14 Apr

tutorial – casting on & knitting magic loop

Knitting magic loop - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, I may receive a commission if you purchase something through these links. I’ve indicated these links with an *.

When working in the round with lots of stitches, using a circular and just going round and round and round is a relatively easy thing to do. It’s however, a different case when working in the round on a project with a small circumference. With small circumference knitting, it usually just doesn’t work in a circular needle, because the needles and the cables are just too long to accommodate the limited number of stitches.

What exactly is magic loop knitting?

The short description is, that with this method, you pull out a loop of cable of your circular needle to divide your stitches. This is usually done into two equal parts. Once the stitches are divided, you can use the free needle tip to knit across half of the stitches. Next, the project is rotated and the needle pulled through to work the remaining stitches.

Materials used

Yarn: * Paintbox Yarns Simply DK, a good value, good quality 100% acrylic yarn, here in the colors 142 Tea Rose.

Needles: * Addi Lace Circular Needles, in this tutorial I used the 4 mm (US 6) size with a cable length of 100 cm (40 inches). I would like to advise using at least a cable length of 80 cm (32 inches) to facilitate magic loop knitting.

Magic loop knitting step by step

1. Begin by casting on the required number of stitches for your project. I used the cable or knitted-on cast on in this example. Once this is done, you can continue to the next step. However, doing so directly increases the odds that the cast-on twists around the needle, resulting in a twist in your work when joined in the round. To avoid this, I usually just knit the first “round” of the pattern flat. So, that’s what I also did here!

Knitting magic loop - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

2. Next, lay the work down on a table in front of you in such a way, that the working yarn is on the right. Make sure that the cast-on edge is not twisted around the needle.

Knitting magic loop - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

3. Now, move the stitches to the center of the cable and find the middle point in the stitches. If working with an odd number of stitches, no worries: this won’t make that big of a difference. Gently bend your cable and bring it up between the center stitches.

Knitting magic loop - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

4. Next, pull the cable gently to reposition both sets of stitches on the needles as pictured, instead of on the cable. Make sure the working yarn is near the tip of the needle at the back, in between both needles. For working the first stitch, make sure it runs up between the needle tips for knitting, and for purling that it runs down.

Knitting magic loop - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

5. To join in the round and to start knitting, grab the needle tip that is at the back and pull it out so the stitches on it slide to the cable. Now is also the time to put a “beginning (or end) of round” stitch marker on this needle tip. This needle tip becomes your right-hand or working needle.

Knitting magic loop - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

6. Now you’re ready to work your way across the stitches on the left-hand or main needle. Especially with the first few rounds, you can encounter a “gap” at the spot you joined in the round. You can help avoid this by connecting both sides of this gap with a removable stitch marker. It also helps to tighten up the second stitch you work on each needle.

Knitting magic loop - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

7. Once you worked across these stitches, it will look something like this:

Knitting magic loop - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

8. Next, turn your work so that the working yarn is on the right again and the former back needle is now in the front.

Knitting magic loop - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

9. To be able to use the needle that is now in the front as your main (left-hand) needle, we first have to pull the cable connected to the needle tip. This way the stitches slide from the cable onto the needle tip.

Knitting magic loop - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

10. Again pull out the other (back) needle so that the stitches rest on the cable and the tip can be used as your working (right-hand) needle and work across all the stitches on the main (left-hand) needle.

Knitting magic loop - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

11. Continue steps 6 to 10 for each round as described in your pattern.

Knitting magic loop - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

And that’s all there is to it!

After a couple of rounds the work will look something like this:

Knitting magic loop - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

Knitting a “round” flat before joining in the round, as I described in step 1? Don’t forget to use the yarn tail to sew it closed when finishing your project.

Knitting magic loop - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

But what about laddering?

Laddering is nothing more than that the stitches are pulling apart a little, if it happens it’s usually where you switch from one needle to the other. As described with step 6, it really cuts down on laddering if you tighten the second stitch when working the stitches on each needle.

