October 23, 2014 by Ysolda Teague

A provisional cast on is any method of casting on that can be undone later to release live stitches that can be worked from the cast on edge. This is my favourite method because it unzips so easily.

You'll need smooth scrap yarn close to the weight of the working yarn and a crochet hook in a similar sise to the needles. 

1. Begin by making a slipknot and placing it onto the hook.

1. Begin by making a slipknot and placing it onto the hook.

2. Wrap the yarn around the hook.

2. Wrap the yarn around the hook.

3. Pull it through the stitch on the hook.

3. Pull it through the stitch on the hook.

4. One stitch has been made around the needle

4. One stitch has been made around the needle

5. *Wrap the yarn around the hook

5. *Wrap the yarn around the hook

6. then insert the tip of the needle between the wrap and the stitch on the hook

6. then insert the tip of the needle between the wrap and the stitch on the hook

7. Pull the wrap through the stitch on the hook. Rep from * until the desired number of stitches have been cast on.

7. Pull the wrap through the stitch on the hook. Rep from * until the desired number of stitches have been cast on.

8. Work a few more stitches of crochet chain, break the yarn and pull the end through the last stitch on the hook.

8. Work a few more stitches of crochet chain, break the yarn and pull the end through the last stitch on the hook.

9. Switch to the working yarn and work the first row into the waste yarn stitches on the needle.

9. Switch to the working yarn and work the first row into the waste yarn stitches on the needle.

Tip: The crochet cast on doesn't have to be provisional, done in the working yarn it's the perfect match for a regular bind off, which can be nice on something like a scarf.

Undoing the crochet cast on

1. Start at the end with the chain and unpick the tail of the yarn.

1. Start at the end with the chain and unpick the tail of the yarn.

2. Pulling on this end will then unzip the chain.

2. Pulling on this end will then unzip the chain.

3. Because the stitches are turned upside down the first stitch will be a half a stitch, pick up this loop with the working needle.

3. Because the stitches are turned upside down the first stitch will be a half a stitch, pick up this loop with the working needle.

4. Continue to pick up stitches with the working needle, pulling out the cast on carefully as you go.

4. Continue to pick up stitches with the working needle, pulling out the cast on carefully as you go.

At the end count how many stitches you have compared to how many you need. If you miss this half stitch or want to drop it off nothing will unravel.

technique thursday

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October 17, 2014 by Ysolda Teague

This week's Knitworthy pattern, Opari, includes some rather tricky but very pleasing reversible double decreases. If you've never done any brioche knitting before the hat is a great project to get started with, and I've just issued an update with a few more clarifying notes to help you out, but if you're a visual learner you might want to look at a tutorial such as this one.

Rearranging the stitches

The stitches are arranged in an alternating pattern but in order to have a double decrease that looks the same on each side (although in opposite colours) we need to rearrange the stitches. This means that three MC ribs can be decreased into one and, on the following round, three CC ribs can be decreased into one. The MC decrease will be knit and the CC decrease will be purled. 

It's easiest to use a cable needle but if you're comfortable cabling without one then you might not need it for this. 

Begin by slipping the first MC stitch and its yarn over purlwise.

Begin by slipping the first MC stitch and its yarn over purlwise.

Slip the next CC stitch to the cable needle. 

Slip the next CC stitch to the cable needle. 

Repeat this process until you've slipped 3 MC stitches to the right needle tip and 2 CC stitches to the cable needle. 

Repeat this process until you've slipped 3 MC stitches to the right needle tip and 2 CC stitches to the cable needle. 

Return the CC stitches to the left needle tip,

Return the CC stitches to the left needle tip,

then return the MC stitches being careful not to drop any of the yarn overs. 

then return the MC stitches being careful not to drop any of the yarn overs. 

You should have 3 MC stitches clustered together followed by 3 CC stitches. 

You should have 3 MC stitches clustered together followed by 3 CC stitches. 

brs2kp

The 'br' indicates that this is a brioche decrease — there will be yarn overs paired with some or all of the stitches involved. The general rule is to always treat the yarn over and stitch as a single unit.

