Saturday, September 27, 2014

Speed Knitting/Crocheting

This I am not. But there are some out there who are. People who knit or crochet at such a blinding speed that the normal eye cannot keep up with it. Now, I'm not criticizing this, I'm just acknowledging it. I would never criticize another style that's different from mine, just as I would expect someone else not to criticize my style. But that's another subject entirely.

Me, I like to knit and crochet at a more sedate pace. I will never be able to knit or crochet at Olympian-like speed, and I don't want to. Knitting and crocheting is very relaxing to me and I don't think it's very relaxing to be knitting or crocheting at a speed that would make a NASCAR driver envious. But, if you're one of these, and you find it relaxing, then that's great.

As an example. I once looked up entralec (probably didn't spell that right) knitting videos, and while one such video described what to do perfectly, her hands moved so fast that I couldn't see what she was doing. It exhausted me just to watch it.

I think I'll call these types of people the hares. You know, like in the tortoise and the hare story? Me, I'm a tortoise. I'll get to the finish line....eventually. But I don't expect I'll ever keep up with the hares. Frankly, I'd like to sit and watch one knit a sock at that blinding speed. Or crochet one, for that matter.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Wearable doilies

Yes, doilies are wearable. If you check older posts then you'll find I've made a wrap from a chair doily pattern.

Now I've found a free pineapple doily pattern from Freepatterns. The Starburst and Pineapple one is perfect to make a capelet from. Just chain a chain big enough to fit over your head and sit on your shoulders, join into a ring and make 180 dc in it and join that. Then you just start from rnd 9 on the pattern and follow it. You'll skip 4 dc between shells on rnd 9 and have 36 shells when you're finished. I've only just started the pineapple bases on mine, so no pics yet, but it's looking really good. It does look a bit untidy after putting the rnd of dc in, but it straightens out pretty quickly on subsequent rnds. I'm using sport/baby yarn and a size G hook.

In other news, I've mastered the Continental style of knitting and even like it now that I can do it effortlessly. I'm still working on the scarves and cowls, but I'm still a notoriously slow finisher, so it could be Christmas before I finish them. Just wanted to let anyone who's reading this know that I'm making progress. There are some pictures up on my Facebook page, but none here yet.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Another Practice

I found a pattern for the knit Dimple Stitch and I think it will make a fantastic scarf or baby blanket. I'm doing it in a scarf first, practicing my continental knitting. Since this pattern naturally tends to curl I'm putting in a four stitch garter border.

For the scarf, I've cast on 31 stitches to accommodate the pattern and the edge stitches. I've already figured out that if I slip the first stitch of each row, it's much easier to knit the next ones. And since it's a garter border, slipping that stitch won't make much difference.

I just don't know how I'm going to fare when I get to the pattern part, but we'll see. I'm using an off-white yarn, I think it's RHSS.


I did say that scarves are a good way to practice stitches and knitting techniques, so I'm doing just that. I'm working on a mobius scarf in seed (moss) stitch. For those who don't know what this is, a mobius scar is a loop that has a half twist in it. You can make one easily by knitting a scarf and then sewing the two ends together after putting the half-twist in. This is what I am doing this time. You can also make a seamless one by using a long circular needle and using any of a number of methods that you can simply Google. It's best to make a mobius scarf in a reversible stitch (such as ribbing, moss or double moss) because you will see the front and back of it when it's done.

As for seed stitch (our European friends call it moss stitch). It is simply 1x1 ribbing done on an uneven number of stitches. You can do it on an even number of stitches if you remember that on the second row you need to start with a purl stitch instead of a knit stitch. This gives that bumpy texture that resembles seeds scattered over it. Just remember to knit the knit stitches and purl the purl stitches on each row and you'll do fine.

I'm doing this to practice knitting continental style (yarn in left hand). I've knitted English style (yarn in right hand) for over forty years (close to fifty), so this will be a challenge. The biggest challenge will be purling. Knitting is easy continental style, but purling requires a bit more practice. What better practice than to do seed stitch and make a pretty wearable in the process?

I'll let you know how it goes.

Day one:

I cast on 45 sts for my uneven number. This way I can just mindlessly k1, p1 the whole time without trying to remember if I'm on row 1 or row 2 of the pattern.

The first row was a bit difficult, as I predicted. The second row was a bit easier. I'm sure I'll become a bit more proficient as I progress, I've only been trying this style for a few days, so it feels kind of clumsy still.

Continental vs English

Or Picking vs Throwing.

What is it? It's two different styles of knitting. Picking involves wrapping the yarn in your left hand and 'picking' it through the stitches. There are several ways to do this, just google some youtube videos.

Throwing involves holding the yarn in your right hand and 'throwing' it around the working needle to make the stitch. You can also google youtube videos of this method.

So, which method is right for you? Only you can decide that. If you're a long-time crocheter who has wanted to learn to knit, I'd say try Continental. I learned to knit and crochet at roughly the same time, and the person who taught me to knit used the English, or throwing method, so that's what I did for over forty years. It was just a few days ago that I decided to give Continental a try. Again, actually. I usually gave up on it because purling Continental-style, is harder than knitting. It takes a bit of a different approach to pick a purl stitch, but this time I think I've got it, after a couple days of practicing on a partially-finished scarf someone gave me. Scarves are perfect projects to practice knitting techniques on since they don't require a gauge.

The only thing I had to do was figure out how to do the end pattern rows. I had to look at the front and back, and then I tried a swatch with some more needles and yarn and figured out that it was a two-row repeat of an odd ribbing pattern. It went on the right side like 1x1 rib, but on the back, you would purl across. This gave the rib a different and more decorative look.

Anyway, Continental style knitting lends itself well to doing ribbing, seed (moss) or moss (double moss) very well. The pattern goes much faster, once you master the two basic knit and purl stitches.

I even had a way to compare the two on the scarf. I did the first end pattern English style and am doing the second repeat Continental style. There is a definite gauge difference between the two. The Continental method makes the gauge a bit tighter and neater.

I'd say I would use Continental for a lot of my knitting now, but I would switch to English style for colorwork, unless I figure out how to knit with yarn held in both hands. Which would be quite a feat.