches and Cr̬me

US size 6 needles

Finished cloth measures appx. 6-1/4 x 5-1/2 inches

Gauge is not important here

Cast on 30 stitches

Row 1: *k1, p1
Row 2: *p1, k1
Row 3: [k1, p1, k1, p1] k6, p10, k6 [k1, p1, k1, p1]
Row 4: [p1, k1, p1, k1] p6, k10, p6 [p1, k1, p1, k1]

Repeat Rows 3 and 4 eight more times.

Row 13: [k1, p1, k1, p1] p6, k10, p6 [k1, p1, k1, p1]
Row 14: [p1, k1, p1, k1] k6, p10, k6 [p1, k1, p1, k1]

Repeat Rows 13 and 14 eight more times.

Repeat Rows 3 and 4 nine times.

Work Rows 1 and 2 one more, bind off.

And here is the video tutorial on how to knit a dish or wash cloth.  Enjoy!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Twice Knit Knitting

Double Shot of Caffeine Mug Rug (Instructions below)

Twice Knit Knitting is a type of Double Knitting.  I just recently came across this technique; it is briefly mentioned in The Reader's Digest Knitter's Handbook.  I was immediately intrigued, and an amazon search turned up Twice-knit knitting, by Lee Gilchrist.  This is not a new book, however apparently not a technique that is widely used these days.  I only found one or two blog references in my search for information.  

I love it!  Below are just the very basics of Twice Knit Knitting.  There is a special cast on and bind off used for this technique.  I recommend ordering the book if you would like to learn a bit more about Twice Knit Knitting.  The book, as I said, is not new; the cast on and bind off are explained, along with the types of stitches created and there are a number of patterns.  Some of the pictures gave me a good chuckle :0)

In Twice Knit Knitting, you are working each stitch twice.  You might think this uses more yarn and time, but it does not.  The act of working each stitch twice interlocks the stitches so that they actually do not unravel!  You can use bigger needles and finer yarn for quick knits; the smaller the needle, the more dense your fabric will be.  A very dense fabric is great for pot holders or hot pads, garments should be knit with larger needles so the fabric will have some drape to it.  As with any knitting, swatching is the best way to find out if you like the way the fabric looks and feels using a particular yarn and needle size.

Double Knit On:
This is your cast on - you need two stitches to start
The book instructs you to begin with a slip knot, then using the knitted cast on method, cast on one more stitch.  I do not like slip knots - so I cast on two stitches using the long tail method.  

Then, to cast on additional stitches, you are going to do a 'modified' knitted cast on.  Always work with the first two stitches on the left needle.   
Begin with two stitches

Knit into both stitches to make the 3rd stitch
The third stitch before placing it on the left needle

To make the 4th stitch, you will again knit into the first two stitches on the left needle
Always work with the first two stitches on the left needle to make the next stitch

Double Front Knit:

To work a row of knit stitches, as with the cast on, you will always be working with the first two stitches on the left needle.  The big thing to remember now is that you do NOT want to drop both stitches from your left needle - you will only be dropping the first stitch.  Leave your second stitch on the left needle so you can work it again with the third stitch.  Remember, in Twice Knit Knitting, each stitch is worked twice!

The first double knit front stitch has been made.  The new stitch is on the right needle; you can see the loop of yarn between the needles - that is the first stitch from the left needle.  The second stitch remains on the left needle.

In this picture, you can see I have worked the first two stitches on the left needle and created a second stitch on the right needle.  The first stitch has not yet been dropped from the left needle.

I have now dropped the first stitch from the left needle - it is the loop of yarn between the needles

Continue working the next two stitches on the left needle, dropping only the first stitch each time until you come to the end of the row.
When you come to the last two stitches, work them together as normal, dropping the first stitch, and then simply knit the last stitch by itself.

Double Purl:
To work a row of purl stitches, you again will be purling the first two stitches on the left needle together, dropping only the first stitch from the left needle.

Making the Double Purl stitch
The newly made stitch on the right needle, before the first stitch has been dropped from the left needle            

Now the first stitch has been dropped from the left needle, and I am ready to now make the second double purl stitch

Binding Off for Twice Knit Knitting:
This works much the way a standard knitted bind off works, with the exception that you will always have 3 stitches on the right needle, and will be lifting the first stitch over 2, instead of 1.  So, work  three stitches (the bind off stitches are worked like double front knit stitches - knit the first two stitches from the left needle, drop the first stitch only, etc.), and then begin to bind off:
With three stitches on the right needle, I am ready to bind off my first stitch

Pick up the first stitch, pass it over  the second and third stitches

The first stitch has now been passed over the second and third.  Work another stitch from the left needle, then pass the first stitch on the right needle over the second and third.  Continue binding off in this manner until you reach the last three stitches.

This picture shows the last three stitches to be bound off.  Pass the first stitch over the second and third as normal

You will be left with only two stitches to bind off.  Simply pass the first stitch over the second, leaving you with one stitch on the right needle

Treat the last stitch as you would any final bind off stitch.  Cut the yarn, pull it through, and weave in your ends.

And there you have a tutorial on Twice Knit Knitting!  I do recommend purchasing the book; you will learn to do the Double Back Knit Stitch, along with the stitches created with this technique: Silhouette Stitch, Herringbone Stitch, Braid Stitch, and Graphic Stitch.  Apparently you don't even need to bind off if you don't want to, because the stitches won't unravel.  Also, you are supposed to be able to cut your finished piece as you would a regular piece of fabric.  I have not yet figured out how to do this, and don't see detailed instructions in the book.  I tested the cutting of fabric on a small piece, only to have it unravel!  So, while there is obviously a particular way this has to be done, I am not aware of it at this point.

If you would like to make yourself the Double Shot of Caffeine Mug Rug, here is the "pattern":

You will need either Sugar and Cream or Peaches and Creme Cotton yarn and US size 10.5 needles

Cast on 28 stitches
Work 4 Rows of Double Front Knit Stitches
Then work alternating rows of Double Front Knit and Double Purl for desired length (mine is 3.5 inches)
Next, work 4 more Rows of Double Front Knit Stitches
Bind off.  For the fringe, cut 4 inch pieces of yarn.  I used two strands in each of my cast on and bind off stitches, but you can use more strands and/or space them out along the edges to suit your taste.  Trim if you like, or leave the fringe wild and crazy!

Also, here is a video demonstrating the Double Knit On, Double Front Knit, Double Purl, and binding off.  Enjoy!!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

October/November 2011 Knitting Books

Haven't done this in a while - here are a few of the books you can find out this month and next!


Knits Extraordinaire
 - by Lena Maikon

-by Kara Gott Warner

-by Kari Cornell, Sue Flanders, Janine Kosel

-by Sharon Turner    **Just a note on this one.  I flipped through this in the store a week or so ago, and was excited when I first saw it because I love stitch pattern books.  My excitement waned as I saw the stitches though.  I didn't see any "new" stitches; practically all of them I have seen in my other books.  I have all of the Harmony Guides, the first two Walker Treasuries, Big Book of Knitting Stitch Patterns, Essential Stitch Collection, among others (you can check them out in myLibrarything in the left sidebar).  If you have several stitch pattern books, I would pass on this one.  You probably already have these stitches in there, or they can be found online.  If you only own one or two stitch books, or none at all, then you might enjoy this one.

-by Iris Schreier

-by Sue Pearce

-by Lisa Shroyer

-by Barbara Sander