We had another great member’s Q&A session last Saturday. Below are the links and resources we talked about. I hope they will be of use to all KnitFreedom subscribers!
Dog Sweater Class and Kit Coming Soon
Inspired by one knitter’s trials seaming up a dog sweater, we will soon be releasing a Seamless Dog Sweater video class and yarn kit in conjunction with Imagiknit Yarns in San Francisco.
This adorable seamless dog sweater is made with self-patterning yarn (gauge: 5.5 sts/in) and includes sizes from extra small to large. We’ll be announcing the class and kit colors shortly!
Swatching and Yardage in Patterns
A swatch is a *very* small knitted rectangle you make ahead of your project to test the size of your stitches, known as your gauge.
Because everyone knits differently, knitting your own swatch on your own needles is the only way to tell if your garment will come out the right size.
In fact, you can use any yarn and any needles to achieve the right gauge for your project. You are freed from the need to use the needles and yarn listed in the pattern – those are just suggestions.
But getting the right gauge is crucial.
- For perfectionist knitters out there, here’s How to Knit a Swatch in a Hurry.
- For those new to the idea of swatching, here’s Why Gauge Matters and Needle Size Doesn’t.
- For all of you knitters, here’s How to Check Your Gauge
For those of you playing “yarn chicken,” that is, knitting a garment without being absolutely sure you have enough yarn to finish it, the yardage requirements in your pattern do not include the yarn needed to make a gauge swatch.
If you run out of yarn on your project, you can always unravel the gauge swatch and use it to finish your project. It could mean not having to buy another ball of yarn!
One tip I didn’t mention on our call is that I often just start knitting my project and check my gauge once I get started. This comes with the understanding that if your gauge is off, you have to unravel and start again with different needles.
Lastly, one knitter asked what do you do if you achieve the specified stitch gauge (correct # of stitches per inch) but not the row gauge (number of rows per inch)?
The short answer is don’t worry about it. Most patterns have you knit a certain number of inches (say 17 inches), not a certain number of rows (e.g. 265 rows). So you can just knit the correct length, however many rows that turns out to be.
The final piece of wisdom on swatches was,
” ‘Tis a far, far better thing to swatch than never to have swatched at all.”
Calculating Yards of Leftover Yarn
To use leftover yarn for a new project, it behooves you to know how many yards you have to work with.
You can calculate this using simple math and a kitchen scale.
1. Look at the yarn label or look up your yarn on Ravelry and find out how many yards and grams are in the full skein. Example: Malabrigo Rasta: 90 yards and 150 grams.
2. Weigh your leftover yarn in grams. Example: leftover yarn: 70 grams.
3. Multiply your leftover grams by the yarn label yards per gram. Example: 70 grams leftover yarn x 90 yards / 150 grams on the yarn label = 42 yards of leftover yarn.
Leftover Yarn Formula
Grams of Leftover Yarn X Yards of Yarn on a Skein
÷ Grams of Yarn in a Skein
If you keep track of your yarn in your Ravelry stash, you can also weigh your finished project, use the math above to calculate the yardage used, and then record it along with your project data.
Ravelry will then automatically calculate for you how much remaining yarn you have in your stash.
Kitchener Stitch for 1×1 Rib
Normally she’d start with a provisional cast-on and knit every stitch on the first row so that it’s easy to remove, but since she’s already started the project, she’ll need to pick up and knit stitches along the cast-on edge.
Then she’s going to need to follow our Kitchener Stitch for 1×1 Rib video to graft the stitches together. If that turns out to be too difficult, she can always use the three-needle bind-off to seam the edges together.
Another knitter wondered if you could use the above technique to graft Brioche knitting, and I said I think you could. “Try it and see!” is always my go-to advice, and it applies in this case. Hopefully she’ll let us know how it looks!
A Matching 1×1 Rib Hat
For the knitter who wants a simple but good-looking beginner hat to match the ribbed scarf, I recommended our Man Hat.
It’s got a generous ribbed folded brim, a fitted Stockinette Stitch body, and handsome centered decreases that give a geometric interest to the crown.
Incidentally, we have another basic beginner hat pattern with a slouchy variation (below right).
I’ll be releasing a “My First Hat” video class shortly to go along with the patterns, and we will announce the patterns and the class as soon as they’re ready.
Difficulty Doing a “Knit Two Together Through the Back Loops”
One knitter was having a tough time doing a k2tog tbl (knit two together through the back loops).
This decrease should not normally be difficult — it can actually be easier than a regular k2tog and you can use it instead of one if you don’t mind the twisted stitch that results.
Anyway, we figured out that all she needed to do was to push her stitches further up onto the tips of her needles to make this stitch stress-free!
Those of you accustomed to knitting on the barrel of your needle will benefit from this tip. Push those stitches up, and use your fingers to keep them from slipping off.
A More-Perfect Left-Leaning Decrease
During our first call in January, one knitter asked if there was a left-leaning decrease that could be a more perfect mirror image to a knit two together. On Saturday’s call, one of our members revealed the secret! I’ll make a video of this soon, but for now, here’s the formula:
Perfect Left-Leaning Decrease:
Slip 1 knitwise, return the stitch to the left needle, k2tog tbl.
This makes a more-invisible SSK because you can’t see the other stitch underneath.
Jared Flood Interview
The same knitter showed us her shawl knit with beautiful Brooklyn Tweed yarn, and I couldn’t help but mentioning that I had done an interview with Jared Flood a while back.
In it, he shares tips for designing patterns, photographing projects, and shares loads of information about his special American-made yarn.
How to Cast On Stitches in the Middle of a Project
You can use any short-tail cast-on other than the Backwards Loop Cast-On* to accomplish this.
Three good short-tail cast-on options are:
For the mittens project, I’d recommend the Cable Cast-On as it is easy, sturdy, and attractive.
*The Backwards Loop Cast-On is technically a short-tail cast-on, but since the loop only contains one strand of yarn, the edge it creates is not very sturdy, stretchy, or attractive. It can be useful but I prefer the cast-ons listed above.
I also couldn’t help putting in a plug for our Perfect-Thumb Mittens, which don’t call for you to cast on any stitches at all. ;)
Lastly, one knitter said she is learning Magic Loop and just couldn’t get her head around the two-at-a-time socks. My advice was that it’s much easier understood by doing rather than thinking.
I told her to set aside 30 minutes and follow along with our Toe-Up Socks class videos and some practice yarn. She’ll pick up the flow of the technique much faster than she expects.
She’s on the precipice of a breakthrough, because once you understand how to knit two-at-a-time, a whole new world of knitting opens up to you.
Become a KnitFreedom Member and Join Our Monthly Q&A Calls
As one lovely member writes, “I love hearing about other projects and issues and learning ways to deal with them both from you and the rest of your community.”
Become a KnitFreedom Member here. Starts at just $12.99/month!
Many readers have asked to see more pics of Milo (he’s now 2 ½!), so here you go! I’ll include a few at the end of each blog post from now on.
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Do you have any knitting questions you’d like to ask? Comments or feedback for me? Post in the comments and let me know!