The material of the cable of your circulars, however, also has a great influence. The stiffer the cable the more resistant it will be to being fold in half to accommodate magic loop knitting. This means that with a very stiff cable it will actively push apart the stitches on the ends of both needles. The same issue may happen if you’re using a circular needle that is too short. I like my circs to be at least 80 cm / 32 inches. Do try out for yourself what length hits the sweet spot for you!

27 Mar

tutorial – Kitchener stitch: grafting stockinette

Tutorial Kitchener stitch: grafting stockinette

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, I may receive a commission if you purchase something through these links. I’ve indicated these links with an *.

It seems there are 2 distinct camps when it concerns the Kitchener stitch: either you love it or you hate it. Personally, I don’t really understand the hubbub around this technique, it’s a very useful one in certain situations. One just has to know how to do it. And that’s where this tutorial comes in!

But first: what is Kitchener stitch? It’s a method of grafting two sets of live stitches together in an invisible way. It’s often used to seamlessly close the toes of topdown socks, for example. The “seam”, so to speak, is really a new row of stitches that you create using a yarn needle. To do so, the needle is passed throught the live stitches of the pieces of knitting to be joined, in a similar manner similar as the direction in which a knitting needle is inserted within a stitch. This can be purlwise or knitwise.

Materials used

Yarn: * Paintbox Yarns Simply DK, a good value, good quality 100% acrylic yarn, here in the colors 155 Vintage Pink for the swatches and 125 Spearmint Green for the Kitchener stitch.

Darning needle: * Hiya Hiya Darn It Yarn Needle, or any other tapestry needle, threaded with yarn.

Working Kitchener stitch to graft stockinette step by step

Before we start, we have to make sure that the two pieces of stockinette fabric that we will be grafting together, each have the same number of stitches.

Set-up

1.To start, we hold the two needles containing the live stitches parallel to eachother, with the wrong sides of the fabric facing inside and the right sides facing outside.

Tutorial Kitchener stitch: grafting stockinette

2. Take your darning needle and pass it purlwise through the first stitch on the front needle. Pull the yarn through, while leaving the stitch on the needle.

Tutorial Kitchener stitch: grafting stockinette

3. Next, thread the darning needle knitwise through the first stitch on the back needle. Again, pull the yarn through, while leaving the stitch on the needle.

Tutorial Kitchener stitch: grafting stockinette

Repeat

1. Front needle: Pass the darning needle knitwise through the first stitch of the front needle. Pull the yarn through and slip the stitch off the needle. The below picture shows how it looks after the stitch has been dropped.

Tutorial Kitchener stitch: grafting stockinette

2. Front needle: Next, thread the darning needle purlwise through the second stitch on the front needle. Leave the stitch on the needle and pull the yarn through.

Tutorial Kitchener stitch: grafting stockinette

3. Back needle: Pass the darning needle purlwise through the first stitch of the back needle. Pull the yarn through and slip the stitch off the needle. Again, the picture shows how it looks after the stitch has been dropped off.

Tutorial Kitchener stitch: grafting stockinette

4. Back needle: Next, thread the darning needle knitwise through the second stitch on the back needle. Leave the stitch on the needle and pull the yarn through. Gently adjust the tension of the newly made stitches to match the fabric of the pieces you’re grafting together. Be careful not to pull your yarn too tightly!

Tutorial Kitchener stitch: grafting stockinette

Repeat steps 1 to 4 until only 1 stitch remains on each knitting needle. This is how it then looks:

Tutorial Kitchener stitch: grafting stockinette

Finishing

1. Now insert the darning needle knitwise into the first stitch on the front needle and pull the yarn through, dropping the stitch from the needle.

Tutorial Kitchener stitch: grafting stockinette

2. To finish, insert the darning needle purlwise into the first stitch on the back needle. Pull the yarn through and drop the stitch from the needle.

Tutorial Kitchener stitch: grafting stockinette

And that’s it! Pretty seamless, isn’t it? The only reason it can be seen as clearly as it is in this example is that I used a contrasting yarn.

Tutorial Kitchener stitch: grafting stockinette

Points of attention

If the tension of the new connecting row of stitches is not right yet, you can use the tip of your darning needle to further adjust. Just start at the right edge of the work, where grafting began, and gently pull the various stitches to adjust the tension until it matches the tension of the joined pieces. Also, when moving from front to back needle and vice versa, make sure to pass the working yarn and darning needle underneath the knitting needles, not above them.

