Monday, August 10, 2020

Convert Stairsteps to a Smooth 3-Needle Bind-Off Shoulder

This summer, I've knitted two simple tees that feature shoulder seams that extend down into cap sleeves. After finishing up the first project and finalizing my project post on Ravelry, I saw that someone else who had knitted the same design had converted the shoulder seam stairstep bindoffs to short rows, which allow the shoulder seams to be finished with the 3-needle bind-off technique. I've done this before and immediately realized that it would have been preferable, mostly because it is so much easier to bind off that seam than to sew it.

So now, working on my second project, I'm adopting this approach and documenting it here in hopes that typing it up will fix it in my memory as something that is not difficult and AVOIDS SEWING SEAMS!! These long shoulder seams are very visible, and the 3-needle bind-off is easy to do and provides a basically perfect result.

The primary thing to keep in mind is that the decreases in the short rows happen at the end of the row rather than at the beginning. So if the instructions say to bind off X stitches at the beginning of the row, you simply replace that by leaving X stitches unworked at the end of the short row.

The pattern I'm working on right now is the Simple Tee by Churchmouse Yarns and Teas. In this pattern, the shoulder shaping starts before the neck shaping, so for the first few rows, you can just do the needed decreases on the opposite ends of the row. Once the neck shaping kicks in, if the pattern calls for decreases at the beginning of a right-side row, you have to execute those decreases instead at the end of the following wrong-side row. And likewise, if the pattern calls for decreases at the beginning of a wrong-side row, you execute those decreases at the end of the following right-side row.

It probably sounds confusing, but once you have your pattern in front of you, it's much easier to visualize.

Here's an example doing traditional wrap-and-turn short rows where shoulder shaping is taking place before neck shaping begins:
PATTERN SAYS: Row 1 (RS): Bind off 5 sts, K to end. Row 2 (WS): Bind off 5 sts, P to end.
INSTEAD: Row 1 (RS): Knit to 5 sts before end, wrap and turn. Row 2 (WS): Putl to 5 sts before end, wrap and turn.

This does get a bit complicated once the neck shaping kicks in, but it's worth it.

Once all the decreases have been made, knit (or purl) across the final row to pick up the wraps and then put the stitches on holders to bind off once you're ready to join shoulder seams.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Italian/Kitchner Cast Off - Better than Tubular!

I'm grateful to the folks who have posted videos on the Italian or Kitchner cast off for 1x1 rib (especially, Suzanne Bryan's video) but I find written instructions easier to reference.

Here are mine:

  • Cut yarn to 4x the length of the bound off edge.
  • With tapestry needle, pull tail of yarn through the first stitch on the left needle (a knit stitch) purlwise, and leave the stitch on the needle. 
  • Insert the tapestry needle between the first two stitches on the left needle from back to front and pull needle to front; turn Needle and go through stitch 2 (a purl stitch) as if to knit; pull tail through. 
Cast Off
  • Bring the needle through the first stitch on the left needle knitwise and drop stitch off the left needle; before pulling the tail through, turn tapestry needle and insert through next knit stitch as if to purl; pull tail through.
  • Bring the needle through the first stitch on the left needle purlwise and drop the stitch off the needle; before pulling the tail through, insert the tapestry needle between the next two stitches on the left needle from back to front; turn needle and insert in 2nd stitch on needle (a purl stitch) as if to knit; pull tail through. 
  • That's it!

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Another New Pattern - This Time for Humans!

Tightly Knit Design is happy to share another free knitting pattern with our hordes of readers.  Our Stirrup-Footed Leg Warmers are stylish and practical!  We do a lot of dog walking in wintry weather, and we were finding the prospect of changing out of our skinny jeans into something that could accommodate long underwear underneath just a royal pain.  Clearly, leg warmers were needed, but we'd tried boot toppers before and found them fiddly to arrange inside our boots.  We considered the idea of super heavy tall socks, but our boots fit just right with our regular hand-knit and Smart Wool socks, and we didn't want to have to buy new boots to accommodate warmer socks.  And so, the idea of stirrups was born.

These work great and look good.  We made ours pretty tall (12 inches) for warmth, but they would be cute a few inches shorter, too.  They pull on in a jiff, pulling on your boots is a breeze, and everything feels snug without being tight or uncomfortable.  They keep our legs warm all the way down to our ankles (and keep out the snow) in our pull-on Bogs and work equally well in our taller, lace-up boots.  These were great stash-busters, using just under half a skein of Cascade Yarns Ecological Wool that we had leftover from a striped pullover we made years ago.

