Category Archive: how to knit well

Knitting Technique Links – Magic Cast On

I am in love. I am in love with this special cast on technique called Magic Cast On. If you are a hard-core sock knitter, you would probably know about it.

Trying out this fab technique.

Trying out this fab technique.

On Friday, I will be releasing the first FREE knitting pattern of 2010 and it uses this technique. As there are lots of articles about it, I won’t do my own tutorial but I decided to link two sites on magic cast on and one for general knitting help which I personally think are good:

The original article by Judy Baker – super excellent and I HIGHLY recommend you to check it out. This is her blog. 3 words, LOVE LOVE LOVE!

YouTube video tutorial – I found this video very helpful.

For general knitting tutorials go to knittinghelp.com. I LOVE THIS SITE!!!

Short post but it’s worth it ;D

See you on Friday!

Knitting Tutorial: How to Make Chain Stitches Without a Crochet Hook

Are you all having a good weekend? I hope so! As promised, my new pattern “Shetland Winter Warmers” is now released (hurray!). From this pattern, you can make a pair of convertible gloves and a matching cable peek hat.

So far, the coolest knitted accessories in London to take outside to show off.

So far, the coolest knitted accessories in London to take outside to show off.

This pattern features two new knitting techniques. The first one has already been introduced to you guys a couple of weeks ago which is “How To Knit Perpendicular“. Today I would like to share the second one which is “How To Make Chain Stitches Without a Crochet Hook”.

Convertible gloves. Tight chain stitches are essential for the loop buttons holes at the tip of the flap.

Convertible gloves. Tight chain stitches are essential for the loop buttons holes at the tip of the flap.

So why is this technique important?

  • You may not have a crochet hook at the time ๐Ÿ˜‰ (I am like that all the time).
  • Making chain stitches with fingers allows you to create tight chain stitches (i.e. you can adjust the tension).
  • Tight chain stitches are sturdy and they are useful for making loop buttonholes (i.e. on top of the flap of the convertible gloves). They can also be used for some sort of cord because the tight chain stitches are very strong.

So this is how you do it:

Step 1. Make a loop by inserting a yarn needle at the tip of the flap (red arrow).

Step 1. Make a loop by inserting a yarn needle at the tip of the flap (red arrow).

Step 2. With fingers, pull out the yarn through the loop. This will make another loop.

Step 2. With fingers, pull out the yarn through the loop. This will make another loop.

Step 3. Do not pull out the yarn completely but pull the loop you have just made (red arrow) to tighten the first loop (yellow dotted line).

Step 3. Do not pull out the yarn completely but pull the loop you have just made (red arrow) to tighten the first loop.

Step 4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 until you have made 10 chains.

Step 4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 until you have made 10 chains.

The following is how to join the end of the chain stitches back to the top of the glove flap:

Step 5. Keep the last loop on your left finger (to prevent from being unravelled), insert the needle into the tip of the flap (red arrow).

Step 5. Keep the last loop on your left finger (to prevent from being unravelled), insert the needle into the tip of the flap (red arrow).

Step 6. Then thread through into the loop (red arrow).

Step 6. Then thread through into the loop (red arrow).

Step 7. Pull yarn to tighten.

Step 7. Pull yarn to tighten.

Step 8. Tidy the end inside the flap.

Step 8. Tidy the end inside the flap.

That’s it!

While I was photo shooting, I found Mittens (the cat)! so I said hi. He later visited us :D

While I was photo shooting, I found Mittens (the cat)! so I said hi. He later visited us ๐Ÿ˜€

As usual, there is a video tutorial for this (Caution! My voice may sound very sleepy: I made it really late at night, so I apologize before hand for sleepy voice).

Have a good week!

