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learn to knook

  • Learn to Knook: Rib Stitch Left-Handed

    It's time for another left-handed tutorial!

    Here's the video for a P1K1 rib stitch.

    Video can also be found here.

    Like the nice lady says in the video, it really does create a marvelous fabric.  It's flexible and stable, and I really like the look of ribbing.  Most patterns call for a K2P2 (knit 2 stitches and purl 2 stitches) ribbing, but any repeat of knit and purl stitches counts as rib stitch.  And since any knitting pattern can be done with a Knook, you can Knook up any knitting pattern.

    That being said, I'm enjoying learning to knit with the Knook on patterns specifically written for the Knook.  Here's the latest project I finished up:

    H/8 Knook with Lily Sugarn' Cream in the Hot Green colorway.

    I'm still working my way through Dishcloths Made with the Knook, and this is the Dots pattern. 


    I try to be positive and learn from my experiences, but what I've learned from this project is that I really hate making dots.  Hate.  That's too bad, because they look so cute and cheerful.  If you like making dots, though, then this is the pattern for you!  You'll be making nearly a dozen dots every two rows!  I gave this dishcloth to my sister, along with the two others I've made, as a hostess gift for having us all over for Thanksgiving.  She really liked it--the blindingly bright colors were chosen for her--and seemed a little sad when I said I never wanted to make a dot ever again.

    It really is a shame, because this is a cute pattern.

    A cute dishcloth!  It doesn't happen often.  But there is a pattern in the book that uses a type of rib stitch, and I may just do that one next.  I don't know if it will be as cute as the Dot pattern, but I bet it will be marvelous.

  • Learn to Knook: Rib Stitch Right-Handed

    Last year I knitted this little Santa hat for my baby.  There's no pattern, or maybe I cobbled together 2 or 3 patterns and mangled them into something else--there was a lot of sleep deprivation going on at the time, so I don't remember very well.  But I thought I'd show you this  because that is one cute baby, and because, like most hats, it has ribbing and that's what I'm talking about today.

    Ribbing helps the hat sit snugly on your head when the crown may be a bit large, or it can let the hat stretch--but not to the point of stretching out the hat--if the crown is a bit too small.  Ribbing is stretchy and forgiving and I like the way it makes nice, orderly rows.  Ribbing holds things in place (think gloves, socks, and hats) and makes a knitted fabric lay flat (think sweaters).  My hat is knitted, but since you can use a Knook to do any knitting stitch you can totally learn the ribbed stitch with the Knook:

    Video can also be found here.

    If you already know how to knit and purl with your Knook, then you'll have no problem working the rib stitch.  The most difficult thing for me is setting up the knitting after casting on or picking up my stitches.  It helps to say "knit" or "purl" out loud as I'm getting started.  After that, you just follow the pattern the stitches have practically set up for you.  Score!

    Ribbing is typically used as the edging for garmets, but I must say that one of my favorite pair of booties from my Mamaw is just ribbed tubes that she knitted flat with doubled yarn and then stitched up.  I know that's not a real pattern, but I think it's a great way to learn this stitch while keeping someone warm.  I'm also hoping that if I make a pair for my husband for Christmas this year, he'll stop dropping unhelpful hints about how much he would love some socks.*   I'm a bit of a chicken about socks.  But not about ribbing!  I love ribbing.  I hope you do, too.  Happy Knooking!

    * I love my husband, but I don't think we're at a point in our relationship where I love him enough to learn to knit socks and then make one for his Size 13W feet--and then do it all over again for his other foot.  Maybe for our silver anniversary.  We can re-name the twenty-fifth year as the wool anniversary.  Which would be fine by me.

  • Learn to Knook: Left-Handed Purl Stitch

    Here's the video for learning to purl left-handed on the Knook:

    There's a longer video here that has a lot of extra information on the properties of stitches and shows you how to bind off in the purl stitch.   I highly recommend clicking that link.

    Is that all I've got to say today?  No.  It's time for a knitting confession.

