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learn to knook

  • Texting Mitts


    I know that it is spring and almost summer but I wanted to practice my new found Knooking skills. I flipped through the booklet in the Knook Beginner Set for Kids and decided I would try to make a pair of fingerless mittens. In the book, the fingerless mittens are called Texting Mitts. Since it is a pattern for kids, and the instructions said to chain 14 and pick up 13 stitches, I added 4 more making it 18 stitches and picked up 17 stitches. Doing this made it longer because it goes down your arm not around. I Knooked until it wrapped around and touched but I didn't pull it too tightly. I also made sure when I started to leave a tail and also a tail when I was finished for sewing the seam. If you need any help with Knooking there are videos to help.

    I used Paton's  Classic Wool worsted; it will be slightly scratchy until it is washed by hand and laid flat to dry. Next time I think I will add 4 more stitches to make it even longer. Fingerless mittens are quick and easy to Knook, crochet, and knit. They also make wonderful gifts for yarn worthy friends or family.


    Finger-less mittens Finger less mittens




  • Knook


    This week I learned how to use a Knook. I used the Knook for Kids kit by Leisure Arts and followed the instructions. I have to admit that I turned my nose up at learning how to Knook. I have knitted for almost 20 years and crocheted for about 5 years. Why do I need to learn how to Knook? I asked myself. Because you like to learn new things and challenge yourself is what I thought. So I gave it a go and I found that I liked using a Knook. I found the instructions to be very easy to follow. I even watched a video from the website that the book has - to make sure I had a full understanding.

    To practice my new Knooking skills, I Knooked three swatches: a garter stitch swatch which is just a knit stitch; a stockinette stitch swatch which is knit a row, purl a row; and, a rib stitch swatch which is knit two, purl two. The three swatches will make perfect coasters. I always need something to set my drinks on; my poor coffee table has several rings on it. They also make great little gifts that don’t take very long to knit up. Challenge yourself and learn something new this week.

    left garter stitch, middle stockinette stitch, and right rib stitch left garter stitch, middle stockinette stitch, and right rib stitch
  • (re)Trying New Things with a Brand New Knook

    Hey, y'all.  Long time, no Knook.

    But I'm at it again!  I figured my dishcloth compulsion could use a little variety, so I tried out the Mock Cable pattern from Dishcloths Made with the Knook.  As you can tell, I haven't gotten very far but there are nights when I just pass out on the couch and last night was one of them.

    BUT!  I do already know that I like the new Knooks from the Knook Value Pack.  Before losing consciousness at a surprisingly early hour, I tried out the new plastic version of the Knook and I knew I loved it after only 2 or 3 rows.  This is less likely to snag you yarn than the bamboo version, and the value pack has 10 Knooks in sizes from 3.5mm (Size 4 knitting needle or E hook) to 9mm (Size 13 knitting needle or N/M crochet hook), so you can work on projects with anything from baby yarn to super bulky yarn.

    Bulky yarn and a 9mm Knook?  You could take over the world with that kind of speed crafting!  Don't know how to Knook?  Get yourself over to the Leisure Arts website and watch all the video tutorials--for both right-handed and left-handed crafters.

    And as for me?  Well, I had thought that I'd Knooked most of the dishcloths in Dishcloths Made with the Knook but it turns out I've only done about half.  There are dishcloth patterns in my house that I haven't tried out yet and I can try them with a new toy!!!

    Can't talk anymore.  Most go Knook.

  • Learn to Knook: s1, k1, psso Left-Handed

    Time to talk about decrease techniques!

    Slipping one stitch, knitting one stitch, and then passing your slipped stitch over the knitted one takes less time than it does to type that description.  I've checked.

    The s1, k1 psso is one of my favorite decreasing techniques because it's a clean-looking decrease and you get it with a minimum of fussing.


    Video can also be seen here.

    Slipping stitches can feel weird or wrong, but it's not.  I promise.  It pulls the knitted fabric in a different direction than knitting two stitches together, and one of my favorite hat patterns calls for both of those techniques.  And that's one reason why it's a good idea to know more than one decrease method. 

    Another reason is that it's lots of fun to have all this Knooking knowledge at your disposal for whenever you want to do cool Knooking things.  And who doesn't want to do cool Knooking things?

    And with that, I'm done writing about Knook videos.  What?!  Yes.  I've talked about all of the Knook videos.  At least all of the Knook videos that are in existence right now.  It's a new thing, and I'm sure people will keep figuring out how to use it for different stitches and techniques.  So when that happens and there's a video tutorial of it, I will happily write about it.  Until then, I will happily write about Knook things or knitting things or crochet things.  Fewer videos, more pictures.  I'm excited!  I hope these posts were helpful!  I have so many other things to talk about in the next week or so!

    Until then, happy Knooking!

  • Learn to Knook: Stockinette Stitch Left-Handed

    Today's video is about the stockinette stitch--the technique so simple I forgot to talk about it before now.  It's knit stitches in the front, and a purl party in the back.  And now you know how to do it with your own two (left-dominant) hands and a Knook:

    You can also watch the video here.

