Monday, December 31, 2012

Knit in the Round on Circular needles

Here is a video with some basic info on using circular needles to knit in the round.

Two different ways you can join to begin working in the round, and if you accidentally begin knitting with a twist in the stitches, you can easily fix it on the first round.

Use this technique for hats, bags, sweaters and more.  If you have never used circular needles for knitting in the round, I encourage you to try.  It is not hard to do, but like everything else, will take practice and patience to become proficient.

You can get circular needles in many lengths, sizes and materials.  More on that here.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Machine Felting

I wanted to take a quick look at felting in this post.  I've made a few felted bags and hats in the past, and always have fun.  You can make hats, bags, hot pads, cat/dog beds or mats, and lots more.

I have never followed a pattern, but rather just cast on, knit, and then felted.  My projects have always turned out well.  Luck, I guess!

I made a short video of how I felted the piece of knitting above.  My typical method is to just run my project through the wash with a small load of laundry, using hot water and a short to medium long cycle.  Rarely do I stop the machine to check progress.  I do recommend you check your item about halfway through to see how it is coming along.  The old 'Do as I say, not as I do' bit.  If my item is not felted enough to my liking, I leave it in for another round with the next load.  The yarn is some that I dyed myself.  It started as a neutral/ivory color, from Patons.  I forget the needle size used, sorry.  I cast on 34 stitches, knit for about 50 rows.  This was about 7.5 x 5.5 prior to felting.  It came out at about 6 x 5.

Place the item you want to felt into a pillow case.  A lingerie bag is sometimes suggested, but the lint/fuzz can still get out of the bag, and if you felt a lot, the lint will build up and ruin your machine.  A pillow case will collect most of the lint.

You can just throw in a pair of jeans or two to help agitate your project and help the felting process.  Don't use new jeans though, because the color could bleed and get onto your project. (You know, like when you accidentally put a new red T-Shirt in with something white....) Better to use old jeans.
Some people suggest using towels - I do not.  Towels give off lint/fuzz pills of their own, particularly if they are newer, and it could stick to your project.  Older towels may not pose much of a problem, so you may be fine to use old towels.

Detergent helps the felting process, so if you are washing some laundry, of course you will already be using some.  If you are just felting with a pair of jeans or two for the agitation, go ahead and put a small amount of detergent in.

Not all yarns will felt in the same way.  Some may felt faster than others, some may shrink more or less.  Your best bet is to knit up a test swatch and felt it to see how the yarn reacts.  You will need to use an animal fiber for felting, as acrylic yarns will not felt.  Animal fibers have scales, which open up when exposed to hot, soapy water; with agitation, these scales become tangled together.  The scales close up and remain locked together as the fiber cools down and dries, creating felt.

You may have some difficulty felting white yarn; sometimes these yarns have gone through a bleaching process, which removes the scales from the fiber.  No scales, no felting.  Again, your best bet is to do a test swatch, or even ask around for advice from frequent felters.  Try the boards at Knitting Paradise, for example.   Interweave has some felting magazines, and there is even an Australian magazine called Felt you may want to check out.

A few links:
Knitty - Felt This
How To Felt

Felting - The Complete Guide
Uniquely Felt
Knitting Never Felt Better (Nicky Epstein)

And of course, the famous Booga Bag by Julie Anderson of Black Sheep Bags!

Here is a cute little bag I made several years ago.  I also did one in pink.  The yarn is some that I purchased on eBay from forestgreener.   Great seller that I have purchased from often.  I always love the yarn, and have never had a problem with this seller.  There is no pattern for this bag; I encourage you to create something unique for yourself.

Here is the video.  Happy Felting!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Scribble Knitting aka Scribble Lace

I first learned of Scribble Knitting in the August 2012 issue of Knit'n Style magazine.

There is an article by Lorna Miser, describing some different techniques of Scribble Knitting, along with a pattern for a cowl.

The basic idea is that you use two vastly different weights and textures of yarn; work so many rows in one yarn, then a row or two of the different yarn to create the 'scribbles'.

The second, contrasting yarn must be carried up the side when not in use, and on some rows, it is necessary to slide the fabric back to the opposite side of the needles so that the correct yarn can be picked up and knit with.  Because of this, circular or DPNs are used in Scribble Knitting.

