Author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Knitting & Crocheting Barbara Breiter joins us for her monthly column featuring frequently asked questions.
As warm weather approaches (at least in the Northern Hemisphere), some may find themselves tempted to put away their knitting or crochet for the summer. But this is the season for baseball games, picnics, taking the kids to the park, and flying and driving to vacation destinations. That’s a lot of down time that could be spent crafting!
I don’t care how low the air conditioner’s temperature is set; when warm weather sets in, I don’t want all the bulk of an afghan sitting on my lap as I knit.
But you can still knit/crochet an afghan in strips or blocks, so they won’t be nearly as warm to work on. Then, when falls comes again you can sew them together!
This Knit Patchwork Sampler Throw is a perfect example and has different stitch patterns so you’ll maintain interest. Another made in strips is the Crochet Cozy Checkerboard Throw; it doesn’t have complicated stitch patterns so you won’t need to refer to the pattern very often, which is great when you can’t really concentrate on your crafting.
|Author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Knitting & Crocheting Barbara Breiter joins us for her monthly column on techniques that people frequently ask about.
For super quick projects, nothing beats knitting (or crocheting!) with thick yarn or multiple strands and big needles. You can knit up an afghan in a fraction of the time it would take to make with worsted weight yarn and, for example, size 8 needles.
Larger needles are considered to be US sizes 15, 17, 19, 35, and 50. Particularly with the largest of needles, you may find them cumbersome at first…but remember how awkward knitting with any size needle was when you first began? With a bit of practice, you’ll be handling these jumbo size needles just like smaller ones. Because of the heft, size 35 and 50 are almost always plastic, but as with any needle size, you’ll find different options out on the market.
|Knit 2 Hour Tweed Scarf|
Knitting expert Barbara Breiter joins us for her monthly column on tips and techniques for yarncrafters.
I don’t need an extra closet for my stash…I need a whole extra house! If you’ve been crafting for any length of time, I’m sure you know the feeling: you’ve sworn off buying anything new but still…the new skeins always call your name.
There is an infinite number of ways to store yarn and supplies. Whatever method(s) you choose depends to some extent upon your available space, your budget, and the size of your stash.
Author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Knitting & Crocheting Barbara Breiter joins us for her monthly column on techniques that people frequently ask about.
Have you ever thrown a wool sweater into the wash by accident and ended up with a matted, miniature version? That’s called felting. Ordinarily you don’t want to shrink your handmade creations, but sometimes we do it on purpose to create a dense, strong fabric.
|Unfelted Knit Branching Out Bag||Felted Branching Out Bag|
Animal hair fibers felt because there are microscopic scales on them. The scales open up when exposed to hot water and detergent; friction or agitation tangles up these scales, resulting in felt. The result is thick and sturdy, making it ideal for purses and other projects.
Only yarn that is spun from animals or is protein-based will felt such as wool, alpaca, and mohair. Superwash wool won’t felt because, after all, the point is that it’s treated to safely throw it in the washer; the treatment either mattes down the scales or removes them so that they cannot lock together. Man-made fibers like acrylic won’t felt and neither will yarn that is spun from plants such as cotton or hemp.
Today, you can felt in the washer; historically people would first place it in boiling water (hence the term “boiled wool”) and then create friction with an old fashioned wash board or even rocks.