Unraveled: Fiber Q&A 04 – Casting On

Continuing our Unraveled series, today we are going to tackle one of two topics, about which some makers feel so strongly, we’re quite sure we can already hear someone’s yarn felting from steam and agitation all the way from over here. (Ha!)

In this post, we answer what WE think are the best cast on methods (our next blog of the series will discuss the bind off). There are many available cast on and bind off methods available to knitters, but we’ve narrowed our blog topics down to a few of each, which we think will repeatedly prove useful during future projects.

The Cast…On (CO)

Long Tail CO Method: This is a great method when you need a fairly stretchy cast on and only a minimal number of stitches needed–a good thing since part of the tail is used to create the cast on stitches. We’ve linked a helpful video here.

Create a slip knot where there is enough tail remaining to create all stitches (depends upon weight and wpi calculations). Place the slip knot on needle and hold the needle in your dominant hand. Ensure the yarn tail is facing you. Insert your non-dominant hand thumb and index finger between your two strands of yarn (tail and working yarn). Close the rest of your fingers around the yarn, which creates tension. While holding your non-dominant hand like holding a slingshot, insert the needle under the strand that is wrapped around your thumb. Lift your needle up and around the top of the strand that is held between your fingers. Bring your yarn out through the thumb loop. Pull your thumb from the loop of the yarn and pull the yarn to tighten the newly-developed stitch. Repeat until the correct number of stitches are on your needle.

Knitted CO Method: This is a consistent method when there is a large number of stitches to cast on and when the cast on edge will be easily seen in in the final project. We’ve linked a helpful video here.

Create a slip knot where there is about six inches of yarn tail remaining. Place the slip knot on needle and hold the needle in your non-dominant hand. Use your fingers to hold the yarn tail out of the way. Holding the other needle in your dominant hand, insert the needle into the slip knot and work a knit stitch, but do NOT slip the previous stitch off of the other needle. With the dominant hand needle still inserted into the new stitch, pull the stitch long, tilt it away from you (to open it up), insert the non-dominant needle into the new stitch, and gently place the stitch on this needle. Insert your dominant needle into the newest stitch as if to knit and repeat until the correct number of stitches are on your needle.

Cable CO Method: This method begins the same as the Knitted Method, however, the remaining steps create definitive spacing and ensure ribs and other stretchy set up rows do not flare or buckle. We’ve linked a helpful video here.

Create a slip knot where there is about six inches of yarn tail remaining. Place the slip knot on needle and hold the needle in your non-dominant hand. Use your fingers to hold the yarn tail out of the way. Holding the other needle in your dominant hand, insert the needle into the slip knot and work a knit stitch, but do NOT slip the previous stitch off of the other needle. With the dominant hand needle still inserted into the new stitch, pull the stitch long, tilt it away from you (to open it up), insert the non-dominant needle into the new stitch, and gently place the stitch on this needle. Insert your dominant needle completely BETWEEN the slip knot stitch and the newly-formed stitch (AND NOT INTO IT), wrap the yarn as if to knit, and pull the stitch through the two stitches. Do NOT slip the previous stitch off of the other needle. With the dominant hand needle still inserted into the new stitch, pull the stitch long, tilt it away from you (to open it up), insert the non-dominant needle into the new stitch, and gently place the stitch on this needle. Repeat as necessary.

For experienced knitters, these are not new methods, however, if you are a beginner or are teaching a friend or loved one how to knit, we hope this list proves to be a useful resource.

Peaceful stitching, y’all!

Unraveled: Fiber Q&A 03 – Connections in the Round

Happy New Year, everyone! We thought we would start off the new year by posting a new segment in our Unraveled series. With all the beautiful cowls and infinity scarves, which have been posted these past weeks, this post is dedicated to knitting in the round.

cowl-photos[Pictured Above: (On Left) 3 Color Cashmere Cowl in colorways Cherokee, There’s a Storm Brewin’, and Autumn Gold & (On Right) Soul Warmer Cowl in CPK6 – Dark Side of the Rainbow]

We will discuss two primary topics: how to seamlessly 1) join your cast on stitches in the round and 2) add jogless second (third, fourth, etc.) colors. [Note: These tips work for any type of needle.]

Joining in the Round
After casting all of your required pattern stitches, cast on one additional stitch. Ensure all cast on stitches are facing the same direction (inside of circle) so there is no twist or moebius created at the very beginning of the project. Slip the first cast on stitch purlwise from left to right needle. Take the last (extra) stitch cast on on the right needle and pass it over the newly slipped stitch. Tighten both the working yarn as well as the end yarn to remove any bar or gap. Place a stitch marker on the right needle to mark the beginning of your row and begin to knit in pattern.

A helpful video for joining your work in the round can be found here.

