• Blog,  Tips and Tricks

    Ideas for Self Patterning Yarn – Part 1

    A few years ago, when the yarn companies came out with printed, aka as self patterning sock yarns they were all the rage. Like most knitters I was also fascinated. They are so colorful and fun to work with – seeing the pattern develop as your project grow, how could one resist them? Well, I couldn’t. Especially not, when I saw them in the yarn store and most especially not when they were on sale. So I accumulated quite a stash.

    But as with many things, once the novelty wore out, they lost a bit of thier attraction. Everybody was knitting all kinds of things with print yarns and I grew tired of seeing them, somehow. I still like them for socks, but I really, really, really do not need the amount of socks I could knit from all the print yarn I have on stash. But bigger projects like shawl or garments made from self patterning yarn look strange to me, so I was looking for a solution that would work for me and I decided to soften the effect by adding a solid color.

    So I made a few swatches and started a few projects which I am going to present you over the next few days. Lets start with the easiest version today:

    Alternating Garter Rows

    Shown from the front and from the back. I used one skein of self-patterning yarn and one skein of solid pastel pink. I can easily see this as a simple assymmetrical triangle shawl – maybe spruced up with fringes or tassels at the corners.

    Knitting this simple stashbusting shawl is easy:

    With C1: co 3 sts
    Row 1: kfb, k2 (4 sts)
    Row 2: k1 with both yarns held together, k3
    Row 3: With C2 kfb, k to end. (+ 1 st)
    Row 4: k1 with both yarns held together, k to end.
    Row 5: With C1 kfb, k to end (+ 1 st)
    Row 6: k1 with both yarns held together, k to end.

    Repeat Rows 3 to 6 until your shawl has the desired size.

    Abbreviations:

    C1, C2: color 1, color 2
    co: cast on
    kfb: knit into front and back (1 stitch increased)
    k: knit

    In the next installment we will tackle the Moss Stich, but meanwhile you can start your stashbusting garter triangle.

    Hugs

    Ingrid ♥
    Live. Knit. Love.

  • Tips and Tricks

    A long long tail cast-on

    If you are anything like me, you have your favorite cast-on method. For me it is the long tail cast on (LTCO), since this is the one I learned from my mum. Unless otherwise specified in instructions I use the long tail method by default.

    Since I am knitting very tightly, I do my LTCO with both needles held togetherle. It is a stretchy cast on method per se, but I have some problems to insert the needle when knitting the first row if I do it with a single needle. I acutally learned the method over two needles first and it never occurred to me that you could use just one single needle as well until I started to read a lot about knitting on the internet some 15 years ago. I was also unaware that there are OTHER cast on methods – duh.

    In the meantime I know better, of course. Some time ago I purchased the excellent reference book “Cast on, Bind Off: 54 Step-by-step Methods” by Leslie Ann Bestor and have used many of the described methods, depending on the project.

    But still the LTCO is close to my heart  and I use it often, especially  for garments. The one problem that many knitters, including myself, have with this method is, how to estimate the length of the tail needed and many of you will have experienced at least once the desaster of casting on one hundred plus stitches only to find out that you do not have enough yarn for the last 10 stitches and have to start from the beginning. If you’ve been there, you know how it feels.

    You can avoid this if you use two strands of yarn for casting on. Either take the second one from a second skein or from the other end of your skein and you will never run out of yarn.  Granted, you have to weave in two more ends, but IMHO it’s totally worth it and saves you the frustration of having to rip out your work  before you even properly started.

    Another thing I do when casting on (or picking up) a large number of stitches: I’m a poor counter and always loose track of my stitch count. So I put stitch markers or loops of scrap yarn in regular intervals – say, every 10, 20 or even 50 stitches which makes counting SO much easier. Take out the markers when you knit the first row – it’s as easy as that.

    Happy knitting and love from

    Ingrid