I had to try this out for myself of course.  At the yarn store, I chose my first yarn: Crystal Palace Merino.  I asked the shop girls for advice on my second yarn.  It was suggested that I use a ribbon yarn.  However, as they did not have any ribbon yarn, and I don't care much for it to begin with, I decided to go with some luscious Malabrigo Worsted.  Also, I don't like to follow the rules, and wasn't looking to make anything too outrageous.  I wanted something I would actually wear in public.  And again, not liking rules that much, I did my project a little differently than any of the methods described in the magazine.

Once home, I started on my project, and knew I had made the right choice in yarn.  I love my wrap/extra large scarf.  Although it is very light and airy, it is pretty warm.  It is perfect!  I can't wait to play around with some other types of yarn and see what else I can come up with!   Here is a picture of my project, and the pattern is available for purchase in my Craftsy store.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Reversible Rectangle Scarf

Due to the plethora of requests I have had for the green scarf shown in my How to Knit a Scarf video,  (ok, not a plethora, but a lot!) I have finally sat down and written something up.

It is not quite exactly the same, but pretty darn close.  I could not locate the yarn used in that scarf, but the Patons Classic Wool I chose for the pattern is very nice.

The pattern is available for purchase in my Craftsy Store.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Join a New Ball of Yarn

If the Spit Splice or Russian Join aren't your deal, try just picking up your new yarn and knitting it in.

I like to do this if at all possible at the beginning of a new row, because it seems a bit neater for me, and is easier for me to weave in the ends of the old/new yarn.  Sometimes, however, it may be necessary to join somewhere else along your row.  This is fine.

This is how I do it:  Wrap the tail of the new ball around my finger to keep it out of the way, then, holding the tail from the old ball and the working yarn together, knit 3-4 stitches.  Drop the tail and continue knitting.

Remember on the return row you will have what looks like two stitches where you knit with both the old tail and new working yarn.  Be sure you knit these together as one stitch, otherwise you will be increasing your stitch count.  Weave in loose ends, and you are good to go.

Here is a video.  Happy Knitting!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Four Year Sweater

Yes, it took me four years to knit this sweater!  But I finally finished last night.  Right now it is drying outside.  I gave it a little bath in some SOAK, rolled in a towel to remove excess water, and then put it onto another towel to pat into shape.

I guess I did ok for my first sweater!  My tension got screwy in the yoke/neck area, it is looser than the rest of the sweater.  Not sure what happened there.  I can clearly see the decrease rounds, and that bothers me.  I also don't like the bunching, and don't know why that happened.  I was hoping it would be nice and flat like the body.  Blocking has helped a lot though.

I made the body longer than sweaters typically are, since the recipient requested it be done that way so when he bends over, .... well, you know!

I am happy this project is done, I learned a lot.  Especially that I don't care for knitting sweaters, and most likely will not make another one any time soon.

I made this with Cascade 220 using EZ's percentage method in the round.  It was really easy, and I am glad I decided to make the sweater this way, instead of having a bunch of parts to seam up.  The underarm seaming was enough for me, even though I love the magic of kitchener stitch.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Duplicate Stitch

 Duplicate Stitch is a super easy way to embellish and add color to your knitting.  All you need is a yarn/tapestry needle, and a different color of the same yarn you used for your project.  Preferably the same, or at least the same weight, of yarn.  This really isn't set in stone - feel free to experiment with different types of yarn if you like.  Just do a small swatch in the yarns of your choice to see how you like it, before going right to work on your finished item.

 If you decide to use a different yarn for your motif, keep in mind that if you plan on laundering your item, the two yarns should have the same laundering requirements.

Here are some photos, and a video of duplicate stitch.  You can chart out your own design on graph paper, or try taking a look through a book such as the Harmony Guides Colorwork Stitches, or Vogue Stitchionary 3.

Basically, duplicate stitch is just tracing or covering up your stocking stitch Vs with another yarn.  For your first stitch, you will want to leave a short tail, about an inch, and hold it in place with your finger while you finish the first stitch, just to make sure the yarn doesn't get pulled all the way out.

While doing the heart in my sample, I worked from left to right on the first row, then right to left on the row above, and so on.  Try not to jump around here and there too much,  in order to keep the back of your work as neat as possible.

Also, don't pull too tightly on your yarn, as this will cause your fabric to bunch up and it won't look pretty at all.