Update Since Original Posting
Another way to join in the round came from a fellow yarn who was trying our our Studio Sox yarn in a ribbed sock pattern. She starts all her small projects like hats and socks flat (back and forth), knitting two or four or six rows. Then, when her working yarn meets back up at the starting point (where her end is located), she connects her projects in the round–but only AFTER there is enough yarn in the project to prevent pulling, stretching, etc. When she weaves in her end, she simply uses the mattress stitch up the side. Voila…a very smooth, seamless join. For those of us who use double-pointed needles, this prevents that crazy helicoptering effect that occurs when there are only 1-2 rows on the needles, and the needles are stronger than the yarn.

Changing Colors in the Round
When it’s time for a color change, add the next color and knit just as if flat knitting. At the end of the row, take the right needle and pull up the stitch directly below the first stitch of the current row and place it on the left needle right beside the first stitch of existing row. Knit both the first stitch of the row and the pulled up stitch together as the first stitch of the row and continue to knit in pattern and color.

After a few rows, ensure the color join is seamless by weaving the yarn ends on the back side of your work using duplicate stitch.

A helpful video for changing colors in the round can be found here.

As always, we encourage you to post your cowl and infinity scarf projects and pictures on our Facebook page here or on our Ravelry page here.

Happy stitching, y’all!

Keep Pounding Yarn Club 2016

Dub. Dub. Dub.

Keep Pounding Photo 01

Hey y’all! We are so excited the NFL pre-season has begun, and we are supercalifragi really looking forward to supporting our Panthers again this season. We’ve expanded our Keep Pounding Yarn Club 2016 to provide additional options to our customers. Sooo…even if you participated last year…we have new and expanded options (really beautiful patterns) for you to make unique Panthers swag in 2016!

We have four options for our Keep Pounding Yarn Club, which include:

Option 1:  Our Fifty Shades of Gradient color way Panthers’ Pride in our SW Merino – Fingering. There is a fiber-only purchase option for $35 as well as a fiber with pattern purchase options for an additional charge.

Option 2: Noir/Go Panthers Dynamic Duo in our Walkabout – Fingering. There is a fiber-only purchase option for $44 as well as several fiber with pattern purchase options for an additional charge.

Option 3: Noir/Go Panthers/Silver Lining Triple Treat on our Walkabout – Fingering. There is a fiber-only purchase option for $66 as well as fiber with pattern purchase options for an additional charge.

Option 4: Noir/More Noir/Go Panthers Triple Treat on our Walkabout – Fingering. There is a fiber-only purchase option for $66 as well as a fiber with pattern purchase with either one of two of Melanie Berg’s latest patterns (Eifelgold & The Girl in Me). These patterns require more of one color than the other, hence the “More” in Noir.

There is a Keep Pounding Yarn Club 2016 discussion topic on our Ravelry discussion page here. We would LOVE to see your Panthers swag from last year as well as what projects you want to knit, crochet, or weave this year to show your Panthers Pride.

Peaceful stitching, y’all!

P.S. Tips for carrying two-colors up the side of a multi-colored project can be found on our blog here.

 

 

Unraveled: Fiber Q&A 02 – Carrying Multiple Colors

In our last edition of Unraveled: Fiber Q&A 01, we discussed fiber colorfastness and knitting bouclé purls.  In this edition, we want to discuss winding fluffy yarns (alpaca, mohair, angora, etc.) as well as carrying two colors of yarn up the edge of a wrap or blanket.

Fluffy Yarn

Question 1:  How do I wind fluffy yarn without leaving so many fibers on my equipment or floating around in the air?

Answer 1:  There are several suggested methods of winding and handling fluffy, fibrous yarns to reduce the amount of loose fibers.  One method is to freeze your skein or cake for a few hours prior to handling. The oils in these fibers will solidify just enough to make winding a breeze. Another method is to use a vegetable- or water-based glycerin on your hands. Hands should be soft, and the glycerin should be rubbed in thoroughly, creating easy movement through the hands without creating friction.  However, wet hands or hands covered in lotions will only leave a nasty deposit on the yarn. The key is using a vegetable- or water-based glycerin and and using less, not more. Lastly, soak your yarn as though you’re going to block it, blot it within a large towel until almost dry, and then wind it. The fibers will flatten and smooth out thus reducing those loose, floaty fibers.

Question 2:  I hate weaving in ends, however, I like knitting with multiple colors and want to do more of it. I’ve heard that some knitters carry multiple strands of yarn without cutting them. How and when can I do this?

Answer 2: When a knitter refers to carrying multiple strands of yarn, they “usually” mean carrying multiple colors up the side of a project.  While there are no hard and fast rules to carrying yarn, there are a few best practices.

If you’re using two colors in a striping pattern where you knit in one color from one side of the project and then back (a two row stripe), it’s an easy matter to just knit the first (edge) stitch in Color A only, then knit the second stitch in Colors A&B together. Proceed to the end and back in Color A only for two rows knit. In row three, when there is a color change just knit the first (edge) stitch in Color B only, then knit the second stitch in Colors A&B together. Proceed to the end and back in Color B only for two additional rows knit. This brings up the second color, without your edge stitch being in a different color than the current striped row, for a more seamless knit edge.

