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knitting tutorial

  • Learn to Knit: Changing Double Point Needles

    I've been thinking about making another pair of socks.  I really like the Basic Sock pattern from I Can't Believe I'm Knitting Socks, and it seems like now is a good time to talk about knitting on double pointed needles. 

    Here is a video to show you what knitting with double pointed needles looks like!


    Ta da!

    I know that tutorial is for when you switch from circular knitting needles to double pointed ones, and that's a little different from when you knit on double pointed needles from start to finish.  Actually, no.  It's pretty much the same.  It may not feel like it when you get started, but it is.  Knitting in the round is moving your stitches around and around. 

    Knitting in the round on double pointed needles is moving your stitches around and around, and from needle to needle.  I promise that it's not a big deal.  When you're knitting a hat and move to double pointed needles because you've decreased to the point where you have too few stitches to knit on a circular needle, you'll probably divide your stitches onto three needles.  I'm not sure why, but that's just how it works out with your stitches and decrease points.  Your pattern will probably tell you. 

    I think I prefer to knit on four needles, just because.  I found out that I have an easier time hanging on to four than three.  Maybe I just like it because it makes a square.  In fact, I like it so much that I'd tell you that if your hat pattern doesn't specifically say "You need to divide your stitches evenly over three needles," then you should divide them evenly over four needles.  You just should.

    You should try all kinds of things.  If you haven't knitted with double pointed needles before, a baby hat might be the best starter project.  Or you should just throw yourself into sock knitting with wild abandon because there's no reason not to!  Have fun!

  • Learn to Knit: Knit 1 In Row Below


    Before knitting the Bee Stitch dishcloth pattern from Kitchen Bright Dishcloths, I don't think I'd ever heard of the bee stitch.  But the the dishcloth's pretty patterning is the result of mixing knit stitches with the technique of knitting into the stitch below and I love it. 


    Knitting into the stitch below is fairly simple, once I got over the part where I would hold my breath because I felt like I was going to somehow unravel all my knitting when I would move the new loop off the needle.  It just felt a little scary even though I read the explanation of the stitch in the book several times and watched this video at least twice.  Actually, it might have been more.  I might have even done it when I was more than halfway through the project because I suddenly panicked and was convinced I had forgotten how to knit into the stitch below.

    Sometimes it's a little scary to learn new things and try them out, over and over in a new pattern!  But doing that new thing over and over is probably the best way to learn it.  Now that I'm familiar with the stitch, I catch myself checking out similar-looking stitches in pictures for patterns and wondering if that's what it is.

    Who wouldn't want to see this in more patterns!?
    The video tutorial for this stitch was fantastic, and really helped me calm down a bit.  You should see me when I try something new and can't find a video tutorial, or at least a simple line drawing illustration!
    Actually, you shouldn't.  No one should see that.  I love it when someone can show me a new knitting technique.  Even when that person is just on a screen.  That might even be my favorite way to learn new stitches because I can replay this as many times as I want and that calm voice and competent hands never get impatient.  It's the best!

  • Binding Off In Knit: A Video Tutorial

     When I was knitting the St. Patrick's Day pattern from Holiday Knit Dishcloths last week, I noticed the bind off instructions.

    And it got me thinking.  When I first started trying more crochet patterns, I used to panic at the phrase "finish off" because it just seemed like I should be doing so much more than pulling my hook out of its singular loop and tying a knot.  "Finish off" sounded like a huge task I should perform with some ceremony.  Or maybe a weapon.  But nope.

    Remove the hook from your work:

    Tie a knot:

    Ta da! You have finished off a crochet project.  (You monster.)

    Binding off, however, is different.  You're still knitting a row.

    You need to have plenty of yarn still on hand.

    And sometimes, you have to do it in a knit.

    Okay, I shouldn't be dramatic.  Binding off all stitches ("stitches" = "sts" in patterns, by the way) in a knit usually just means that if you're working knit stitches, you'll keep working in knit stitches as you're binding off.  If you were purling, your instructions could tell you to "bind off on the purl side" or something similar.  Some patterns just say "Bind off in pattern."
    But binding off in knit stitches is its own special lesson, and that's what we're talking about today.  So here's the video tutorial:


    There, see?  Nothing too crazy at all!  It's like one long row of decreasing, or passing a stitch over the stitch just worked.  Honestly, you could bind off every knitting project you ever made just like this for the rest of your very long life and very few people--if anyone--would look at your bind-off edge and know that you worked your bind off in knit stitches and not whatever other technique the pattern called for.  And if they did, who cares?  Who inspects bind-off edges?

    (Do you do that?  Please let me know if you do.  I'm very curious as to why, out of all the quirks most of us have, checking bind-off edges is yours.)

    So!If you don't know how to bind off, now you do.  Obviously, learning tons of different ways to do something is always ideal.  But binding off all stitches in knit is a really great way to simply finish off a project and now you can do it!

