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!