Category Archives: Tips and Tricks

Summit Scarf – Triple Knotted Fringe

The Summit Scarf from our Colorful Commute e-book features triple knotted fringe. It is an easy way to add a lot of visual interest to your project. It may look complicated, but it’s really quite simple and doesn’t take much more time or effort than plain fringe. Today I’ll show you how to do it!

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Step 1: Begin as you normally would when adding fringe to a project, for this scarf I cut 21” strands of yarn. Then, holding two strands together as one, I attached groups of fringe to the edge of the scarf, about one group every other stitch.

Step 2: Take half of one group of fringe knot together with half of next group of fringe 1” below first row of knots. I did not split the first and last groups of fringe.

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Step 3: Repeat for another row of knots. To finish, trim fringe evenly.

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That’s all there is to it! You can keep adding more rows of knots to create some really amazing  and intricate looking fringe, use longer strands of yarn when increasing the number of knotted rows. Beads can be placed above the knots (or even in place of the knots) to add some sparkle – there are so many possibilities.

 

 

Trade Street Cowls and Hat – Applied Crochet Lines

Today, I have another tutorial involving a crochet hook  to go along with our In Transit e-book.  The Trade Street Cowls and Hat pattern uses contrasting applied crochet lines to create vertical stripes. The  lines are added to the purl columns in the finished pieces.

The Trade Street Hat and Cowls feature an applied crochet stripe. No carrying colors on the back side! The pattern comes with both long and short versions of the cowl.
The Trade Street Hat and Cowls feature an applied crochet stripe. No carrying colors on the back side! The pattern comes with both long and short versions of the cowl.

It can be a lot of fun choosing the color for the applied crochet lines, and there are a few options, depending on the look you would like to create. Using a solid color in Uptown Bulky that also appears in the Main Color produces a plaid-like effect. With Classic Shades Big Time as the Contrasting Color, there are a ton of options – choose a highly contrasting section of the color repeat to make the stripes pop, use a section that is neutral or similar to the Main Color for more subtle stripes or choose a section with quicker color changes for gradient stripes.

Let’s get started!

Once you have finished and blocked your cowl or hat, you are ready to add the applied crochet lines.

Step 1: Holding yarn beneath work, insert crochet hook through the center of the first purl st in a column.

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Step 2: Pull a loop of yarn through to the front of the work.

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Step 3: Insert hook through the next st up in the same purl column, pull a loop of yarn through to the front of the work (2 loops on hook), pull the second loop through the first loop (1 loop on hook); repeat along entire column.

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Step 4: When entire column is complete, break yarn, leaving a 3 to 4 inch tail and pull through last loop.

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Step 5: Pull tail to wrong side and weave in ends.

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Keep going until all of the purl columns have applied crochet lines.

Will you go for subtle or bold stripes on your Trade Street Cowls and Hat?

 

 

 

Free Pattern Friday – Sideline Scarves

It’s Free Pattern Friday!

Just in time for football season (and gift knitting season!), we have the Sideline Scarves. And a photo tutorial!

Each scarf requires 1 ball of Uptown Worsted Spirit Stripes and 1 ball of Uptown Worsted. 1 strand of each yarn is held together throughout the scarf.

Though these scarves look like intarsia, I can assure you there is no manual changing of colors in this project. The vertical striping along this piece is inherent in the yarn print. This project takes advantage of the color changes in the yarn, and employs what we call “intentional color pooling.” The reason for the tutorial below rather than a simple pattern is that the color changes in Spirit Stripes can vary just a bit from skein to skein. With the method below, no matter what the lengths of color are in your particular skein, you can achieve intentional color pooling.

With just a little bit of preparation, you’ll be knitting away in no time!

Here’s how to do it!

When choosing yarn colors, it’s best to pick a color in Uptown Worsted solids that contrasts with the Spirit Stripes. In the tutorial below, I’m using Uptown Worsted 324 Black with Spirit Stripes 517 Arena (red and yellow)

Step 1: Holding both yarns together, cast on 30-40 stitches with a US Size 10 1/2 needle. Make sure that the last cast-on stitch ends right at the end of that particular color section in the Spirit Stripes. This is important because we’re going to be calculating just how many stitches are consumed by each section of color.

