August 23, 2010

August quick knits club, and the Next Generation!

First, I’ll make sure you know about the next generation of the leethal quick knits club, since I’m super excited about it!  The club is changing pretty drastically, but still with a major focus on knitting projects that use up small amounts of yarn, and fun crafty projects that use recycled/reclaimed/cheap materials!  Instead of getting a package with small amounts of yarn, members will get the patterns in a mini-ebook each month, with patterns designed to work great for using up leftover yarn bits!

Major changes for the Next Generation:

  • PDF-only (no more physical packages) which cuts the price of a subscription to less than a quarter of what it was for the old club!  ($20 for 6 months of ebooks.)
  • No more exclusivity!  When the ebook is released and sent to members, it will also be released for sale to the world ($5 for a single month via my site or ravelry), and you can still grab a 6-month subscription that begins with the ebook that’s already been released, through the end of the month.  So, if you don’t like signing up for something until you see the details, you can wait till the pdf is revealed, then still get the discounted subscription price!
  • Always a non-knitting craft tutorial of some kind in addition to the 2 knitting patterns.
  • No more strict yardage limitations – each of the 2 patterns will use something less than 20 yards, and will be flexible with gauge so they’re perfect for using up scraps.

quick knits!

Bonuses of becoming a member instead of buying each pdf after they’re released:

  • Lower per-ebook price ($3.33 per month vs $5).
  • Automatic delivery of the ebooks to your inbox each month when they’re released.
  • Entry into monthly drawing to win a club-related package of goodies!  Since one of my favorite parts of the first generation of the club was putting together all the fun extra stuff, I’ll still be doing that, but just with 1 or 2 packages, which will go to raffle winners each month!

There will still be a theme for each pdf that all the patterns, projects, and extras (like recipes, puzzles, games, templates, etc) are based around, but the themes won’t be revealed until they are released.  The release dates will be the first Monday of each month (unless I decide to change that in the future) and more details can be found on the club page.  I think that’s everything important, but comment if you have any questions!

quick knits!

And now, my last package of the first generation of the club!  Here was August (Games theme):

August club!

The 15-yard pattern was a Fitted Pocket Case, except that my vision for the case (sized to hold a deck of cards and other game stuff) wasn’t ideal for 15 yards, so I also included a card deck sleeve version, and an any-size/any-gauge version as well.

pocket case

So, if the any-size version is worked up with a bigger pocket and better sized to the card deck, it can hold the deck, some dice, and/or paper, pencil, etc, all for portable game playing!  Yay!

pocket case pocket case

Everyone got a button for the case, and a deck of cards, reclaimed from thrift or reuse shops!  Fun!

buttons! reclaimed decks of cards!

The 10-yard pattern was a set of Custom Game Pieces (10 yards makes 4 pieces), which get glued onto poker chips, and then you can glue on whatever fun or silly little toys and trinkets you want for the game pieces!  So then when you play something like Cranium, Trivial Pursuit, etc, in which you move a piece around the board, you can be the blue monster instead of just being blue

custom game pieces

I think my favorite is my broken needle graveyard game piece!  And everyone got 4 reclaimed poker chips in 4 different colors to make their pieces.

custom game pieces poker chips!

The rest of the fun extras were a little pencil, because a pencil is always a great thing to have with you for anywhere-game-playing!  And, a Farkle Points card – farkle is a dice game we’ve recently discovered that’s great for waiting for food or other kinds of impromptu playing, since all you need are 6 dice, something to write on+with, and points written down like on these cards.

little pencils and farkle points!

Oh yeah, and the yarn!  The spun recycled 10 yards was 100% cotton, yellow and orange plied together, called It’s a Game.  The dyed was recycled 48% wool, 22% viscose, 16% nylon, 9% angora, 5% cashmere, super light pink, overdyed with reds and blues to make a red/pink/purple/blue variegated yarn, called Mind Games.  (I’m not going to miss making up alllll these little mini-skeins each month!)

It's a Game yarn! Mind Games yarn!

So that was August, the last of the exclusive packaged club kits!  Hopefully in November the last club pattern set ebook will be released, with May-August’s patterns.  I’m really happy to not have anything be exclusive anymore, that was just a bad idea.

Thanks to all first generation club members, I hope you had fun with your packages, and I hope you’re all excited about the next generation!!

