Tag Archives: techniques

cutting up my knitting: a blow-by-blow account

Finally the long-dreaded day arrives.  Today is the day I am going to steek my cardigan.

1. This is my proto-cardigan (that extra fabric is where my bewbs will go)

2. That line of red stitching is where I’m going to cut

3. Machine sewing to reinforce the steeks before cutting.

4. Preparing to cut


6. It’s done.

Now just the soul-destroying grind of the button bands to go. After a stiff drink.


because it’s there

For the first 25  or so years of my knitting life, I was content with the skills I learnt from my mum and the odd book.  It’s not that I stuck to simple things – I did cables and fair isle and intarstia – but I didn’t try new or different ways of doing things.  Mostly I didn’t know there were different ways of doing things. Until I took up knitting again with a vengeance a couple of years ago  and discovered the knitting internets, I genuinely did not know that there was any other way to knit than the way I was taught (which I now know is ‘English’ style).  I had no idea there were so many different ways to cast on and cast off, and I’d never knit in the round.

Now I enjoy the challenge of learning new techniques when I need them.  I’ve learnt new cast ons and cast offs, become a sock addict, taught myself to crochet, read lace and cable charts, learnt different ways to increase and decrease, and more.  But one thing I’ve never done is entrelac.  I just don’t particularly like the effect and so have had no desire to knit anything in it.  Then last week, someone brought along a hand-knit entrelac cardigan to knitting group and asked how it was done.  And while I could seen in principle how it must be done, I had to confess I didn’t know exactly.

Well now I do, for I have knit this entrelac tea cosy.

entrelac tea cosy

pattern: improvised, first two sets knit in the round, middle section knit flat with decreases, top section knit in the round, I-cord loop
yarn: ancient dk acrylic from stash
needles: 4 mm

Can’t see me wanting to knit entrelac again, all that going back and forward and picking up stitches is a right pain and I don’t like the effect enough for it to be worth it.  But at least I now know how it’s done and the cafe where we have our knit nights has a new tea cosy.  Actually they have 3 new cosies because I fell out with my current wip socks and wanted some simple makes, and because it seemed to me that a cafe that’s often full of knitters really should have knitted tea cosies

strawberry cosy
pattern: Strawberry Tea Cosy by Katya Frankel (available as a free ravelry download)
yarn: stash acrylic dk, used doubled

bobble cosy
pattern: improvised, crocheted in treble crochet (US = double crochet), retro-fitted with bobbles
yarn: stash acrylic dk, used doubled

now that’s a good idea ….

A few weeks ago a lovely French Raveller came along to our local S’n’B (which is also a good idea when visiting forn parts, visiting knitting groups to meet the locals). She was knitting a sock and I noticed she had a strand of yarn running up her knitting, something like this ….
that's a good idea
I could see straight away what a fab idea this is. By moving the marker yarn back and forth every few rows (I do it every 4) you can count your rows as you go without needing to keep notes. And you easily mark the beginning of your round without needing to use a marker. Quite simple and quite brilliant. Thank you Noemi 🙂

blocking update

I’m new to lace and to blocking, so finding out how much things grow (and how much better they look) with blocking is all new to me.
North Sea Shawl blocking
Shawl is now all pinned out on the bed (using the Yarn Harlot String-and-Pins method) and it has grown, from about 175 cm to about 200 cm. Maybe could’ve stretched it out longer but our bed is only 200 cm long. And the width has expanded too, to 55 cm, so I am very happy with these post-blocking dimensions.
North Sea Shawl detail

you can’t see the join!

Sitting knitting and chatting with Shadi the other evening, we talked about how knitting is at once so simple (it’s only ever knit and purl) and so full of new challenges (if you want them; you can stay at the garter stitch scarf stage forever and be a happy knitter, if you like). She’s a new knitter and learning with every project (I’m so proud of her, she’s making Fetching gloves – her first project in the round and her first cables). And even though I’ve been knitting for years there are always new things to learn. Right now I am all pleased with myself for I have finally got the grafting and have done my first proper Kitchener-ed toes on socks.

I like this garter rib sock pattern, it is simple to do and makes a nice sock which I hope will stay up. Rob says his socks always fall down (not just the ones I make, shop bought ones too) so I am determined to crack a style and size that stay up on him. Let’s see if garter rib is the answer …

surprise stripes socks, for Rob, on blockers on balconymy first grafted toe

pattern: Garter Rib Socks by Charlene Schurch, from ‘Sensational Knitted Socks (64 stitch size)
yarn: Violet Green Stroud SuperSock, colourway Ebb
needles: Clover Takumi bamboo dpns, 2.5 mm for sock, 2.25 mm for heel & toe


S’funny how you get used to things so quickly. Before I started sock knitting, I never used yarn thinner than DK1 or needles smaller than 3.25 mm. 2.5 mm dpns felt so tiny and 2.25 mm bamboos were like toothpicks, who could knit with them? But now I am starting on Jeanie on 4mm metal needles, it feels weird to be working with these great long metal sticks. ‘Real’ needles are cold and heavy after little bamboo sock needles.

Jeanie is slow going, so far. I got the Smooshy for it in Gothic Rose, it looks just mum’s kind of colour
Dream in Color Smooshy 340 Gothic Rose
First I had to learn provisional cast on. This is good, learning a new technique is always A Good Thing, but it does slow one down. Then it took me a few goes to get the set up row right (always the trickiest bit of cable knitting). And there are 3 charts to follow. Charts are something else that was new to me, until recently I’d only ever used them for colour knitting. So it is slow going but at least it is going, and I have 2 months to finish it in. Slight cloud on horizon – provisional cast on indicates grafting later. I cannot graft. Can. Not. Do. It. I’ve tried. Tried and tried and tried. I think the problem is that I knit right-handed but sew left-handed. Oh well I can have another go and learning and if that fails, improvise (aka bodge).

1. Brit-knitter’s DK = sport weight / CYCA 3