Posts Tagged ‘technique’

I have a new toy

I’ve already gotten the “Experimental Tool” from lesliewind.


I think it looks even better than the Etsy picture.  It’s a lovely piece.

This is one of Leslie’s early takes on a combination knitting pin/cable tool.  She has a number of styles of knitting jewelry, which are all really elegant but out of my price range at the moment.   I’m not very experienced in Portuguese (or Andean, or Egyptian) style knitting  (where you tension the yarn in front of the work, by wrapping it around your neck or on a hook suspended on a pin or necklace), but it’s been on my list of techniques to master for a while.  When I saw that Leslie had an experimental tool at a reduced price I thought it would be a good time to give it a go.


Aidez seemed like a good candidate, as it has areas of reverse stockinette ground for cables.

There were no directions with the necklace, so I tried slipping the yarn through in several ways for the pin knitting.  There were several workable ways, but I think I liked ‘underhand’ with the yarn through the large loop best.  I found it much easier than the last time I tried this method.  It’s comfortable and I was soon able to zip along even faster than Norwegian purling.

Leslie has it listed as the equivalent to a size 0, so I wasn’t sure how it would work as a cable needle for aran weight yarn, but I gave it a go, and I find it easier (and smoother) than the KnitPicks needle I was using.  Of course, this project just has a 2×1 cable, I wouldn’t want to try it for something much larger.  I also found it awkward to work a back cable while wearing the necklace (though it was fine when I removed it).  Still, it is a pleasure to use and attractive to wear.

The necklace was well packaged, and came with a nice note and a very generous selection of thank you gifts.



There’s an attractive gift bag, a ‘care’ tag which pays homage to handmade gifts, and a shawl pin (which was similar to, but distinct from, what she had in her shop at the time I placed my order).


It’s a simple and elegant design which holds securely.

I am very pleased with my purchase, and impressed with this Etsy shop, it’s an excellent source for premium knitting supplies.  Go take a look, and let me know what you think.


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Current Crafting

This was going to be a regular WiP Wednesday post, but my WiPs aren’t drastically different than two weeks ago (given the intervening FO Friday post).  I have started one new project, a hat.  Abby tells me that it’s customary for men in the village to wear knitted hats to keep the sun off their heads, and she thinks it would be nice if I were to knit some for her local family.

New WiP

Let me repeat that – knit hats.  In equatorial Africa. I have been asked to knit hats for people living in equatorial Africa.  I…  can’t… even…

Anyway, I started this hat.  It’s got a herringbone stripe, which I’ve never worked before.


It doesn’t much look it, but it’s actually a lace stitch – decreases are K2TogTBL, and increases are also a TBL.  The result looks very much like a line of knitting perpendicular to the wales.  The thing is, it’s also helical.

Helical Crafting

It’s worked very much like the Guinan hat was worked (in knit rather than crochet).  In that case I crocheted 1/4 of the way around the hat, held the loop in place with a stitch marker, and picked up the previous loop in the contrasting color.

Guinan Spiral

The principle is the same with the knitting, only no stitch marker is needed.  Just pick up the color and knit to two before the next strand was dropped off, slip some stitches, and pick up the next strand.  It’s rather fun to work such a similar technique in both crafts.

Blog Contests and Giveaways

I didn’t win either PhatFiber giveaway.  I’ve entered two new (non crafting) giveaways.  The Smithsonian has a quize giveaway of a tote full of cool sciencey things (2 September), and Smart Bitches Trashy Books is giving away a Kate Spade bag and a gift card to the bookstore of your choice (26 September)

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Quick Tip

I’ve been working on the cricket sweater for my husband, and I’ve run into a snag.

The instructions say to knit a certain length from the beginning of the armhole decreases.  If I’d been thinking, I’d have run a lifeline through the row before starting that decrease, but I wasn’t thinking.  So I went back and marked it up afterwards.


I worked the yarn behind the same row of stitches. Later on I had to go back and re position it, because I had wandered to the adjoining row.

This gave me a very clear line to measure to.


Here you can see what I meant by wandering to the next row. You can also see how easy it is to get the measurement.