Filed under: general crafts,knitting,quick knits,self-publishing,yarn — leethal @ 2:04 pm

August 22, 2010

Knitting-related notes and news and stuff…

In an attempt to liven up the ravelry group a bit, I’m trying to organize some kind of leethal knit-a-long over there… It’ll probably be a Buttonhead knit-a-long with encouraged Game Knitting on the hat!  I think the buttonhead design is the perfect kind of pattern to game knit on, with its simplicity and custom sizing, so I’m pretty excited about this idea.  But, the forum is still open to suggestions/votes for other knit-a-long ideas…

Buttonhead!

…and, there’s a giveaway involved!  Now that I’m blogging about it, I’ll put an official deadline on the giveaway part: on Thursday (26th) I’ll pick a poster at random and send along a goodie package of fun craftiness.  Just post in the forum with a vote for what kind of knit-a-long (or other fun group leethal activity) you’d like to participate in!  And then all the knit-a-long info and sharing and stuff will happen there in the rav group. Fun!

bobhat2

In other news, Knit Picks has just announced to designers that we’ll have more control on pricing with the Independent Designers Program, which means my plans have changed for Swerve.  It was that the pattern would be $2.50 until Sept 1st (with $1 going to the Pancreatic Craftacular), then drop down to $2 after that, but now I want to sell through Knit Picks for $2.99 instead of $1.99, so the price will be raising to $3 in September instead of lowering.

Swerve fingerless mitts!

So, my only point is that if you were thinking about buying Swerve, now would really be a great time to do so, since you’ll both save some quarters and donate to Pancreatic Cancer research at the same time!  And on that note, be sure to consider grabbing any of my other patterns (or on ravelry) during this last stretch of the month while I’m giving $1 per pattern sold to the fundraiser!

Swerve fingerless mitts!

And one more bit of knitty business… I’m just about ready to send my new hat pattern set out to testers, and I’m looking for several of them since this is a customizable, any-gauge, multi-changeable-parts pattern set, so I’ll want testing of all the different options.  I’ll be putting a more detailed call out on the ravelry testers group in a day or two, and sending an email out to the testers list I already have, so comment here if you want to be added to that email list.

hats1

The hats have 3 different decrease designs to choose from – these first 3 I’ve made are all kind of bad at showing the patterns, but you can get an idea from the photos below.  All three designs involve some garter stitch, to match the garter brims, and all three have a three-point kind of thing going on…

hat top hat top

And for my last piece of news… Pete and I are planning our wedding!  After 2 years of engagement, we’ve finally decided to go ahead and tie that silly knot, keeping it low-key, low-stress, and crafty…

recycled sweater flowers!

It’s gonna be in Southern California (where our families are) on October 10th, and I’ve started making these crazy recycled-sweater “flowers” for the decorations!  I think I can see a tutorial coming soon…..

recycled sweater flowers!

Filed under: contest/giveaway,hats,knitting,personal — leethal @ 11:20 pm

August 15, 2010

My New Fabric-Covered Box Drawers!

I did a project yesterday!  And it turned out even better than it looked in my head!!  Isn’t it the best thing ever when that happens?!

fabric drawers!

Our house is extremely (embarrassingly?) Ikea-heavy with the decor… so I’ve been trying to find ways to personalize our Ikea, make our home more us.  I got these awesome vintage handles from Portland vintage-stuff-shop Smut (So Many Unique Treasures) awhile back, for some other project that didn’t really happen… so they were waiting for the perfect use…

fabric drawers!

And then in the move, we discovered that these boxes we were using from Pete’s work fit exactly perfectly into this shelving unit!  The idea turned out so well that you totally can’t tell they’re just old cardboard boxes behind those fabric fronts:

fabric drawers!

So, I’m going to show you how I made them, but you may just want to use some concepts with different kinds of boxes and a different kind of shelving unit to fit your own home needs…

For each drawer, I used:

  • a cardboard box that fits perfectly into the shelf space
  • a piece of fabric about an inch longer than the front of the box on all 4 sides
  • a vintage handle
  • screws to fit the handle, and washers for each screw
  • a hot glue gun
  • a box cutter, scissors, a screwdriver, and embroidery scissors

Start out by cutting the three (side and back) top flaps off the box.  Don’t cut off the front flap, the flap attached to the side where the fabric will be going.  I’ll talk about what to do with that flap later…  Then decide on handle placement, poke holes where the screws will go, and stick the screws in through the back, so the front looks like this:

fabric drawers!

Center your fabric piece on top of the box front, then use your embroidery scissors to cut little holes where the screws are.  Push the screws through the fabric, so it looks like this:

fabric drawers!

