Étude no. 4 — Ticky box

Étude no. 4 — Ticky box

Speaking of mistakes, I’ve been making some while knitting my handspun swap yarn blanket. Since knitweaving is new to me, so are the mistakes that go with it. One such mistake reminded me of the kind of brioche stitch that has a slipped stitch and a yarn over that are knit together on the next row. This is not exactly that, but I thought I’d try it.

I like the boxes formed by the skinny yarn. They reminded me of ticky boxes.

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the Value of Mistakes

The value of mistakes

So many times we complain about having made mistakes. They can certainly be infuriating. (Especially when we unravel a mistake only to repeat the exact same error five minutes later.)

But I’ve come to appreciate them at least a little because of how much I can learn from them.

For one thing, learning how to fix mistakes has taught me a lot about the underlying structure of knitting. Having to take something apart is useful for understanding more deeply how it’s put together.

For another, making mistakes is, I think, responsible for many of the knitting techniques that aren’t simple knit and purl. Once I realized that, I started paying more attention to my mistakes and deliberately repeating them. Sometimes I’ve then learned that knitters elsewhere were already using the same techniques deliberately.

Consider the beginning knitter. Their first rectangle gains and loses stitches by a variety of techniques. Odd things happen.

Here is a list of things I’ve done by accident—as both a beginner and a more experienced knitter—that all turn out to be actual techniques for accomplishing particular things. Many of these, though not all, are shown in the little swatch above. Note: I am certain this is not a complete list.

  • Yarn overs
  • Twisted stitches
  • Decreases
  • Slipped stitches
  • Knitting in the stitch below
  • Loop increases
  • Short rows
  • Dropped stitches
  • Elongated stitches
  • Splitting the yarn and knitting each half of the stitch*
  • Pulling the yarn so the first stitch of the row wraps around the needle and looks like two stitches, so each half of the stitch is knit.

The next time you make a mistake, might I suggest stopping and looking at it to consider what you might learn from it? It won’t necessarily be any less frustrating, but it might not feel like such a waste of time.

*I have only seen this done deliberately when knitting with two strands. By knitting each strand separately for one stitch, you can make an almost invisible increase. It’s not precisely the same as the mistake, but I think the principle holds.

Linkety-link, part 11

Something I learned from a random post that came across my Pinterest feed:

Knitweaving has other names aside from knitweaving and inlay. It’s also called “woven knitting” (no surprise), as well as Estonian Inlay and Roositud. Both of the latter refer to the traditional use of it in Estonia, where it is used to form vertical bands of pattern in accessories like socks and mittens. There’s a clever way of making the woven yarn go back and forth while the knitting is worked in the round. It’s shown in this video:

I’ve collected all the patterns listed for the technique on Ravelry in this bundle, because there’s not enough patterns there yet to make it worth requesting a new attribute.

Now for the usual sporadic list of links:
(If you follow me on Pinterest, you’ll have seen these already.)





P.S. I’ve had one suggestion on Patreon for a word to encode as a stitch pattern for September. If you’d like to suggest a different word, please support me on Patreon by the fifteenth of this month and comment on my activity page. I’ll do a randomized choice if you do. Or you could suggest a word by September 15…

Easier decreases for tight knitters

If you knit loosely, you only need to read this post if you might help someone out who knits tightly or if you want a hint for making knitting through the back loop easier. If you’re a tight knitter like me, you might have worked this out already. In any case, it seemed worth mentioning.

Tight stitches are usually fine to knit individually, but as soon as a “knit 2 together”, or worse, a “knit 3 together” comes along, it can be hard to get the needle to go in all the way. Decreases which involve slipping and passing slipped stitches over are not so hard because the yarn gets loosened up, but k2tog can be a struggle.

Well, somewhere along the line, I picked up a trick that helps me. (I’ve also loosened up a little over time, but still need this trick occasionally.)

Easier decreases for tight knittersStart by inserting the active needle purlwise into the first stitch on the inactive needle.

Leaving it inserted in the stitch, slide the needle up over the top of the inactive needle and around to the back as if to knit through the back loop. (Stopping here is a trick that makes knitting through the back loop easier.)

Easier decreases for tight knittersThe first stitch on the needle is now slightly looser because some of the slack from the previously-worked yarn has been pulled up.

Easier decreases for tight knitters

Flick the active needle forward and under the inactive needle as if to purl two together, and then stop moving it. (Unless knitting three together, in which case slide it around the needle one more time, ending as if to purl three together.)

