Tips and Tricks: Winter Beach’s m5-3b

People are making Winter Beach! This makes me ridiculously happy. I wrote up some swatching directions to help knitters succeed.  In addition to the customary stockinette gauge swatch, I give directions for a shaping/lace swatch, to practice the techniques used in the pattern.  In particular, the “m5-3b” stitch (found at the base of each flower) is new to many.  Whenever possible, I try to practice any totally new stitch on a swatch, instead of risking my garment.

I made a quick video for m5-3b (aka, make 5 stitches, 3 rows below), and today’s blog post includes a step-by-step picture tutorial.  Learn whichever way suits you best!

Here’s the practice swatch, first in Kenzie and then in Inca Alpaca.

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The quick tutorial video:

And now, for your tips-and-tricks pleasure, the photo tutorial for m5-3b!

Stitch definition for m5-3b:  Make 5 sts by (k1, yo, k1, yo, k1) in stitch 3 rows below first stitch on left-hand needle (after m5 is complete, drop stitch off left-hand needle, allowing three rows to ladder down to m5 row)

Step#1: Identify the target stitch, into which we will be working.  The first stitch on the left needle is “zero” — count down 1, 2, 3 holes. In this photo, the right needle is beginning to enter the target stitch.

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Step #2: Knit 1 through the target stitch

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Step #3: Yarn over

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Step #4: Knit 1, then yarn over

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Step #5: Knit 1 (this is the fifth and final stitch made)

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Step #6: Drop the first stitch off the left needle — allow 3 rows to ladder down (they are secured within the (k1, yo, k1, yo, k1)

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Step #7: M5-3b is complete!

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Tips and Tricks: Knitting Multiple Layers Simultaneously

I recently had a brainstorm … you know the kind.  I wondered, was it possible to knit, say, a three-layered scarf, with all three layers worked at the same time — no seams or anything else — so that I could use a slow-color-change yarn with different-width layers and have the colors change at the same rate?  Well, I had a vision of circular needles flopping and changing, and I made it work!

I’m releasing “Eye of The Storm” any minute now on Ravelry — watch this space for an official announcement on Friday.  In the meantime, here’s a quick video and photo tutorial of how it works:

These photos show the scarf in progress…

#1 — Ready to knit the wrong side of the long leg — outbound from the center spine. Note that the needle tips match — the same circ is used to work the outbound legs, always.

 

#2 — A view of the back of the work — the long leg is next up to be worked, the middle leg is hanging off the back of the scarf, and the short leg has just been worked.

 

#3 — At the end of the outbound leg, drop the circ you just freed up …

 

#4 — …. turn the work ….

 

#5 — …. and pick up the far end of the other circ.

 

#6 — Work the right side of the long leg — inbound towards the center spine.  Notice that the needle tips do NOT match — on inbound legs you always use two different circs.

 

#7 — When you finish the inbound leg, push the stitches for the short leg (now the “hanging off the back” leg) onto the cable of that circ.

 

#8 — Push the stitches for the middle leg (the next leg to be worked) up onto the tip of the circ.  Ready for the next leg!

Tips and Tricks: Knitted Rose Pin

Recently, I finished a pretty pink scarf (see my FO Friday post on the Pinky Pink Rose Ruffled Scarf).  The pattern included directions for a very pretty knitted rose, along with directions to “Sew rose onto a round piece of felt using whipstitch and attach pin back or small stitch holder.”  There was a clear photo of the finished look of the back of the pin, but having never done this before … I was a tad intimidated.  I sought council with my friend Susie, who has made many (many!) beautiful jewelry pieces using beads, precious metal clay, et al.  She gave me some great advice, and I set out to Jo-Anns to see if I could find what I needed.

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Success!  At first I thought of using one of the stitch holders I found in the knitting section, but they were all too long for my rose.  In the jewelry-making area I found the perfect size of pin, and it even had loops (for charms) that I could use to secure it to the rose in a non-slip manner. I also bought some neutral-colored felt, and dug up some heavy-duty interfacing to help support the weight of the rose, and cut both into circles (felt slightly larger than interfacing).  Quilting thread and a sturdy needle round out my list of materials and tools.

First, I marked pencil lines on the interfacing where I wanted holes to admit the pin:

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Then, I cut the holes and threaded the pin through:

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I secured the pin to the rose with many messy loops of thread:

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Then, I hid the mess under the interfacing — poof!

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I tacked down the interfacing to further stabilize everything:

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Next, I cut holes in the felt, and threaded it onto the pin:

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I whip-stitched around the edge of the felt to hold it in place:

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Voila! A pretty rose pin!

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Tips and Tricks: Crochet Cast-On

One of my favorite cast-on techniques for small items where the edge will be seen is a crochet cast-on. It creates a flexible, sturdy edge that looks exactly like a traditional bind-off. After watching some friends, I realized that I do it a little differently than other people.

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Above: crochet cast-on edge

Below: traditional bind-off edge

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See how similar they are?

You can watch the video …

… or read through the photo tutorial.

Step #1: Make a slip knot and put it on your crochet hook (the hook should be about the same size as your needle).

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Step #2: Hold the knitting needle below and parallel to the crochet hook, making sure to have the working yarn behind the needle.

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Step #3: Wrap the working yarn around both the needle and the crochet hook (under and in front, over and behind)

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Step #4: Pinch the yarn and knitting needle with your left hand; use your right hand to pull a loop through with the crochet hook.

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Result: one st on needle, one loop on crochet hook, one loop of edge created

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Continue: Wrap yarn around both needle and hook, then pull a loop through

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Result: two stitches on needle, one loop on hook, two loops of edge created

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Continue in this manner until you are one stitch short of the total needed  (N-1) on your needle.  Slip the loop on the crochet hook to the needle — this is the final stitch.