Freia and the Knitwhit

A Blog about a Dog with some Knitting thrown in here and there

And a little bit ‘o knitting.. December 1, 2008

Filed under: Knitting,Knitting Tips,knitwhits — knitwhits @ 4:33 pm
Elfin Booties

Elfin Booties

Now that my head is not quite so wrapped around Freia’s leg issues I’m able to actually get some knitting done. I’ve also come to realise that I appear to be one of those that would have “works well under pressure” on my resume, except it should be modified to say “designs well under pressure”. I’ve been producing new things at a bit of a breakneck speed lately and these are some of my best ideas yet.. I think..

Here they are in reverse order. The lastest completed design is for the Elfin Booties. Cute, eh? I released these last wednesday thinking “meh, we’ll see what happens, it’s a travel day before a giant holiday”. whoa.. I was wrong. This was the MOST successful pattern release ever of mine! I’m shocked, humbled and grateful! They are awfully fun to make, I’ve made a bunch already just in testing the pattern. One thing I learned from this.. almost the hard way, but thankfully not quite… Louet Riverstone yarn felts A LOT faster than Cascade 220. The above are in Cascade 220. Later, I made a pair for myself in the Riverstone and just caught them in time. They fit me perfectly, but 2 minutes longer in the washing machine and they would have been too small.

Bloomies!

Bloomies!

Another project that is finished – the knitting part – I still have to write up the pattern – are the Flore Bloomers. I had these with me at Stitches East and just pulled them out of my suitcase for photography for the 2009 Catalog that I’m also working on right now. Pattern will be coming soon, I have one other thing ahead of these but they should be ready soon-ish.. In case you didn’t already figure it out, these are meant to coordinate with my Flore Petal Hat – I have a little sweater in mind too, so stay tuned..

The final project that is making some real headway again is the Ophelia Shrug. This was something I started a while back but then lost my mojo. Well I’m deeply and very much in like with this project again and I can’t wait to get it done so I can wear it! I’m using Noro Silk Garden that I got from Laurie at Greenwich Yarn in the city. I love these colors and I think they work very nicely with the stitch patterns and the design. I have one more sleeve to go and it’s taking all my will power to not work on it this afternoon but to wait until my knitting group tonight. Here’s a taste:

Ophelia close up

Ophelia close up

Ophelia - big picture

Ophelia - big picture

I was concerned about the sizing, it was looking a little big so I was starting to dread undoing it, but I got a little smart and instead of just beginning to unwind, I partially pulled out one needle to try it on, and phew! It was just right. This meant I had to reinsert the needle in a million (well, 250) stitches, but better than reknitting 30 rows of 200+ stitches. I also took some time yesterday and filmed a short tutorial on how to do the stitch pattern particular to this design. Once that is edited I will put it up. So.. pattern is written, I just have to finish up the knitting, double check my numbers and it’s good to go. Yay!

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A Rather Serious Hat October 1, 2008

Filed under: Knitting,Knitting Tips,knitwhits — knitwhits @ 8:50 pm

I’ve just posted a new kit colorway of the Flore Hat. A request I’ve heard many times is for a version for a boy. I pointed customers to the Peapod and Bluebell, but I think this new one, Buckeye, may fit the bill (or Bill) too.

I’ve been told the colors make it “serious looking”, hence the title of this post. Yes, I suppose knitting can be serious business after all.

Related to this I’ve added a clip to YouTube on how this hat is made. Check it out..

P.S. In the video I’m wearing the cable sweater that I wrote about in this post. I should probably write up that pattern too one of these days.

 

Knitting Tip #8 – Increasing and Decreasing – Bramble and Stanley September 12, 2008

Filed under: Knitting,Knitting Tips,knitwhits — knitwhits @ 1:02 pm

OK, so by now you’ve probably figured out my other newest obsession (in addition to swimming) is my new little video cam.

This new tutorial covers the increases and decreases that we used on Bramble and Stanley. Sonya and I went around in circles on this one a bit as I preferred a less visible increase for the designs over the standard kfb that she had used throughout. She caved compromised and allowed me to make the edits to her design. Of course, I picked an invisible increase that is a little less common and it has led to a few confused emails from customers. Hopefully to ease this “pain” this new tutorial will show all the increases and decreases used throughout these two designs. Some of it most of you will already know (k2tog/ssk) but others may be new to you.

Let me know what you think!

 

Knitting Tip #7 – Tuck Stitch – Ripley Hat

Filed under: Knitting,Knitting Tips,knitwhits — knitwhits @ 12:55 pm

One question I get a lot at trade shows is on how the ridges on the Ripley Hat are created. My standing response is: “I could tell you but.. ” or “Guess you’ll have to buy the pattern!”. But then I of course give a quick explanation.

Hopefully by creating this video I’m not completely shooting myself in the foot here and people will continue to buy this pattern after I post the video! I feel a bit as though I’m giving away a trade secret – although, ultimately, the tuck stitch is really nothing new.. I certainly didn’t invent or unvent it.

