Thursday 30 October 2014

German Short Rows

I now have another new favourite way of working short rows: German Short Rows.

The first time I tried them I wasn't convinced they were for me. It was a first date after all. But there are so many ruffles in this Ruffled Cowl
that I kept going back to these short rows just because they're different. Eventually I fell in love with them. Now I want to do another short row project just so I can use them.

On the knit row, knit to the turning point, turn to purl side and WITH YARN IN FRONT, slip 1 stitch, pull the working yarn tight to pull the stitch up so you see 2 bars like this, called a double stitch. Take the yarn over the Right needle to the back, bring under the Right needle to the front again and purl stitches back.

On the purl side, purl to turning point, turn to the knit side and WITH YARN IN FRONT, slip 1 stitch, pull working yarn up tight to produce a double stitch (it's twisted and should look like that). Take the yarn over Right needle to the back and knit stitches back as directed.

When you need to work past the last time you turned, work the 2 bars of the double stitch together by working a K2tog or a P2tog. It really works great.

You can substitute them for the standard Wrap & Turn but you need to make a small adjustment. If your W&T directions say to K8, Wrap & Turn, then for German Short Rows, K9 (one extra stitch), Turn and with yarn in front slip the first stitch and pull tight to make a double stitch. The double stitch stands in place of the Wrapped stitch and is done after the Turn. This video explains it quite well  German Short Rows for the Wrap & Turn.

Fun with Short Rows,

Wednesday 22 October 2014

I've fallen off the Writer's Challenge wagon. But for a very good reason, teaching.

It's amazing to watch knitters finish their very first sweater. It's an experience never to be repeated so that first one is special. The knitters at the Ramara Community Centre finished not one but several little sweaters over our 5 weeks of classes.

On the road last weekend, where Bea of The Match Factory in New Liskeard, ON hosted me to teach many kinds of Short Rows. It even snowed for half and hour twice during the day. We were glad to be inside knitting.
A great group of knitters there.
Then on Sunday I was at Stix and Stones in North Bay. . .
where many knitters came out for tea and a talk about our Cabin Fever books. They're all ready for Halloween there.

Friday 17 October 2014

Day 10: Boredom is Good

How can being bored be a good thing? It can make you a better knitter, that how.

  • Learn a New Method:  I have been working on a Short Row cowl which is taking rather a long time to knit. Because I was bored I started looking on the internet for at all the ways there are to knit short rows. I can now work 6 types of short rows and did just that in my project. Not bored anymore.
  • Decorate the Sides:  If you have miles and miles of stockinette stitch to work in the Body of your sweater, consider working a stitch pattern in a panel at each of the sides. Not bored any more. Side Pattern Vest
  • Better Borders:  If you're working down your Top Down sweater and need something to keep you going, look through your stitch dictionary and find a really fantastic stitch pattern for the Bottom Border and the Cuffs. Worked a Slip Stitch pattern for a ShirtTail bottom border (from the Need A Circular Yoke book). Not bored any more.
  • Knit Theme Socks:  Knit socks a lot? Looking for a cool stitch pattern to put in your next pair? Look through your Stitch Dictionary with someone or something in mind. What stitch pattern reminds me of my grandson? Or which stitch pattern represents Marriage, Life, Winter Fun, the Beach to me. These remind me of Fall, Pine Cone Socks.
Get bored and see what happens,

Thursday 16 October 2014

Day 7: Is there a Wrong Way to Knit?

How many ways do you know how to knit?

Sometimes I have someone in my class that knits in the combination continental method (wraps her purls from underneath and knits into the back of her knit sts). This means that her K2tog is our SSK and vice versa. As I try to explain the reversal of these stitches, the question of the correct way to knit comes up. Is there a correct way?

There is definitely a way of knitting which makes it easier to follow North American patterns. There are ways of knitting which make it easier for other knitters to help you when you run into problems. But a right and wrong way to knit? As long as the fabric looks good and has no crossed stitches on the stockinette fabric, I don't think there's any wrong way.

There are advantages to knowing other ways to knit. I get tendinitis in my right elbow quite often. The cure is rest. Yay, right, no knitting, like that's going to happen!! On my way home after hearing this terrible news, I thought "what if I changed how I knit, that might work". So I knit for 2 weeks working the Portuguese method and the elbow pain went away. Wow, just like that.

Mix it up. Try a new style of knitting. Work across the knit row with one style and the purl row in another style. Work one project with your main knitting style and a second project in a different style. It can't hurt.

P.S. Thanks Jill, Sharon and Liz for your comments. I'm glad to hear you're knitting everywhere you go. I take my sock project with me when I buy a new purse because the project has to fit or I can't buy the purse no matter how much I might like it.

Wednesday 15 October 2014

Day 5: Where are all the knitters?

Over the last couple of days I was in 4 airports. I saw exactly 2 other knitters. Where are all the knitters?

In North American there are 54 million knitters ( a stat I saw in a magazine). They aren't at the airport. Admittedly there are many more men in airports than women. What I see are people focused on their devices: phones, computers, ipads. I know that makes waiting easier but so does knitting.

Do you knit in public? We need to show the public that knitters don't all sit in rocking chairs. We are a varied and interesting group of people making things for people we love.

Join me and Knit in Public somewhere this week.

Day 6: 3 Ways to be a Creative Knitter

You have knit one or many sweaters. Now its time for you to put all those hours of knitting into action and use your knowledge to make a new design by adding a little something of your own to a pattern you bought. Start small and see how it works. Then go to town. Use the written pattern as a jumping off point to create sweaters unique to you.

1.  Add a new element to the pattern. Add a stripe or work the borders in a different colour. Add a stitch pattern down the centre of the sleeve or down the sides of the Body. Work one of your favourite stitch patterns under the bust or vertically down the centre Front and Back.

2.  Turn something on it's side. Instead of working the Shirttail bottom border at the Front and Back of your sweater, work it at the sides of your Body to make the sides longer. Work a 3-button raglan opening in the Yoke at one of the Raglan lines for a diagonal button placket. Make the bottom of the sweater asymmetric in some way. Exaggerate the waist and hip shaping for a different look.

3.  Combine an element from 2 different patterns you've bought. Work the yoke from one and adjust the stitches to work the Body of a different pattern. Work your top down as a cardigan for the yoke with buttons, join it up and work the body as a pullover. Make your sweater into a capelet or shrug. Use the border patterns from another pattern. Work a collar onto a pattern that isn't written with one.

Have some fun,

Saturday 11 October 2014

Day 4: Why write a blog?

If I were a super hero, I would have an "I" emblazed on my chest. Not an I, as in me, me, me. But an "I" for Introvert. What would my super powers be? Not to leap high buildings. Not to save damsels in distress (although possibly to save knitters in distress). My introvert super powers would be somewhat understated and might be the power to generate design ideas in solitude.

But even an "I" super hero cannot live entirely without other people and certainly not without other knitters. We need to engage in the big wide world, while sitting at home of course (where else would we be).

Blogging means I am not alone with my obsession with sticks and yarn. Blogging means I can hear what you think. Blogging means I can be the Introvert I am, connect to you and other knitters and still sit in my house, surrounded by my favourite thing, knitting.

The question might be why not blog?

Friday 10 October 2014

Day 3: Your Voice

I'm supposed to write in my own voice. I find this hard to do. I would like to write like I talk. That's our voice. But I can't gesture and wave my hands around while writing. It just doesn't work.

So here I am today in Hartford, CT at Sts East. I left this morning at 8am and arrived at 4:30pm. Does this seem like a long time to go 600km (I got that off my airline site)? How our expectations of travel have changed. I could have driven in the same amount of time but I do love to fly. That moment when the plane leaves the ground does something for me. Here we go!

I have never flown in such a tiny plane, except in a bush plane. When I booked with Air Canada I anticipated something a little bigger. It was a full flight, 18 people, 18 seats! Can you believe it?

The woman across from me was knitting. How great is that. She wasn't going to the knitting show, but back home. She sort of apologized for being a beginner. I envied her. She's starting on a great adventure. So much to learn, so many garments to knit, so much fun ahead. It would be so exciting to be at the beginning with all of that ahead.

Tomorrow morning I begin my class on designing a Top Down Raglan for yourself. I expect a very interesting day.

Thursday 9 October 2014

Day 2: Focus

Knitting is a very big subject, a passion of mine and I'm assuming, yours. Today in the 21-day writer challenge, we were urged to define our focus.
My Focus is the Knitting Design Process. I love the whole process: working on an idea, ripping back, redoing it, writing it out on the back of an envelope, ripping it out again, writing it up, test knitting it and publishing the finished garment. I know it may not seem like fun but it really is exciting.

 I also want to help you, the knitter, get into this process too so you can add design elements to the patterns you buy and knit a garment that you can call your own creation. Even small additions to the pattern make it yours.

This has been a long journey. I started writing patterns for sale in the usual manner, one design at a time, working my way through different ideas I had and expecting them to be followed to the letter. Why else would anyone buy a pattern?

But I continued to be facinated by what some knitters did with our patterns or more often, wanted to do with them. Could I write a pattern that had a cable down the front, a lace pattern, with a collar or hood? I love these requests. Keep them coming. They tell me what you want to do and what you might be bumping up against in trying to get there yourself.