To weave in your ends when you are done, just tuck the tails under a few of the stitches on the back of the work.

Step One:
Come up at the bottom of your V.

Step Two:
Cover the right leg of your V.  Slip your yarn needle under the two legs of the V above the stitch you are currently working on.

Step Three:
Cover the left leg of your V.  Push the needle down into the same spot you came up at in Step One.

You have now made one duplicate stitch.

Repeat this process until you have drawn your motif onto your project.  If you make a mistake, it is really easy to fix.  Just work the steps backwards to remove the stitch(es) you don't want.

Here is the video.  Happy Knitting!

If you like the nails, you can find the Gradient Tutorial HERE

Friday, November 30, 2012

Heavenly Hues Yarn - Customer FO

Hi everyone!  My friend Judie from Heavenly Hues Yarn asked me to share this photo of a scarf knit by one of her customers.

This was knit with Candy, from Feza Yarn.

Judie sells Feza Yarns exclusively.  Please stop by Heavenly Hues Yarn and check it out.  In addition to the Feza Yarn, Judie has other knitting goodies including Eucalan, buttons, and tote bags.  She also serves up great customer service!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Knitted Broomstick Lace

Sample knit with Debbie Bliss Amalfi on US Size 7 needles

Knitted Broomstick Lace, no crochet hook required!  

I first saw broomstick lace a few years ago, and gave it a try, but didn't like fussing with the crochet hook.  The whole process was just too fiddly for me.  Imagine my surprise to learn that you can knit broomstick lace.  I saw this process in the Summer 2012 issue of Love of Knitting.  Along with instructions for the broomstick lace, there are a few patterns in the magazine.

The process is fairly simple.

Work with a multiple of 5
For the first row K1, YO(2) across the row.  That is, knit the first stitch, make a double yarn over, and repeat to the end of the row.
Next, you will be slipping the knit stitches and dropping the yarn overs.  Slip a total of five stitches to the right needle.  These stitches will be long/loose.
Then, place the five stitches back on the left needle.  You will now K1, YO, K1, YO, K1 into this group of five stitches, and drop from left needle.  Repeat this to the end of the row.

Love of Knitting did not specify how many rows of plain knitting to do in between the above steps.  I suppose it does not really matter, however, if you look at one side of your work you will see a strand running across the fabric.  You can see the strand in the picture of my sample from the front; it is more noticeable on the back.  If you work an even number of rows between the lace stitches, your strand will always be on the same side of the work.  You could set it up so that the strand shows alternately on the 'front' and 'back' of the work.  For me, I actually like the look of the strand running across the fabric, so consider this a reversible fabric.  Try a sample and see what you think.

Here is a video of the process.  I misspoke and said I had 25 stitches on my needles, I only worked with 20.  Happy Knitting!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Knit a Mini Christmas Stocking

Each year, I plan some type of holiday project that never works out.  This year, I actually got it done in time!

This cute little stocking is a fairly quick knit. One stocking uses less than 100 yards of worsted weight yarn (I used Cascade 220), and you don't even have to use red/green/white.  My test knitter used pink/grey/white and it looks very pretty!

You can use these for decoration, or stuff them with a few small gifts, such as gift cards or maybe some cash.  A plane ticket to a nice quiet beach.... ok that is my wish, but you get the idea!

Don't be afraid if you have never knit in the round, on DPNs, or made a sock.  This is really easy, I promise!  My test knitter has never knit socks, and has only limited DPN experience, and she was able to complete hers in an evening.   That was without the video, using a pre-edited pattern.  She also promises it is very easy!

I have a video of knitting the stocking incase you need help; that along with the written instructions should give you a quick, easy knit that will be done in time for Christmas!

Click on the picture below to get the pattern.  Happy Christmas Knitting!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Knitting With DPNs (Double Pointed Needles)

Just a little video on knitting with double pointed needles, or DPNs.  Not as complicated as you may think.  Although awkward at first, you will find a comfortable way to hold all of those pointy sticks while knitting.   And DPNs aren't just for knitting socks or other small scale items in the round.  I often use mine for cables, and you can use two to work flat.

DPNs come in all different lengths and sizes.  You can get them in bamboo, wood, metal and even acrylic.  Newer knitters may want to use wooden or bamboo needles, as there is less a chance of the yarn slipping off.