The 's2kp' is the abbreviation I use for a knit centred double decrease. It stands for: slip 2 stitches together knitwise, knit 1, pass the slipped stitches over the stitch just worked. Other than the yarn overs this is worked in the standard way. 

Slip the next 2 stitches together knitwise including their yarn overs. 

Slip the next 2 stitches together knitwise including their yarn overs. 

Knit the next stitch together with its yarn over.

Knit the next stitch together with its yarn over.

Pass the slipped stitches and yarn overs over the stitch just worked and off the end of the needle. 

Pass the slipped stitches and yarn overs over the stitch just worked and off the end of the needle. 

It should look like this. 

It should look like this. 

Yarn over and slip the 3 CC stitches — the whole cluster gets just one yarn over — and continue working in pattern. 

Yarn over and slip the 3 CC stitches — the whole cluster gets just one yarn over — and continue working in pattern. 

brs2pp

This is the purl version of the previous decrease which requires a little more manipulation in order to avoid twisted stitches. 

Yarn over and slip the decreased MC stitch from the previous round. Don't forget to bring the yarn to the front between the needles before beginning the decrease. 

Yarn over and slip the decreased MC stitch from the previous round. Don't forget to bring the yarn to the front between the needles before beginning the decrease. 

Without going through the accompanying yarn over slip the first 2 CC stitches knitwise individually (slip one, then the other). 

Without going through the accompanying yarn over slip the first 2 CC stitches knitwise individually (slip one, then the other). 

— slip one, then the other. 

— slip one, then the other. 

Insert the left needle tip into both slipped stitches from right to left 

Insert the left needle tip into both slipped stitches from right to left 

And slip them to the left needle. 

And slip them to the left needle. 

Purl all 3 stitches together with the accompanying yarn over.

Purl all 3 stitches together with the accompanying yarn over.

The completed decrease. 

The completed decrease. 

If you're interested in exploring Brioche knitting further (it's a bit addictive!) have a look at the work of designers and teachers Nancy Marchant and Mercedes Tarasovich-Clark

 

technique thursday

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October 10, 2014 by Rebecca

If a sweater is at all fitted I add bust darts. I find they make a massive difference in fit and ease of wear for my figure. In stockinette sweaters or cardigans it's super simple to do the math and add the dart. If the sweater is worked in the round then the darts are a short section of back and forth, and quite invisible especially if you’ve had a lot of practice with a favourite short row method. 
 

Blank Canvas and Sugarleaf are two examples of sweaters of mine where adding short row bust darts was straight forward. Also, as I’ve done a number of sweaters for myself, I have a standard set of bust dart numbers worked out for different gauges. You'll find that once you've worked them successfully once that it's easy to transfer the process to different garments. 

Bust darts in colourwork

When I saw Pam’s Aunt Fred I loved it, but was hesitant to make it for myself because the body has no shaping at all.

After some discussion with Ysolda I decided to go for it with some modifications. I normally knit a 40" bust and add bust darts. Because Aunt Fred is allover colourwork with no waist shaping we came to the conclusion that the 42" size plus bust darts would work. 

For the bust darts I had to adjust my standard numbers a bit. The colourwork is a 6 stitch, 8 row repeat, so those were my constraints for my bust darts. The stitch repeat can be broken down into groups of 3 so I used that for my turns. In order for the colourwork to appear unbroken the total rows of the bust dart has to be a full repeat: I did 2 full repeats. So my darts are 8 turns on each side, 3 sts apart.

I made a note of which row I ended on before I started the bust darts so they finished on the same row. That way the colourwork would be in the correct place to start the next round. In order to keep the end of round in the same location at the underarm, I broke the yarn after finishing the final wrong side row of the bust dart. Then I rejoined the yarn at the end of round and continued on with the pattern as written.

The yarn is Nate's Yarn from Briar Rose Fibers in 140 and undyed.

Paneled sweaters

The sweater I’m currently working on Foxcroft from Twist Collective is also patterned but way easier to add bust darts to than Aunt Fred was. The cable panels are centred on the front and back with stockinette areas on each side which are perfect for adding bust darts to.

