UndyedYarnpire’s Fiber Opera

December 8, 2010

Fixing a dropped stitch.

Filed under: discussion, instructions, knit — UndyedYarnpire @ 10:24 pm

Sock progress:
I noticed when I was doing the Tardis socks (nicknamed “Phantom Phonebooth”) that the method I had used to pick up stitches along the side of the square while making the toe… (if you have the Cat Bordhi sock book I, it was the “pontoon toe” as described in the master toe section.) left an unpleasant texture on the inside of the sock. So I frogged and restarted. I am still in the midst of the toe increase section (toe-up socks.)

That got me thinking about my method for fixing dropped stitches. I have not seen anyone else do this and I should probably photograph it so you can see. I put the good stitch at the bottom of the ladder on my right needle tip. I lift the first ladder onto the right needle tip. Then I pass the good stitch over the ladder, like for casting off. Then I grab the next ladder and repeat. It works really well and is extremely helpful if you do not happen to have a crochet hook. However it is not a flexible method. If you are fixing garter stitch or are on the purl side or pick up a stitch inverted, it never looks perfect again. I can, with the diagram in front of me, pick up dropped stitches with a crochet hook, but when I have 3 people waiting for help, I need something faster and where I look like I know what I am doing.


December 7, 2009

In which I make a tube.

Filed under: instructions — Tags: , , , , — UndyedYarnpire @ 12:16 am

Interesting. Very interesting.

A friend of mine gave me a pattern for a sweater sized to hold gift cards. (I was going to add a little loop to mine so it could hang on the recipient’s tree.)

First. I now understand all the business about gauge. Gauge is not about forcing your yarn to give you a certain number of stitches per inch. It is about the passing along of knowledge. Even using the same yarn, I had a gauge half that of my friend’s. I was using #10.5 needles. She was using #5s.

Second. I apparently loathe i-cord. Since I had never made any until the recently completed gift neck-warmer (and that happened almost subconsciously), it seems unlikely that I would have such a strong opinion. Anyway, I looked into making a double-knitting tube. [ETA. the i-cord is how the sleeves of the tiny sweater are constructed.]

Various descriptions exist, though searching is difficult because of the yarn weight “double-knitting” and because the majority of people doing double-knitting are doing so with different colors, not to make a quick tube on straight needles without making i-cord. Then I saw a number of people talking about purl-side-out tubes. That is significantly easier because the yarn does not move for the slipping portion of the technique.

Now to make my knitting life even easier, I went ahead and strung the yarn around my neck and knit in the Turkish style where purling is the default stitch because everything happens in the front of the work. I found the first pointer to this in the book Knitting In the Old Way by Priscilla Gibson-Roberts. Recently I saw it on an episode of Knitting Daily. But despite these resources I cannot seem to find a good web-based link tonight.

I ended up pulling off the tube I had knitted because it was enormous, but that did give me a chance to stick my thumb in to check the tubuluarity. I also inverted it and looked. This is, by far, the best i-cord substitution method I have found.

I might find some smaller yarn and some DPNs and make the i-cord, but this was certainly a very interesting test for a new technique. I have been considering knitting myself legwarmers using this double-knitting technique and I am very intrigued. If I can decipher how to do it in ribbing, that would be astonishingly excellent. If there is progress, I will make sure to share.

(Also, I have finished all the knitting on my toy elephant. It just wants sewing up. And that is just ghastly hard.)

November 15, 2009

Queue the stunt rabbit!

Filed under: instructions, patterns, project lists — Tags: , , — UndyedYarnpire @ 2:43 pm

I have successfully tinked 2 of the 4 lace rounds on my pillow. (Please insert cursing and animal noises here.) This was needful because of the error-riddled pattern which lacked corrections. Since I was the one who added it to Ravelry, obviously I cannot expect someone else to have annotated the problem there. [I did pause here and add an errata notice to the description of the pattern.] But I certainly did expect the publisher or author to have a modicum of pride and to acknowledge the mistakes.

Thank you to everyone who responded to my plea for actually useful patterns. I have collected them and added them to my projects list. (Not the queue on Ravelry, I find that too frustrating to use until I have started something.)

Since then I have started on making a stuffed rabbit starting from this: http://bunnikins.livejournal.com/47512.html . It is not a complete pattern since it references: http://geobabe.livejournal.com/227621.html for assembly instructions. I knitted half the body and then frogged it because it was going to be too large.

It looks like I will be making a new sample project for my knitting group, make a rabbit from a square. A friend shared the instructions, which basically say to baste a triangle onto a knitted square, gather it, stuff this as the head. Sew the body seam most of the way closed, stuff, and use a crochet hook to pull a tuft of stuffing for the tail. (The triangle is oriented as if there was a diamond inside the square.)

That was what inspired me to look for more rabbity rabbit patterns.

November 15, 2008

Incan Thinkin’

Filed under: instructions — Tags: , — UndyedYarnpire @ 6:41 pm

I attempted to Andean ply the remaining Shetland+ Mohair. 600 yards of 2-ply means I probably wouldn’t be all that interested in 20-30 yards of 3-ply with odd textures, so the Navajo plying was out. I am heartily sick of this fiber, so laboriously winding onto two bobbins and hoping to guess the halfway point did not appeal. 

I Googled for the directions (finding one site that says “If you use this site, please donate a dollar!” That is uncool! Worse yet, their tutorial sucked) and found the standard place showing line drawings of the hand. I found a blog showing how to build a fake hand so there is no risk of killing one’s middle finger from lack of blood flow. And the one describing how to hold a spoon to provide an exoskeleton for the middle finger. 