The screws holding it in place will help keep the fabric all lined up while gluing.  I glue the edges down starting with the bottom center, work my way outwards, up one side, up the other side, then the top, starting with the center again.  I glue a couple inches at a time, squeezing the hot glue along the fold of the box, then press the fabric down from above the fold, around the corner down to the cut edge of the fabric, so the glue spreads out from the box fold to the fabric edge.  Make sense?  The great thing about using hot glue is that by the time you finish one side and start gluing the other side, the first side is cooled enough that you can pull it taut, smoothing out the fabric nicely.  Once the sides are all glued down, you can go back and smooth the corners down well with some extra glue:

fabric drawers! fabric drawers!

Now take out those screws for putting in the handle.  There are a couple different ways to deal with the top flat.  For the first box drawer I made (the orange+gold patterned one), I just cut off the top along with the other flaps, and wrapped the fabric around the top.  Sadly, that made for a not-straight top edge, which I’m sure will bother me forever… So for my second try, I cut the flap off with a couple inches attached, then I folded that bit over and taped it down.  I did this before the fabric-gluing step, by the way…

fabric drawers!

And, for these first two drawers, this is how the handle was attached in the back – an extra piece of cardboard for extra strength, washers, screws through all the layers to the handles…

fabric drawers!

So then for my last drawer, I realized I could just not cut the front flap at all, fold it down, and use that flap for my extra cardboard layer.  Duh!  It was easier in theory than in practice – the flap doesn’t like to be held down flat like that (when I was first trying to get my holes placed, pre-fabric-gluing, I ended up pushing the entire screw and screwdriver through both cardboard layers – washers are important here!).  So, it’s a bit tricky, and requires some effort and patience, but it works out great in the end – straight top edge, extra strength where the handle is attached, simple construction…

fabric drawers!

For that last drawer, I used a square of fabric that happened to be the exact size as the box front, so no extra to fold around the edges.  When gluing the top edge of the fabric down, be sure to account for the top flap being folded down, so you don’t stretch the fabric unevenly after gluing.  And, a top view of the handle:

fabric drawers! fabric drawers!

Tah dah!  I love them so much!  Plan on making more, as soon as Pete brings more of these boxes home from work!

fabric drawers!

Now we just need to figure out some awesome things to fill all those empty shelf squares…

fabric drawers!

Filed under: general crafts,home stuff,tutorials — leethal @ 1:42 pm

August 8, 2010

July 22nd – August 6th photos

Quite a hectic couple of weeks, as usual – I missed a few days in here, oops…  These days were filled with lots of knitting and pattern making (for Swerve) and also teaching stenciling at the libraries (fun!) but these are the things I took pictures of…..

22nd – Pete’s birthday!  He worked all day, then I took him out for a bday dessert and gave him a few gifts – this Ryan Berkley goat illustration (in a thrifted frame), plus a couple of rad sweaters (shawl collar cardigan and cashmere pullover) to add to his collection.

0722

23rd + 24th – Some house/yard work these days – slowly getting my new studio in order (I know, we’ve been living here over 3 months now, but there’s not enough time in life for everything that needs to be done!  Oh time, I shake my fist at you!) and major yard work – mowing, weed pulling, etc… Too much all at once, and maneuvering our corded electric mower with my right hand while holding the cord in my left, made for an injured hand for a few days.  Not good for knitting!  Learned my lesson there!

0723 0724

25th – I made dinner based on this Chickenless Parmesan “recipe”, with some fresh garden basil!  It was damn good!  That blog – Cooking With My Kid – is my new favorite food site!  We aim to make food that’s easy and tasty, and as healthy as possible while fitting the first two criteria, which is the aim of these kid-friendly recipes, perfect!  Plus, the writer’s husband is vegetarian, so there are tons of no-meat ideas, yay!  (Found the site through Craft blog’s mention of this Bite Sized Greek Salad – love it!)

0725

26th –  Pruned down the basil plant today and stuck the flowers in a shot glass for a mini-bouquet for my desk!  Plus, it made my studio smell like fresh basil for the day! Yum!

0726

27th – Tried to go sell stuff at Last Thursday on Alberta for the first time… didn’t work out so well, long story (only important part, in case you’re thinking about selling there: you have to get there around 1ish, which no one had told me before), but I did get to do some quality people-watching.  And, highlight, I swapped a shirt for these amazing video game earrings by the supernice K8bit!  Love them so much!!

0727

30th – Discovered some of my plants aren’t doing so well – the only flower on the pepper plant had died and fell off when I touched it, as did these two little future-cucumbers.  Since then, 1 or 2 more baby cucumbers have done the same… don’t know what’s wrong, fear I won’t get any cukes or peppers this year, so sad…

0730

21st + 1st – Set up my backdrop system in my studio and did a ton of photo-shooting these days – for the Swerve pattern (did you notice my knit-tastic backdrop?!) and testing for a freelance job I got doing all of Trillium‘s product photography for the online shops!  So exciting!  Here are a silly shot from testing out the light and stuff while first getting set up, and a reject shot (there are oh so many reject shots – this is while modeling a Flipside Hat) of test shooting, uncropped so you can see my super high-tech system:

0731 0801

2nd + 3rd – Worked a bunch on my Sideways Edge Cast-On post, scanning swatches and stuff… these are not even all of the swatches.  I know I always take photos at the Waffle Window almost every time we go, but they are just so photogenic!  Look at that foody beauty!

0802 0803

4th – Taught a class this day, and before and after I worked so hard to get my Sideways Edge Cast-On post up – I’d meant for it to go up the same day that I released Swerve (2 days earlier), or the next morning, but it just took so long!  I did end up editing a few typos after it went live, but at least I got it up that evening!

0804

6th – Some more studio building got done today between workyness – including setting up my yarn-holding coffee can cubbies!  Yay!!  Also, lots of record-listening, yay again, for vinyl in my studio!

0806

Hope your August is going well so far!

Filed under: 2010 photos — leethal @ 1:21 pm

August 4, 2010

Sideways Edge Cast-On, a knitting unvention! plus, Swerve!

Edited 9/21/2015: I’m not changing this post at all, just want to add this bit to say, in the 5 years since I wrote this post and designed the couple of old patterns mentioned in the post below, I’ve gone on to design MANY more patterns using this kind of technique, so here’s a list of some of my favorites if you want to check out the technique in action in different ways!  Links are to the ravelry pages; all the patterns can also be found on leethalknits.com.  (I may come back here every year or so and add some new patterns to the lists.)

Some form of the sideways edge cast-on technique is used in…

So I just released a new pattern (Swerve!) and you’ll notice how the cuffs and hands are knit in opposite directions (or, perpendicular directions really) – but hey guess what!  There’s no picking up stitches and no seaming!  How is that so, you might ask… well, I’m about to show you!  I have been doing a ton of experimenting (ohmygosh so much) over the last several months and I want to share with you everything I’ve discovered, learned, ruled out, with all of my trials and errors…

Swerve fingerless mitts!

The method – which has existed, of course, as all knitterly things have, and I have just unvented, as the great Elizabeth Zimmermann liked to say – I am calling the sideways edge cast-on, because edges (cuffs, brims, etc) are what I’ve been using it for and what it seems great for.  However, if you are an experienced and clever garment knitter, you may figure out how it could be used for joining sections of sweaters (casting on the sleeve stitches as you work the body, perhaps? maybe, maybe not?) or other purposes beyond edges.

My how-to, notes, etc in this post can be used by designers, of course, but I think it spreads further than that – if you are a knitter who hates picking up stitches, you can take any pattern that involves a sideways brim/cuff/etc and calls for picking up the stitches, and convert it to a sideways edge cast-on instead!

A quick note to new knitters:  since this post is going to be crazy long as it is, I will not be describing what I mean when I say things like “kfb”, “turn”, etc – you can use sites like knittinghelp.com, knitty, and just plain google, to figure out what things mean if you’re not yet familiar.  Sorry, I just don’t want this post to turn into a book!

And an extra note (edited to add this): if all this that follows seems over your head, you should know that when the technique is used within a pattern (like in all the patterns listed at the top), it is not challenging at all really – it’s just increases and plain knitting, and there’s no need to understand this post first, pretty easy peasy once you get started!  Remember, all knitting is is pulling loops of yarn through loops of yarn with needles!

Below is an example of a version of the method having been worked as a hat brim.  While the technique can be used with any kind of stitch pattern (plenty of stockinette swatch examples coming up soon), garter stitch is an excellent fabric for the edge/brim/cuff/whatever for two major reasons:  texture and stretchiness.  As you’ll see soon, different kinds of bumps and things are created by the “casting-on” of new stitches as the edge is worked, so garter stitch is great at hiding those.  And the stretchiness – you can achieve different effects with your edging by adding different amounts of cast-on stitches, and garter stitch will stretch to adjust to the ratio of stitches to rows that you choose….. more on that in a minute…

Hat2

The “cast-on” stitches in this method are essentially taking the place of stitches which would otherwise be picked up along the side of the edge piece, with “cast-on” being in quotations there because the stitches are actually added with increases, then left behind with short rows, waiting for you to come back to them later when the edge section is finished.  (I’ll stop it with the quotations now – from this point on, know that cast-on stitches are referring to the stitches you’re adding along the side.)

Now, what was up with that “ratio of stitches to rows” issue mentioned above?  Well, if you’re familiar with picking up stitches along the side of knit fabric, you know that it’s usually not just 1 stitch picked up for every 1 row.  It could be, but a standard ratio for stockinette knitting is 3 stitches for every 4 rows.  When working the sideways edge cast-on, you’ll be adding stitches every time you turn your work, so you need to account for the row working up to it, and the row coming back down – adding 3 stitches for every 4 rows means adding 3 stitches every 2 times you turn your work (or 1.5 stitches per turn).  There are different ways to deal with this, which I’ll go into later on.  (If you need a ratio other than that, or 1 stitch to 1 row, or 1 stitch to 2 rows, such as 2 stitches to 3 rows, you’ll need to do the math to find that you need 4 stitches to every 3 times you turn, and adjust the increases accordingly.)

Now, wait, you (hopefully) have an understanding of how this method takes the place of picking up stitches, but how does it actually work?  Here’s what you do:  work whatever brim, cuff, edge you want sideways (in the above examples it’s the garter stitch cuff and brim), and each time you turn at the side which will become the cast-on side, you increase 1 or 2 stitch(es) and leave it/them behind, using short rows – next time you work up the edge, turn your work before knitting (or purling) the new stitch(es) you just added. So, as you work across sideways, there is a trail of stitches remaining unworked at the edge of each row, forming a new cast-on edge. When your cuff/brim/edge is complete, join around if you want to start knitting in the round (or not if you’re working flat), either bind-off or graft/3-needle bind off the working stitches up the side, and start working across all those top cast-on stitches.

I’ll move on to a photo step-by-step, for you visual learners, but first, a couple more notes… When I say edge stitches I’ll mean the stitches in the cuff/brim/whatever (like the garter stitch stitches in the examples above) – this number of stitches always stays the same, even as you add more and more stitches along the side (which are the cast-on stitches).  It’s not totally necessary, but this technique is made easier by using a stitch marker.  Later on, I’ll simplify the specifics of different variations without mentioning the marker, but just know that sticking a marker in your work (before increases happen – usually at 1 stitch less than the edge stitch number, as you’ll see below) will help you keep track easily so working the edge will become somewhat mindless knitting.

Now as for these how-to photos (well, scans, actually) below – remember, this version being worked in the pictures is one of many, as the point is to show you a visual of how stitches are added along the side.  After the process shots, you’ll see a bunch of different swatches which have been worked differently, but always with the same concept of adding stitches at one end, then leaving them behind.

So, start out by casting on the number of stitches in your edge – you may want to use a provisional cast-on so you can graft or 3-needle bind-off later if you’ll be working in the round.  In this example, my edge number is 6 stitches, and after casting on I knit one row, then purled one row to get started (these starting rows can change depending on pattern specifics), followed by my first increase row, so the beginning goes:

  • Cast-on 6 stitches.
  • Knit 1 row.
  • Purl 1 row.
  • Kfb, place marker, k to end.

And now it looks like:

ProcessScan01

So, the marker is set up at 1 stitch before the final edge stitch (the piece will always be: 5 stitches, then marker, 1 last edge stitch, then all the cast-on stitches).  Next is my first wrong side row, which will always be the same (work the edge stitches, then turn):

  • WS row:  Purl to marker, pass marker, p1, turn.

…followed by the right side row which increases by 2 stitches.  To get a ratio of 3 stitches added for every 4 rows (that’s 2 turns), I’ll be switching between adding 2 stitches and adding 1 stitch, every other turn.  The first increase was by 1, so now I’ll be knitting into the front and the back, to add 2:

  • RS row1:  Kfbf (below, left), pass marker, k to end.

Then repeat the wrong side row, and work an increase row which only adds 1 stitch, so the next 2 rows go:

  • Repeat WS row.
  • RS row2:  Kfb, pass marker, k to end.

Now just repeat those four rows – WS, RS 1, WS, RS 2 – across the whole edge section.  Below, right is what the piece looks like after working a kfb in a RS row2 after a couple of repeats – see how those increased stitches are becoming a cast-on row along the top:

ProcessScan02 ProcessScan03

After a little while, once completing a RS row (working to the end), the work will bunch up on the straight needle, since the stitches are going in two different directions (below, left).  If you’re working on a circular needle, you can move the work up to the cord and see how the cast-on stitches line up across the top, while the edge stitches go down the side (below, right):

ProcessScan04 ProcessScan05

If working a pattern which is telling you to pick up a certain number of stitches along the edge, then you’ll want to simply count the cast-on stitches and stop with the edge when the number reaches the picked-up stitches number – example:  In Alexandra Virgiel’s Coronet hat pattern in knitty, you’re told to pick up 84[90, 96] sts from edge of band, approximately 2 sts for every 3 rows.  (Of course, this is a different ratio than what we’ve been working in this sample, so for this pattern you’d need to work two RS row2’s in a row, then one RS row1, so you’re adding 4 stitches for every 6 rows, or 3 turns.)  So, work the edge (“band” – in the cable pattern) until the cast-on stitches reach 84[90,96] stitches, then you have your the base of the hat cast on – no picking up needed!  (There’s a little more to altering a pattern than just what I’ve said – you’ll need to figure out specifics, like how to begin, yourself.)

When the stitches reach whatever number you’re working to, either bind-off the edge stitches, or join around (if working around) and 3-needle bind-off, or graft, or whatever you want to do with the edges of your sideways edging (below, left).  Now start working those cast-on stitches – either start working in the round, or just start working across.  In this case, I’m working flat, so I purled across the first row, after which my piece looked like that, below, right:

ProcessScan06 ProcessScan07

If you’re working around, there’s no purl row necessary, of course – simply join around and start knitting!  (This will make some variations below much easier, as you’ll see soon.)  And below is my little swatch after working several rows upwards… from this point one, now that you know the concept of working up the edge stitches, turning and increasing (or sometimes increasing and turning), and working back down to the end, I’ll be simplifying instructions to tell you different kinds of increases you can use, etc.

ProcessScan08-done

A different way to get a ratio other than 1 stitch to 1 row or 1 stitch to 2 rows is to add extra stitches across the top when working your first row into the cast-on stitches.  This makes working the edge easier (no keeping track of whether you’re supposed to be kfb‘ing or kfbf‘ing) and makes for a different look when you’re finished, as you can see below.

Now in all my experimenting, I’ve tried this several different ways and learned – when adding stitches along the top during your first row working those cast-on stitches, using a kfb increase, or the type of m1 increase where you simply twist a backward loop onto the needle, will leave you with huge holes along the edge!

The only kind of increase I know that works when adding stitches along the top is the m1 increase where you pick up the strand going between the two stitches and knit (or purl) into the back loop.  So, when I say m1, that’s what I mean, when I say m1-p, I mean to purl into the back loop.

Below is a simple and effective way to work this type of sideways edge cast-on – work the edge like the above method, except just kfb’ing after every time you turn, leaving 1 stitch behind for each turn (ratio = 1 stitch per 2 rows).  Then the first time you purl across them all (if working flat), work the row like so:

  • [Purl 2, m1-p] repeat across row.

If working in the round, it’s even easier, since m1’ing knit-wise is easier to do than m1-p’ing – just [Knit 2, m1] across the first round.

m1-pAcrossTopSample

Here is yet another way to achieve the 3 stitches to 4 rows ratio – adding stitches on either side of the turn, before the turn every time and after the turn only half the time.  The swatch below is worked like so:

  • WS row:  Purl edge stitches, m1-p, p1, turn.
  • RS row1:  Sl1, k to end.
  • Repeat WS row.
  • RS row2:  Kfb, k to end.

StockinetteSample03

Here is another way I tried, which didn’t work so well, leaving a weird loose row above the edging…  It’s a variation on the example two up – the “m1-p every 2 stitches across the top” version.  Since m1-p’ing is kind of annoying, I thought, if working flat, maybe I could just purl across the whole first row, then [knit 2, m1] across the next (right-side) row.  Here’s the result:

StockinetteSample04

A side note – when first starting, you might want to think about where you want your yarn end, depending on if you’ll be using it to sew up the seam or anything;  you may choose to start with either a RS row or a WS row after casting-on, which would leave the yarn end on the opposite sides of your edge (like you might notice on the above two swatches, which started with opposite rows).

Ok another issue – in all the above examples, the row working up to the turn has been the wrong-side (WS) row, with the RS row working down from the turn.  I decided this is ideal after much swatching and experimenting – when I first started playing with the concept, I was working the row up to the turn as the RS and coming back down was the WS.  Here is an example, the swatch below was worked like so:

  • RS:  Knit edge stitches, turn.
  • WS:  Kfb, purl to end.
  • First row working across cast-on stitches:  [Knit 2, m1] repeat across.

