Monday, 17 October 2011

Relaxing bind off - relatively stretchy and extra stretchy versions.

A lot of instructions tell you to put the stitches back on the left needle when you are binding off, but I find this is not part of my natural knitting movements and not comfortable.

So I work it a little differently - with this method I can bind off a row in about the same time as it takes to knit one.

1. Knit the first 2 stitches together (generally through the back loop works best) - now you are ready to start binding off.

2. Slip the next stitch (knitswise or purlwise) onto the right needle. You can use either method, but you'll get different results, so use one for the whole row.  Test them both and find out which works best for you and for your particular project.

slipping purlwise

slipping knitwise

3. Now, insert the left needle from left to right through the front loops on the on the right needle. Once the needle is in this position you are ready to knit 2 together (k2tog) the usual way.

inserting the needle from left to right

4. With the needles in this position, k2tog the usual way.

knitting 2 together (k2tog)

finishing the k2tog - the stitch will then be on the right needle

5. Repeat from step 2 until you have finished the whole row.

I find this movement is much more like the regular flow of knitting and the best thing is there is no lifting of the stitches.

It's not super-stretchy but I find it generally has enough give for lace that is to be blocked and gives a nice cabled edge.

If you need extra stretchy bind-off, knit the stitch instead of slipping it in step 2.

If you have to bind off on the ws, you can get the same effect by working p2tog (purl 2 together) instead of k2tog.

One more tip - don't break your yarn until after blocking. That way if you have to redo anything at least you won't have to join yarn as well.

Monday, 10 October 2011


A new high-speed train inspired knit is now available on ravlery.

It is worked in moss stitch bands and mock rib.
The mock rib is partiucarly quick and easy to work - only one pattern row, no purling.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

No-fuss Count-less positioning of repeats

It seemed like no matter how many times I'd count the stitches in long rows I'd always end up having to add one or two by the time I got to the end of the row. 

So for a shawl without a centre seam where the pattern is positioned after a row of increases and a repeat of up to 10 stitches, I don't count all the stitches. I just work until I have finished a repeat and am about 50 stitches from the end. Then I see whether I have the right number of stitches to work the edge stitches. and full repeats.  If not I work a few extra increases/decreases to get the right number (spread over about 50 stitches the extra stitches will not be noticeable). 

If I need a  repeat of 9 and I realise I have 6 extra stitches the I'll increase 3 for another repeat, but if I have only 3 extra then I decrease three.

For a repeat of 9 at most I will be adjusting by 4.

Because the extra increases/decreases are worked after a row of increases they won't really be noticeable.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Cable cast on

As Vogue Knitting says cable cast on produces a "sturdy, yet elastic edge".

1. Start with a slip knot on the left needle (or see below for no slip knot). Insert the other needle as if to knit, wrap the yarn and pull it through.

2. Give the new stitch a quarter turn and then place it on the left needle.

3. Insert the yarn betwen the 2 stitches to create the next stitch.

4. Quarter turn the stitch and place it on the left needle.

5. Repeat the cast on between the last two stitches (steps 3 and 4) until you have the number of stitches you require.

As you work the stitches use your thumb and forefinger on the left hand to keep them even at the base (don't pull them tight to the needle).

Loosely cast on stitches:

Working without a slip knot: for some projects I find it better to not use a slip knot - I just pull the yarn though once (instead of twice) or just cross it at the base and then cast on the regular way.
I secure the end as I weave in the yarn end.
The advantages are that if you have too many stitches, it's easy to undo a few and also if you are making a semi circular shawl you can pull the center stitches a bit tighter.