Many people use a little rhyme to help remember the various steps that are to be repeated. It goes like this:

Front: Knit off (knit first stitch on front needle, drop stitch off)
Front: Purl on(purl next stitch on front needle, leave stitch on)
Back: Purl off(purl first stitch on back needle, drop stitch off)
Back: Knit on(knit next stitch on back needle, leave stitch on)

11 Mar

tutorial – working Judy’s magic cast on

Working Judy's Magic Cast On - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, I may receive a commission if you purchase something through these links. I’ve indicated these links with an *.

Perhaps you’ve heard about Judy’s Magic Cast On: a truly magic and invisible cast on for toe-up socks. This cast on was first devised by Judy Becker and shared in her article on Knitty. It’s a very clever cast on, as it creates a truly seamless start of your work. As Judy shares in her article, this cast on can be used for a wide range of projects and not just for socks. It can be used for anything that requires knitting in the round and a neat, seamless start.

Since I’m such a fan of this technique, I’m giving you my take on this cast on in this tutorial.

Materials used

Yarn: * Paintbox Yarns Simply DK, a good value, good quality 100% acrylic yarn, in the color 128 Lime Green.

Needles: * Addi Lace Circular Needles, in this tutorial I used the 4 mm (US 6) size with a cable length of 100 cm (40 inches). I would like to advise using at least a cable length of 80 cm (32 inches) to facilitate magic loop knitting.

Working Judy’s Magic Cast On step by step

1. This cast on is worked with both the yarn tail and the working yarn. This means, that to start, we need to estimate a sufficient length of yarn tail. One method to do this is to wrap the yarn around your needle once for every stitch to cast on, and then give yourself approx. 15 cm / 6 inches extra so you’ll have enough to weave in later.

Working Judy's Magic Cast On - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

2. Make a slipknot leaving a yarn tail as determined in the previous step and place it around the top needle. Pull to tighten this first loop/cast on stitch. Arrange the yarn in such a way, that the yarn tail is above the top needle and the working yarn is below the bottom needle as pictured.

Working Judy's Magic Cast On - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

3. Now move the yarn tail downwards, under and then over the bottom needle and next underneath the top needle to bring it back to its starting position. You now have cast on a loop on the bottom needle.

Working Judy's Magic Cast On - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

4. Next, take the working yarn and move it under and then over the top needle and next underneath the bottom needle to bring it back to its starting position. You now have cast on a loop on the top needle.

Working Judy's Magic Cast On - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until you’ve cast on the required number of stitches. Take care not to tighten these stitches too much, since this will encourage a little bump to form on each side of the cast on stitches. In this picture, a total of 18 stitches, 9 stitches per needle, have been cast on. (And yes, I really should have used a slightly longer yarn tail….)

Working Judy's Magic Cast On - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

Working the first round after the cast on

There are some peculiarities with the first round after the stitches are cast on using Judy’s Magic Cast On. Read on to find out more!

1. Turn the needles so that the bottom needle is now on top and ready to serve as your main (left-hand) needle.

Working Judy's Magic Cast On - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

2. Pull out the other needle to place its stitches on the cable and to use the tip as your working (right-hand) needle to knit into all the stitches on the main needle, magic loop style. Make sure that the yarn tail lies between the working yarn and the main needle. This way you can lock the yarn tail in place once you start knitting.

Working Judy's Magic Cast On - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

3. Knit the stitches on the main (left-hand) needle. If the first stitch loosens up a bit, just tighten it back up by softly pulling the yarn tail.

Working Judy's Magic Cast On - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

4. Next, turn your work so that the working yarn is on the right again.

Working Judy's Magic Cast On - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

5. Pull gently on the left-hand cable loop to pull the needle into the stitches and the former bottom needle is now on top and ready to serve as your main (left-hand) needle.

Working Judy's Magic Cast On - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

6. Likewise, pull out the other needle to place the stitches just worked on the cable, and to use the tip as your working (right-hand) needle to knit into all the stitches on the main needle, magic loop style.