    I knit wrong.  I've known this for a while.  Whenever I watched videos demonstrating techniques like knitting two stitches together or slip-slip-knit--they're NOT the same thing--I would notice that I didn't knit the way the person in the video did.  But I assumed that it was because the person in the video was a 'thrower' (English knitters move the yarn over the needle with their free hand) and I am a 'picker' (Continental knitters sort of pull the yarn through the loop with their needle).  My Mamaw told me once I knitted "funny," but I had mostly forgotten that.

    What I didn't realize, even though it's painfully obvious, was that I also purl wrong. Mamaw taught me to knit (after my Grandmother refused to teach me to knit because she said she knitted wrong and didn't want me to learn her way.  Well.) and then released me back into the wild and I went on my merry way of knitting however I wanted and never thought about consulting books or videos to make sure I was still doing things right after so many years.

    Even when I started to learn techniques beyond the basic knit and purl stitches, it never occurred to me to make sure I was knitting or purling correctly.  I mean, sure, I'd watched that Elizabeth Zimmerman video (mostly just for entertainment) and I knew I didn't knit quite like her, but I figured everyone has their own little quirks and knits in a slightly different way from everyone else, right?  Right?

    Um, not quite to this extent.

    I didn't even get it when I started going to a knitting group on Saturday nights and noticed that most of the people there seemed to knit like each other!  Oh, such ignorance and naivete!

    There were other signs--the biggest one being that I'd follow a pattern as closely as possible as many times as I could stand it and then still have it turn out wrong.  (I know.  Wrong, wrong, wrong.)

    Finally, I watched the DVD Knit Stitches in Motion.  I was just about to start blogging over here and I wanted to familiarize myself with more Leisure Arts patterns and instructional materials.  And then it happened.

    Oh. my. goodness.  I was purling wrong.  So very wrong.

    I am not even exaggerating when I tell you that all the blood drained from my face and I nearly fell off the couch to find the remote so that I could re-watch the purling section again.  Again.  And again.  Then I shouted in my husband's face, "I've been purling wrong for close to 20 years!"  He replied, "I guess....ah, that's bad?"  Yes, it's bad!  I was seriously freaking out!  How am I supposed to talk about yarn crafting when I'm such a fraud?!  How am I supposed to function like a knitter knowing this about myself?!  And what is wrong with me?  Could it be fixed?

    Not really.

    At this point in the game, muscle memory tries to convince my hands that I'm doing something ridiculous and wrong every time I try to purl correctly.  After a month or so of my private shame, I went ahead and told the other knitters in my group about my horrible affliction.  They watched me knit and purl a few stitches, and then someone explained that I twist the stitches when I purl.  Then I untwist them when I work the knit row.

    Side note: This explains why I tried and failed six times to knit a hat with a twisted rib pattern.  It just looked ribbed.  Duh.

    It's not like anyone made fun of me, but I did get some odd looks when the other knitters tried to figure out how or why I wound up doing that--and then did it for so long.  "I mean, I guess if it works for you....." one of them offered.  Ugh.  So now I get to go through life reminding myself "No, you have to purl like a real person for this pattern.  Wait, no, now you have to knit correctly too!"

    So why am I embarrassing myself on the Internet and taking up a lot of your time?  So you will learn from my mistakes.  This is my desperate attempt to convince you that you must absolutely watch videos for seemingly simple techniques.  Unless, of course, you're a left-handed person and you're probably already watching these.  Hi!

    That's why watching the left-handed videos has been so helpful for me.  Seeing another side--literally--of the knitting helps me at least understand how a stitch is supposed to work.  I don't always do that stitch because I've caught myself Knooking wrong, though.  Of course.

    Watch the video.  Save yourselves from my fate.

    Here's another washrag I made from the Dishcloths Made with the Knook ebook.

    "Lace" pattern with the H/8 Knook and the Lily Sugarn' Cream cotton yarn in the Hot Blue colorway.  I think I have enough yarn left for another dishcloth.  Score!

    I thought this was pretty fancy as far as cleaning supplies go.

    So far my goal of Knooking each of the ten patterns is going pretty well.  I'm learning different stitches techniques on the Knook, and making a nice little pile of gifts in the process.  I've made two, and have two more on the needle. 

    AND: for the record, I've been trying to Knook the purl stitch correctly as much as I can stand to.  My rehabilitation may never be complete.  But I'm hopeful.

  • Learn to Knook: Right-Handed Purl Stitch

    Some people don't like the purl stitch, maybe because there's a little bit more movement in pulling the yarn through each stitch.  But I like it.  Once you know the knit and purl stitches, you can do a lot.  If you knit one side of your work and purl the other side, you're knitting the stockinette stitch.  This may seem like an obvious point but I thought I'd let any newer knitters know.  I went way too long thinking stockinette was some weird and mysterious thing that I was going to have to learn new stitches for when most techniques really just involve variations on the plain ol' knit and purl.  You could make almost anything!

    Or just this dishcloth:

    Size H/8 Knook and Lily Sugar'n Cream Stripes in the Violet Stripes colorway.

    My first Knooked project went fairly well.  I think I finally got the hang of things around halfway through, and then everything went immensely better.  I also realized a lot of the problem was that I don't like working with cotton yarn.  But it's kind of gross to make a washrag out of a wool/acrylic blend and I have a few more skeins of the cotton.  I've decided now that I'm going to make every dishcloth pattern in the book Dishcloths Made with the Knook.  That's ten different ways to try out my Knooking skills, and a great way to build up a little gift stash. 

    Even if you already know how to knit, using the Knook to learn new stitch techniques might take some of the pressure off of the process when you have what I've started thinking of as the Cord of Security and Happiness.  Having all my stitches safely on that little cord makes me feel a bit more steady about techniques that are still tricky for me, like knitting two stitches together or purling into the back of a yarnover (I'll tell you all about it later.  Promise).

    Or maybe just having a hook on the end of your needle will help you out with any purling problems you may have.  Here's the video to show you how:

    Learn this stitch!  It's so much easier than getting ready for Thanksgiving!*    Do it!

    *But what isn't?

  • Learn to Knook: Left-Handed Knit Stitch

    It's left-handed Knooking time!

    Like I said before, I like watching the left-handed videos just to get a perspective on how the process works that I wouldn't have if I only watched the right-handed ones.  These left-handed videos can be super handy for everyone!

     And I know they can be a bit small, but if you look in the bottom right-hand corner you'll see a little square that you can click on to bring the video to full screen mode. 

    And, of course, if you want to view it at the Leisure Arts website, your link is here.  It's the very same video, but if you need that extra bit of clarity then they have it for you.  I hope you're enjoying these videos.  I know a left-handed knitter who's a visual learner.  She finally learned to knit after watching a right-handed knitter knit, and then she would try to follow the mirror image in a backwards sort of way.   So she can knit just fine now, but only after a lot of extra hard work.  

    I believe in challenging myself to learn new things, but I don't like when a hobby feels like hard work.  Which is probably why I love video tutorials and why I already think I've Knooked enough on my knit/garter stitch swatch (just a reminder: if you knit on both sides of your project, then you're knitting the project in garter stitch) to have the hang of things.  I re-watched the bind off instructions, bound off my swatch, and now I feel good about my Knook knit stitch abilities.  It's like passing through the levels of a video game, or finishing up a chapter in a fun book!

    This is apparently my idea of a good time.

    So far, I'm really enjoying this Knooking endeavor.  Yesterday I learned the purl stitch so that I could try it out.  I think washrags are good swatch projects for trying out different stitches, and I want to give some to my sister next week as a hostess gift for having Thanksgiving at her house.

    This is the Rib and Garter pattern from Dishcloths Made with the Knook.  It's just knit and purl stitches.

    I'm already figuring out my Knook gauge stitch is about the same as my knitting gauge--crazy big.  I'll probably move down a size for my next washrag (this is with the H/8 Knook), but I don't what pattern I'll pick next.  Exciting stuff up ahead!

  • Learn to Knook: Right-Handed Knit Stitch

    Hey there!  I tried to think of a craft-related pun greeting, but came up with nothing.  Maybe next time.  Regardless, here's the video for Knooking the knit stitch for right-handed crafters:

    I watched the video through a couple of times and this is what I have:

    For some reason, I feel obligated to offer up proof that I'm working along with the tutorials.

     I'm using some Vanna's Choice with the H hook/Size 8 needle from the Beginner Set.  Things are going much better this time around, and I really like this.  It's weird and fun, and when I accidentally knocked the whole thing off the windowsill, everything stayed the string and my day wasn't ruined!