So, here’s the new tutorial – enjoy! (Tell me what you think by leaving a comment – or go to the video on YouTube and give me a star or two.. – if you like it!)

 

Knitting Tip #6 – Knitting a Braided Edge September 7, 2008

Filed under: Knitting,Knitting Tips,knitwhits — knitwhits @ 4:15 pm

In this tutorial you will learn how to do a two-color cast on using the long-tail cast on method, followed by instructions on how to create a knitted braid – I bet it’s easier than you think!
To order the pattern or kit featured in this tutorial, visit http://www.knitwhits.com/online_store/cotton_hats/siena.php (available in 3 colorways).

Let us know what you think of our tutorial!
Happy Knitting,

Tina

 

Knitting Tip #5 – Working in Color July 17, 2007

Filed under: Crochet,Knitting,Knitting Tips,knitwhits — knitwhits @ 3:57 pm

I won’t claim to be an expert on color theory or coloring of fibers. I’ve not done much dyeing, other than turning my old Converse Sneakers bright pink and wearable once more, and reviving the odd pair of pants that had lost my interest in whatever shade they were orginally made.

My experience with color comes from my gut. Certain colors feel a certain way together and can create a certain mood. They say that hot blooded Aries people (of which I am one) are drawn to hot red shades, and my house certainly has probably more than it’s fair share of the color. But, I don’t go for Fire Red, I go for Brick, for faded Raspberry, for Terra Cotta. Those colors have more to say to me than a straight bold primary or secondary shade. Then I’ve thrown in smatterings of coffee, black, mustard and navajo white, along with a few other bits and pieces for balance, breathing room and good measure.

When I work on a new design, I’m pushed in one way or another sometimes by color, sometimes by fiber and texture, and often both combined. Rarely if ever do I start out by saying “I’m going to make a ………….. (fill in the blank).” I will go to the studio and stare at my shelves of yarn, piled in crooked boxes or stacked in cones, I start pulling out one yarn and another, and shortly have a sea of color on my studio table. It’s that sea of color that determines what it will become, some colors just “look” more like a scarf or a hat, and yet others a purse or mittens.

Amelie ThrowNow I’m not out buying yarn on a daily basis; I have worked with the mostly the same shades for the last few years, adding in a few new ones each season, though rarely abandoning the older. When adding in the new shades and hues, I’m seeing whole new relationships and balancing acts appear – bringing life once more to older colors in which I had previously lost interest.

This brings me to my latest project. I have fallen in love with the Louet Gems color palette. The driving force behind these beautiful colors is Trudy Van Stralen, the founder of the company. I have been working with Louet Gems yarn for a short while (it’s the newest addition to the quality yarns I use in the Knitwhits kits), using it solely as a sock yarn for my adult sock kits and my Socks For Tots range. But the palette as a whole tells a story that can’t be told (easily) in smaller items such as these socks. I felt that the palette deserved a bigger stage. Enter “Amelie” the floral crochet throw. This design requires that each motif be made up of 3 colors, 2 of the same hue, but one light, one dark, and a third, preferably unrelated color as the border and contrast. . The Louet colors have a dustyness that I think appeals to the old-fashioned style of this type of design, and a large multicolored throw is the perfect vehicle to show off a good portion of the 36 available shades.

Within the range of available shades are a few primary colors, though the majority of shades are a few steps away. For example, there is a Neptune blue, which is like a light sky, but there is also Aqua. It’s the Aqua that will work here. There is an Indigo, and also a Navy, for this throw it’s the Indigo that will fit, being so dark that it’s almost black.

CoralAs I go through these colors there are a few that just don’t quite fit in, for my purposes at least. And yet, given the size of this project – my goal is to make a Queen size coverlet – the more colors I will have to pick from the better.
Since my chosen palette is leaning to an aged, softened look, the simplest way to increase my color range is to work with some of the remaining colors (that would clash too much as they are) and tone them down. I have selected a coral, a forest green and a cherry red to start. Here I will show you the coral. As it is, it’s too intense for my purposes and will visually stand out from the rest and create discord and unbalance. A simple and quick way to age a color is to …. make a cup of tea!

I’ve started here with a loose hank of yarn, (I would recommend starting with a small swatch so you can make a mistake or two before finding your perfect shade), which I’ve placed it in a shallow bowl. In the tea strainer is some Jasmine Tea. No reason for that paricular one, other than I know it contains black tea, it smells good and I have lots of it. DryingIt also happens to be quite weak, so I can’t mess it up too quickly. I will add hot water (this is option 1 – depending on your yarn type, option 2 may be the better choice) and let it steep. What I would suggest is keeping a clip of the yarn nearby so you can compare the colors. The longer your yarn will steep, the greater the change in color. Also keep in mind, if you are starting with a lighter shade as I have done here, that it will take the color quicker, or rather, the tea will have a greater effect, more rapidly. Option 2 is to make the tea first in a separate container, let it cool and then soak your yarn. In order to ensure even absorption of the color, be sure the yarn has room to move, and that it is presoaked and wet before placing it in the brew.

