Sunday, January 29, 2012

3 Needle Bind Off

 The Three Needle Bind Off is a great technique which joins sets of live stitches.  You can use it to bind off and join shoulder seams, among other things.   Perhaps you would like to use a particular stitch for a scarf, and would like each end of the scarf to look the same.  For instance, a lacy heart motif where the hearts face the same direction, would look better if you knit until the scarf is half as long as you want it to be, and then knit the other half, and join them using the 3 needle bind off.  This way, your scarf would look exactly the same on both ends, instead of the hearts being upside down on one end.  This is a great way to join two pieces of a scarf where a ruffle is knit on at the beginning of the fabric.  By knitting the pieces separately and then joining them in the middle, each end of your scarf will have a perfectly matching ruffle.

This technique requires a third needle in the mix.  If you don't have a third needle the same size as the one you used to knit your fabric, a size larger may be used, which will help keep your seam from being too tight and puckering the fabric.  Or, you can use a smaller needle to hold the stitches from the first piece of knitting, so that your second needle is freed up to knit the second piece and do the joining.  A more fiddly way is to place the live stitches onto a stitch holder, and then before doing the 3 needle bind off, slip them back to your second needle, then use a larger needle to bind off.  Whichever way you feel most comfortable is the way you should do it.

You will get a nice, neat invisible seam on the right sides of your fabric using this technique -  or, it can be used for decorative purposes on the right sides of the fabric.

For an invisible seam on the right sides of the fabric, you will want to make sure that the right sides are facing each other for the join.

To make the seam visible, make sure that the wrong sides of the fabric are facing each other for the join.

Make sure that you have an equal number of stitches on each needle to bind off, also.

Below is a picture of two pieces of garter fabric that have been joined using the 3 needle bind off

And here is a little sample of stockinette fabric that has been joined
I accidentally deleted the back side, showing the neat seam - you can get a look at it in the video though.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Join a New Ball of Yarn

Yarn is Cascade 220

 How great is this join?!  Simple and easy to do - you can use any yarn, too.  Other than the Spit Splice, or Felted Join, this has to be my favorite method of joining a new ball of yarn.  Rather than still photos, I am just doing the video on this one.  If you haven't tried this yet, you must. You will need a yarn or tapestry needle to do this, and about 30-60 seconds.  That's it.

In the picture above, I used two different colors just for ease of demonstration, but most likely you will be using the same color of yarn.  Even if you are using two different colors, once you've knit the join area, it really blends in well with the fabric and you will be hard pressed to tell where the join is once it is done.

Hope you like it.  Happy Knitting and Enjoy!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Vanna's Choice Contest 2012

If you would like to enter the contest, check out the link below for details.  Hurry, the deadline is February 1, 2012.

Lots of prizes - top prize is a trip for two to meet Vanna and a chance to win $100,000.00!

4th Annual Vanna's Choice Contest - 2012

Knit a Potato Chip Scarf - Flutter Scarf

Flutter Scarf in Mongolian Cashmere, 2 Ply from Jade Sapphire.  I used the color Candy Girl.  - Free Pattern is below.  Want more ruffles?  Check out my Amazing Curly Scarf!

Potato Chip scarf, spiral scarf, ruffle scarf - whatever you call it, this scarf is girly and cute.  The first time I saw this type of scarf was in a yarn shop in New Jersey a couple of years ago.  I was looking at it, trying to figure out how it was done.  The shop owner said it was done with short rows.  I had only briefly played with short rows at that point, and wasn't really that sure how to knit something using short rows. I was afraid to ask, and too cheap to purchase the pattern.  I have now sort of figured out short rows, and came up with this scarf.

There are many ways to make a potato chip scarf.  Below I have some links so you can see some of the different methods - they are really all very similar and produce a scarf that looks like mine.

Knitting short rows creates wedges, which in turn creates the ruffles, or waves, or potato chips on the scarf.  This scarf does spiral, but not quite as much as the Amazing Curly Scarf pattern I posted a while back.  I did not wrap my stitches before turning, however you may do so if you like.  You can find more info on short rows and wrapping and turning here if you don't know how.  

For my scarf, I started out by knitting a small number of stitches, then worked up to a larger number before knitting all the way across to work the other side.  I left one stitch up the middle which is only knit on the full row - it is left unworked as I knit the wedges on the sides.  Some patterns use over lapping wedges, others do not have a middle, unworked stitch.  Some start out working more stitches and then wind down to a fewer number before the full row.  I recommend playing around and trying different methods to see what you like in whichever yarn you choose to use.  Keep in mind that your ruffles will not appear right away - you will be a good several inches in on the scarf before you begin to see the ruffles.   And, when you bind off, the scarf will shape itself to match the cast on edge.  I like to refer to the edges as bows, because that's what they look like to me.


Rustic Potato Chip Scarf
Potato Chip Scarf
Helix Scarf

Here is a video to give you the general idea of knitting potato chip scarves.  Enjoy!

Wrap and Turn Short Rows

Short Rows confused me for a very long time.  I played with them a few times, but the 'wrap and turn' didn't make any sense to me; and then picking up those wraps?  Forget it.  Turns out, wrapping the stitches and picking up those wraps is really not necessary.  Most knitters do it to help avoid holes in their fabric.  As I was knitting the Flutter Scarf (which is all short rows), I did not wrap my stitches.  I found that I really didn't have issue with any holes, at least not big gaping holes I imagined would happen without wrapping before turning.

There are many different types of short rows, and each particular method may be done differently by each knitter.  The Wrap and Turn method is the only one I have used thus far, but I am interested in learning some of the other methods.  Below are some links to other types of short rows, as well as a video on how I do the wrap and turn.  I hope this helps.  If you know of other ways to work short rows, feel free to post a comment!

The basic idea on short rows is, knit (or purl) the designated number of stitches, and then turn and work those same stitches again.  You will have unworked stitches left on the needle.  Continue knitting and turning as your pattern directs.

If you want to wrap your stitch before turning:

On a Knit side:  Leave the working yarn at the back of the work, slip the next stitch on the left needle purlwise to the right needle, bring the working yarn to the front of the work, slip the stitch back to the left needle, turn and continue knitting - your yarn should be in front of the work, assuming your next row is a purl row.  Don't pull the yarn too tightly around the stitch - you just want to wrap it in a hug, not strangle it to death.   To hide the wrap, you need to knit it together with the stitch it is wrapping.  When you reach the wrapped stitch, insert the right needle into the wrap and then into the stitch and knit them together.  It may be easier to do this if you put the wrap onto the left needle beside the stitch.

On a Purl side: Leave the working yarn at the front of the work, slip the next stitch on the left needle purlwise to the right needle, bring the working yarn to the back of the work, slip the stitch back to the left needle, turn and continue knitting - your yarn will be at the back of the work, assuming your next row is a knit row.   To hide the wrap, you will again need to purl the wrap and the stitch it wraps together.  I find it easiest to slip the wrapped stitch to the right needle, pick up the wrap with the left needle, then slip the stitch back to the left needle and purl them together.


Japanese Short Rows: if Nona Knits then you can too
German Short Rows and W&T:  from Ravelry
Short Row info of all kinds: from TECHknitter
Making and Common Uses: from Knitpicks

The reason I decided to make this video is because short rows are how my potato chip scarf is knit (Flutter Scarf pattern is here on the post after this one).  Other than just messing around and trying to figure things out, this is the first project I have used short rows on.

Here is my video: