Tag Archives: knitting

Bunny Ears Back

For the pattern I’m working on (Ellerbe Mitts), I came up with an interesting decrease that turns out to have been invented more than once already (not really a surprise to me).

The name other people use for this one is Bunny Ears Back (because it’s a variant of another decrease called Bunny Ears).

Anyway, I’ve worked up a handout (also available as a PDF) to go with the pattern. Here’s the text of it, with illustrations.

Continue reading Bunny Ears Back

Pinion, redux

I posted this pattern last year, and will be donating any proceeds from December 2010 to help a friend’s friend and his family make it through a personal disaster: he was caught in random violence and needs reconstructive surgery.

Pinion Tam blocked on a plate


This lacy tam is worked from the center outwards. The design spirals outward and flows into a ribbed brim. It looks more complicated than it is–if you know how to knit in the round, purl, knit two together, knit three together, and make a yarn over, you can make this hat.

Both charts and written out instructions (in abbreviations) are provided, along with suggestions for modifying the brim size to fit.

Other materials required include a darning needle for working in ends, about a yard of smooth, thin yarn for making a lifeline, and a plate for blocking (about 10 inches or 25cm in diameter).

You shouldn’t need a Ravelry account to buy now.

If you have a Ravelry account, here’s the pattern page for Pinion.

Thank you!

What’s in the works

I am theoretically rewriting my free pirate baby boot pattern.

I am also theoretically deep in the throes of designing and knitting a shawl. That’s going pretty well, but it’s being more finicky than I expected. I got about a quarter of the way, then frogged the whole thing. Then I charted a lot, and did some samples, and then started again with lots of life lines. Thank goodness for that, because I got more than halfway and had to frog another large chunk of it. Not only that, but I dropped down some stitches from there and worked them back up again (but at least I didn’t have to frog another eight rows). I’m making good progress on it, but I’m feeling a little beaten up by the whole thing. I’m charting and taking notes as I go, which is a good thing. I can tell I would never remember what I did otherwise.

I am also spinning for the FOAYSAKALFL (Friends of Abby’s Yarns* Spin and Knit Along for Lace). The idea is to spin a bunch of yarn for knitting something lacey, all to be finished by the end of 2010. I haven’t even finished spinning the yarn for the FOAYSAKALFL, but planning the design started to consume my brain today. I’ve even been sampling the stitch patterns for that and seeing if I can make them flow well. So far so good, and I’ve even been improvising some stitch patterns, which pleases me.

I like using stitch dictionaries, but there are some gaps in what I need for this pattern. Not going into great detail, but I need five different stitch patterns with a particular overall character, and with five different repeat numbers. I found one that was exactly what I needed, two more that just needed slight modifications, and have worked out the fourth. This gives me confidence that I can come up with the fifth on my own. This is all very satisfying.

And then, of course, there’s all my other works in progress. I periodically need to sit down and unravel the things that just aren’t going anywhere, so as to clear out the backlog and free my brain a bit. I have a suspicion that the time is nigh. (Interesting that this seems to happen in the spring or early summer.)

*a Ravelry Group.

Pinion hat pattern!

I’ve just posted a new pattern on Ravelry, the Pinion tam:

Pinion Tam blocked on a plate

I will donate all proceeds for Haiti Relief (after PayPal fees are deducted) from sales of this pattern through the last day of February. Money will be split evenly between Doctors Without Borders/MSF, Partners in Health, and the Haiti Emergency Relief Fund. Thank you very much for your help!


This lacy tam is worked from the center outwards. The design spirals outward and flows into a ribbed brim. It looks more complicated than it is–if you know how to knit in the round, purl, knit two together, knit three together, and make a yarn over, you can make this hat.

Both charts and written out instructions (in abbreviations) are provided, along with suggestions for modifying the brim size to fit.

Other materials required include a darning needle for working in ends, about a yard of smooth, thin yarn for making a lifeline, and a plate for blocking (about 10 inches or 25cm in diameter).

You shouldn’t need a Ravelry account to buy now.

Thank you!

Bull City Yarn Bag

I’ve put up my first pattern for sale on Ravelry:

The Bull City Yarn Bag!

It’s meant to let someone carry a ball of yarn or some handspinning fiber hanging from the wrist – excellent for portable projects! It’s about five inches tall and five inches deep.

Techniques you need to know include
– Knit, purl, slip, yarn-overs and decreases
– Provisional cast-on
– Knitting in the round
– Three-needle bind-off
– I-cord
– Kitchener stitch (a tiny amount)

I will be donating all proceeds for Haiti relief through the end of March. The pattern costs $3. Funds will be split evenly between Doctors Without Borders/MSF, Partners in Health, and the Haiti Emergency Relief Fund. Thank you very much for your help!

the English Cast On, illustrated

I originally posted a different version of this on the Advanced Knitting community on Livejournal. I hope I have learned from my mistakes; I certainly appreciate the commenters over there for making me reformulate my thoughts on the subject!

—-

Sometime in my teens, I learned this cast-on, which has remained my favorite. I might have learned it from my grandmother; I can’t remember, and my grandmother’s memory is unreliable at best at this point, so I’ll never know for sure. I’m a little sad about this, but so be it.

