Monday, April 27, 2015

My Spring Hat

The brim is flipped up, because I like to wear it that way.

Behold, my spring hat! I made it with my own handspun using the pattern I teach my beginning knitting students at community education. It's not too late to sign up!

If you're already familiar with casting on, knits, purls and decreases, but still want to come to class, I'll have a fingerless mitt pattern for you to try. Or, bring any project you want and I'll walk you through it!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Flash Sale at Craftsy!

The banner should be showing this, too, but I wanted to let you all now there's a sale on supplies this weekend at Craftsy! It starts today and ends at midnight on 4/26, so don't waste any time.

Securing A Ball Winder/ Swift

Sometimes you want to put a ball winder on an edge of a table that's not perfectly square. Maybe it's bull-nosed or has a weird lip on it. Despair not! A cheapo jar opener can help keep the clamp from slipping off and sending your poor winder flying. (If you care a lot about the surface, be sure to check to make sure said jar opener isn't degrading and melting itself onto your table/bar/whatever every couple of weeks.)

P.S. - Are you coming to Yarnover? Come see me! I'll be at Saga Hill Designs. 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Grafting, Kitchener Stitch and the Modern Knitter

I haven't found a perfect way to teach Kitchener Stitch, or Grafting, to everybody. All of the methods that use "go through this stitch knit-wise and that stitch purl-wise" leave me a bit cold. They require that your stitches be seated on the needle a certain way, and not everyone knits (or purls) in only one way.

My solution is to get the stitches off of the needles, as soon as possible. I use a little dental floss as a "safety net" when I do this. But, this doesn't help you if you aren't at least a little comfortable with the technique, already.

So, I turn to my guiding star for All Things That Are Kind of Tricky, the TECHknitter.

She has two excellent posts about Kitchener Stitch. Here's one that uses a darning needle. Here's another one that doesn't.

The ugly truth is, this is one skill that you have to practice to master. I mean, practice a lot. Often. Use up every little gauge swatch you've ever saved by grafting them to each other until you feel good about it.

AND, if you are someone who has to have a quiet place with good light and either a YouTube video or written instructions to manage it, that's ok, too. As long as you get a result you like, it doesn't matter how you get there. You are not a lesser knitter because of that.

I actually got a lot better at Kitchener stitch when I practiced a lot of darning and Swiss darning. It really taught me the "path" of the yarn through the stitches.

Oh, and there's also a (FREE) Craftsy class with everything you might want to know about seaming, including grafting.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

My Teeny, Tiny Manifesto

This is what I'm trying to do.

from The Opinionated Knitter

I don't want to compare myself, directly, to Elizabeth Zimmermann, because I respect her way too much, but I'm trying to give socks the same sort of treatment she gave to seamless sweaters. 

It all hinges on the "key number," which she called K, for the number of desired stitches at the chest. 

I call the number of stitches used for the body of the sock S. S tells you what to do to make any toe you want. 

Half of S is X. Once you know X, you can make any heel you want. 

That's it. Please don't be scared off by X and S! 

(If I had realized I would be pronouncing X and S, I would have chosen different variables. They sound REALLY alike, no?)

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Donna Druchunas' Sock Classes on Craftsy

Donna Druchunas, the force of nature behind the incredible Sheep to Shawl series, is also Craftsy instructor. We met up, over email, to talk about our classes. Here's the skinny on hers:

Does your class cover cuff down, toe up, or both?
DD: I have 3 sock classes on Craftsy. Knit Sock Workshop and Knit Original Toe Up Socks both cover toe-up sock knitting. Knit Original Cuff Down Socks covers, perhaps obviously, cuff down socks.

What kinds of heels and toes are covered in your course?
Knit Sock Workshop has a Bosnian Toe, a Swirl Toe, and basic afterthought heels.
Knit Original Toe Up Socks has a wedge toe, a mocassin toe, and a short-row tow. The heels are a gusset heel, an afterthought heel, and a short-row heel.
Knit Original Cuff Down Socks has a wedge toe, a round toe, and a short-row toe with choices of a Dutch heel, a French heel, and an short-row heel.

Does the course include patterns? If not, how to the students create a finished sock?
Knit Sock Workshop has patterns for a lace sock and a colorwork sock. The colorwork sock can be worked in a single color for beginners.
The Knit Original Cuff Down and Toe Up classes each have a universal pattern for students to create their own custom-fit socks as well as 3 bonus patterns.

What kind of fitting information do you include? Is it about customizing patterns or creating unique sock designs?

DD: In the Knit Original Socks classes I mostly focus on creating unique socks, but have a few tips on working with patterns to improve fit. Knit Sock Workshop is all about working from the patterns.

Monday, April 20, 2015


I know April is almost over, but I wanted to let you all know about the “When Life Gives You Lemons” Lemon Stress Ball pattern - There is a crochet version and a knit version, and they are both part of the #StitchAwayStress campaign by the Craft Yarn Council as part of National Stress Awareness Month.

Also available on that page is a link to a fun video/tutorial on YouTube from Twinkie Chan for the lemon stress ball and a video that features personal stories from a variety of people who have used knitting and crochet to reduce stress. If you make a stress ball, please post a photo of it with the hash tag #StitchAwayStress and #lemonstressball on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. 

Even if you don't want to make your own lemon, go look for #StitchAwayStress on its InstagramFacebookPinterest and Twitter.