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Step 2: Work in K1, P1 Ribbing through the end of the first section of color. Count how many stitches it took to get through this color, and round to the nearest even number. We will call this number of stitches “X.” If you’re as absent-minded as me, write this number down!

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Step 3: Next, work in K1, P1 Ribbing through the second color and count the stitches. You will most likely have to turn the row before you’ve made it through this color – that’s okay, it’s unimportant now. We will call this color “Y.” Y may not be the same number as X, because the color sections are not always exactly the same length.

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Step 4: Unravel your knitting from above. Add X + Y, then divide in half. The resulting number will be your cast on. Your cast on number should be roughly 24-30 stitches.

Step 5: With waste yarn, make a crochet chain that is several stitches longer than your cast on number. Now, holding both yarns together, from the tail end of the yarns, find a color section a few colors from the end. Find the halfway point of this section of color. Be sure to leave at least a yard or so of tail for binding off later.

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Step 6: Beginning at that halfway point in the first color section, working through the bottom bump of each crochet chain, [pick up and knit 1 stitch, pick up and purl 1 stitch] until you’ve run to the end of this color. The number of stitches you were able to pick up should be half of X (or Y). If you picked up more or fewer stitches before reaching the end of the color change, take out a few stitches and adjust tension as needed.

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Step 7: Continuing where you left off in the rib sequence (you may have left off with either a pick up and knit or pick up and purl), pick up stitches in K1, P1 Ribbing until you have run halfway through the second color. This number should be half of X (or Y). If it is not, take out a few stitches and adjust your tension.

The total number of stitches on your needle should be the cast-on number figured in Step 4, or X + Y divided by 2.

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Step 8: Now it’s time for the fun part – the knitting! Turn your work. Work in K1, P1 Ribbing until you reach the end of that color. Your last stitch in this color (shown yellow below) should fall right on top of the first stitch yellow stitch. If it doesn’t, take a few stitches out and adjust your tension.

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Step 9: Continue in K1, P1 Ribbing to the end of the row. You should now be halfway through the second color (shown red below).

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Repeat Steps 8 & 9 until you have about 1 yard of yarn left, enough to bind off.

Here is another version of the scarf, a little further along:

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You can see that the midway point between the colors is not perfect – and that’s okay! Just be sure not to get too far off track with your alignment of the colors, or it will be tougher to correct when you get farther into the scarf.

Pick your team, choose your colors, and get knitting!

New Bern Cowl – Faux Cable Fundamentals

Have you seen the New Bern Cowl and wondered how I created that faux cable look? Today, I’ll show you how, step by step!

So easy! The New Bern Cowl calls for just two balls of Big Time and a US Size 15 (10mm) needle.

It is a very simple technique, but brace yourself knitters…it does involve a crochet hook! Don’t worry though, if you can do a simple chain, you can do this.

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Pretty easy, right? I can’t wait for you to try it out on your very own New Bern Cowl!

Free Pattern Friday – One Side Cowl

It’s Free Pattern Friday!

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Today, the One Side Cowl in Bamboo Bloom Handpaints.

Recently, we sent some stitching work to a talented local knitter and teacher, Sandy Harris.  (Side note about Sandy – she’s also a creator of the knitting game Last Knitter Standing.  If you haven’t tried it, you should – it’s a hoot.) When we got Sandy’s project back, we were delighted to also receive this – a new one-skein pattern in Bamboo Bloom Handpaints!  She had picked up a skein of the yarn and been inspired.  It’s not hard to see why – Steven Be’s custom colorways certainly fire the imagination.

one-side-cowl-wide-square-blogSandy has created a moebius cowl with judiciously spaced yarn overs for additional pizzazz.  This cowl-with-a-twist uses a moebius cast-on, which may be a new technique for some of you.  It certainly is for me!  With that in mind, our newest designer, Tori Gurbisz, volunteered her hands to show us how it’s done.  These photos cover Row 1 of the moebius cast-on in the pattern.

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You’re going to wind up with a loop within a loop.  Don’t worry, it’s supposed to be kind of “tied” to itself like that.  This technique will put a half-twist in your finished cowl.

We hope you get the chance to try something new this weekend.  And if you’ve got questions, let us know – we love to help!

Happy knitting!

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The Mighty Spit Splice

How’s everyone coming along with their Deluxe Cable Collection knitalong projects? As I’ve been knitting along on my own Wesley Heights project I have already worked my way through a few skeins of yarn.