Here are some links so you can check out some of the DPNs available, and the video is below.  I tried not to have the points poking right in to the lens, but well, you know...

Blue Sky Alpaca 
Knitter's Pride Nova
Pony Pearl 
Kollage Squares
Knitter's Pride Karbonz
Colonial Rosewood

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Skinny Scarf in 2x2 Rib - Beginner Scarf

Here is the next project that I am doing for the beginners.  If you have already done the garter stitch scarf, and would like to move on to something a little more advanced, give this scarf a try.

In addition to the knit stitch, you will be purling, knitting two stitches together, purling two stitches together, and finally knitting into the front and the back of a stitch.

Knit two together (K2tog) and Purl two together (P2tog) are decreases, and by knitting into the front and back of a stitch (KFB) you will be increasing.

This scarf starts out on forty stitches, and this is decreased down to twenty after ten rows.  At the end of the scarf, we will increase back up to forty stitches, work for ten rows and then bind off.

You will need two balls of Cascade Cash Vero and US Size 9 needles to make this scarf or any yarn you like with the appropriate needle size for the yarn.

Happy Knitting!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Beaded Fringe

To go with the Double and Triple Knotted Fringe from last week, I thought I would throw in Beaded Fringe.

So super simple to do!  All you need are some beads appropriate for your yarn, a crochet hook or bead needle ( or other gadget to get the beads onto the yarn ) and you are ready.  Beads that are too big can fall off; if you find some beads that you really want to use, but they are too big for a single strand of yarn, you can use multiple strands, or after threading the yarn through the bead, bring the tail up and tie a knot above the bead.  Loopy beads :0)  I didn't show this in the video, because it only occurred to me now as I write this.

You can place the beads anywhere on the strands of fringe you like.  Near the top, bottom, or somewhere in the middle.

You can put them on randomly, or place them in specific places.  Use different colors, whatever you like.

Here is a short video.  Have fun adding beads to your fringe!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Double Knotted Fringe and Triple Knotted Fringe

Double Knotted Fringe
I love fringe.  It can turn a boring scarf into something more fun.  Usually, a single knotted fringe will suffice; but sometimes something a little more fancy is nice.

Here is a video showing both double and triple knotted fringe.  I am sure others may have their own methods, this is the easiest way for me.  If you make fringe, and find a different way works better for you, that is fine too.  You know my rule - there is no wrong way!

Triple Knotted Fringe
Make sure that your starting strands are at least several inches longer than you intend for the final fringe to measure.  The tying of knots takes away from the length, as does trimming the ends if you intend to do so.  It is better to have fringe that is too long than not long enough.  If you need to know how to add a simple, single knotted fringe, go HERE.

Once you have your single knotted fringe on, you can do the double or triple knotted fringe.  With the exception of the first and last group of single knotted fringe, all you are doing is tying an equal number of strands from each group of the single fringe together.  For the first group of fringe, I use the whole bunch, tied together with half of the second group of fringe.  For the last group of single knotted fringe, I use the last half of the next to last group, and tie it to the entire last single knotted fringe.  You can do as many rows of knots as pleases you, but for me I find one or two rows is enough.  Remember, make sure you have enough yarn so that your fringe still has some length to it after you have tied knots and trimmed ends.   I would recommend adding just a few test groups of fringe to see if you end up with the desired result, before cutting enough yarn to fringe your entire piece.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Knit a Garter Stitch Scarf - Knit Your First Scarf

This is a first project, geared towards the beginning knitter who can cast on, make the knit stitch, and bind off.  There is a video below that shows casting on, knitting the garter stitch fabric, binding off, and finally, weaving in the loose ends.   Links are given within the video for those who may need help casting on, knitting, and binding off.

You can use any yarn and needles you like to make a garter stitch scarf.  If you choose a chunky or bulky weight yarn and larger needles, your scarf will knit up faster.  It is also easier to work with larger needles and heavier weight yarn if you are a beginner.  A light colored yarn is recommended for new knitters, because the stitches are easier to see.

If you would like to make the scarf knit in the video, here is what you will need:

One (1) 5 oz. skein of Caron Simply Soft Chunky  (Yarn color in the video is Lavender Blue)
One (1) pair of US Size 10-1/2 needles
A yarn or tapestry needle for weaving in the loose ends

Finished size:
Approximately 51-1/2 inches long, 5-1/2 inches wide

Cast on 20 stitches

Knit until you have approximately 1 yard of yarn left.  Bind off, weave in loose ends.  Your new scarf is now ready to wear!