I didn’t know a name for it until recently, when I checked Nancy Bush’s Folk Socks out of the library. It was the first place I had ever seen it described. Armed with a name, I searched on Google, and found only two sets of instructions for it, both text. Here’s the links, just in case they help clarify the instructions I’m providing: Britt Scharringhausen, Lord Gazmuth.

But there’s no illustrated instructions online that I can find, and I’d like to show other people how to do it, as I think this cast-on has a number of advantages:

  • It’s quite stretchy. (I can usually use it for sock cuffs.)
  • Because it’s knit onto the needle, you can cast on in pattern. I only show casting on with knit stitch here, but you can also knit and purl (handy when you’re about to do ribbing), and I imagine you could do the first row of a lace pattern with it.
  • I think it’s attractive.
  • At the end of casting on, you’ll have completed your first row of knitting.

There are some potential disadvantages:

  • If you aren’t comfortable with throwing the yarn around the needle with your right hand when knitting, this isn’t for you. (So if you’re exclusively a Continental-style knitter, this won’t be comfortable.)
  • You need to remember that you’ve completed your first row of knitting after casting on. Note: for some stitch patterns, if knit in the round, you may want to purl your cast-on instead of knitting.
  • If you are using the tail as a marker for something, it might be at the opposite end from where you’re used to.
  • As with the more usual long-tail cast on, you’ll need to allow enough tail for the cast on (or else use a separate length of yarn, in which case you’ll need to weave in extra ends).

This is a long tail cast on. It’s not the usual method that’s called “long tail” by default. There’s an extra twist in each of the loops created by the tail. The result is identical to the Twisted German cast-on; it’s a different method for arriving at the same result.

First, figure out how you’re going to do the tail. I’ve seen suggestions for the long-tail cast on of leaving a tail that’s four times the width of your first row of knitting. I’ve also seen the suggestion of 1″ per stitch in thicker yarn (worsted) and 1/2″ per stitch for things like lace weight. Alternately, you can leave about a yard of tail, cast on 20 stitches, mark the ends of the tail yarn used in the cast on, unravel it, and figure out how much yarn you used per stitch. Also leave some extra for weaving in once you’re done knitting. Or you can use a separate length of yarn* from another ball of the same yarn, a contrast color, or the other end of a center-pull ball.

First, lay the yarn over your palm so that the tail end is trailing off the pinky side of your palm (it’s usually much longer than I show here; I’m just trying to make it clear which end is which) and the ball end is lying over the base of your thumb.

Close your fingers over the yarn. (I usually leave my index finger pointing up, contrary to this picture, but it doesn’t really matter.)

Loop the ball end of the yarn around the tip of your thumb so that the ball yarn is between your index finger and the tail yarn.

With your index finger, reach over the ball yarn and under the tail yarn.

Here’s another, closer view.

Straighten your index finger.

Drop the yarn off your thumb and pull the loop tight around your index fingertip. You now have what is essentially a twisted backward loop on your index finger. I kind of think of my finger as a flexible knitting needle when I do this cast on.

I did a little fiddling with two yarns so that you can see the structure of the loop more clearly.

Pick up your knitting needle, put it knitwise through the loop on your finger, and knit the stitch off your finger, tugging gently on the tail yarn to pull the stitch snug. (Note that the first stitch is a slip knot, so if you’d rather do that as the beginning of your cast-on, you can. Also, you can insert the needle purlwise if you want to cast on a purl stitch.)

Now repeat the procedure. I generally keep the tail yarn held beneath the fingers of my left hand as I cast on. You need to be careful to put the correct yarn under those fingers if you put everything down to do something else.

Here’s several stitches on the needle, after I stopped casting on.

I realized that the fuzzy yarn makes it hard to see the structure of the cast on, so here’s a couple more views with different yarn:

The tail yarn part of the cast on is a series of backward loops twisted an extra time. They lean to one side (from bottom left to top right).

Here’s a video:

 

*If you want to use a separate strand of yarn instead of a tail, make a slip knot in the end of it and put it on your needle. Don’t count it as a stitch. Cast on the number of stitches you want. When you can, drop the slip knot instead of knitting it.

Design setback

I was just about to post that I was making really good progress on one of my sock designs and that I’d finished half a sock, when I realized that I had half again more stitches than I should on the instep. Then I realized why, sighed, and ripped back most of the way. Fortunately, I had used a lifeline right before the critical row, and so it wasn’t hard to pick up the stitches again.

Onward!

Barn Raising for Doctors Without Borders

A community project which has arisen from the planning for Sock Summit 2009 is the collection of Barn Raising Quilt squares to be sewn together and auctioned off. The fundraiser will benefit Doctors Without Borders, one of my favorite non-profits.

Since I inevitably have some leftover sock yarn, I’m going to knit some squares for the project. The pattern is temporarily available for free for charity knitting.

Getting Going!

There’s two things I’ve been meaning to do:

  1. Get started on using this blog.
  2. Actually try knitting and writing up the patterns for some sock designs I have in my head.

With Sock Summit coming up, I’m feeling more inspired. I don’t yet know if I will be able to afford to go; however, there’s no reason not to work on the socks in any case.