You’ll see how all those bumps are left on the right side – and I know I kfb on the wrong side here, leaving extra bumps, but pfb’ing is not much better…

StockinetteSample01

So how about trying a way with less bumpy increases?  Here’s another variation I tried – looks pretty cool, I think, but still a bit busier than the methods which treat the going up row as the WS…  It’s worked like so:

  • RS:  Knit edge stitches, m1, k1, turn.
  • WS:  Sl1, purl to end.
  • First row working across cast-on stitches:  [Knit 2, m1] repeat across.

StockinetteSample02

What if you need to work at a ratio of 1 stitch to every 2 rows (maybe because your body will be a lace pattern, or something)?  Awesome!  That makes things much simpler and neater looking, since every turn will be identical, with no extra stitches needing to be added later.  Work any kind of increase method you like, just adding 1 stitch for every turn.

If you are experienced with short rows, you may have been thinking, shouldn’t I be wrapping my stitches each time I turn?  Well, I’ve played around with that, oh yes I have.  In the adding 1 stitch per turn example below, wrapping the stitches (as you can see on the left half of the swatch) worked out pretty nicely, actually, though not necessary…

1StPerTurnSample

…but after much experimenting with normal 3 stitches to 4 rows types of patterns, I’ve concluded that wrapping stitches is no good!  Below, you’ll see 4 different trials using wrapped stitches to close holes caused by using the m1 type of increase where you twist a backwards loop onto the needle (I call m1-loop) – I figured, this kind of easy increase usually leaves a hole when used in a sideways edge cast-on, so what if I close that hole by wrapping the next stitch?  Well, yeah, no holes, but I think every version (working the wraps together with the wrapped stitches, or not; adding extra stitches while working the edge, or while working into the first cast-on row) looks pretty bad:

WrappingExperiments

This isn’t to say you shouldn’t play around with wrapping stitches if you want to… I’ve tried it with a normal kfb increase method as well – it looks fine, but just isn’t needed, so what’s the point?  I’d rather not bother wrapping if I don’t have to, you know?

Ok now I’ll move on to some garter stitch edge stuff… remember how I mentioned the stretchiness of garter being perfect for this technique?  Here’s what I meant…

Adding just 1 stitch per turn (1 stitch per 2 rows) makes for a thick, unstretched, squishy edge – great for a cozy warm hat brim or cuff:

garterswatch2

Adding 3 stitches for every 2 turns (3 stitches per 4 rows) gives you a slightly stretched garter stitch edge – perfect for an elastic-y brim or cuff that will stay put and be fitted:

garterswatch1

And adding 2 stitches at every turn (1 stitch per 1 row) will make a very stretched edge with a flared out body/main section – excellent for a slouchy beret type hat:

garterswatch3

The other garter stitch benefit I mentioned above is the texture – it doesn’t matter so much which variation you choose to work with garter stitch (the same would go for seed/moss stitch, or any other stitch with lots of purl bumps, etc) since those bumps you see in all the stockinette examples above will be hidden in the texture.  But, the WS/RS thing will matter a little – below you can see the difference between treating the working up to the turn side as the RS or the WS.  One version isn’t clearly bad, but I do much prefer the side working down from the turn as the RS (like I talked about above) – I think the join between the edge and the body is nicer looking and more seamless (that’s the version on the right):

GarterSampleSide1 GarterSampleSide2

Phew, this has been long – I hope you have a good grasp of the technique and can take it into your pattern altering and/or designing!  (Be sure to comment here and show me your results! Fun!)

If you need a more hands-on way of trying it out, my new mitts pattern uses the method – with a garter stitch cuff, adding 1 stitch per turn, then m1’ing every 2 stitches around the first row into the cast-on edge.  Here’s what the cuff looks like after working the edge stitches, before turning:

mittscuffprogress

And below, you can see what it looks like after working down to the end (if this was a circular needle, the cast-on stitches could curve around the cord); then what the cuff looks like after seaming up the side with a 3-needle bind-off, ready to work the first row into the cast-on edge, in the round:

mittscuffprogress2 mittscuffprogress3

And, the finished mitts!  (One size too big for me!)

Swerve mitts

Self-striping yarn is fun with this technique, making it super clear that the work is in different directions:

Swerve fingerless mitts!

Check out the Swerve pattern details on my site or on ravelry – it’ll soon be part of Knit Picks’ Independent Designers Program.  As you’ll see on the pattern pages, the price will be dropping after September 1st, but for right now, $1 of each pattern sold gets donated to the Pancreatic Craftacular, so you can feel good about your purchase! (Edited in 2015 to remove prices which are no longer applicable.)

Oh yeah I almost forgot: thanks to Mary-Heather for the great name idea!  Get your swerve on!!

Swerve fingerless mitts!