Here is the video.  Happy Knitting!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Scarf Knitting

Happy Monday everyone!  I hope all those in the path of Hurricane Sandy remain safe!

I just wanted to take a minute to talk scarf knitting.  As a beginner, one of your first projects will probably be a scarf.  There are a number of reasons for this, such as the fact that you needn't worry about calculating gauge, and you don't have to do anything fancy.  A simple garter stitch scarf is a very nice thing to have.

I do have a video, How to Knit a Scarf, in which I talk a little about how to make your own scarf.   The video is just basic, very general information - pick some yarn, needles, a stitch pattern, and off you knit.

There have been a number of rather passionate comments on this video (which I have deleted), in which knitters don't find the video helpful or informative, or they just don't understand the point of the video.  Some do not like the sped up portion of the video (there is a time limit on uploaded videos on YouTube, thus the speeding up).

As I said, the video is just general info, and it is really meant to be used just as a jumping off point.  It is assumed that the knitter already has a grasp of casting on, knitting/purling, and binding off.  The video is not meant to teach a specific knitting technique, nor is it meant to show you step by step how to knit a specific scarf, which is what some seem to think it is.

Since there has been so much ..... fluff.... over this video, I have decided to do a series of scarf videos for beginners.  These will be step by step, from cast on to bind off.  Due to time restrictions of YouTube, the entire video will not be able to be uploaded, as it would be several hours long.  I will do my best to give as much coverage to the knitting of the scarf as I can.

I don't have  a time frame on these videos.  I have a very busy non-knitting life, and it does take time to knit something.  It also takes time to write things up, make the video, edit the video, upload the video, etc.  I will start these as soon as time permits.  

Happy Knitting everyone!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Ruffled Eyelet Scarf Pattern

 My latest pattern is now available for purchase!  This is a potato chip scarf, with an extra touch - eyelets along the edges where the scarf ruffles.    SORRY PATTERN NO LONGER AVAILABLE

This is knit with one skein of Patons Lace yarn on US Size 7 needles.  I used the color Bonfire, but this will look great in any of the other colors.

All you need to know for this scarf is knit, purl, yarn over, and short rows. (There is no wrapping with these short rows, although you could if you want to)  If you need help with any of these, I have videos on my YouTube channel that you can watch.

Here are some more pictures:

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Knitting Cables

A lot of new knitters stay away from cables, because they seem difficult.  To a non-knitter, a cabled garment is a very impressive thing, because cables look like something that takes a lot of work.  In fact, cables are super easy to do!  All a cable is, is a set of stitches worked out of order.  That's it.  Cables can be knit with any yarn and any needles you like.  You can make them thick or thin, on a reverse stocking background, or any background you like.  There really aren't any rules (and rules are made to be broken anyhow, aren't they?!) as far as cables go.

This is the first in  a series of cable knitting.  This is just the basics - types of cable needles, and general info on cabling.  There will be additional posts and videos on reversible cables, cabling without a cable needle, working from a chart, etc.

Let's start with the cable needles.  There are a number of different types, and they are pretty much available at any craft store and your LYS of course.  You can even use a DPN, which is my preferred way unless I am working with more than 3-4 stitches, otherwise I don't bother.

Here are some of the different cable needles, and a set of DPNs too.  You don't want to use anything larger than the needle you are using to knit with, otherwise the stitches may get stretched.  Stick with something as close to your needles size as possible; you can use a smaller cable needle, but then there is the possibility it may slip out of the stitches.  The U shaped cable needles are a good choice for going with a smaller size since they hang nicely and don't slide around much.  You should use whatever is the most comfortable for you.

As a general rule, the number of stitches wide your cable is, is the number of rows in between cables.  For example, if you are knitting a 6 stitch cable, then you will want to cable on every 6th row.  Of course, this rule isn't set in stone.  You really don't want to work fewer rows because your cables will bunch up and just look like a lump of yarn.  You can though, work more rows in between cables.  Take  our 6 stitch cable; instead of crossing stitches on every 6th row, try crossing on the 8th, 10th, even 12th row.  The more rows you knit in between cables, the longer your cables will be.  Play around, do some swatching, and see what you like.  It's up to you.