Working Judy's Magic Cast On - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

7. Work the second set of the cast on stitches. Only this time, knit them through the back loop to correct their stitch mount.

Working Judy's Magic Cast On - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

The result

Once all the above steps are followed, this is the result. You’re now ready to continue with your knitting in the round (using magic loop) as described in your pattern.

Working Judy's Magic Cast On - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

And this is how to work Judy’s Magic Cast On and the first round after casting on!

20 Feb

tutorial – working a lifted-over knot stitch

Working a lofted-over knot stitch - a tutorial by La Visch Designs
Working a lifted-over knot stitch - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, I may receive a commission if you purchase something through these links. I’ve indicated these links with an *.

I find myself working more and more of the lovely intricate stitch patterns in the * Japanse Knitting Stitch Bible by Hitomi Shida. In these stitch patterns there are a lot of types of stitches that I personally haven’t encountered before. A good reason to make some new tutorials! In this post I’ll go into how to work a lifted-over knit stitch.

Japanese knitting stitch bible

There are, of course, many variations of this type of stitch. They can be worked over 3 to 5 stitches and in any combination of purl and knit stitches, either regularly or through the back loop. What they all have in common, however, is that one of the stitches is lifted over the others, after which the remaining stitches are worked, in combination with a yarn over to bring the number of stitches back to the original number. Characteristic of the lifted-over knot stitch is the horizontal bar that is created by the lifted-over stitch.

In this tutorial I’ll explain the version of the lifted-over knot stitch that is explained in the * Japanse Knitting Stitch Bible by the following text:

Insert tip of RN into the third st; lift it up and over the first two sts and let it drop; k, yo, k.

This particular version is worked over 3 stitches, the 3 that are near the tip of the left-hand needle in the picture below.

Working a lifted-over knot stitch - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

Working a lifted-over knot stitch step by step

1. To start, insert your right-hand needle purlwise into the third stitch from the tip of the left-hand needle.

Working a lifted-over knot stitch - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

2. Lift this stitch up and pull it over the two stitches nearer to the tip as well as over the needle tip itself. Be careful, this action may pull the other two stitches along and off the needle.

Working a lifted-over knot stitch - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

3. Now knit one stitch.

Working a lifted-over knot stitch - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

4. Yarn over…

Working a lifted-over knot stitch - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

5. … and work another knit stitch to complete the lifted-over knot stitch.

Working a lifted-over knot stitch - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

6. In the below picture another row is worked. This reveals the true appearance of this lifted-over knot stitch!

Working a lifted-over knot stitch - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

On a side note, in this piece of knitting is more going on than just the lifted-over knot stitch. Tutorials for these other types of stitches will follow!

The yarn used in this tutorial is * Debbie Bliss “Piper” in Magenta. It’s a yarn with a composition of 50% cotton and 50% viscose. As you can see, it has a great stitch definition! Perfect for trying out those intricate Japanese stitch patterns.

06 Feb

tutorial – crochet a braid in your knitting

Crochet a braid in your knitting - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

Perhaps you’ve seen some examples of this technique floating around the net. Knitted pieces with parallel stripes of stitches that are much bigger than the surrounding ones in either garter stitch, or reverse stockinette. In this tutorial, I show you how to crochet a braid in your knitting. This will include step by step instructions on what I did to achieve a similar result. And I will, of course, also share with you what I found out and would do differently next time I use this technique.

Crochet a braid in your knitting step-by-step

1. Cast-on any number of stitches using your preferred method. For this little swatch, I used the knitted-on cast-on, which is also known as the cable cast-on.

Crochet a braid in your knitting - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

2. Next, knit across the row and put a yarnover at every place in in the piece where you want to position the braid. I did mine where the needle is pointing. It can be handy to place a stitch marker on each side of the yarnover. This makes it easier to determine which stitch to drop down later on. I didn’t do that here, because it’s only 1 stitch in the exact middle of the swatch. No issues in keeping my place!