Knitting Tutorial: How to Knit Perpendicular (Out of Fabric / 3D Knitting)

knitting perpendicular

Knitting perpendicular

Why? – you may ask me. Well, it might come in handy some day! :D  I used this technique for my new pattern which is coming out before the Harrogate Knitting & Stitching Show. I know you will all love it ๐Ÿ˜€

When you want to knit perpendicular (out of fabric or 3D knitting), normally you would pick up stitches afterward (fig. 1). If you want to pick up stitches exactly straight across the row, this can be a little tricky especially if you didn’t mark the position (yes, I have done this so many times).

Fig. 1

Fig. 1

When I was a university student, my lecturer used to say to us “be prepared for anything”. Since then my life is all about preparation and I have devised an alternative method for perpendicular / 3D knitting.

ADVANTAGE:

  • It prepares the stitches before hand (so you don’t need to pick them up later)
  • It gives the stitches at an exact position precisely without picking them up later. This will reduce the risk of picking the wrong stitches.

POSSIBLE DISADVANTAGE

  • You may not know how many stitches you would like at the time.
  • You would have to rest the stitches until they are used.

INFORMATION: I have 20 sts and I would like to knit the centre 10 sts perpendicular (i.e. have 5 sts on either sides).

You are at a row which you would like to knit perpendicular later on (in my case after 10th row). If you are knitting flat, this should be at WS row. If you are knitting in circle you can do this on the RS.

Work up to a stitch where you will be knitting in perpendicular (in my case p5) (fig. 2).

Fig. 2.

Fig. 2.

For flat knitting, *p1, p1tbl into the same st (fig. 3). Repeat from * for a desired number of stitches (in my case 10 times).

For circular knitting, *k1, k1tbl into the same st. Repeat from * for a desired number of stitches (in my case 10 times).

Fig. 3

Fig. 3

You should now have double the amount of sts to knit perpendicular (for example, I want 10 sts to knit perpendicular so I now have 20 sts) (fig. 4).

Fig. 4

Fig. 4

Turn the work. Knit until you encounter the increased sts which you have made in the previous row (in my case k5).

For flat knitting, knit this stitch as usual (fig. 5) then thread the waste yarn into the next stitch. Drop this stitch (it will not unravel because there is a waste yarn through it (fig. 6).

Fig. 5

Fig. 5

Fig. 6

Fig. 6

Repeat this process again: *k1, thread the next st with waste yarn and drop this stitch. Repeat from * until you have worked all the increased sts (i.e. in my case 20 sts). You can now see that you are back with the original number of sts and the increased sts are transferred onto the waste yarn (fig. 7).

Fig. 7

Fig. 7

Note: You will always have to knit the stitches made tbl and thread the ordinary stitch onto a waste yarn. So for circular knitting, this means you would have to thread the stitch first, then knit the next stitch.

Continue to work up to the desired length. Cast off.

When you are ready to knit perpendicular, insert the needle into the loops and pull the waste yarn away. If you are knitting with a pair of knitting needles, insert the needle from the left (fig. 8).

Fig. 8

Fig. 8

Join yarn and continue knitting perpendicular. Tidying the end is easy. Just thread into the WS of the work and tie a knot (fig. 9).

Fig. 9

Fig. 9

I have made a video tutorial of this if you are interested…(don’t like hearing my own voice tho!!).

SUGGESTED USE:

Plush – e.g. bird’s wing, animal ears…

Decoration on a jupmer

Flaps on a glove etc.

Enjoy! ๐Ÿ˜€

Great Knitting Links!

IT and knitting seem to go quite well. Starting from Ravelry, there are many many great knitting sites out there.
Here are 5 my very favourite knitting links. They are really useful and hope you like them!

1. Tatao – Both Japanese and English. Comprehensive information about knitting in general. There are lots of projects you can knit, tutorials, international needle conversions, software. A MUST CHECK.

2. The Brioche Stitch – There is no other site for brioche stitches as detailed as this one. I love this site. I have learnt so much about different brioche stitches and techniques. You will love it too.

3. TECHknitting – A blog about all the knitting techniques. I don’t know how she does the illustrations but they are really good. Very useful.