Ready to add bust darts

Ready to add bust darts

I made sure my bust darts were only in the stockinette side panels, so my final turn is just outside of the cable section in the stockinette. The main thing to be aware of is that after completing the bust darts the front and back cable panels will no longer be on the same row. Which won’t be an issue for long because once I reach the underarms I’ll be separating and working each section flat.

The yarn is Wollmeise DK in Golden Pear.

Bust dart complete

Bust dart complete

I know this wasn't a specific tutorial on adding bust darts to sweaters but I hope it helps you see that with a bit of planning you can add bust darts to sweaters in more complicated stitch patterns. Ysolda's book Little Red in the City has lots more information about sweater fitting and calculating bust darts.

technique thursday

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October 06, 2014 by Ysolda Teague

Dress up your knitted gifts with tags that show how Knitworthy the recipient is.  Encourage them to stay on your list by including instructions for properly caring for the item! 

And if you end up giving a project on the needles or a single sock and a ball of yarn (I've done both of those!) at least the tag will dress things up a little. 

Thanks to Mary Heather for the "please don't felt this line!". They're a little silly and a lot useful and I had fun making them so I hope you like these. If you've subscribed to Knitworthy you can now download and print tags for all your gifts. 


Tomorrow I'm going on a little adventure, taking a train, a ferry and then cycling to the West coast of Shetland for some knitting and exploring. I'm currently watching the weather forecast a bit obsessively — cross your fingers for seas that aren't too rough and that it's calm enough to be worth taking the bike. 

 

 

 

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October 02, 2014 by Rebecca

When you're knitting a bottom up sweater and reach the directions for 'joining the body and sleeves' do you find it difficult to visualise how the pieces fit together? If you lay the two sleeves and body out like the photo above you may find it easier to picture where the knitting is going next. A round will go across the back of the body, around one sleeve, across the front and around the second sleeve. The stitches that are lying against each other at the underarms are put 'on hold'. They'll eventually be seamed or bound off together. Since you aren't Flat Stanley this spans your underarm from front to back in a comfortable, anatomically correct way. 

The photos above and below show the underarm stitches and are going to be ignored until the finishing steps of the sweater construction. 

On this sweater the EOR (end of round) is at the back left shoulder between the back and the sleeve. You start the round by adding in the sleeve, the underarm stitches are put on hold, and the working yarn has just finished the last stitch of the back. Sometimes you may be instructed to knit across the front of the body until x stitches before the underarm marker and then put the sleeve in. 

To add in a sleeve get the two needles ready. You might need to return the sleeve and / or body to the needle. If you only have one circular in the necessary size use that for the needle you'll be working on to (usually in the body) and a slightly smaller one for the other. Use the needle in the body as the right needle tip and the needle in the sleeve as the left.

Place a marker on the right needle tip and then knit the first stitch of the sleeve onto the right needle, and continue knitting the sleeve stitches. 

When you get to the last stitch of the sleeve, place another marker and then knit the first live stitch from the body. The released sleeve needle can be used for the second one. 

In the photo below the EOR is at the top of the photo, the path of the knitting is across the top of the sleeve and then back to the body stitches. 

Join in the second sleeve in the same manner as the first. Depending on your needle length the stitches could be quite cramped together, below the sweater is on a 32" / 80cm needle.

Underarm stitches on hold

Modified magic loop

It's going to be difficult to knit all the way around the sleeve normally so I pulled out part of the cable half way round the sleeve. I'll knit to there and then pull out the right needle tip and continue with the second half of the sleeve. After a few rounds, the knitting will be further from the join and easier to knit in the round.

Don't forget to count your stitches before going any further. It's shockingly easy to position one sleeve oddly towards the front or back - believe me!

technique thursday

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October 01, 2014 by Ysolda Teague

image.jpg

Tomorrow I'll be joining the super fun Marly Bird to chat live on her Yarn Thing podcast. Call in and embarass me! Win prizes! 10am MT is 5pm GMT and 12 noon EST and er... an excellent time to knit with us whichever time zone you're in. Of course of you insist on going to work or picking up your kid on time you will be able to listen again later.

Let's hope I can get through the hour without accidentally swearing! As long as a needle doesn't break...

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