Crochet a braid in your knitting - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

3. Now knit until the piece has the desired height/length. Make sure to work the number of rows that is a multiple of the number of strands you want to make the braid with. A multiple of 2 for a 2-strand braid and 3 for a 3-strand braid. Next, locate the stitch that’s directly above the yarnover in your first row. This is where the stitch markers can come in useful.

Crochet a braid in your knitting - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

4. Drop the stitch down until you’ve reached the yarnover/cast-on edge. Use you fingers to tease the yarn strands loose if necessary.

Crochet a braid in your knitting - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

5. Now we’re going to take a crochet hook and work our way back up the piece using multiple strands of yarn. In this example I’m doing 2 strands together. To start, we have to pick up the 2 strands of yarn directly above the cast-on edge. I’m picking them up twisted, to ensure that the tension of this first bit of braid is not looser than the following ones. To do so, I inserted my crochet into the work as pictured, and then twisted the hook clockwise.

Crochet a braid in your knitting - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

6. Next, insert your hook below the next 2 strands and pull them through the loop on the hook to form a stitch.

Crochet a braid in your knitting - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

7. This is how it looks:

Crochet a braid in your knitting - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

8. Keep on inserting your hook below the next 2 strands and pulling them through the loop on the hook. Repeat until there are no more loose strands in the piece to work back up.

Crochet a braid in your knitting - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

9. Now you can place the last loop back on the needle. Knit accros the row to fix it into place. And that’s it!

Things I’d do differently next time

When I was working on this little swatch, I thought of a couple of things I would do differently next time. I didn’t feel the braid was fat enough against the background of garter stitch. Perhaps a 2-strand braid works better against a background of reverse stockinette.

I did try out a 3-strand braid, for the picture, see below. With this one, however, I noticed that the fabric started pulling around the braid. To counter this I would suggest not working 1 yarnover in the first row, but a double one instead. Work [k1, p1] into the double yarnover on the following row and regular stitches per your stitch pattern in the ones after that.

Crochet a braid in your knitting - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

When there are 2 columns of stitches dropped to free up strands for the braid, I expect the braid itself will also be more volumineus. Which is a good thing, because it will make it stand out better against the background.

13 Jan

tutorial – how to pick up a dropped stitch

How to pick up a dropped stitch - by La Visch Designs

It happens to all of us: dropping a stitch in the middle of your knitting… When using a somewhat sticky yarn it’s usually just a matter of placing the stitch back on the needle and continue as before. When using a smooth, slippery yarn, it can however be that the dropped stitch runs down in your work, leaving a wake loose threads behind. The same can happy with a less smooth yarn, if it isn’t detected at first that a certain stitch has escaped from the needles.

Don’t panic, though! Picking up a dropped stitch in plain knitting like stockinette or garter stitch really isn’t that hard. In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to pick up a dropped stitch. All you need is a crochet hook in size similar or a tad smaller than the size knitting needles used.

Pick up a dropped stitch step-by-step

1. First, get your crochet hook and catch that run-away stitch before it runs down even further! Pay attention to the stitch itself and the one directly below: see that it has a purl bump directly below the captured stitch? This means that in this swatch (in garter stitch) the next stitch to be worked is to be a knit stitch. For that reason, I insert my crochet hook from the front to the back through the stitch.

How to pick up a dropped stitch - by La Visch Designs

2. Next, grab the loose thread directly above and pull it through the first stitch on the hook.

How to pick up a dropped stitch - by La Visch Designs

3. In this picture you see how this looks once the crochet hook has been removed. Now, if we were picking up a dropped stitch in stockinette fabric we would just repeat steps 1 and 2. We are, however working in garter stitch, so a few more steps are needed.

How to pick up a dropped stitch - by La Visch Designs

4. For the next stitch to be laddered back up, we need to work a purl stitch. To start, I move the next loose thread directy above the stitch from the back to the front of the work.

How to pick up a dropped stitch - by La Visch Designs

5. Next, insert the crochet hook into the stitch from the back to the front, grab the loose thread and pull it through the stitch on the hook.

How to pick up a dropped stitch - by La Visch Designs

6. Now we have made a lovely purl stitch! You can recognize it by the purl bump (horizontal) directly below the loop on the hook.