4. Purlbee – From Purlsoho. There are lots and lots of beautiful and fun projects (both knitting and sewing) you can do. I LOVE this tulip socks!!!! Gosh, I wish I were living in either the US or Canada. I could knit all day with Koigu yarns!

5. Knittinghelp.com – Many great knitting tips and help videos. They are also on twitter. I am following them now.

Tutorial: Tubular Cast Off for Single Ribbing

I have free patterns to release soon (yay!) but before I do so, I must make sure I write about a tutorial for tubular cast off for single ribbing using darning needle. Ordinary binding off is just as sufficient but I find tubular cast off really useful because it allows the rib edges to be elastic. So this method is perfect for glove cuffs, socks, neck ribbing.
For two-stranded tubular cast on for single ribbing, please refer here.
For two-stranded tubular cast on and off for double ribbing, please refer here.

I decided not to do the video tutorial for this one because I think it is much clearer to show in diagrams. Anyway, here is how to cast off single ribbing using tubular method – apologies for strange English if there are any… English is not my first language and I always find it difficult to describe things well.

Step 1: Follow the working yarn shaded in green. Insert needle into 1st and 2nd stitches as below:
Step 2: Insert into 1st stitch from the front. Remove 1st stitch from knitting needle. Insert into 3rd stitch from the front having 2nd stitch in front as below:
Step 3: Insert into 2nd stitch from the front. Remove 2nd stitch from knitting needle. Then insert into 4th stitches from behind having 3rd stitch at the back as below:
Step 4: Insert into 3rd stitches from behind. Remove from the knitting needle. Then into the 5th stitches from the front having 4th stitch in front as below:Repeat steps 3 and 4 until the last 2 sts.
Step 5:

.. and my beautiful Wata who loves to sit next to me is doing very well. Have a great weekend to you all! ๐Ÿ˜€

Tutorial – Spiral Knitting for Hexagon and Octagon

I often see this shape (or at least this spiral structure) on circular shawls and beret. Now I think about it, I saw a featured article of shawls using the technique in 2007/8 VK magazine.
Anyway, I was reading one of my favourite books and it turned out that knitting hexagon is really easy. I then went on to make octagon (which was not in the book but after hexagon it was easy to work out).
I have deliberately blocked the knitted piece into polygons for this post but when the piece gets bigger it will eventually be a circle.

You will need:

  • double-pointed needles (dpn) – you would need 4 needles for hexagon (3 working needle plus 1) and 5 needles (4 working needles plus 1).

Preparation: CO 6 sts (for hexagon) or 8 sts (for octagon).
Row 1: Onto each 3 needles (or 4 needles if octagon), work yo, k1, yo, k1. 12 (16) sts.
Row 2 and every alternate rows: k.
For hexagon, you will be working in triangle (photo below)..
and square for octagon (photo below)…Row 3: yo, k2, yo, k2 on each needle.
Row 5: yo, k3, yo, k3 on each needle.

Continue in this way increasing at the beginning and middle of each needle.
When you have knitted to the size you want, CO.
Pin the corner of the piece to block.
Leave to cool…. Remove pins and you have polygons!

Tutorial: Magic Loop Knitting – A Brief Introduction

This weekend, I saw this “Credit Crunch” chocolate. Even in the hard economic time, some people are able to develop new products. I didn’t buy it though – I felt that I was somewhat contradicting myself (and I have plenty of chocolate at home anyway!).
Anyway, I am currently trying to make a free pattern for a nice pair of cable and bubble mittens. I haven’t finished it yet but I thought I will take this opportunity to brief you with one of the circular knitting technique called “magic loop” method.
It is a way of knitting in the round using only one circular needle. Ideal for project with small circumference (e.g. socks, gloves, sleeves etc.).
There is a nice tutorial in Yarn forward magazine 13 (p80) so I will not go too much in detail. You can also see many videos on YouTube.