Since the armhole hadn’t reached the right depth, I left the marking yarn where it was.  I knotted both ends so that I don’t have to worry about it coming out on it’s own, or about cutting it out when it’s done.

Marked fixed

Still not ‘perfect’, but I can tell what I’m doing with it much better than without it.

  Blog Contests and Giveaways

I entered the drawing for Unexpected Cables on the Mindy Wilkes Designs blog (19 November).

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Here’s some more detail on the assembly of mantis limbs.  The first trick was to work the ‘chenille stems’, i.e. pipe cleaners, down to the very tip of the whip stitched end.  This was a bit tricky, and would have been much more frustrating if I didn’t have a pair of needle nosed pliers on hand.  The jewelry making tool set I have served me in good stead here.

I probably could have gotten away with just the pipe cleaners, but since I already had the 16 gauge copper wire, which I had used on the legs before, I added that as well.  This makes the pincers as strong as the legs are.  I’m planning to use the wire (but not the pipe cleaners) as a backbone for the body as well.

Blog Contests and Giveaways

I didn’t win the Ravelry book giveaway, and Cincinnati has guaranteed that I can’t win the March Madknits yarn giveaway.  On the other hand, I joined the Simply Sockupied Yarn Giveaway from knitting daily (30 March), and the Fandom Yarn giveaway from bluetooth toaster (8 April), and a pattern from Classic Cable Knits (26 March)

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I haven’t wound the brown skein of Cascade 220 into a ball for the Mantis yet.  Instead I’ve been merrily knitting away on the green bits.  Click on the picture at left for a (much) larger image, showing the stitch texture and the sheen of the yarn.

I’m currently ‘stuffing’ the legs, which means whip stitching them closed over both chenille stems and the 16 gauge copper wire I mentioned before.  I’m liking the results both for texture and stability, and holding the two together while I stitch is much easier than trying to ‘thread’ them through the finished legs would be. The same method would probably work really well for flower stems, should I ever be so inclined.

Blog Contests and Giveaways

Didn’t win the Patons Divine. I entered A Year at the Wheel’s March Giveaway (31 March) for a couple of skeins of Knitpicks Suri Dream.  She’s also got fiber up for grabs, but I’m so slow at spinning…  I also signed up for another Phat Fiber giveaway, this one for Wandering Wool sock yarn. (26 March) Not a blog contest, but Celeena Cree Creations Etsy story is giving away free patterns to people who blog about their store.

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Still no camera, but I’ve finished the On Your Toes socks.  I made them with about two inch cuffs because 1) I’m impatient, and 2) I really don’t like wearing long socks.   I’m very happy with them, and have enough of the KnitPicks yarn to make mini wrist warmers to match (which I’ve cast on already).  The pattern called for a sewn bind off, but Interweave didn’t give directions which differentiate between knit and purl stitches, so I used Jenny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off instead, and am very happy with the results.

After reading “Making Mathematics with Needlework” I’m totally confused about the way I form knit stitches – I knit Continental, but am I wrapping backwards? Now I’m not sure, so I’m trying to change my technique a bit with the mini wrist warmers. We’ll see how that goes.

There’s a sock yarn giveaway at Knit 1 Blog One (I went for the Malabrigo, because I don’t have any).

There’s also a fabulous giveaway at Implausible Yarn. Yes, the prizes are fabulous (I chose the Royal Lama Silk), but the question is too.

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Like turning a heel, that is.    I’ve turned the heels on the On Your Toes Socks, and I’m very pleased with the result.  The pattern calls for a basic short row heel, which went beautifully.  The last time I had knit a sock I was left with a row of tiny holes along the short rows.

Some time last year I began to use the Norwegian style of purling. This is particularly nice for short row shaping because wrap-and-purl can be done as a single stitch, by positioning the needle differently.

Now, I was still left with an annoying gap where I rejoined the heel to the front of the socks.  I think it was exacerbated by the two socks on two circs knitting method (which meant that I had to put the final wrap on a stitch marker, and probably did not get it reseated correctly).  My eyesight has never been that terrific, and I find it difficult to see how the stitches should be seated. Sooner or later I’ll get it figured out.

Now I just have to decide how long I want the socks to be (I usually like short ones), and whether I want to use the patterns bind off or play around with it a bit.

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