    Here's the thing about stockinette stitch.  It can get very boring, very quickly.  That smooth and consistent texture is the result of doing the very same thing. over. and. over.

    It's nice when you're learning.  And it's fantastic when you need something simple and relaxing, so you start on a pattern that just calls for those two stitches.  Over and over.

    But that's usually why so many patterns call for something different.  Even if it's just stripes, breaking the monotony really helps a knitter stay on a project.  But ribbing, basket weave, and cables are also really beautiful.  It's like instantly dressing up a project.  Well, about as instant as a yarn craft can get anyway. 

    I'm not saying all this to diss the great new stitch you just learned, even though it really looks that way.  I was trying to segue into talking how we're going to talk about cables soon!  Hooray!

    I learned about cables about a  month ago, so I still get pretty excited about them.  And I think you'll love them as well because (I feel like I've said this a bunch, but it's still relevant and wonderful) none of your stitches will fall off your needles because you have your line of security and happiness with the Knook!  Awesome.

    Or, you know.  You could just enjoy this stockinette stitch for a while.  It's kind of a perfect activity for a quiet winter.  Just back and forth, back and forth.  Maybe by a fireplace or something.

    I hope you have a safe and happy holiday.  Stay warm.

  • Learn to Knook: Stockinette Stitch

    Well, this is a little embarrassing.

    Do you ever do that thing where you're happily going through your day when you're suddenly hit by the unwelcome knowledge that you monumentally screwed up and all you can do about it is laugh at yourself in a really horrified way and say "Oh, this is bad."?  Surely you do that.

    I (obviously) do that, because that's exactly what I did when I was trying to think of what to post today and I was looking through posts and there was a nagging feeling that something just seemed a little off.....

    We never talked about the stockinette stitch.  Actually, I never did.  You may have been muttering at your computer screen for quite some time.

    The stockinette stitch!  So simple!  So basic!  So great!

    I vaguely remember saying something about it in a purl post because if you can knit and purl, you can work the stockinette stitch.  But hey, maybe showing a tutorial video would have been helpful for people who are new at this sort of thing!  Maybe someone would have liked that!  Did you ever think of that, Jennifer?

    (Clearly, this is seriously stuff when I call myself Jennifer.)

    I must have thought it at some time, because the Internet is telling me I already watched the video for it.  I guess had good intentions?  I watched again just now and it's as clear and helpful and you could ever hope for a tutorial video to be.  Lucky you!

    Video can also be found here.

    Work done in the stockinette stitch is the most recognizable type of knitting--smooth on one side, bumpy on the other.  The edges tend to curl up on plain stockinette fabric.  That's why, if you were doing a plain stockinette afghan or something similar, you'd probably have garter stitch or ribbing around the edges.  It's a thinner fabric than ribbed knitting or garter stitch, and it lays nicely and can drape well and I could go on and on.  When I started knitting, I thought stockinette stitch was 'real' knitting because that was how jersey fabrics and sweaters and hats and every commercially knitted thing I had looked.  Sadly, those stockinette scarves didn't work out so well. 

    Poor eleven-year-old Jennifer.

    (I'm not being serious this time.  I just wasn't Jen until a little while later.)

    Obviously, I've recovered.  Any knitting is 'real' knitting, but if using your Knook to work stockinette stitches makes you feel like you've started the 'real' knit stitches then good for you!  But seriously, get an edge on that thing.  Garter stitch, man.  Garter stitch.

  • Learn to Knook: Purl 2 Stitches Together Through the Back Loops

    It's time for more decreasing tutorials!

    Purling two stitches together through the back loops is like purling two stitches together through the front loops (just to be painfully obvious), except it will pull the stitches in a different direction than a standard P2TOG would.  The result can be very pretty.  Or at least not lopsided.

    Here's the video, which can also be found here.

    I haven't had a chance to try out purling stitches together through the back loops, but I'm sure I will soon.  I'm starting another dishcloth tonight, and I think I'm going to check the patterns in the book to see if any of them feature that technique. 

    I love when patterns let you know what stitches and techniques you'll need to use to work the pattern.  It's a great way to find something to make that lets you seek out something new you want to try--or to avoid something you dislike.  I tend to get in a rut (I'm knitting my seventh toboggan from some old pattern I found last year as a Christmas present.  It's my third hat like this for just this season!), so I have to use those guides pretty carefully or I'll just seek out the same techniques over and over.

    But there's not a lot wrong with that if you're trying to finish up those holiday gifts.  Or that's what I keep telling myself.  Christmas Day is one week away from today, and I hope you're happy with your holiday crafting progress.  And if you're not, I hope you have a solid back-up plan.  Mine is gift cards and some jars of dry soup ingredients that my husband put together.  The soup jars look hearty and folksy, and I've noticed that Ravelry has a few cute ideas for making gift card holders.  Be sure to select the 'knitting + crochet' option just so you can check out all of the cool ideas people have.

    Best of luck to you in this final stretch!

  • Learn to Knook: Purl 2 Stitches Together Left-Handed

    Dear Left-Handed Knookers,

    This is for you:

    Video can also be found here.