If you look at the top of the picture of this 6 stitch cable, I have crossed stitches  on the very next right side row after my first cable.  To me, it doesn't look very good.  If I were to continue in this way, the fabric would start to bunch up.

Another generally followed rule is that you cross the same number of stitches over each other.  A 6 stitch cable is worked by crossing 3 stitches over 3 stitches.   You can change it up any way you like though.  Maybe 2 over 1, 4 over 2.  Your choice.

Let's talk background stitches.  A lot of cables you see will be worked in stocking stitch on a reverse stocking stitch background.  This makes the cables pop and stand out.  Again, this is not a rule that is carved in stone.  You can get equally pleasing results working cables on stocking stitch.  This is another instance where swatching is useful, because you can play around with backgrounds and see what you like best.  There is no wrong way to knit your cables.  Whatever looks good to you, is the right way.   You can also space your sets of cables as far apart or as near each other as you like.

Now, for the cable itself.  Some slant left, some slant right.  You may see patterns refer to cabling the stitches as cable left/right, twist left/right, cross front/back, or another similar phrase.  The pattern should give instructions on exactly what the terminology means.  Because I may use a term in a different way than another knitter, you shouldn't assume that we both mean the same thing even if we use the same wording.   Everybody tends to word things in a way that makes sense to them when writing patterns, so be sure you read your instructions carefully.  So, how do you make the stitches cross, or twist, or cable?  Easy.

If you want your cable to slant to the left, you will slip the required number of stitches to your cable needle and hold them in front of your work.  Knit the designated number of stitches from the left needle, then work the stitches waiting on the cable needle.

Holding stitches to the front of the work

You can see here that the stitches are pulling to the left  

If you want your cable to slant to the right, you will slip the required number of stitches to your cable needle and hold them in back of your work.  Knit the designated number of stitches from the left needle, then work the stitches waiting on the cable needle.

Holding stitches to the back of the work

View from the back of the stitches being held on the cable needle

You can see here that the stitches are pulling to the right 

You can find cable stitch patterns in just about every stitch pattern book.  Here are a few books you may want to look at:

By Barbara G. Walker
A Treasury of Knitting Patterns

A Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns

By Melissa Leapman

Cables Untangled: An Exploration of Cable Knitting

By Lily Chin

There is always the internet.  Just Google knit cable stitch patterns and you will get a good set of results.  A final word about cables.  Cabling tends to pull your fabric inward.  This fact should already be taken into consideration with commercial patterns; if you are designing your own garment, you will need to be sure to remember this fact, and adjust the number of stitches in your pattern to ensure your garment fits correctly.  I have never designed  anything (other than a cowl) with cables, so can't offer much more advise.   Knitting Paradise has a wealth of seasoned knitters who can probably answer questions on this topic in more detail, or try Googling the topic.

This should get you started with cables.  I will be back soon with more cables, stay tuned!

Here is a short video on the info above.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Shadow Knitting aka Illusion Knitting

Shadow or Illusion Knitting is a technique of knitting that looks like plain stripes when viewing the fabric straight on......

...but a picture appears if you look at an angle!  See the pink square in the center of the green border?  It is the same as the first sample, but you don't see the square in the center unless you look at an angle. Neat, huh?!

You may think this is a hard thing to accomplish, but it is actually very easy.  You only ever need to do knit or purl stitches, that is it.

The picture is formed on the wrong side of the fabric; instead of purling wrong side rows, you will make knit stitches to 'draw' your picture.  When you make a knit stitch on the wrong side of the fabric, it makes a bump on the right side - these bumps are what you see when looking at the fabric from an angle.

I like to think of shadow knitting as working with mountains and valleys.  If you think about what you see when you look at a mountain range, all you see are the peaks of the mountains.  The valleys are hidden.  Now, for shadow knitting - the mountain peaks are the knit stitches forming the picture, and they are surrounded by valleys - the stockinette rows before and after the knit stitches.  

Working with two colors, you will always knit the first row of each color.  Then, to make your 'valley' on the second row, you will be purling whichever stitches fall in front of your 'mountain peak', which will be worked on the second row of the next color.

The method I used to create my sample is the one described in Margaret Radcliffe's book I note below. I am sure others have their own way of doing things.  I will show these steps in the video.

