Showing posts with label knitting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label knitting. Show all posts

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!

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.

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.

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.