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)