Category Archives: Tips and Tricks

Rocked Knitalong, increasing in pattern

I have seen the terror in the eyes of knitter when they read these words, “increase in pattern.” Or “decrease in pattern”, or “maintain stitches in pattern”, or any other number of similar phrases. What does this mean, “in pattern”???

I hope to demystify this for you, at least as far as you need to know for the Rocked top. And the main body pattern in Rocked is actually a really good pattern to learn this concept on. The stitch repeat is only 4 stitches wide x 4 rows high, so it’s reasonably easy to “read” your work.

Here is how the text for the “Increase for Sleeves” section reads:

Cast on 2 sts at beg of next 6 rows, cast on 10 sts at beg of next 2 rows. While it doesn’t expressly say so, the pattern is telling you to also maintain stitches in pattern when casting on.

I’ll try to go about this a couple of ways. For anyone who understands what it means to “maintain in pattern” or just wants to jump right in, I have made a chart for the sleeve increases:


Rows 1-8 of the chart show the increases. After that point, because we have increased a multiple of 4 stitches on each side, the number of stitches for a full pattern repeat, we will simply continue to follow Rows 1-4 of the Mesh pattern.

To try and break it down, let’s look at just the right side portion of the increase chart.



For our first 2-stitch cast on, we will then have to work back across those stitches on RS row 1. Although after having cast-on 2 stitches we could fit in part of a pattern repeat, it’s not usually a good idea to do so directly onto cast on stitches. K2tog and ssk are tough to do over cast on stitches, and it’s just not worth it to do it here. Plus, we will be seaming this area later and we want it to be stable.

On the following WS row, take a look at those last stitches that were cast on. Try to visualize them as part of a full pattern repeat. If you shift your eyes 4 stitches to the left on the chart, you can see that you will do the same thing over the new 2 stitches as you would have done on the previous repeat.



Now, just for the sake of further trying to understand increasing in pattern, here is a different way I could have worked the chart:



The chart on the right is the way I’ve done it above. The chart on the left shows how we could work the stitches if we really wanted to start incorporating the pattern in as soon as possible. Sometimes we do want to do this in the case of, say, a delicate lace shawl where every stitch shows and counts. It’s also important to remember that if you’re doing lace like we are here, only work a decrease if there are enough stitches for a corresponding increase, and vice versa.

Another simpler way of incorporating new stitches into your pattern without having to follow charts or use your intuition is to place markers. Try placing a marker between every pattern repeat where those vertical red lines of the pattern repeat box sit. Or, at least add markers to the couple of pattern repeats each side of your piece. If you have enough stitches on the sides of your markers for a pattern repeat, do it! If not, just work the stitches in stockinette stitch.

Here’s my Rocked after working a couple of pattern repeats past the sleeve cast on:

Rocked sleeve 2 beginning blog

Rocked piece with sleeve beginning blog





rocked knitalong – working into a double yo

Rocked Knitalong Graphic

As I was knitting along on my Rocked, I was working a lace pattern row with its double yarnovers. When I reached the next (WS) row and was working the [k1, p1] into each double yarnover (yo), it occurred to me that this could make for a good video.

When there is a double yo on your needle, it can be confusing just how to knit or purl into it. If this is your first time dealing with double yarnovers, give this video a try. I hope it helps!



Afghan Knitalong – Finishing

21 Finished Blanket with title blog

I can’t believe we’re done!  In my head, I’m hearing Frank Sinatra singing “My Way.”  Every afghan we’ve seen so far has been a unique reflection of the style of its creator.  It’s a wonderful tribute to the individual flair each of us have as crafters.

After assembling all the squares, Amy has opted to use four different colors for the border of her afghan.  She’s also attached fringe and shares a video on how that works.

Even if you haven’t finished yet, we hope you’ll share pictures of your afghans.  Seeing your work is inspiring!

You can share with us here, on Facebook, or on the Afghan Knitalong Ravelry group.  We’ve just joined Instagram as well, so we’d love to see what you’ve posted in the way of knitstagrams!

We hope you’ve enjoyed knitting along.  Happy crafting!

Afghan Knitalong – Seaming

21 Afghan Knitalong Seaming 1_blog

It’s all coming together – literally!  Time to seam up your squares into a glorious and unique creation.  Lay ’em out, decide where you want them to go, and then turn your 20 little learning blocks into one beautiful whole.  We’ve got a .pdf file with tips, and videos on not one but two methods of linking everything together.

First, Amy Gunderson demonstrates the mattress stitch, and how to use it when you have different numbers of stitches from square to square.  Grab your tapestry needle and some yarn and get to it!


Next, she shows how to use a crochet hook to slip stitch your squares together.  Slightly less invisible, but very easy to work.

I’m a big fan of mattress stitch, but I may give crochet  slip stitch a try this time. I like the idea of working straight from the ball without cutting a length of yarn.  Seems like fewer ends to weave in.

We’ll be back in just one week with details on adding a border and fringe (if you wish), and the big reveal of the finished sampler!  Can’t wait!