  • First, create your picture on graph paper.  You can get some free graph paper here.  
  • Next, you are going to redraw your picture, but this time put three blank rows in between each line of pattern.
  • Then, redraw the picture one more time, adding three times the width to each line of pattern.
  • Finally, draw an outline around your picture, keeping the lines on the sides right against the picture stitches, but one row above and below the picture.
  • My next step is to fill in the rest of the chart with either knit or purl stitches.  The picture is all knit stitches, and those are already drawn in.  The first row of each color will be knits.  For the second row of my background color (the green), I need to purl all stitches that fall in line with my picture, and the rest will be knits.  On the second row of my picture color (the pink), I will purl all stitches before and after the picture.  

I think that about covers everything!

This probably makes no sense right now, but once you try a little sample swatch of this technique, it will make more sense.

Some tips for shadow or illusion knitting:

  • Work with two colors that have a great contrast - the pink and green I used in the sample above, or black/white for example.
  • Keep your picture simple
  • Small elements (one or two stitches) might get lost in the big picture, so you may be able to remove them from the equation all together. 
  • Use any type of yarn you like, but both colors should be the same type.  (Two colors in wool, two colors in acrylic, etc)
  • If you work from a chart, read beginning at Row 1, right to left.  Wrong side rows are read left to right.  (If you make up your own chart, you can create it so that the rows are read in any direction you like, if you prefer to only read from right to left, or only left to right. It's your chart, afterall.  Whatever makes sense to you.)
Below is the chart for the sample pictured above, and what we are going to knit in the video.  Your chart does not need to be created with knitting software or colored, like mine.  You can use good old pencil and paper.  And yes, you will probably want to use pencil instead of ink, because chances are you will need to erase and redo. I used pencil and paper for my initial workup of the pattern, just to show you the process.  The chart below is just for the sake of neatness for this post, and so that you can see the finished chart clearly.  You can also use colors to help keep track of which color you need to knit with on any given row, but that part is optional.

I first saw this technique mentioned in Margaret Radcliffe's The Essential Guide to Color Knitting Techniques.  I know, I know, you have probably heard me say I hate color work and fussing with all those extra balls of yarn.  So why do I have a book on color work?  It looked interesting to me, and I do like to get any information I can on knitting, even if it is a technique I don't often use or like.  And of course, shadow knitting is so cool!  

If you like this knitting technique, you may also want to check out Shadow Knitting by Vivian Hoxbro.  I do not have this book so can't vouch for it, but you can look inside via the link.

I made a hot pad a few years ago, you can get the pattern by clicking this link.

You can also see more shadow knitting goodness at Woolly Thoughts and at Fresh Isle Fibers.

OK, moving on.  Here is my chart for the sample I knit.  It is very simple and to the point, only knits and purls.  I colored it just to make sure I used the appropriate colors. 

And here is a brief video, just going over the above written stuff.  

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Romni Wools, 658 Queen St. West, Toronto (Canada)

I visited Romni Wools on Saturday, September 22, 2012.  I just don't even know where to begin, as I am still at a loss for words about this place.

I was so excited to be there, I didn't even take a picture of the front of the store, sorry.  I did however take an abundance of pictures of the inside.

If you ever have the opportunity to visit Romni Wools, you absolutely should go!!  You won't be sorry, I promise!  Truly, go!!

Romni Wools has the best selection of yarn, notions, books and magazines of any place I have ever been to.  The place is literally stocked from floor to ceiling.  I was just in absolute awe the moment I walked in the door.  I had read about this place of course, but you really don't get the full effect unless you see it in person. OH, yes.  They even have a basement, filled to the brim with even more yarn!

About a week before my trip, I was reading reviews and there were a few that said customer service wasn't the best.  My experience was quite the opposite - more than one employee asked how I was doing and if I needed help.  I was greeted upon entering.  I asked for and received a shopping basket - I knew I would need it!   I also saw several other customers get help from the staff.  I can't say what the problem was with those who said they didn't get good service.  I received and saw great customer service at Romni Wools!

Again, I am pretty much at a loss for words.  I am just going to once again, recommend that you go if possible, and let the pictures speak for themselves.  If I can't get all of these to load on this one post, I will add a second post.

Pictures of my purchase will be in a separate post.   Click on any picture to enlarge it.