What the….?!

Hi Everyone!
We are jumping on the “What the….?!” bandwagon! There are all sorts of sayings, acronyms, emoticons, expressive language (some more colorful than others), and fiber projects, which allow us to insert our own term into the question “What the….?!”  Here are today’s two favorites.

What the….Fade?!

Designed by Andrea Mowry, this What the Fade wrap pattern is her first ever Mystery Knit (ahem) FADE Along!!  The color suggestions (not kits) pictured are among the many potential options available in our Walkabout – Fingering and Freckles – Walkabout yarns.

Why no kits?” you ask. Two simple reasons: 1) to offer you the opportunity to stash bust on this very large project and 2) to encourage you to be your most creative, unique self. We would love to HELP you create your perfect project and don’t want to tie you to preset options. Of course, we’d be delighted to help you put together a one-of-a-kind kit.

Not interested in another mystery? Take a look at this Find Your Fade (at left) by the same designer. This gorgeous shawl was made by Anne Z who raided her stash and then also added our Walkabout – Fingering and Freckles – Walkabout yarns in variegated, tonals, and freckled yarns to bring it all together. A truly personalized beaut of a project!

What the….Fibre Studio?!
This past year has witnessed a lot of changes here at The Fibre Studio at Yarns to Dye For. We expanded our color palette and dye types to include Freckles, added new yarn bases (like Cotton Bamboo and Studio Sox ), and brought back our SW Merino – Sport and Lt Worsted and Bulky in a plethora of color ways.

Our most profound changes have been to our online shop. We redesigned it within a new platform and want to provide you with a visual aid to help navigate the new design AND to let you know what helpful information is available to you 24/7.

As with life, the only constant in our studio is change. Happy stitching, y’all!

Unraveled: Fiber Q&A 05 – Binding Off

Hi All! We are again tackling a highly-personalized topic for knitters. Continuing from our last Unraveled blog post in the series, which was dedicated to cast on methods, today we will discuss bind off methods.

While there are many bind off methods available to knitters, here are several methods which will be utilized repeatedly. We think these methods are great tools for any maker to have in his/her knitting arsenal.

“Why are you sharing several bind off methods but only highlighted a few cast on methods?” you ask. It’s simple really. With a cast on, there’s just “empty space” with needles and a bit of working yarn. However, when there are infinite types of projects and stitch combinations already on the needles at the end of a project, selecting the correct bind off really pays homage to the finished project. It can even “make or break” it.

The Bind…Off (BO)

 

 

 

 

Knitted BO Method: This is the most basic bind off method and should be utilized with right side of fabric facing knitter. Tight knitters should go up 1-2 needle sizes to prevent puckering.

Knit two stitches, pass the first worked stitch over the second worked stitch, leaving remaining stitch on right needle. *Knit another stitch, and pass first worked stitch over last worked stitch, leaving remaining stitch on right needle.* Repeat from * to * as necessary until project is fully bound off.

Stretchy BO Method: This bind off method is great for most all projects, but especially for lace knitting (where projects are aggressively blocked) and for finishing projects which may need to stretch and shrink (e.g. hats, cuffs, socks, et al). This method is already stretchy (most makers do not need to go up a needle size) and is worked with right side of fabric facing the knitter. We’ve included the link to a helpful video here.

*Knit two stitches together through the back loop and move worked stitch back to the left needle.* Repeat from * to * as necessary until project is fully bound off.

Stretchy Rib BO Method: This bind off method is quite useful for rib combinations (1:1, 2:1, 2:2, et al) when the maker doesn’t want that “flare out” at the end of their project. You know what I mean…that stretched out appearance which can make brand new garments look worn and socks not stay up on the leg. This method is worked with right side of fabric facing the knitter; the method alters based on the “next” stitch. We’ve included the link to a helpful video here.

Based on rib stitch in row below, knit/purl first stitch. *Looking at the next stitch to be worked, twist existing worked stitch by turning right needle 360 degrees (clockwise for an upcoming knit stitch and counter-clockwise for an upcoming purl stitch), and then work the next stitch as usual in the rib. Pass first worked stitch over second worked stitch.* Repeat from * to * as necessary until project is fully bound off.

Icelandic BO Method: This semi-stretchy bind off method is appropriate for binding off those projects knit in garter or with slipped stitches because the resulting edge has very defined horizontal bars. This bind off can be completed from either right or wrong side facing rows. We’ve included the link to a helpful video here.

*With yarn in back, insert your right needle into the first stitch as if to purl. After insertion, take tip of right needle and insert into second stitch on left needle as if to knit. Wrap working yarn around right needle and knit that second stitch. Move worked stitch back onto left needle.* Repeat from * to * as necessary until project is fully bound off.

Picot BO Method: This decorative method can really finish a lace project beautifully. There is a simple math equation used herein. Basically, the maker should bind off twice as many stitches as he/she casts on. The more stitches cast on, the larger the picot bump. Also, due to the additional cast on stitches, this bind off method utilizes about twice as much yardage to bind off. We’ve included the link to a helpful video here.

For a small picot – *Cast on two stitches. Knit two stitches and pass first worked stitch over second stitch. Knit the next stitch and pass the first worked stitch over the second stitch…three more times. Slip remaining working stitch back to left needle.* Repeat from * to * as necessary until project is fully bound off.

I-Cord BO Method: This bind off method is the most complicated and possibly the one utilized the least. However, understanding how this method works is of great benefit when the maker wants to create a beautifully smooth finished edge to a garment and is also beneficial for baby blankets and wash cloths. This method creates a closed edge (and can use 3 or more stitches depending upon the maker’s preferences) so it holds up to wear very well. It also utilizes a lot of yarn to finish the project. We’ve included the link to a helpful video here.

For a 3-stitch I-Cord, cast on three new stitches. *Knit two of the new stitches. Knit the third new stitch along with the next “old” stitch together through the back loop. Move all three stitches on the right needle back to the left needle.* Repeat from * to * as necessary until project is fully bound off.

Feel free to share this or any of our blog posts with your greater fiber community and/or those newbies you’d like to teach to knit. Sharing is caring, and we love welcoming new fiber artists and makers into our community.

Happy and peaceful stitching, y’all!

 

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!

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!