    I should probably say more about purling two stitches together, though.  Purling two stitches is just like knitting two stitches together, only you're purling.  Sometimes you need to use this decrease technique because you're working the purl side of your fabric, or maybe you just like the look of a purled decrease instead of a knitted one.  Maybe, maybe you just feel like it!  It's important to learn several decrease methods so you can pick out the ones you like best. 

    I don't know if it sounds silly, but I felt smarter after I learned lots of different stitches and techniques.  In theory, I should be reading books and blog with a furrowed brow and a serious mouth as I tuck away this knowledge for future use.  And I do make my serious face whenever I'm actually trying out something new for the first time.  But when I'm reading about That Thing I've Always Heard About But Never Tried, and it starts to make sense to me I feel really smart.  And, honestly, a little smug.

    Then I'm a little distracted by my excitement and smugness, and so I kind of miss the point about learning stuff.

    Thank goodness for videos.

    Like the one up there!

    I have to say, though, if you are more of a book-learner then 1) why do you read these posts?  Bless your heart, keep reading them because it makes me feel better and I still think it's helpful to see processes in action, and 2) every Knook pattern book has detailed instructions and pictures of techniques.  But keep coming back here.  I'd miss you if you didn't.

    Happy Knooking!

  • Learn to Knook: Knook in the Round Left-Handed

    I finished up a hat this weekend, and it got me thinking about all of the reasons why I look working in the round.

    For starters, I save a lot of time by not turning.  It seems like a silly thing to say, but once I'm good in settled in a seat with a cup of coffee and some yarn I don't like interruptions.  I'm not as likely to get my yarn tangled around my project, or accidentally pull stitches off the needle by moving a certain way.  The work stays firmly in my hands and just moving smoothly around and around to make something is pretty fun.

    Also, there's no 'wrong' side.  I get nervous about doing anything on the wrong side.  I also get weird about words, but you've probably already figured that out.  I read somewhere that a more accurate way to describe a project is to refer to the outside of a garment and the inside of the garment.  But most people say 'wrong side' and so I always think that purl rows are ugly and wrong and that's where your loose strands of yarn are hiding.  Working in the round lets me pretend that none of that is happening.


    Lastly, no seams.  Hooray!  I understand seaming together sweater pieces or afghan blocks, but whenever I see a pattern for a hat that's knitted or crocheted flat and then stitched up I just back away slowly.  If I wanted to sew, I'd sew.  Like I said, I don't like interruptions.  (And like I also said, I get weird.)

    Interested in Knooking in the round?  Well, lucky you.  Here's your left-handed Knooking video:

    I really think I may try to make mittens with a Knook.  It's such a small project and I'd only have one needle and no double pointed needles!  They stress me out.  There's just so many of them and I worry about dropping them.  Plus, I'm pretty excited about the idea of decrease rounds with a hook because I won't have to worry about the work getting stretched.  (Sometimes that happens before I move my knitting from the circular needles to the DPNs.)  Since I never have to worry about that when I'm crocheting, I think the Knook would be pretty great at easing the nervousness I already have about mittens.

    I like that about the Knook.  It takes things that might feel scary (even if they're really not) and makes them feel a little safer.  You've got your hook and your trusty line of security and happiness and that makes a lovely safety net.  Which then frees you up to try new techniques and make new lovely things.

    And that is a lovely thing, indeed.

  • Learn to Knook: Knook in the Round

    Knowing how to work in the round is essential, and this is coming from someone who once took a three-hour Nap of Despair when I discovered that knitting in the round would almost always call for double pointed needles if you were making a hat.  I've learned how to use DPNs since then, and they're not terrible.

    But I do really, really, and I mean really see the appeal of working in the round with the Knook.  No dropped stitches, no switching out needles, and the Knook you use for making a scarf is the same as for a hat so you don't need to extra sets of needles!  I find myself falling a little more in love with this weird little hook every day.  I'm not joking.

    Knitting will probably always be my yarncraft activity of choice, but please see how simple Knooking in the round is.  Seriously, watch this:

    See?!  How great would it be to use this for something small?  Like a baby hat!  They're so tiny!  And the yarn is slippery and soft, so the needles just fly out of the stitches and roll away somewhere!  (Stop laughing, you smug crocheters.) I have babies on the brain because firstly, there is one living in my house and she'll actually wear hats.  I have to take advantage of this while I can.  Secondly, I happen to know a lot of expectant people and if there's anything I've learned about gift-giving, it's that people love little bitty baby things.

    Do you have any idea what kind of squeals and chest-clutching this hat would cause at a baby shower?

    Oh right, I just remembered that grown-ups have heads, too.  So there are also adult hats!  Or coffee cozies!  Or the sleeves on a baby sweater because I hate doing those for some reason!  Or!  Or!  Make up your own.  If you can work in the round, you can do A LOT of things.

    You should feel proud!  Working in the round is something a lot of people see and say, "Oh, that looks too complicated," and that's too bad.  Knitting in the round is actually a favorite activity for some crafters, and Knooking in the round is even simpler.  Once you get the hang of it, and I know you will, it's fine and you'll be able to make lots of wonderful things.

    Like those little bitty baby hats.  If you'll excuse me, I have some patterns to look over now....

    (......dies from cute.)

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