The legs are done in Brioche stitch, and we came up with what we think is a clever approach to make them seamless.  Check out the pattern to see how we did it!

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Our First Pattern!!

I finally finished a toy project that I've been working on for over a year.  It's a "Little Prince" doll from the Arne & Carlos book Strikkedukker, or Knitted Dolls.  I've got extensive project notes on Ravelry, and if you're thinking of making this pattern, I encourage you to take a look.

The little guy's outfit had to be customized quite a bit because I wanted to match the look of Antoine de Saint-Exupery's illustrations in the The Little Prince book.  One thing he needed was black shoes.  Nothing fancy, but the shoes in the Knitted Dolls pattern book didn't look like they would stay on, and the recipient is a baby, so I didn't want shoes that would fall off and get lost forever.  An existing pattern for "Uggs" didn't really meet my requirements of actually looking like shoes, so I designed my own.

I'm pretty proud of how they turned out.  Here's the free pattern for Strikkedukker Boots with Toppers.  Make some!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Swatching ... socks???

I have pretended I was swatching for socks in the past, but I don't think I've ever really done it in earnest. Instead, I've cast on the number of stitches the pattern specified, or when a number wasn't specified, a guesstimate, and unless things looked waaay off, I'd just keep going. Such is the nature of socks. They're such a small project, that even when your better judgment says, "I don't think this is working out," the voice of knitterly inertia counters with, "Oh, just keep going. You can always rip this out and start over." Another problem has been that I wasn't working toward a clear goal in terms of size. I have a fear of too-tight socks (commercial socks that were too tight at the top of the leg is what caused me to be interested in hand-knit socks in the first place), so I've never really been a believer in negative ease for socks.

Not too surprisingly, I have knit a lot of socks that don't fit very well. But I'm inspired by Kate Atherley's new book, Custom Socks: Knit to Fit Your Feet, and determined to break the curse. Naturally, this does not necessarily mean that I am following her advice. Yet. Instead of starting by taking all the measurements she recommends, I'm starting with swatching. Because that's what I feel like doing. I will take the measurements -- I promise. I realize that a good set of measurements is one of the keys to success.

I've cast on a random number of stitches -- somewhere around 60 -- using the wonderfully round and squishy 716Twist (can't believe this is 2-ply) and I've knit a 1x1 cuff on sz. 0 and now I'm working in plain stockinette on sz 1 needles. Once I know what my gauge is for this project, I'm planning to start a pair of simple socks with arch shaping for myself. These are for practice.

Later this month, I'm going to spend a few days with my parents in Florida. I've bought some OSU striped BFL from String Theory Colorworks, and I'm going to make a pair of socks for my dad that fit HIS feet. This is a project from the heart because I've learned that a pair of socks I made for him a few years ago as a Christmas gift are his favorite socks. I find that amazing, and it puts Dad on my extremely knit-worthy list, which is short! He also raves about the felted clogs I made for him even longer ago. The great thing about gifting Floridians with hand knits is that they are so grateful to have them when they need them, but they need them so seldom that they last forever!

Note to self: remember to take a tape measure to Florida.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Our First Time

Libby and I went to Rhinebeck for the first time this year, and it was wonderful. We saw more knitterati than you can shake a stick knitting needle at, and had fun, short chats with Clara Parks, Stephanie Pearl-McFee and Kay Gardiner. We indulged in purchase after purchase and were still talking about what ELSE we wanted on the way home. Today, I saw this video by Gayle Zucker and it brought tears to my eyes while I was laughing at how silly it is.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Audiobook Recommendations from The Yarn Harlot's Commenters

Right before Christmas, as part of her series of great gift suggestions for knitters, The Yarn Harlot suggested audiobooks. Her commenters proceeded to suggest dozens of authors and titles they've enjoyed listening to. I thought it would be great to have the whole list for easy reference. So I put it into a table, which took quite a bit longer than you might think, and now I'm going to try to make it available here. This link to iDisk may not work after June 2012. If you have trouble, leave a comment.

So how many of these have you listened to or read? I count about 95 for me so far, including other titles by the authors mentioned.

I was inspired by The Harlot's post to subscribe to Audible, and I'm looking forward to working off this list for a long time!