|These tips will come in especially handy when doing a stranded knitting project like this Fair Isle Capelet! You can see the pattern here.|
Once in a while I will search the social media universe to find out what yarncrafting techniques our customers could use help with. During my search I came across this suggestion on Twitter:
Kelly Black @ShortysSutures: Best ways to join yarn when knitting would be helpful. I don’t use a lot of wool, felted join is my fave but not always an option.
I thought this would be a great idea for a blog post and wanted to include tips for crocheters as well. My personal preference when joining yarn for knit and crochet is just to pick up the new strand if yarn. I like to do it this way because I don’t have to wait until I get to the end of a row and it’s optimal for when I am working in the round. Now the question is, “What do I do with those yarn tails and how do I keep my tension even?”. Well there are a couple tricks:
One thing I love about a nice, deep knitted or crocheted hat is that you can wear it more than one way. Roll up the brim for a close-fitting beanie, or wear it unfurled for a slouchy effect. Get some ideas with this new video from our YouTube channel:
Want to make a jaunty beret but need ideas for how to wear it? Here’s a video just for berets:
In the LionBrand.com Learning Center, we recommend the knitted cast-on as a good basic cast-on for beginners to learn (because the motions are very similar to making the knit stitch). Other common cast-ons that are used by knitters are the long-tail cast-on and—for additional stitches needed for sections like sleeves—the backwards loop cast-on.
But there are many, many more cast-ons out there in the world, and in fact, there are many books and resources about them. In a December episode of YarnCraft (the Lion Brand podcast that I co-host), we talk about many of the different ways to cast on and bind off your project.
I often use a new project as an opportunity to practice a new skill. In the past, I’ve practiced the Old Norwegian Cast-On while making a cowl as a gift—I chose it because it’s extra stretchy, perfect for a cowl being slipped over the head. Currently, I’m working on a new project, and I decided to try Judy’s Magic Cast-On, pictured right (often used for seamless sock-toes, but in my case, I’m using it to create a seamless bottom to a tote bag knit in the round).
I love that even after years of knitting and crocheting, I can still learn new skills to add to my repertoire. Each new cast-on serves a different purpose and will give you a new way of looking at the beginning of your project.
Author, knitting teacher, and erstwhile crochet-along/knit-along host Heather Lodinsky joins us for an article on cables.
This season, style sections of newspapers and magazines are once again telling us that cables are a hot trend in fashion, showing up in all sorts of knitwear for women, men and children. In knitting, there are those trends that appear again and again, such as lace, fair-isle knitting and cables. It is safe to say that if you have never tried to knit a cable before…now is a great time to learn!
Cables in knitting look much more difficult than they really are. I remember as a girl, looking at a cardigan my mother had knit with cables. I was positive that she must have cut her knitting, and then twisted it to form the “ropes” in her knitting. Well, I had half of the technique right, as cables are made by twisting or moving your stitches as you knit, but no cutting of those stitches is necessary.
In addition to the knitting needles you need to knit your project, you will also want to find the right cable needle for your project. Cable needles come in various shapes and sizes, but the one thing that they all have in common is that they have two points like a double-pointed needle. Some knitters do use a double-point needles as a cable needle, but there is a very good reason why cable needles are shaped the way they are. Some cable needles are shaped as hooks, or simply have a bend in the middle of the needle. But both work the same with the stitches being “moved” held on the bent part of the needle.
Frequently cable needles come in a package with 2 or 3 sizes. It is best to use a cable needle close to the size of the needle you are using to knit your project. If a needle is too thin, the stitches may slide off as you are working your cable. Alternately, if the cable needle is too thick, then your stitches will be stretched as you try to slip them on. Choosing the right size cable needle will make your cable knitting a fun and rewarding experience.
So you’ve spent the last few days, weeks, or even months working on that sweater, or crocheting a bunch of granny squares; you’re almost there, but you know that you’re still not done. Whether it’s seaming, blocking or weaving in ends, those final steps sometimes cause crafters to prolong completing their piece.
Finishing doesn’t have to seem like such a task, there are many tips and tricks to help you with the process. I’ve actually included a round up of some articles that should be helpful in finishing your work more effectively; check them out below!
What are some methods you use for finishing your work? Share with us in the comments!
I’m one of those people who has a tendency of buying yarn without really knowing what to do with it. I buy one or two balls here, a skein there…
Soon, I find myself with a lot of single balls of yarn with no particular project in mind.
Of course, much of that yarn is well-used in one-skein projects. In fact, if you listen to our most recent episode of YarnCraft (the Lion Brand podcast that I co-host), you’ll get lots of ideas for great ways to use up single balls of yarn.
