Sock Knitting for beginners

Found this website (via Ravelry) with step by step instructions for knitting socks. Have found it helpful to remind myself of certain parts so thought I’d just mention it here.

Silver’s Sock Class

A new cast-on method: Tubular Cast On

This is more of a note to myself, but this week we hosted a Professional Finishing Techniques workshop and the teacher demonstrated a new cast on method, ideal for ribbing.  She called it an invisible cast on, but I found this article on that refers to it as a tubular cast on, so that’s what I will call it.

She recommends using cotton for the waste yarn as it undoes easily.

It looks really neat and I will certainly try it sometime soon.

Fixing a mistake in cable pattern

I’m currently knitting a cabled beret in Rowan Lima yarn and I noticed last night that I’d actually forgotten to cross a cable a few rows back. DOH!  I did not want to rip back 8 rows so after a quick bit of googling I found this valuable post on the Yarn Harlot’s blog.

In it she shows how to drop the stitches concerned and using some DPNs fix a mis-crossed cable, or in my case, a missing cable.

She’s saved me hours of knitting!

Read it for yourself here.

More sock knitting tips

I write this, as a note to myself more than anything, because twice in the past couple of days I’ve heard mention of this casting off technique for stretchy tops of socks (when knitting toe-up)

Jenny’s surprisingly stretchy bind off –

I will try this when I do my first toe up sock.

Learning the theory of sock knitting

I’ve only ever made two pairs of socks in my life – a pair last year for me (which were a little bit big if truth be told) and then a pair for my brother for Christmas.  Both times I followed the simple sock pattern exactly and it is so clearly written that I just did what it said and it worked.

However I’ve been asked to knit a pair of socks for my best friend’s Dad and they need to be larger than normal, which means I have to modify the number of stitches of the pattern.  Now the pattern author has been helpful in that she adds some notes at the end explaining that the heel flap is knitted using half the total amount of stitches, and the stitches picked up for the gusset is always a quarter of the total.

I came a bit stuck though, when trying to shape the heel.  There was no note about how many stitches to work before turning on the first row of shaping.  Fortunately a kind person on Ravelry explained that it is half the number of stitches plus 1.  This was quickly followed by another tip from another Ravelry member that the number of rows worked in the heel flap is usually the same as the number of stitches in the heel flap.  I hadn’t asked about this, but she saw my question and added it as a useful note.  That’s why I love the Ravelry forums.  There are so many helpful people!

So the “theory” of sock knitting is finally starting to click.  In fact I’m really enjoying sock knitting right now.  I discovered last night there are all sorts of different ways of doing heels and toes and knitting from the the toe up is very popular too.  So I might try a different pattern at some point soon.

How to tink or frog Kidsilk Haze

Heard a great tip today for working with Kidsilk Haze. When you go wrong with this yarn, it’s a bit of a pig to unknit (tink) or frog it.

Apparently, if you stick it in the freezer for 20 minutes, it makes the fibres stiff, and it’s much easier to tink it!

Good to know 😉

Why knit a skirt in separate pieces?

I have to say this thought has crossed my mind whilst knitting the dress and I was wondering whether it would have been quicker in the long run to knit the skirt part in the round – I wouldn’t have to do purl rows then and I’m much quicker at knit stitch.

However this morning I noticed someone ask the same thing on Ravelry and the replies are worth remembering so I thought I’d make a note of them here:

  • As with sweaters, you want seams to keep the garment from stretching out. A skirt knit in one piece can stretch as you wear it and make the holes bigger and the skirt longer. Not something you want. By having a sewn seam at both sides, it helps keep the skirt from getting longer. (From YarnFloozy)
  • knitting in the round is actually knitting a spiral, and spirals tend to twist. If you knit in two pieces, you are knitting straight rows, and you won’t get that sideways torque that spirals develop. Knitted skirts tend to stretch out when sat in, and the spiral knit emphasizes that. (From )

Back to back

Here’s the back piece of the Starsky jacket. I’ve just got to the point where I’m shaping the raglan armholes now.

cardigan with fair-isle pattern

Doing the pattern has been fun and good practice because I’ve had to learn a couple of new things. My only experience at changing colours in the middle of a row has been with the blanket squares when I had to put some motif in the middle of it. I’ve had a few nightmares with those in all honesty usually because there are gaps when I changed yarn or the motif was puckered.

Now I don’t know if it’s me getting better or just the yarn, but incorporating the brown on this jacket has gone really quite well.

The blocks at the bottom of the piece (and which occur either side of the main section) required me to switch colour every two stitches.

brown pattern

At first I was worried about having a repeat of my blanket square disasters with gaps and puckering etc. But it turned out surprisingly ok. The back of this work looks like this:

back of the pattern

It looks reasonably neat, but I didn’t expect to see the yarn in those arrow shapes.

So when I came to do the same pattern further up the piece, I looked in my Knitter’s Bible about Fair-Isle knitting and how to do that technique.

I realised that with fair-isle I didn’t have to twist the yarn at the back as I had been doing. Why you should twist it with intarsia and don’t in fair-isle I’m not quite sure.

Anyway, this time I just brought the cream yarn over the top each time and the brown yarn underneath each time, rather than always bringing the new yarn from underneath, regardless of colour. The front looks the same but this is what it looks like on the back now:

back of the pattern in fair-isle style

No arrow shapes and it all lies very neatly. I’m quite chuffed.

Now according to my Knitter’s Bible you shouldn’t strand the yarn over more than 3 stitches, but part of the pattern required me to knit 10 in cream and just 2 in brown. So I had to learn yet another technique of weaving in the yarn to carry it along with me. Thanks to some diagrams in a couple of different books, I finally figured out how to do this and was able to carry on quite quickly.  The only slight downside is that the woven brown shows through the cream stitches sometimes, but I guess that’s something that will get better with practice.

Hopefully I’ll get the back finished tonight whilst I watch Brothers & Sisters – my fav show of the week at the moment.

Shaping armholes

The moonglow jumper is progressing fine. I’m just shaping the raglan armholes. One thing worth noting is that in this pattern, the decrease for the shaping, actually happens two stitches in from either end. This is making my edges much neater and tighter than on the cardigan I’ve just finished. Hopefully this means I won’t get the same holey appearance that the cardigan has.

I must remember this for the future!

Got the next issue of the Art of Knitting today. There are two nice patterns in it that I might add to the “to do” list. One for a zipped jacket and one for a hot water bottle cover which I’m going to make for Mum. I keep asking my family if there’s anything I can knit for them, but they keep declining. Well Mum’s not getting out of this one! (And the pattern is designed for using Debblie Bliss Cashmerino Aran – what a joy!)