Easier decreases for tight knitters

Press index finger against the back of the stitches to be knit together—this will make the stitches stay loose for the rest of the decrease.

Remove the active needle from the stitches, bring it around to the front, and knit 2 (or 3) together.

If knitting 4 together (it comes up occasionally), there’s a slightly more tedious method that is nonetheless better than struggling with trying to force the needle through:

Knit the first stitch, slip it back to the inactive needle, pass each of the next 3 unworked stitches over it, and then slip it to the active needle again.


WIP Wednesday (why not?)

Some craft bloggers I know post their works in progress every Wednesday. Or on some Wednesdays, at least. I might do it occasionally, as the whimsy takes me.

Today is one of those occasions.

I’m continuing to obsess over my personal knitting project: the rectangle of handspun love shown above. I’m allllllmost a fifth of the way through; looks like it’s going to be a small lap blanket. It makes me happy.

IMG_1062-0(click photo to enlarge)

I’m also doodling with combining knitweaving with other kinds of stitch pattern. A couple of my experiments were not promising, but I’m liking the current one just fine, and look forward to seeing what happens with a couple of the other combinations I’ve been thinking of. I suspect these will turn up as stitch pattern études once I’ve worked out the kinks.



Hiatt’s Principles of Knitting

I have some knitting books. Not nearly as many as some designers I know (I like to rely on the public library), but still, about fifteen knitting books.  Almost none of them are pattern books; instead they fall into two categories:

1. Stitch dictionaries. I never met a stitch dictionary I didn’t want. Mind you, I have one that is more in the nature of a horrible warning instead of a good example – but I’ve still found some stitch motifs in it that I haven’t seen elsewhere. (Let me just say that some of the photographs don’t even show a full repeat of the stitch pattern.)

2. Reference works, such as Montse Stanley’s Knitter’s Handbook.

I’ve also browsed a number of books from libraries and ordered others through interlibrary loan. It’s a great way to pick up techniques.

A classic in the field was republished in a much revised version a couple of years ago: June Hemmons Hiatt’s The Principles of Knitting. I bought it as an ebook, and it’s been languishing on my tablet ever since. (I’ve learned my lesson: reference books only work for me in paper, especially if they’re as long as this.)

So I checked the hardback out of the library recently and have been browsing it with great delight. One difficulty, however, is that Hiatt uses wonderfully internally consistent and logical terminology for knitting techniques that doesn’t necessarily match up with the names used by anyone else. (She has good reason to do this – she says herself that for some things, there’s already great variation in terms, so if she has to pick something, she might as well pick something that makes more sense.) If one is only using Principles of Knitting, this doesn’t matter. But it makes it very hard to look for techniques in the index to see what she says about them.

Take knitweaving, which I wrote about last week. It wasn’t in the index and I didn’t have the slightest notion of what she might have named it. I didn’t find it when flipping through the pages. (There are 700 pages; it’s easy to miss things.)

It turns out that she calls it inlay and has a very thorough chapter describing both kinds of knitweaving/inlay, its advantages and drawbacks, and discussing how to use it functionally as well as decoratively.

Anyway, I would definitely recommend the book to anyone with the caveat that cross-referencing with other work is difficult.

PS. I think I’d qualify it as my desert island knitting book. You know: if I could have just one knitting book, what would it be? This is it.

What do you like in technique videos?

So, I reached the funding goal at Patreon that commits me to starting to work on making technique videos to go with my posts.

I’ve watched a fair number of YouTube videos to learn knitting and crochet techniques, and so I have opinions about what I like. I also know that different people learn in different ways, so I thought I’d ask what you prefer. Please speak up if you have strong opinions, though of course there might be conflicting views to choose from.

Here’s what I have in mind:
1. I am not fond of watching someone’s hands hover on screen at the beginning of a video while they talk for a long time about what they’re going to be explaining. My thinking is that I will start all my videos with a brief demonstration of the technique in question (the TL;DW version) and then go into the whys and wherefores and things to try if something’s hard.
2. A solid background, probably dark.
3. The camera looking at my hands from my viewpoint – I have some thoughts about using my tablet or smartphone for this.
4. Bulky yarn in a light color, but not white. I think this makes things easier to follow.
5. Good lighting.
6. Captions.

Obviously, there’s a lot of things I’m going to need to learn about how to do some of those things and how to edit the results, etc.

Please feel free to share your opinions!