But if you’re looking to make a bigger project with all those disparate single balls, a crochet “mega granny square” afghan like our Afghan Squared pattern is an awesome way to go. Here, I’ve taken single balls of Vanna’s Choice®, Martha Stewart Crafts™ Extra Soft Wool Blend, Wool-Ease®, and Superwash Merino Cashmere and turned them into a beautiful gift for my cousin’s wedding.
Because they’re all machine-washable, worsted weight yarns, the blanket will be easy-care and non-yarncrafters won’t notice the difference in textures much.
How I designed my color scheme: While it may be feel daunting to make a variety of random colors harmonious, I found that it was best to look for colors that were similar in tone for 2-3 rows and then change to a color that provided contrast. In some areas, like the center, you’ll notice that I alternated between a single color (in this case, gray) and then one of several other colors, and then back to the first color to give it a more grounded look. I repeated the gray several more times throughout the afghan to give the color scheme some consistency. I think it turned out pretty well!
Now that I’ve taken a photo of it here in the office, I’ve put it in the mail for Jennifer and Harry to enjoy!
What have you made with single skeins or balls of yarn? Leave a comment and share your ideas!
It’s the beginning of a new year, which means that millions of us are making resolutions, hoping to make changes big and small to our lives. If you’ve got a resolution, why not support it by pairing it with your favorite hobbies of knitting & crochet?
Here are some projects inspired by some of the most popular resolutions:
Crocheting a circle is a skill that is the basis of making items from hats to amigurumi. There are two ways to make circles, each with advantages and disadvantages, but the basic formula is the same. Here’s what you need to know:
The spiral technique means that you go around and around and around. If you look at it in the left column below, you’ll see that this leaves a little step in each round as you work, but it also creates a smoother fabric, good for amigurumi.
For standalone circles, joined rounds (see the right column below) will look most circular, without that little step that you get working in spiral. When you work joined rounds, it means that at the end of each round, you’ll join the first and last stitch with a slip stitch, chain for the height of your next round (ch 1 for sc, ch 2 for hdc, etc.) and then start the next round. While this creates a little jog in the fabric where the rounds were joined, it also allows you to use stitch patterns more easily once you’re working even, as in hats, since each round is separate from the next. In joined rounds, you can also use stitch patterns that are worked back and forth (see my blog post from last week).
If you’ve ever picked up a stitch dictionary or explored our wonderful StitchFinder, you may find yourself in love with a stitch pattern and wondering just what to do with it. Incorporating a stitch pattern into a project can be a fun experiment. Today, I go over a few of the considerations to keep in mind as you get started.
When you’re making an afghan or scarf, start by swatching your stitch pattern in your desired yarn. This will allow you to test and adjust your hook or needle size so that your fabric is as dense or loose as you like. By swatching the stitch pattern, you’ll also know how wide each repeat of the pattern is. Let’s say my swatch shows me that each repeat of my selected stitch pattern is 4 inches wide, then I know that for an 12-inch wide scarf that’s completely in my stitch pattern without a border, I’ll need to cast on for 3 repeats (12 ÷ 4 = 3).
The other thing to decide is whether or not I want a contrasting border (ribbing, garter, seed stitch, etc.). For some stitch patterns, which naturally bow or ripple, a contrast stitch border will not be necessary, since you’ll want to showcase the uniqueness of the fabric’s edge. But for others like lace and cable patterns, you may want a border to give the design a sense of definition and neatness. To factor this into the design, you’ll want to make sure to add in the extra stitches to cast on or chain before getting started.
New from Lion Brand, is Bellini – a uniquely textured wool-blend yarn, perfect for adding extra flair and fringes to your accessories. Bellini yarn can be used by itself to make bold statement pieces, or it can be used with a traditional yarn such as Wool-Ease, for adding trims to winter accessories. The great thing about Bellini is that it’s also ideal for quick projects, so it will make a wonderful fast finish gift for that friend who enjoys all the latest fashion trends.
One skein of Bellini makes a scarf or a cowl (see the patterns below!); you can even have some fun with it and use small sections of the yarn to create pom-poms. While we were experimenting with the yarn in the office, we realized you can even make a cowl with Bellini without knitting or crocheting the yarn. Just slide off the ball band, untwist the hank, and wrap the big loop twice around your neck!
Knit Cozy Loops Scarf
Crochet One Row Short Scarf
Knit Foxy Scarf
Watch the videos below to learn the easy techniques on how to knit and crochet with this yarn:
Click here for the crochet version.
What type project would you like to make with Belini? Share with us in the comments!