How to pick up a dropped stitch - by La Visch Designs

7. Repeat steps 1-6 as often as needed to work your way back up and place the dropped stitch back on the needle. And that’s how to pick up a dropped stitch!

How to pick up a dropped stitch - by La Visch Designs

Some more thoughts

In this example in garter stitch, I started with a knit stitch. If the stitch had run down another row, though, I would have had to start with a purl stitch instead. In other words: steps 4-6 followed by steps 1-3 instead of the other way around. This is why it’s so important to learn how to read your knitting!

Also, laddering a stitch back up can cause some pulling and unevenness in the fabric. This usually evens out with blocking though. If you have a lot of difference in the tension, you can also tease the stitches back to approx. the same size using a spare knitting needle.

05 Dec

tutorial – fixing a dropped stitch in garter stitch

Fixing a dropped stitch in garter stitch by La Visch Designs

When I finished my Sirac stole, blocking was, of course, needed to let that cable & lace panel shine. And that was when I saw it… A dropped stitch, smack in the middle of one of the garter stitch panels. I must have knit through part of the strand, breaking it when brought under tension with the blocking. Or I just missed it. Whatever the cause, I needed to fix this!

To start, I just secured the dropped stitch with a locking stitch marker to prevent it from laddering down. I worked this particular project in a sticky kind of wool, but under tension, all yarn will ladder down in knitting. So, better safe than sorry and use that stitch marker!

Fixing a dropped stitch in garter stitch - by La Visch Designs

After the project was completely dry, I could remove it from the blocking mats and fix the stitch. If the project was still on the needles, I would just have worked it back up with a crochet hook. This project was already bound off and blocked. Therefore I went with a duplicate stitch approach instead. For this you need some of the yarn remaining from your project, a darning needle (I like the blunt tipped kind best for this kind of work), and some scissors:

Fixing a dropped stitch in garter stitch - by La Visch Designs

Fixing a dropped stitch in garter stitch step-by-step

Normally I would use a contrasting yarn in a tutorial, so you can see better what I’m doing. In this case, however, I used the project yarn for the repair. To make it a tad better to see, I’ve held it double with some white crochet cotton and I’ve added some coloring during photo editing.

1. Start with threading a length of the yarn through the darning needle. Approx. 60 cm (24 inches) should be enough for single dropped stitches like this one.

Fixing a dropped stitch in garter stitch - by La Visch Designs

2. First, thread your needle through the dropped stitch to secure it. Make sure you pull about half the length of yarn through the stitch.

Fixing a dropped stitch in garter stitch - by La Visch Designs

3. Now, with half the length of the yarn, I’m going to follow the route of the yarn in the stitches on the row the dropped stitch should have been worked in. I’ve made these stitches turquoise in the picture below, to make it a tad easier to see.

Fixing a dropped stitch in garter stitch - by La Visch Designs

4. In this picture, the side left of the dropped stitch is all done, on the far left you see the little bit of yarn tail that remains.

Fixing a dropped stitch in garter stitch - by La Visch Designs

5. Next, repeat threading the yarn through the stitches on the right of the dropped stitch, using the other end of the piece of yarn. Below you see the result, with the yarn needle indicating the place of the dropped stitch.

Fixing a dropped stitch in garter stitch - by La Visch Designs

And this is how it looks on the other side of the work:

Fixing a dropped stitch in garter stitch - by La Visch Designs

After removing the contrasting cotton thread, this is how it looks like from the right side of the work:

Fixing a dropped stitch in garter stitch - by La Visch Designs

And yes, I know that I should have threaded the new yarn over the dropped stitch as well, to imitate the purl bar of garter stitch fabric. Now it looks a bit like a single stockinette stitch in all that garter stitch. Learn from my mistake! I know I will with any future dropped stitches in garter stitch fabric.

14 Oct

tutorial – pick-up & knit from garter stitch

Tutorial pick-up & knit from garter stitch - by La Visch Designs

In my Sirac stole design a center panel in a Cable & Lace pattern is worked first, after which stitches are picked up and knit on the long sides of the panel. After this, the rest of the pattern can be worked perpendicular to the Cable & Lace panel. One of my testers (hi Marilyn!) mentioned that it would be a good idea to dedicate a photo tutorial to the technique used for that. So here we are!