  • Purl 2 Stitches Together: A Knitting Tutorial

    Hey, remember when I knitted the Casual Comfort beanie from Celebrity Beanies for the Family and it was all textured and kind of old-fashioned looking and absolutely delightful?

    Good times.

    I really love that pattern, and I think I should make it again for myself in either a really neutral color or a super vibrant one.  Anyway, until then I thought this would be a fun time to talk about decrease stitches.  I know.  I party hard.

    Since seed stitch is just a bunch of knit and purl stitches, one of the decrease methods for the Casual Comfort hat is to purl two stitches together.  And how do you purl two stitches together?

     Like this:


    It seems simple enough: act like you're going to purl a stitch and then purl two of them as one.  But the first time I read a description of how to do it, it sounded ridiculously tricky and I don't know why.  Maybe sometimes simple actions are difficult to describe.  But believe me, this is as simple as the reassuring voice and professional hands in the video says it is.

    Purling two stitches together is a common technique when you're making decreases in the purled fabric between cables, ribbed knitting, or seed stitch.  Man, I love seed stitch.  And I love knowing lots of decrease stitches.  Purl decreases are fanfreakingtastic, and I hope you have a pattern to try them out super soon.

    Obviously I'm recommending this one.

  • Picking Up Stitches At End Of Rows: A Knitting Tutorial


    I was thinking about picking up stitches the other day, because sometimes I think about those things.  I had thought it would be terrifying and ridiculous, but when I worked my first heel on my first pair of socks, it wasn't a big deal.  Maybe the instructions in I Can't Believe I'm Knitting Socks were incredibly clear.  Maybe I'm just a natural when it comes to knitting socks.  Maybe you can do anything if you have a good tutorial. 

    Maybe it's a mix of those things, minus the joke about my preternatural sock skills.  I do not have sock skills.  But I'd like to make another pair soon, and I'm going to make sure I have this video playing when it time for me to pick up the stitches on my heel flap. 



    Because I totally did it wrong last time!  Of course.  Like I said, I was joking about having sock skills.  


    But I did enjoy the Basic Sock Pattern and I love self-striping yarn and I would like to try more patterns from I Can't Believe I'm Knitting Socks.  And now I know some more things about picking up stitches!   And I think I'll use a crochet hook, too.  Leaps and bounds with this sock-knitting business!  And I had fun the last time I made socks.  I'll have even more fun when I've got a better understanding of how to work on those tricky heels.

    Having some warm socks and having the slightest inkling about how to make them well?!  I really can't think of anything more fun than that.

  • Working with Ruffle Yarn: A Video Tutorial

    Confession: I don't really get ruffle yarn.

    There's usually less than 100 feet per skein, and you can get a whole scarf out it.  It's classified as super bulky.  It almost always sparkles.

    And it's just so ruffly. This is not a quality I expect from yarn!  The occasional bit of glitter, sure.  But yarn that looks like lace and knits up in layers of ruffly-ness?  Blows my mind.

    I've only worked with it once, and I used a loom.  I'd never used a loom before and was feeling extra confused as a result, but I think having those pegs to keep the yarn laid out and flat helped me quite a bit.

    That loom brought order to crafting chaos.

    However, if you want to use knitting needles ......well for starters, bless you!  Bless you, brave soul!  You are embarking on a magical journey filled with learning and adventure!  Knitting involves magic, right? 

    And secondly, here's a tutorial video for you!

    (You can also watch it here.)

    This explained a lot for me.  It was reassuring to see that even the all-knowing voice and hands in these videos can get a little flummoxed at times AND to see that most mistakes made with ruffle yarn are easy enough to remedy if you catch them in time.

    The best part for me was the instructions on how to finish off your knitting project with ruffle yarn. I've read instructions about how to sew it up before, but seeing someone else do it was incredibly helpful.

    Speaking of helpful, let me just tell you about Loom Knit Hats & Scarves because that has a ruffle scarf that you can knit on a loom.

    And there's also Skinny Scarves, which has a pattern for a ruffle scarf that you knit with regular ol' knitting needles.

    And, as always, the Leisure Arts YouTube channel has lots of video tutorials about knitting, crocheting, duct tape crafts, wreath-making--you name it, and it may be on there.

    Also, the video tutorial page at Leisure Arts features high-definition video tutorials organized by craft and even has tutorials for specific publications!  And that includes Loom Knit Hats & ScarvesAs well as Skinny Scarves!  Exclamation points are extra helpful!

    But for real, this video was great and I got a lot out of it.  So I hope you do, too!  Because if I can ever offer up some tips (or just links) to knitters on their magical journey of education and adventure, I'm going to do it.  Happy knitting!

  • Learn to Knit: Oh, Say Can You C4F?

    I've been knitting cables lately--a whole hat's worth, in fact.

    I'm pretty sure I've talked about cabling before, but I'm going to talk about it again because I think it's pretty.  And because knitting cables is surprisingly easy and I want to spread the word! 