    Here a few tips I thought of while I was working with it this morning, and thought might be useful:

    -Remember to turn your work, pull your excess thread through, and THEN pull the work off the needle.  I don't know why, but following that order exactly kept me from getting mixed up on my steps.
    -The loops really aren't getting that tight on the thread.  They may look that way, just as they can with a circular knitting needle.  But it's just the weight of the knitted fabric pulling them down.  You should still be able to wiggle your Knook in there to bring the loop to its rightful size.
    -Don't hold the Knook like you're crocheting!  It's pretty instinctive to do so if you're already a crocheter, but remember to hold it with the hook side facing downward.  It really made a difference for me, and also made it a little easier to remember to pull the yarn through the loop over the Knook tail.

    If you're already a more seasoned Knook user, please feel free to throw out some suggestions in the comments!  I'd love to hear from you, and I'm sure other people would too.

  • Learn to Knook: Getting Started and Left-Handed Foundation Chain

    I've started my foundation chain with the Knook!  I'll get started on the next few steps soon, and I've already decided that I'm going to try to knit several of the dishcloths in the ebook, Dishcloths Made with the Knook once I get a little more familiar with this.  I thought it would be a good way to practice lots of stitches and have some dishcloths on hand for the next time someone gets married, or moves, or if I need some stocking stuffers.  Hooray for useful swatches!

    And a second hooray for embedded videos!  Here's a video for Knooking a left-handed starting chain.  Boom.

    I am so incredibly excited to be able to include videos in the posts!  But here's the link to the video on the Leisure Arts website, just in case you've gotten used to them.

    I've really liked watching the left-handed videos for the Knook techniques.  They show how the yarn and needle are supposed to work from a different angle, and it helped me notice some things I need to do that I didn't catch when I watched the right-handed videos.  If you're a right-handed person and want a little more explanation on how to start Knooking, go ahead and watch the left-handed video up there--and vice versa for the lefties.  It's right there for you! I'm so excited about having videos in the post.  You have no idea how dumb I felt writing up video tutorial posts that had no videos in them.  It's a brand new day over here!

    I hope you like it!  Happy crafting!

  • Learn to Knook: Getting Started and Right-Handed Foundation Chain

    First: thank you for your kind words on yesterday's post!  I was pretty happy with my first attempts at cables.

    Second: my daughter unraveled a swatch and it is no more.  Actually, she just pulled out a needle that I didn't realize was still on the couch and that was that.  I'm learning more and more about test swatches every day.  Now I know you can leave them out to see if your projects are safe around kids or pets and spare yourself the anguish of losing a 'real' project.

    I know that you and I both know that nothing yarn-related is ever safe around kids or pets, but I can dream.  I can also explain to my toddler that the shiny blue knitting needle is not a toy, and yarn is a ball we can't play with.  And then I can try Knooking.  (In addition to adding a lot of Knook-related words to Firefox's dictionary. Holy smokes.)

    If you've spent any amount of time on this blog, you're probably already familiar with what a Knook is and what it does.  But I like for things to be organized, and so I'm going to run you through the rigamarole all over again like I did with the Learn to Crochet series.

    Plus, I'm going to learn to Knook and I'm going to need a place to talk about it.  I've worked on it a few times, but had trouble with turning my work.  I've re-watched the video on that to find out what I did wrong, and I'm ready to try again.

    I was a little ambivalent about the Knook when I first saw it, but I can't deny the appeal of learning to knit with a crochet hook that's not quite a crochet hook.  It's a nice introduction to knitting for people who might be scared of two pointy sticks, and it has all the car-trip appeal of crocheting for people who have seen their share of knitting mishaps.  And the more I read through Knook pattern books and watch the instructional videos, the more excited I get about its crafting possibilities.  I even made a friend of mine take one home and try it because I think it might be something a loom knitter would want to explore.

    Plus, yesterday's little debacle really clinched the deal for me.  I need projects that aren't quite so fragile.

    So.  I'm pretty pumped about trying this and can't wait to start!

    First step: Learning to thread your Knook and make a foundation chain.  Click here!

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