Of course, there are many ways to accomplish this. In this tutorial, I’m focusing on “pick-up and knit” from a garter stitch piece, worked without a chain stitch selvage. Such a selvage is pretty neat for picking-up stitches, but it also makes the selvage tighter than may be preferable. In such cases, it’s good to know how to pick-up & knit stitches from a regular garter stitch edge.

The difference between “pick-up” and “pick-up & knit”

It may be confusing what exactly the difference is between just “pick-up” and “pick-up & knit”. I mean, both have some picking-up action going on. The main difference is, that with just “pick-up” stitches of the piece already worked are placed on the knitting needle without introducing new yarn.

With “pick-up and knit”, new yarn is pulled through the piece already worked and the loops are placed on a knitting needle. These new loops are the new stitches from which the rest of the piece is worked.

Pick-up & knit from garter stitch step-by-step

In this example, I’m using a contrasting yarn for the pickup & knit part, to make it easier for you to see what exactly I’m doing and where.

1. We start with a piece of knitting worked completely in garter stitch, turned sideways with the RS facing. And yes, plain garter stitch does not really have a RS and WS, but it can have when there is patterning on a background of garter stitch.

Tutorial pick-up & knit from garter stitch - by La Visch Designs

2. Insert your needle (or crochet hook if you find that easier!), from front to back, between the garter stitch ridges, between the last and second-to-last columns of stitches. In other words: in between the ridges and 1 stitch in from the edge.

Tutorial pick-up & knit from garter stitch - by La Visch Designs

3. Wrap your yarn around the needle or crochet hook…

Tutorial pick-up & knit from garter stitch - by La Visch Designs

4. …and pull the loop of yarn through the work and place it on the needle.

Tutorial pick-up & knit from garter stitch - by La Visch Designs

5. Repeat steps 2-4, picking up 1 stitch per garter stitch ridge until all ridges have been worked. The result looks like this from the RS:

Tutorial pick-up & knit from garter stitch - by La Visch Designs

This is how it looks from the WS:

Tutorial pick-up & knit from garter stitch - by La Visch Designs

Next, you can start knitting according to your pattern. Take care, though, to see whether the stitches are positioned normal or twisted. The stitch mount has a potential impact on your project!

Stitch mount

Stitches have a left and right leg. The way they are positioned on the needle impacts the look of the stitches when knit. In the picture below on the left, you can see the regular orientation with the right leg in front of the needle. On the left there is a twisted stitch: the left leg of the stitch is in front of the needle. This is no problem though: Just knit (or purl) the twisted stitch through the back loop to untwist the stitch mount.

Making a crochet provisional cast-on - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

And here how it looks with some more rows worked from the RS:

Tutorial pick-up & knit from garter stitch - by La Visch Designs

And from the WS:

Tutorial pick-up & knit from garter stitch - by La Visch Designs

The white part looks a tad wider than the “body” of the piece because I used a slightly heavier weight yarn!

19 Aug

tutorial – knitting colorwork tips

Colorwork tips - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

Knitting colorwork besides giving a gorgeous result is also a lot of fun. I must admit I haven’t gone beyond knitting colorwork with 2 colors yet, at this point in time. Doing that though, I have come across some things that make it easier to do and get a lovely result. And, of course, I love to share these colorwork tips with you!

1. Picking your colors

Perhaps you’ve already noticed it with previous projects: sometimes when colors seem to go perfectly with each other, the result is just disappointing when combined. One possible reason for this is that the colors don’t have enough contrast between them. But how to make sure there is enough contrast? Read on this tutorial!

Contrast in colorwork - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

2. Start with a small project

Handling multiple strands of yarn at the same time while following a chart can be pretty daunting if you’ve never done so before. My advice would, therefore, be to start with a smallish project and limit yourself to only 2 colors. Think for example of a hat, like the Pijl hat pictured below.  This way you can find out how to hold your yarn etc. without adding an extreme tangle to the mix that even more colors of yarn could potentially bring.

