The new blog series...

Today, I posted the introduction for a new series dedicated to knitters who are interested in breaking into design.  You can find the blog HERE. I think this is going to be a fun project for me, but I also want to know what questions you have.

Are there specific things that have come up when you've tried your hand at design work?  Do you have general questions on how to get started? Are you afraid of all the math? I slept through algebra in high school, so if I could figure it out, I have the utmost faith that you can too...  Let me know what questions you need answered and I'll do my best to make it happen.  

To this new adventure!



Every so often, I go through the writing, knitting, sample knitting, editing process which involves a slew of people, and no questions arise until the pattern is prints.  Then -BAM- one person says, what the heck?  and the emails come rolling in one after the other as if the universal consciousness is completely at odds with my brain.  What I (and the sample knitters and editors) thought would be that one question was the finishing of the Nineveh Cardigan.  The technique I used was a slip stitch crochet seam to close the sleeves from the cuff to the shoulder and a contrasting color yarn really accentuates that line.  Knit Picks even did a little tutorial on the finishing!

And maybe without the tutorial, I would be getting a slew of questions about the finishing, but the email I get time and time (and time and time) again is about the pockets - and these are just the folks that take the time to email!  What about all the other knitters in the world that just end up frogging it and moving along to the next cardigan in their queue?

Now, I thought the pockets were pretty simple when I wrote the pattern and the sample knitter had no questions whatsoever, but here we are.  I think the thing that trips folks up when they're knitting is that they don't go into it knowing the master plan.  Knitting is time consuming, costly, and about as frustrating as it gets when something doesn't make sense.  I know that before I really got knee deep in design, I felt exactly like these knitters and would be pretty uneasy about taking the leap into some weird ass pocket situation.

I've already walked dozens down my line of thought, but I think providing a little step-by-step is worth it.  First off, the construction in theory is a snap, but because we're working from the bottom up, we need to cast on for the entire length of the bottom of the pocket first, then decrease so that the inside pocket is a triangular shape that merges into the body of the cardigan seamlessly.  In the pattern, I recommended the use of double pointed needles for the pocket stitches (you will need 5 DPNs if you go this route; two to hold each of the pocket stitches, half the count on each needle & a needle to actually knit with) though you could certainly use circular needles here also.  In fact, when I was working the pattern out, I used long circs and it went very smoothly.  

The reason we're even considering this fussiness is because the first few rows of the pockets are going to be very tight and hard to manage.  Have you ever joined sleeves on a bottom up sweater and wanted to strangle someone every time you neared the underarms for the first inch or so after the join?  Me too.  That's sort of what we're dealing with for the first inch of the pockets.  After that inch though, there's no reason you can't ditch the extra needles and transfer the stitches back onto the working needles.

SO, this is what's happening after the stitches are cast on and marked for decreases: on the next WS row, when you reach the cast on stitches, transfer them to your preferred spare needles.  If using DPNs, they will be split evenly and you will use a third needle to knit, if using long circs, you will simply knit, slipping the markers.  Since we're dealing with garter stitch, we're going on this way until it's time for the decreases, and by this point it should be safe to transfer the stitches back onto the working needles.

I sure hope this helps those who are just kind of staring at the pattern blankly or crying over a strip of garter stitch full of DPNs with no idea how to proceed.


Cuff to Cuff and customization

Back in January of 2014 the Cuff to Cuff socks were born in the late afternoon on a sunny, biting cold day that made getting out of bed nearly impossible.  The only room in the house with a TV was our bedroom so we had some epic family cuddle sessions while watching movie marathons like... all the Jurassic Park movies in order... and bed is where I did my best thinking.

I hate knitting two of anything and socks are no exception.  I talked a bit about it when I first shared the socks, but that was many, many moons ago.  My problem is the casting on of the second sock.  I just feel blocked and then give up; it suddenly feels like a chore rather than an adventure.  SO, I thought, why not just keep this baby going?  Just keep on knitting and never have to cast on a second time?

The first pair - pictured above on the left - knit up quickly and I documented the process of separating the pair for others who might try this method, but also as a guide for myself - like, hey!  don't forget how you did this!  As soon as the toes were grafted, I cast on a second pair in a slightly heavier yarn (pictured on the right).  Hubs called them swap socks for the obvious color swap that developed.  I still wear those babies as soon as cold weather sets in.  Both pairs were worked in Stockinette with no frills - just a little ribbed cuff.

When I was working on Family-Friendly Knits, I included Cuff to Cuff in sizes ranging from kid's to men's and with a tidy little panel of textured stitches that would read correctly worked from cuff down and toe up.  The Cuff to Cuffs came to be right around that same time that the book, Up, Down, All Around  Stitch Dictionary by Wendy Bernard was released.  I always thought that stitch dictionary was the perfect tool for customizing the the stitch panel on the socks.  Of course, I still haven't gotten my hands on a copy, but when I do... I'm resurrecting the Cuff to Cuff!