I would check the yarn fairly quickly, even within a couple of minutes if all you are seeking is a slight change of hue. However if you have a dark color to begin with, you will want to leave it for longer to see any changes.

Coral and SalmonHere you can see my Coral color has become a pale salmon. Now this change was fairly rapid, occuring within about 5 minutes in the hot water. Given that the color change is coming from tea, you are effectively staining your yarn, so be careful as if you go too far, you may end up with a result you don’t like. As with knitting itself, this is where a test or swatch will really come in handy and save you a headache later on. Remember, you can always make it darker, but it will be harder to remove the color, so caution is the key.

As for my Forest Green and Cherry Red? The changes were very subtle after a good hour in the tea – I did gradutate to straight up English Breakfast tea in the end for the darker shades, from which I now have a lovely deep leaf green and a rich roasted Red, just the right intensity and hue for my giant project.

(If you are interested in purchasing a copy of the pattern for Amelie, let me know, if there is enough interest I will add it to the Knitwhits site early, I have also included in the pattern information on selecting yarns, determining yarn quantities, color placement and of course instructions for the stitch motif itself)

 

Knitting Tip #4 – Cabling without a cable needle February 28, 2007

Filed under: Knitting,Knitting Tips,knitwhits — knitwhits @ 1:59 pm

Lattice TopSo there it is, the cable sweater you have to have. But oh! all those cables.. Working cables is one of the most satisfying techniques in knitting, but if you have a lot of cables in one panel it can be also be repetitive, and not in the knitting and purling repetitive way that we all love so much about knitting. A simple way to relieve the annoyance of constantly picking up and putting down that cable needle is just to work without one! You do this by (heavens!) dropping your stitches, replacing them on the needle in the crossed position and then working them in either knits or purls as called for in your instructions.

And don’t worry, the dropping part is not as risky as it may sound! The trick is to pick them up in such a way as to minimize the risk of them being lost. In this example I will show you a cable that is worked using 3 sts. The cables are on a purl st background, and the two cable stitches are crossing over one purl stitch, heading to the right.

C3F_1Step 1: Drop the stitches. Some prefer not to do this, in which case you could work into the back of the purl stitch, then bring your yarn to the front to work the knits. Personally, I find this method a bit cumbersome and sometimes confusing if you are working a variety of cables in multiple directions. As I show you here, you can also just drop all the relevant stitches off your left needle. What I need to do now, is bring the purl stitch to the back of the knits, back on to my left needle, so that I can first work into the cabled knit stitches.

C3F_2Step 2: Picking them back up again. I certainly don’t want to lose my 3 little stitches here, and the sequence in which I pick them up will either make my life easier or harder. For this cable, I have found is that it works best to pick up the stitches closest to the left needle first, in this case, the two cable knit stitches. I bring forward my right needle and catch those two stitches, then I can reach down with the left needle to re-catch the purl stitch. Next, I will slide the 2 knit cable sts also back onto the left needle, which will put them ahead of the purl stitch, and in the correct position to be worked.

C3F_3Step 3: Working the cable. Here the stitches are in the correct sequence, with the knit stitches crossing over the purl stitch, and I am now able to knit the first of the two knit cable stitches. (BTW – though it appears as though I’m knitting into the back of my stitch here, that is not necessary. In all likelyhood, I had accidentally twisted the stitch when I picked it up, so rather than re-dropping it, I just went ahead and knitted into the back of the stitch.)

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Here is a second example, this time cabling with four stitches. In this cable, I am crossing over again from left to right, but this time, one cable over another.

C4F_1

Step 1: Drop the stitches. As shown here, I have already dropped the four cable stitches and have now picked up the 2 sts closest to my right needle, these will be crossed behind the stitches that I have yet to pick up, which I will do with my right needle as shown in the next image below.
C4F_2Step 2: Picking them back up again . To do this, I will bring my right needle forward and catch the two loose sts. The next step would be to slide these front stitches back onto the left needle, putting them in the correct place in front of the other cable. They will then be ready to knit.

C4F_3Step 3: Working the cable. In this image, you can see that I have knitted the first two stitches and will now knit the next two, competing this front cross.

There is really no reason why this technique could not be worked with any size cable, the main thing being of course that you don’t drop your stitches. It may be a little more challenging if you were knitting at a really small gauge, but given good lighting and a bit of bravado you should be able to do this with no trouble at all. So don’t be afraid to give it a go.

These images were taken as I was working on what will be a sweater. At the size I’m making it, I have 14 repeats of four overlapping cables that will eventually form a trellis design. I’m crossing stitches in both directions, left and right, on every other row. This means if I were to use a cable needle I would have to pick it up and put it down some 56 times each cable round. As it is, working without the cable needle has made this project a lot more fun, engaging and satisfying, let alone considerably faster to do.