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left-handed knook

  • 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
  • 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: Back Cables Left-Handed

    See those cabled gift card holders up there?  I made 'em.  I feel good about it.  They looked even better with the cards in them, and they probably would have looked fantastic if I was better at button placement and had some appropriately colored thread for the buttons.  But it was a nice little project and a more personal touch for a gift card.  The pattern can be found here, and it features front and back cables.

    I'm not sure why I thought back cables would be very different from front cables, but there you go. I read the pattern and panicked a little because I'd only practiced with front cables, but then I tried it and was almost disappointed because, oh, your held stitches are in the back.  The right side has front cables and the left side has back cables.  It's just another way to make a cable, and to make your stitches move in a different direction.  If you've already figured out front cables, then you can probably manage back cables.

    But since there's no need to struggle, here's a video to show you! 

    Video can also be watched here.

    I tell you what, any task seems so much more manageable after you watch someone else do something a few times.  The first time around, I always go between "I think I understand" and "I don't think I'll ever be able to do that."  The second time, I'm able to pay closer attention.  The third time, it mostly makes sense.  Some time after the fourth viewing, I feel like the demonstration might be something I could actually try out myself.  This applies to knitting, baby wearing, crocheting, Knooking, yoga, baby swaddling, sink repair, and anything else that isn't a hair tutorial (certain up-dos are never going to happen for me).

    I don't know that back cables will require that much preparation and video-viewing from you.  I'm assuming you'll have an easier time with it than I do, and I wouldn't call it difficult.  It's a fun little technique that makes the prettiest design.  I'm blatantly biased, but I think you should try it out after watching the video.  Maybe watch it twice.

    Happy Knooking!

    Postscript: I realize this post is full of really country-sounding expressions.  I can't think of a better way to phrase things when I'm tired.  Or, as it sounds when I'm saying, "tahred."  It's just a day for Arkansas blogging.  Sorry about that.

  • Learn to Knook: Front Cables Left-Handed

    Good morning!  Are you safe?  Are you warm? Do you have power?

    Arkansas is still a bit of a mess and I'm at home. I'm writing this post later in the morning than I normally would, and I'm doing it while watching my daughter play with my phone.  She's covered in gingerbread and I'm trying not to think about what's happening to my keyboard because it's entertaining her far more thoroughly than my BBC drama on DVD is.  I don't know why toddlers can't appreciate Masterpiece Mystery.

    But enough about me.  If you're a left-handed person at home on this blustery day, ready to learn how to Knook some front cables, then here you go:

    Oh cables.  You're so pretty.  I like cables on the Knook because there's not an extra needle and none of the stitches can get away from you.  I was knitting a few cabled things last week and I'd be so focused on the cable needle that I wouldn't even notice that the stitches on one of my main needles had slipped right off.  I was surprised every single time. It was a little pitiful.  But I've liked what I did on the Knook so far.

    That's yesterday's picture because I haven't done much more than that.  I just like it when posts have pictures.  Speaking of which, here's another completed dishcloth.

    It's the Sunny pattern from Dishcloths Made with the Knook.  I used a H/8 Knook and Sugarn' Cream cotton yarn in Sage Green.  I liked that pattern a lot.  Either I'm finding patterns I like more, or I'm finally getting the hang of using a Knook.  It's probably a combination of the two, but I'm happy either way. 

    I hope you're also having fun trying out more Knook things.

    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: Purl Two Stitches Together Through the Back Loops Left Handed

    Hi there!  I think I spent most of my morning's allotted blogging time either trying to get my computer up and running again, or struggling to find the video for purling two stitches together through the back loops left handed.  I don't know why I wasn't finding it, but I wasn't.  And then I did!

    Here you go!

    (Can also be viewed on the Leisure Arts website in high definition here.)

    Now that you've watched the video, you're probably wondering what the fuss is about.  The left-handed method of purling together through the back loops looks so much simpler than the right-handed method.  I'm not sure that it actually is, but seeing the work from another angle made it make a lot more sense for me.  I know I say it every time, but I really like the left-handed videos.

    I have yet to find a reason to purl two stitches together through the back loops (p2tbl in some patterns), but I'm looking forward to trying.  I'm currently doing a lot of knitting two stitches together right now, and some variety would be nice.  Or maybe not.  This is a Christmas gift and I'm on a schedule.  Or I would be if I had a schedule.  I'm just grabbing yarns and needles that go together and making things.  There's a pair of bootees for my husband I should probably get started on right now because he's large and I would like to give them to him on Christmas morning.  Instead, I'm trying to finish up some things I'm making for my family when we have our celebration one week after Christmas.

    I'm shaking my head at myself a little.  Why do I do this?

    (Probably because I'm going to have to play with the needles a little before I find out what looks best on his feet.  Which is not a very good excuse when I see it all typed out.  Boo.)

    Anyway, I'm currently knitting a hat and Knooking a dishcloth.  After that is two more (very simple) knitted hats and one more Knooked dishcloth.  I'm feeling triumphant, but I'm not taking into account the part where Christmas is less than a week away, and I'm starting to wonder how much knitting time I'll have this weekend.  Whatever! I'm filled with holiday cheer and wild-eyed optimism!  Or something!

    Okay, I need to wrap this up, but I thought I'd leave you with this picture of yet another dishcloth.

    Oh, tiny WIPs.  So full of hope and promise.

    Please excuse the light, lack thereof.  I wake up a little early to write these posts before the day gets started, and I don't think the sun comes out until 10.  Darn you, winter!  Still.  It's been a little while since I offered up photographic proof that I was Knooking, and I didn't want to look like a liar.  So there's the Sunny (ha) dishcloth in Dishcloths Made with the Knook.  I'm using Sugarn' Cream cotton yarn and the H/8 Knook.  I've only done one and a half pattern repeats, but I can already tell that I'm going to like making this one! 

    I hope your holiday making is going well!

  • 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: K2TOG Left-Handed

    Hi there, left-handed Knookers!  Ready to learn some decrease techniques?  I really hope so, because that's what I'm going to be talking for the next few tutorials.

    Decreasing your stitches helps you shape your project, provide pretty edges to patterns, and means you can make adorable baby hats.  Remember when I talked about those?  Baby hats are the cutest baby accessories, right after those tiny little socks.  Actually, it might be a tie.  I'm going to meet at least half a dozen brand new babies next year, so I'll do some serious research and get back to you on that.  Regardless of what I find, I think everyone knows that baby hats are precious and hats in general are awesome.  Especially at this time of year.

    Are you super eager to learn about how to decrease stitches for hats or booties or whatever using the K2TOG technique?  Then here you go!

    Video can also be found here.

    See how simple that was?  Knitting two stitches together is a simple and straightforward way to decrease the number of stitches you have in your project.

    In other news, my lofty endeavor to Knook every dishcloth in Dishcloths Made with the Knook is still going pretty well.  See?

    This is the Textured pattern.  I used an I/9 Knook and some kind of Sugarn' Cream cotton yarn.  I lost the label, and I don't know what colorway this is. 

    Four dishcloths down, six to go!  I'm having fun learning about how to Knook.

    I hope you are, too.

  • 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: 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.

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