Step 1: Cast on
Cast on the number of stitches you want. You can cast on whatever the method you like. I tend to use crochet provisional cast on using a contrast yarn (photo below) – Using the main yarn, pick up a stitch from the look at the back of the chain. The stitches are later unraveled to work the ribbing in an opposite direction. I like this method because I often work with limited amount of yarn and never know how long I want my ribbing to be.
Step 2: Divide the number of stitches in half
Pull the circular needle cable out so that you will have a “loop” on one side – this is the magic loop. The bottom right hand corner is where you are going to start knitting.
Step 3: Knit in the round
But always make sure that you have a loop on your left. Another loop on your right is made by the right hand needle cable.
Since this is really simple and user friendly, I don’t have much to say except for:
– Make sure that the cast on row is not twisted
– Not to tighten too much at the first stitch after the loop – but not too loose

And lastly I must mention a nice cafe / bakery I recently came across called Gail’s Bread in St John’s Wood. The everything is organic here and Wesley and I shared this really yummy dark chocolate muffin. I think I will be a regular customer.
The clock is changed.. I want my Christmas soon!

Tutorial: Tubular Cast On and Off for Double Ribbing – A Guide to Masochistic Knitting

Autumn is coming…. get your needles on and start knitting for X’mas! So, I thought this would be a great time for me to do a knitting tutorial.When it comes to knitting I am very pedantic. I often used to be frustrated when the ribbing neck edge didn’t stretch and I could not get my head through a sweater I just knitted (… and it wasn’t because my head is too big!). Previously I introduced the two-stranded tubular cast on method for single ribbing. Today I want to introduce tubular cast on and off methods for DOUBLE RIBBING.
Double ribbing has a nice neat look especially when it is used for a garment. Tubular casting on and off would give a nice round edge, so the combination of double ribbing and tubular edges results in a very neat finish. By the way, there is a seriously great knitting book called Knitter’s Handbook by Montse Stanley. I have many knitting books but this one is used very often.

CASTING ON
Tubular cast on for double ribbing actually utilizes the same method for single ribbing. So do go back to my previous post. The total number of stitches to to cast on is a multiple of 4 (k2, p2…. and end with p2) or 4 + 2 (k2, p2….. and end with k2). So I have casted on 22sts for this example (picture below).
Work one row (WS) in single ribbing (i.e. p1, k1….) until the last 2 sts, p2 (picture below). I used a different color for clarity.
Next row (RS) will be worked by dropping every other k stitch and picking it up after the p stitch next to it has been worked (picture below). This is a bit like a cable knitting involving just 2 stitches.
I am always scared of dropping this st, so I use cable needle… In other word….. k2, p1, then *place the next st onto a cable needle in front (picture below).
……then p the st after the one on the cable needle (picture below).
then k1 from the cable needle, k1 (picture below), k1, p1.
Repeat from * until the last st, k1.
Next row (WS), p2, k2….
Next row (RS), k2, p2…..

This complete the tubular cast on for double ribbing. I think mine (below) looks like the example picture at the beginning?
CASTING OFF
Onto tubular cast off for double ribbing!! I tried to take pictures of my own knitting but it was so difficult to get the right angle so I gave up :(….

It took a while for me to get the hand of this but here is what you do.
On the last row (WS):
p1, sl 2nd p stitch pwise (purl wise – basically means from behind) wyif (with yarn in front).
k1, sl 2nd k stitch pwise wyab (with yarn at the back).
Continue until end.

Casting off by grafting (RS):
This assumes that the first 2sts are k.
Cut yarn leaving about 1.5 x of the width of your garment.
Step 1. Using a darning needle, insert the needle into the first k st pwise. Make sure that the arn is pulled, but not too tight. Place the yarn back.
Step 2. Insert needle kwise (knit wise – basically means from front to behind) into the first p st. (very similar to the last picture)
Step 3. Insert needle into the 1st k st kwise and drop this st. Insert 2nd k st pwise. Pull yarn and place the yarn back. (picture below)
Step 4. Insert 1st p st pwise, then into the second p st kwise (picture below).
Step 5. Insert into 2nd k st kwise, drop this st. Insert into 3rd k st pwise (picture below). Drop 1st p st. Pull yarn.
Step 6. Insert into 2nd p st pwise, drop this st (picture below).
Step 7. Insert needle kwise into 3rd p st (keeping the 3rd and 4th k sts still on needle). Pull yarn.
Work forward by repeating steps 3 to 7 (i.e. read 3rd where it says 1st). And it should look like this….
Phew! Actually it was so hard to explain it even quoting few things from books….mmm If you have a better way of explaining it, I would be so happy to know.