Pijl - a design by La Visch Designs

3. Managing floats

The pieces of yarn running at the inside of a colorwork project knitted in the round are called “floats”: the lengths of yarn not being knitted and simply carried along the back.  Because they run at the inside circumference of the project, there is a risk of them getting too short and tight. This, in turn, will lead to puckering in the finished item. The solution is luckily a very easy one: just turn your knitting inside-out so the floats are on the outside circumference while knitting! This will usually give enough slack in the floats to avoid puckering. This is, by the way, a pic of my Bloem hat while in progress.

Colorwork tips - by La Visch Designs

4. Gauge

Most knitters find that when knitting colorwork their gauge ends up much tighter (more stitches per 10 cm / 4 inches) than when knitting in a single color with that particular yarn/needle combination. This is because the floats lack the elasticity of regular knitting stitches. This may mean that a colorwork hat, sweater or sock turns out much smaller than expected.  It’s therefor a good idea to either start with a smallish part of the project like a sleeve (for a big project like a sweater) or swatch. Don’t forget to swatch in the round though, because this is usually different from the gauge when worked flat.

5. Fixing mistakes

Let’s face it: mistakes will probably be made. I know I do! With some, you can just tink back (= knitting backward, in other words: stitch for stitch un-knitting what you did). In that case, make sure to wind back your yarn on the separate balls to avoid it all tangling up. It’s also possible to find a bit in your colorwork that didn’t quite go according to the chart, way back or even after binding off. In that case, there are several options. You can, of course, consider it a design element. if it bothers you too much, don’t be hesitant to fix it for the eye by embroidering over it using the duplicate stitch technique. And I’ve got a tutorial for that!

duplicate stitch_4

There you have it: several colorwork tips to help you with working lovely colorwork projects!

25 Jul

tutorial – circular cast-on

Circular cast-on - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

Casting-on for knitting in the round is usually a rather fiddly business. The circular cast-on method in this tutorial, unfortunately, isn’t any different in that respect. Still, when wanting the cast-on for a project knitted flat and in the round, this method gives a very nice and invisible start.

I think it’s ideal for things like top-down hats, center-out blankets or shawls, and the like. It’s pretty similar to the idea of starting a project with a magic ring in crochet. A big plus is that the ring can be tightened to close up the starting hole, once you’re well underway and past that fiddly starting stage.

In this tutorial I used a circular needle in the magic loop way, but (of course) double pointed needles (dpn’s) can also be used for the small-circumference start.

Materials

Besides yarn and circular knitting needles (or dpn’s), it’s also a good idea to use stitch markers to denote the corner stitches. I didn’t use them in this tutorial and it shows in the end result! If using circular needles, make sure the cable is long enough to do magic loop. In my experience, 80 cm / 32 inches or longer is needed for that.

Circular cast-on - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

The circular cast-on step-by-step

1. Make an overhand knot in your yarn as shown below in the picture.

Circular cast-on - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

2. Next, position your knitting needle as shown underneath the strand of your that goes to the ball of yarn.

Circular cast-on - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

3. Now insert the needle in the circle of yarn, yarn over and pull the loop through the circle. This makes a new stitch as shown below.

Circular cast-on - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

4. Now, yarn over again…

Circular cast-on - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

5. …. and (as in step 3) again insert the needle in the circle of yarn, yarn over and pull the loop through the circle. This makes a new stitch as shown below.

Circular cast-on - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

6. Repeat steps 3 and 4 as often as needed. In this example, I repeated another 2 times to get to a total of 8 stitches on my needle.

Circular cast-on - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

7. Now you can pull on the yarn tail to tighten up the cast-on circle. Don’t worry if it loosens up, later on, you can always tighten it again.

Circular cast-on - a tutorial by La Visch Designs

8. And now you can start knitting according to your pattern! This may also be a good time to insert any stitch markers needed, for the correct placement of the increases. In this example, I didn’t, which shows in the wonky placement of the yarn overs in the picture below. Still, the cast-on itself in the center can be seen pretty well, so there it is!

Circular cast-on - a tutorial by La Visch Designs