    Essentially, a cable is what happens when you sneak your right-hand needle around some of the waiting stitches on your left-hand needle and knit them before you knit the 2 or 3 stitches at the front of the line.  Everything gets all twisted--but in a good way!--and then you have a beautiful, deceptively fancy-looking cable in the midst of your lovely knitted creation.

    The hat I'm making is the Cables Beanie from Knit Slouchy Beanies and Headwraps, and I was fully planning on embedding this video about how to knit the cable 4 front (C4F in knitting patterns) that is called for in this pattern.  But YouTube and I seem to be going through some things, by which I mean we're edging past that strained part of our relationship and moving right into all-out arch enemies territory.
    But! I was able to upload this slightly older video from Leisure Arts for the book I Can't Believe I'm Knitting Cables.  I loved the DVD I Can't Believe I'm Knitting Cables, Bobbles, and Lace; and, if we're going to be honest (which I usually am.  Sorry?), I would probably go ahead and say I love the whole "I can't believe....." line of books and DVDs even if I wasn't being paid to say nice things about Leisure Arts on the Internet.  I actually learned how to work my yarnovers for lacework properly from that DVD, and wasn't surprised to find out that this video has some great information about knitting cables.  
    This is a bit longer than most tutorials, but you can learn about different cable needles--and even how to knit cables without a cable needle!
    Recognize Sarah Green's voice?  She's the hands and voice from the videos!  
    She's a real person!  I'm easily tickled by things.  Sorry.  I think I meant it that time.
    But I like learning new things, and I thought that was a pretty nice, quick tutorial on a technique that is exceptionally beautiful and not that tricky.  I promise! 
    Hey, you can trust me because I'm honest.  And because I'm able to knit cables. 

    That should be all the proof you need that cables are completely doable.

  • How to Knit the Purl Increase

    I'm making the Cables Beanie from Knit Slouchy Beanies and Headwraps.  And one thing I've noticed about making slouchy beanies is that, while I do like a good slouchy beanie, I don't want something so large that it slides off my head. That's why most beanies' brims are knit with a needle that's one size smaller than the needle you use for the beanie itself.

    And that's also why you cast on few stitches for the brim and increase a few more when it's time to work on the rest of the hat. 

    This site has a pretty handy calculator for increasing evenly, and this site has a pretty great video tutorial for working the purl increase.  
    Yes, I just linked to the Leisure Arts YouTube channel.  
    I'm having some trouble uploading it to this post, so you're going to have to perform the difficult task of clicking through to watch it.  But it's worth it!

    Knitting cables means you're also knitting a lot of purl stitches, so it makes sense to know both the knit increase and the purl increase when you're adding more stitches to your beanie.

    Extra purl stitches. Woo!

    So.  What did we learn today?  Let's review:

    Slouchy beanies are great.  Falling-off beanies aren't.

    You will always have a reasons to buy more needles.  You will never have enough.

    Increasingly evening is, uh, better than casting on a whole bunch of stitches at once--not that skilled crafters like you or me would ever consider doing something like that.

    Jen is not especially good at the Internet.

    And, lastly and most importantly, the purl increase!

  • How to Weave in Your Ends: A Tutorial

    Oh hey, remember when I felt like using up some scrap yarn on a garter stitch dishcloth?

    Well, it was a great way to use up scraps and I now have a mostly finished project.  What's left?


     And this.


    And some more of these.

    Ends.  I can procrastinate that very last step of a project like nobody's business because if I wanted to sew in a billion strings everywhere, well, I'd be working on a sewing project.  If I'm yarncrafting, chances are I'm just not in the mood for sewing.  Which is my tough luck since seaming is an integral part of some projects--especially some I'm working on right now--and because you have to weave in all the ends on your project.  You just have to!  You'd never dream of using something that looked like this, much less giving it to someone as a gift.

    At least, not anyone you even remotely like or respect.

    So that's why I'm talking to you today about weaving in your ends, which means I'm just going to recommend that you watch this helpful video on weaving in your yarn ends.

    What did you think?  Sometimes (most of the time) I find that tutorials on incredibly basic techniques are the ones I need the most because I can always get better at casting on, weaving in ends, or trying out a new increase method.  Goodness only knows what I would have learned if this video had started with how to thread the needle!

    I'm only joking a little.  It never hurts to learn something new.  Now if you'll excuse me, I have to some work waiting on me!

  • How to Knit

    I realize this post's title seems like it should be more descriptive, but we are talking about the knit stitch. It's usually the first stitch you learn when you learn to knit and it can be used in pretty much every way imaginable.  Here are the most basic examples.

    When you knit the knit stitch on both sides of your work, you get garter stitch like these dishcloths:

    When you knit the knit stitch on one side of your work and purl on the other side, you're knitting the stockinette stitch like this dishcloth dress.  See how only the knit stitches are showing?
    And when you work the knit stitch in the round, you have knit stitches on one side and purl stitch bumps on the other side of your work even though you're only working one side, like with this hat:

    And when you're learning to knit the stitch stitch, it looks like this:

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