Free Pattern – Wee Pumpkins

Okay, it’s not Free Pattern Friday yet, but we just couldn’t resist sharing this free pattern.

Poems Pumpkins blog

These are the Wee Pumpkins.  We’re sharing them now so you have plenty of time to work one up by Halloween!  Or what about Thanksgiving ?  Wouldn’t these look great on a dining room table?

They’re made in self-shading Poems 100% wool, which has some great fall colors.  The purple/green one on the left is 577 Bramble and the orange-toned one is 585 Autumn.

Poems Pumpkins bottom shot blogThe pumpkins are knit sideways, with short rows making up the wedge sections.  Take a look at the bottom and you can see how it all comes together.

Never done short rows before?  This is a great project to get your feet wet.  Amy Gunderson shares a video in how to do the wrap and turn.

Also of interest in there is the SSP (slip, slip, purl).  I’ve made things with short rows before, and inevitably had one side look seamless and one side marred with a big bump.  I’m delighted to learn a technique to make both ends of my short row look smooth.

Often, we’ll loan our knits to local yarn stores for them to share in trunk shows, but it’s going to be hard to part with these.  They’re just so pretty!

Happy knitting!

Deluxe Superwash – Fall Classics

New for Fall!


Deluxe Worsted Superwash and Deluxe DK Superwash have been so popular (just look at those crocheted slippers!) that we have released an e-book of all-new patterns specifically designed for those yarns.

Deluxe Superwash: Fall Classics features six projects from the simple to the sublime, each one satisfying to knit as the weather cools down.

There are lace panel projects like Moth Wing and Pebbled Path

…and cozy projects like Trail Wanderer and Split Rail.

(Split Rail would look great as a men’s sweater too, don’t you think?)

One of the patterns, the Scarf Cardigan and Bow Hat at right, uses a nifty technique to create its turned hem.  If you haven’t done a provisional cast-on before, it’s a great tool to put into your knitting toolbox.  It’s very easy and it creates a neat stockinette hem that doesn’t roll up.

Amy Gunderson demonstrates the technique in this video.  Take it away, Amy!

See? You’re just making a basic crochet chain, then treating the back loop like a row of stitches.  Then “unzip” the crochet chain when you’re ready to pick those stitches back up.

Provisional Cast-On hatHere’s a close-up of the brim of the hat from the Scarf Cardi set.  Work a few knitted rows, then a purl row at the point where the brim will fold over, then make a few more knit rows.  Pick the cast-on edge back up, fold it at the purl row, and knit the live edge and cast-on edge together.  Voila, a non-rolling stockinette edge!

Provisional cast-on shoulder blogThere are a variety of ways you can use this technique.  I’m using it myself at the arm of a sweater in Deluxe DK Superwash (Cookie A’s Katrina Rib).  When I’m ready to add the sleeves, I’ll pick up from those stitches for an invisible join with no bulky seam.

I’m almost done with this sweater, and I think the next thing on my list may be the Seashells Hoodie from this e-book.  I love knitting in the round, and I could use something light for the turn of the season.

The Fall Classics e-book is available from both Ravelry and Craftsy, and the patterns are also available individually.  We hope you enjoy picking up a new project as the weather turns.

Happy Knitting!

Knitter’s Toolbox: Lifelines

We’ve had a couple of people who have lost their way along the Mystery KAL Harder Path, and we’d like to make it a little easier for you to find your way back. So let’s talk about lifelines!

Lifelines are one of those McGyver tricks that every knitter should have in their toolbox. They can save you from getting frustrated at a mistake and ripping your whole project out. And they could not be easier to do.

All you’re going to need is your project, a length of smooth contrasting colored yarn a little longer than the width of your project, and a tapestry needle. This swatch and lifeline are both in our Uptown Worsted 100% anti-pilling acrylic (180yds/100g).
Step One
Thread your lifeline onto the needle. Run it through your work, alongside the knitting needle. The lifeline is going to be right where your active loops currently are.

Step 2

On your next row, knit as you normally would, disregarding the lifeline. It’s just going to hang out in your work, staying in the same row of loops you threaded it through.
Step 3

Here’s where it comes in handy. In the next picture, we’ve dropped some stitches! But wait – the lifeline is in place! Instead of unraveling all the way back down to the cast-on edge, the dropped stitch hit the lifeline and stopped. We still have to pick up the stitch, but it’s not the disaster that it could have been.

Step 4

Let’s say I realized I made a mistake about 20 rows ago (gasp!) and need to rip back to the point of the error. Thankfully, I put in a lifeline right before I was starting on the tricky bit, so I can just rip back and the lifeline will keep my stitches aligned and ready to go back on the needle. I just slide my needle through the channel created by the lifeline. I’m good to go!

Step 5

I’m putting in a lifeline as I begin Clue 2 of my Mystery Sweater. If something goes wrong, I can just rip back to that point, reset my needle, and start Clue 2 again. No muss no fuss.

We hope this helps!

ETA: Run your lifeline AROUND your stitch markers, not through. Otherwise you can’t move the stitch markers to the next row. You can guess how I learned this!