Time for a cup of tea!

How To Sew a Circular Bottom Neatly…….

Round bottom is a nice feature not only for bag bottom but also for a cylindrical pouches and bags. Here is how!

Step 1. Make a card board template for a half circle. Make sure that you do this very neatly. Fold the fabric in half, secure it with pins. Draw the half circle with the fold as the diameter.

 

 

 

Step 2. Cut the half circle along the line you have just drawn. Open it flat. Divide the circle in 8 place makings. There will be eight markings equidistant to each other at the rim of the circule (see picture).

 

 

Step 3. The with of the fabric for the side part is determined by the circumference formula. Make sure that the diameter d, is the actual diameter of the template circle minus 2cm (1cm seam allowance). You would most likely to get a value with lots of decimal places, so to make your life simple round the number to the nearest whole or 1 decimal number. When you know the circumference add 2cm for the seams (1cm seam allowance again). You would then cut one sheet of fabric with the width calculated and height of your preference.

Step 4. Sew the seams and fold the piece in 8 equal parts and mark the position. You should now have 8 markings (including one sewn section) equidistant to each other.

 

 

 

Step 5. Match the markings on the circle and the side parts and secure it with pins or clips.

 

 

 

 

Step 6. Sew the edges around the circle. Make small notches on the side panel fabric to ensure the markings are kept matched as the fabric would feel stretched.

 

 

 

Step 7. Cut the seam off to 5mm.

 

 

 

 

 

Step 8. For pouches that are going to be used for the exterior part, once the work is turned right side iron the sewn edges in few sections. All you need to do is to gently place the edge of the steam iron for 1-2 seconds to tidy it.

 

 

 

Here is what I made earlier!

Two-Stranded Tubular Cast-On

Today I want to introduce two-stranded tubular cast-on method, which many knitters may be familiar with but still a very useful technique to know. Many knitting patterns simply tell you to cast on for the ribbing, but the finished knitting won’t stretch enough at the rib edges and that one would have difficulty wearing it or taking it off.
Two stranded tubular cast-on method enables the ribbing edge to stretch and recover well. This is perfect for cuffs, waist band, neck line etc. It also has a neat finish which looks the same both on the right (RS) or the wrong side (WS) of the garment.

Method:
As usual for knitting in rib, work with needles 2-3 sizes less than the actual needles used for the yarn. I have a video tutorial which might be helpful ๐Ÿ˜€


Step 1: Make a slip knot, leaving a free end approx. 4 times the desired width. Insert a needle though the loop. This counts as a first stitch.
Step 2: Hold the yarn on your left hand. The free end around the thumb and the main yarn on the first finger. The needle is located in between the thumb and the first finger.
Step 3: Flick the needle forward in front of the free end, then loop under it. Bring the needle over behind the main yarn, loop under it. You have just made a knit stitch.
Step 4: Flick the needle backward, behind the main yarn, then under it. Bring the needle over, in front of the free end, loop back under it. You have just made a purl stitch.

You now have a first stitch (that you made in step 1), a K stitch (in step 3) and a P stitch (in step 4). If you being with step 4, then you would have the first stitch, P then K.Repeat step 3 and 4 until you have the desired number of stitches. Tie the 2 strands under the needle after the last stitch.
When you are ready to turn the work to knit the second row, make sure you K, if you finished the last stitch on step 4, or P if you end the last stitch at step 3.

Additional Tip:
For a tighter edging, work 1-2 rows by slide the purl stitch purl-wise with yarn in front.