While we don’t recommend carrying more than two colors as the edge or seam will become very bulky, there is another way to reduce the number of ends to weave in.  When coming to the end of a row where there will be a color change, cut the yarn to twice the length you will need to finish current row. Loop the yarn around the second color and bring it back on itself twisting the yarn to get it as thin as possible, as close to the original untwisted yarn thickness. Complete the row and then twist the second color tightly around on itself as well and begin the next row. Your yarn beginning and yarn end have thus already been knit (or woven) into the fabric and you’ve only left to trim the ends.

Were these topics helpful? Please let us know if you have topic suggestions. We want this blog series to benefit our readership so allow your voice to be heard!

Happy stitching, y’all!

 

 

 

 

Unraveled: Fiber Q&A 01 – Colorfastness & Showcasing Bouclé

Recently several customers have asked how to handle various situations with yarns–with topics ranging from yarn care  to knitting questions.  One of The Fibre Studio employees suggested this would be a great blog post because the answers may be apropos to other customers or fiber artists.  Hence, Unraveled:  Fiber Q&A–a blog series dedicated to unraveling some of the mysteries and challenges faced by our customers and readers–was born.  We hope these topics prove useful on your fiber journey.

Question 1: When knitting or crocheting a natural, undyed, or light-colored yarn with a brightly-hued yarn, how do I keep the darker yarn color from bleeding into the lighter yarn?

Answer 1: Colorfastness is the term used in the dyeing of textile materials, meaning resistance of the material’s color to fading or running. Bleeding is usually caused when the yarn color was not set during the dyeing process. Many dyers–not The Fibre Studio, of course–save a bit of processing time by not setting the yarn and waiting for the soaking tub to run completely clear before beginning the drying and skeining process.

If you have experienced this with a manufacturer and you have more of their yarn, you can set the yarn (animal fibers and acid dyes) yourself by soaking the skein in a plastic, glass, or other non-reactive container with water and vinegar (1 gallon water to 1/3 cup vinegar ratio is about right) for 20-30 minutes.  Remove the yarn, rinse out this solution, and if the water runs clear, the color is set.  Of course, this is extra work and customers should NOT have to do this. However, it is worth the extra work to not have your hands, needles, project, and clothing ruined by a yarn whose colorfastness was not ensured in process. Plant fibers dyed with natural or sodium-based yarns must be set a different

Boucle Shoulder Cozy

Question 2: When I knit a bouclé, the pretty loops are flattened and aren’t as noticeable as they were in the shop sample I saw.  Why?

Answer 2:  By definition, the act of creating a knit stitch is creating a smooth flat stitch. These stitches are soft to the touch and allow integrated pattern to be easily seen.  If your goal is the opposite–you want fluffy, bumpy stitches–simply purl the bouclé on the right side/pattern rows.  Don’t knit.  The yarn’s loops and bumps just jump out at you and make your yarn and pattern detail pop!

Until next time, peaceful stitching, y’all!

 

 

 

knitCompanion Workshop

Are your hands full?  Does your lap runneth over with yarn, needles AND your paper pattern, stitch counter, row markers?

Learn how to utilize knitCompanion, a user- and device-friendly app, which can simplify your life AND open up space on your lap for that lovely, fluffy, soft yarn you’re currently working.

Charlotte knitting guru, Linda Rudisill, will teach you how to update or download the latest version of the app to your device, download your next project pattern, review the app’s existing tools as well as additional tools available with upgrades, and then personalize the viewing screen to YOUR particular specifications.

Have ADD/ADHD and dance with the squirrel on a regular basis?  No worries!  The app screen may be simplified to draw the eye to the most basic of information–perhaps only the written instructions with the stitch counter.  Love to see everything on one page?  Conversely, the app can be set to show sections of your pattern’s written instructions, stitch counter, corresponding chart sections, and chart key.

Join us for this knitCompanion class and never be a lonely, overwhelmed knitter again.  Class info is as follows:

Date: Wednesday, April 13, 2016
Time: 10:30am to 12:30pm
Location:  The Fibre Studio at Yarns to Dye For, 658 Griffith Road, Suite 107 | Charlotte, NC  28217
Cost:  $20 per person (Attendees must pay by cash or check made out to Linda Rudisill. Cost does not include app or pattern download.)

Fixing Mistakes I

This 2-hour class will cover ways to avoid making mistakes, to decide if a mistake is structural or cosmetic, to identify and correct the most common mistakes (ex. – dropped stitches, skipped stitches, split stitches) in stockinette, garter, rib and seed stitch.

The class will also cover tinking, frogging, and whether or not to fix a mistake at all.

Please check our calendar for available dates and call The Fibre Studio to reserve your spot.

Cost: $25