There are some real problems with this technique that none of the blogs describe. First you MUST, must, MUST wrap loosely. This is incredibly difficult to do because even the inherent tension from bobbin unspooling (not tensioned in the ‘Kate, free spinning) is enough to cause problems. Second the line tension coming off your hand when attempting to ply is enough to break the yarn off the leader cord, but if you pull excess off, it super-twists. Third any problems in pulling off the complex ball  will result in side wraps being incorporated into the twist— this causes Gordion-esque knots. 

Finally I pulled my hand out of it and that actually worked better until the catastrophic failure. I threw out a walnut size knot. But the worst of this is that the plied part is half no-twist ply (two singles wound together) and half over-plied to the point where the twist is invisible and the yarn is half the diameter of the single. I gave up and wound this onto a TP tube and figure it would make an interesting novelty yarn addition or something.

Obviously this Andean plying is harder than it looks.

August 27, 2008

techniques and understanding

Filed under: instructions, knit — Tags: , , — UndyedYarnpire @ 2:52 pm

My two jackets are blocking now.

It inspired me enough that I cast on for the demo sock in Cat Bordhi’s sock book. I really like that book. I admit to thinking that all sock books were the same and no one who wrote one knew anything about the underpinnings. All the sock books the library owns look like they copied from one another. No one explained anything any other way. So if you did not understand gussets and heel flaps, it really did not matter what book you read because they were all saying the same thing. What got me is that the best selling sock book, 2 years after I made my first pair without specialized help, did not have toe-up+short-row as an option. I had knitted a pair of toe-up+short-row socks already and liked that method. I was pretty convinced that there was a problem in the knitting world if I came up with a combination of techniques that was not available in the popular literature. I still think there is a problem in the knitting world—– that wooly animals are not the only sheep in the craft.

The Cat Bordhi book did a fabulous job of explaining things that I had been doing but not understanding, like which stitches were twisted, how to mark a row of knitting with scrap yarn, and went over the increases and decreases in a novel way. I am sure other people understood the increases and decreases from the previous version of the explanation (which was parroted by every knitting book out there) but I never did understand it. I love having the ability to read a different explanation of the same thing.

One thing that the knitting world really needs is a tutorial for tubular cast on in the round.
Get the base stitches on the needle either by backward loop with scrap yarn, then [k, yo]*; or by
Fluffbuff Method. The join occurs with the first stitch of the first round.  Start with one round of [k, slipp with yarn in front)]* (←That is slip-as-if-to-purl.)  Next round, [ slipp wyif, k]*, making sure to pull that first stitch very tight.  This has created one row of tubular k1p1 ribbing. Repeat in pairs of rows if needed. Switch to k1p1 ribbing rounds by actually purling the stitch.

If someone figures out garter stitch grafting, I would love to see that.

August 9, 2008

EZ is for paying tolls, even in knitting.

Filed under: instructions, knit — Tags: , — UndyedYarnpire @ 6:50 pm

I finished writing and formatting the actual pattern for the BSJ. Not the summary version by Elizabeth Zimmermann where what needs doing is left out because any really good knitter would have thought through all the caveats on their own and anyone else is too [insert scorchingly blue language of your choice here] idiotic to make a garter stitch project. I have stopped wondering how someone who did so many great things for knitting could be so humble! If she had not been, someone else would have throttled her and the books would not be around to aggravate me.

Here is one piece of amazingly helpful advice, put a center marker in. That way any mistakes can be isolated.

Second piece of advice, you can fix whatever error on the “resting row” knitting back. Sure your increase or decrease will be off by one row, but it works fine, and works a lot better than having to rip back.

Third suggestion, count every resting row. Make a list of all the row counts, with separators for where the markers will be and check off the row. That page is a lifesaver if you are doing striped colorwork. I have a .pdf for this page if you want mine, even though it just includes the row counts and no instructions. (Leave a comment, although your email address does not show to the world, I can see it as the blog owner.)

Cat Bordhi’s suggestion about using scrap yarn to blip for row counts is probably wise if you are not doing stripes. I will be reviewing the Cat Bordhi sock book, but my preliminary impression is that she is the opposite, she spent a great deal of time describing caveats and providing work-arounds.

February 3, 2008

Going forward

Filed under: instructions, knit — UndyedYarnpire @ 6:15 pm

The best tubular cast-on in-the-round instructions I have found so far:  http://www.math.unl.edu/~gmeisters1/papers/Knitting/techniques.html

I’m still working on my tubular cast-on in the round instructions. Everyone who has tutorials acts like this is almost impossible to do. The reality is that it is one of the most useful cast-ons for a joined-circle project because there is no seam where slack can be invisibly added.


I am working on my very vibrant hat. It uses this tubular cast-on. I think I will do it again to get good photos though.


I finally skimmed my way through the Wrapped In Comfort book. I am not whelmed. The Amazon review which said all the projects were the same thing is completely accurate. There is a yoke section, an increase section (which looks like rubbish in all the pictures) and a body section which generally uses a motif from one of Barbara Walker’s Treasuries. (Credit is given, and they are generally considered encyclopedic references.) More than half the book is these little anecdotes about smiling making the world go ’round. I will make the one shawl from it and see, but I suspect the library will get it.


No social stuff this week. That new knitting group canceled. I was relieved and grateful not to be the one begging off.

I am nearly ready to start my own fiber-oriented group. I have done some preliminary investigation into potential sites. There really needs to be more stuff near me and no one else seems to be starting it. If you are in Oakland, CA or willing to come here, let me know you are interested.

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