I’m also currently working on a set of hat patterns, all with garter stitch brims – the plan is to have 3 different brim types (which are the three different ratios of stitches to rows that I talked about above with garter stitch) and 3 different top decrease designs, and then for all the variations to be any-gauge and interchangeable (like, choose brim type #2 worked extra wide, with top style #1, in this yarn that’s a weird weight, measuring to get the sizing all perfect as you go)!  Exciting!

Update: the hat pattern set has been released! Custom Tritops!

hats1

By the way, striping between 2 colors is a fabulous way to easily keep track of your increases when switching between adding 1 stitch and adding 2 stitches at each turn along the edge – just know that color #1 always increases by one, and color #2 always increases by two!

Hat1

So, you can see the whole different ratios making for different levels of stretch thing in action with these examples – that top hat was worked with 1 stitch added per turn, for a thick, squishy, unstretched brim.  The hat below was worked with 2 stitches being added at each turn, causing the body of the hat to flare out above the brim, and the brim to stretch and hold on to the head, all elastic-y:

Hat3

And now that I’ve said everything I can think of to say about this technique that I’m so excited about, I’ll talk a little more about the whole “unventing” of it… I had this brainstorm (“Couldn’t I use increases and short-rows to add stitches along the side of a hat brim, for a sideways edge and a round body?”) about 6 months ago, and started swatching right away, super excited about the discovery.  The more I played, the more excited I got, and I started asking my knitting and designing friends if they’d ever seen it done before, everyone saying no (I even asked here on the blog awhile back)… But, I knew, it’s been done before, of course it has, it’s just not publicly known in the current knitting world, so I was pretty darn excited to share it with you!

As Elizabeth Zimmermann said, “…I can’t imagine that I alone unvented [the technique], but I certainly discovered it in my own brain single-handed.”

The maybe ironic-ish thing about that quote specifically (from page 74 of Knitter’s Almanac) is that she is talking about her sideways edging type of bind-off (don’t know if there’s an official name for this technique) which is basically the exact opposite of the sideways edge cast-on.  You knit an edge onto a piece while binding off at the same time by decreasing the last 2 stitches of each row together… I feel like if I had known about this method, it would have led me right to my discovery (which, chances are, EZ herself used at some point or another, I’d guess), but I didn’t learn of this bind-off until some of you readers mentioned it back in that blog post when I asked you about the cast-on.

Aaaanyway… that’s just kind of a random side note.  I want to quote EZ talking about unventing since I love her and the way she writes:

Do you mind the word ‘unvented’?  I like it.  Invented sounds to me rather pompous and conceited.  I picture myself as a knitting inventor, in a clean white coat, sitting in a workshop full of tomes of reference, with charts and graphs on the walls.  Not real knitters’ charts, which are usually scribbled on odd and dog-eared pieces of squared paper, or even ordinary paper with homemade squares on it, but charts like sales charts, and graphs like the economy.  I have a thoughtful expression behind my rimless glasses and hold a neatly-shaped pencil.  Who knows but that I don’t have a bevy of hand-knitters in the backroom, tirelessly toiling at the actual knit and purl of my deathless designs.

Rubbish.

But, unvented – ahh!  One un-vents something; one unearths it; one digs it up, one runs it down in whatever recesses of the eternal consciousness it has gone to ground.  I very much doubt if anything is really new when one works in the prehistoric medium of wool with needles.  The products of science and technology may be new, and some of them are quite horrid, but knitting? In knitting there are ancient possibilities; the earth is enriched with the dust of the millions of knitters who have held wool and needles since the beginning of sheep.  Seamless sweaters and one-row buttonholes; knitted hems and phoney seams – it is unthinkable that these have, in mankind’s history, remained undiscovered and unknitted.  One likes to believe that there is memory in the fingers; memory undeveloped, but still alive.

LOVE.  (from Knitter’s Almanac, July chapter)

And, I want to thank the designers group on ravelry for reminding me of EZ’s term, which I’d forgotten, and pointing out some places where the sideways edge cast-on technique has, indeed, been used before.  It is a method commonly used in machine knitting, it turns out, or something very similar at least; Iris Schreier used the method in her Diagonal Triangle Tank design from 2006; Lucy Neatby has used it, or something like it, and surely there are many more instances.

I am surprised that it seems most knitters (myself included) have never seen it done before, and I hate picking up stitches, so I’m so happy to have finally experimented enough to be able to share it with you!  I really hope my explanations and ramblings made sense.  Enjoy!!

Filed under: knitting,self-publishing,tutorials — leethal @ 7:45 pm
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