Today I am developing a toe-up sock pattern for our Cabin Fever Retreat on November 14-16. I want to put a design on the top of the foot where the knitters will be able to add a stitch pattern to my basic pattern.
Each knitter will work the toe and then add a 4-stitch pattern to the design which fits between the lines. Maybe a nice little 2x2 cable or a twist stitch, or a small lace pattern perhaps?

The basic concept is worked out, great. But now I have to think of my knitters. The toe is done and I want to give them some fun by adding in a stitch pattern of their choice but this design has 2 different increases and 2 different decreases working in the same round. I find I have to double check myself which increase to use when I knit this and I made it up! Too much to keep track of.

Simplify, simplify. This Does Not mean dummy it down. It means make a simpler version which can then be made more complex for those knitters who wish to take on the challenge. 
I'm going to take it back and have one line going across the top of the foot, from right to left for a wider zigzag pattern. Yes, I think I like that. What do you think?

P.S.  t_a thanks for reminding me: the yarn is Riverside Studio in Wakefield, Quebec.
P.P.S.  Yes Sharon (from the EZ post), I agree. Any system, including the EZ Percent System, is only a basic guideline. It gives you a starting point to work out your own particular adjustments for your own figure. Sounds like you did just that.

Wednesday 8 October 2014

Day 1: A Bigger Life

Day 1:  Tell an inspiring story that invites us to live a life that is bigger than the one we're living now.

I am still in awe of the wonderful work Elizabeth Zimmermann did (Schoolhouse Press). I always think of a bigger life as a life spent out there, in the big world, not in a small town living in an old schoolhouse. From this schoolhouse she influenced many knitters to take a "look" at their knitting, take a chance, add a little something of your own to their knitting and knit without seams! Yes, I got hooked right there.

All her books, the Wool Gathering newsletters and especially the original Spun Out series have wordy instructions and percentages instead of line-by-line instructions, although she does include them in her books under the title of "blind follower" instructions. That always makes me laugh. I learned to knit using her books and many designers, including myself, still follow her percentage system to this day. If you want to begin designing your own sweaters there is no better place to start than the EZ Percent System.

Any time you step the littlest bit away from the line-by-line instructions we're all so used to now, something happens, the garment becomes yours. Go for it, change the ribbing, add a stitch pattern, add on a collar. You are now a co-designer. I invite you to proudly proclaim this title.

Do you have an inspirational story to tell?
Have you knit an EZ pattern? Have you used the EZ Percent System?

Tuesday 7 October 2014

21-Day Writer Challenge

I'm in.

Jeff Goins has issued a 21-Day Writer Challenge to blog writers. I'm in. I'm going to write on my blog for 21 days beginning on Wednesday, October 8. This is to help me and all the other participants of course, but mostly me (c'mon you know it's totally personal, ha, ha) become a better blogger and writer.

He is going to send prompts. I don't know if these are "go team go" or "write about your most embarrassing moment". I hope it's not the second one but suspect it probably is. I'm more than a little nervous. There will be knitting content because how can I ignore such a large part of my life.

Are you a blogger? Would you be my writing buddy? If you send me the link to your blog, I'll post the link at the end of my posts, if you will do the same for me. It would be cool to have a group of bloggers reading about each other so we'll all know our community better by the end.

If you want to take the challenge by writing privately without a blog, sign up on the Goins site and write a comment on this blog so I can hear how you found the writing of each topic. We can encourage each other to write every day. Resolutions are so hard to keep. I think I'm going to need the encouragement after about Day 5.

Are you in?

Sign up on the Goins site and email me with your blog link:
Add me, Cabin Fever Sisters Knit, to your list of 21-Day Writing Challenge writers

Thursday 2 October 2014

Child's Ribbed Sleeve pullover and Short Row heels

This week has got away from me. I've been busy workin on my boy sweater. But as usual the sleeves seem to take as much time as the body does. How come? This does not compute!
Sharon (from the comments) was concerned about the neckband being small. I've written in the instructions to cast on with the body-size needle and then work the neckband ribbing on a needle 2 sizes smaller to pull it in. I can get this 4 year old size onto my head so with a nice loose cast on, it will be fine. I know any child who gets their ears ripped off when pulling off a sweater is not going to put it on again!

I've also been revisiting short rows in preparation for teaching Toe Up Socks with short row heels at our Cabin Fever Retreat, November 14-16. I want to present a couple different short row heel options. I have my reliable double wrap short row heel (below) which I love but I'm going to explore some other methods. Maybe I'll find a new favourite. Do you have a favourite heel that works for toe up socks?