View of my back piece in progress:

Back

I would like to share with you one of the best reasons for knitting with 100% wool, such as our Deluxe Worsted or Deluxe Chunky: the spit splice. Once I get into the right frame of mind, I don’t mind weaving in ends too much. But I don’t exactly enjoy it, either. The fewer, the better! By joining ends of wool yarn in the middle of a piece of knitting using the spit splice method, you don’t have to go back and weave these in later.

Here’s how to do it:

(shown in 2 colors for illustration purposes only)

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Step 1: Split the plies from each end into 2. Deluxe Worsted is made up of 4 plies, so I’ve split it into sections with 2 plies each. Do this for about 1 1/2 – 2″ along each end.

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Step 2: Cut or tear half of each strand about 1″ from the end. By reducing the bulk of each strand in half, it will make your join as smooth and seamless looking as possible.

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Step 3: Place the strands together, fitting the 2-strand sections together.

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Step 4: Spit! I have no qualms about spitting on my yarn. But if the thought of this grosses you out, just use a little water.  Get the strands moist, but not drenched. You just need enough moisture to help bind the fibers.

Pro tip: Don’t spit splice light colored yarn if you have been drinking red wine.

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Step 5: Rub the strands between your palms to create friction. Do this rapidly for a few seconds up and down the joined section. Tug gently on the join to make sure it has adhered. If it hasn’t, rub the strands a bit more.

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And that’s it! You’re ready to keep knitting on your piece with the knowledge that you have 2 fewer ends to weave in later.

What are you knitting from the Deluxe ebook? I’d love to hear about it over in our Ravelry group.

 

Herringbone Shawl – Understanding Construction

Today I want to talk about the cover project from Contrarian Shawls 2 , the Herringbone Shawl knit in Dona.

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If I had to pick a single knitting technique to call my favorite, it would have to be stranded knitting, or knitting with multiple colors in the same row or round. I knew I wanted to include a stranded project in this collection, and I knew I didn’t want it to be too fussy.

Stranding can be intimidating to knitters who have never done it before, particularly worked back and forth in rows. The dreaded wrong side purling of stranding strikes fear and loathing in the hearts of many a knitter! So when planning this project, I wanted to be sure not to turn off these knitters and made sure all the work was done in the round. (For the record, purling stranded knitting is like anything else – with practice, it’s not that bad!)

So how is a rectangular stole worked in the round you ask? That’s what we’re going to talk about today.

Here is a simplified diagram of the shawl, showing the cast-on in the middle:

 

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Though this is perhaps misleading, because in the diagram the cast-on edge as shown as a straight line. But in reality, you cast on but then join in the round, like this:

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Later, after the shawl is bound-off, you go back and seam the cast-on edge together which forms the center line.

The shaping is mitered, so you’re increasing along each of the 4 corners. There are 8 increases per round, 1 on each side of the pink contrast color lines:

Increasepoints

Speaking of those pink contrast lines, that’s another little technique that might sound harder than it really is. The pink lines are worked in intarsia, another method of changing colors in knitting. But instead of carrying the yarn along throughout the entire round, you only pick up that particular color when encountered.

For the Herringbone Shawl, I recommend preparing yarn bobbins for these corner spots. Yarn bobbins can be purchased, or you can easily make them yourself. I’ve used cardboard before, but the ideal material for making bobbins is something just a little sturdier like plastic lids from margarine containers or the like.

Cut out a shape like this, and make little snips where the dotted lines are:

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Then, secure the yarn tail to one of the snips on the yarn bobbin, wind the yarn around, bring the other end out of the top snip, and cut the yarn.

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Use 1 bobbin for each corner. When it’s time to use this CC, free the yarn from that top snip in the bobbin. When you’re done with it for the round, just tuck it back in the snip. This will keep things organized and prevent you from having lots of loose and tangled ends on the back of the work.

When it’s time to knit the corners, drop the other two colors (MC and CC1), pick up CC2 (the pink), knit the 2 corner stitches, then drop CC2 and proceed with MC and CC1. That’s all there is to it.

Though I think the pink corner lines add a fun element to this piece, I could certainly see Herringbone without them. If you decide you’re not ready to introduce intarsia into your stranding, simply work these 2-stitch corners in the main color instead.

What colors will you knit your Herringbone Shawl in?