Why knitting is good for you

If you need a reason to knit, I can give you five!

1. Knitting promotes peace.

knitting t-rexWhen there’s electricity in the air, knitting allows you to capture the destructive negative energy and transform it into a harmless mechanical movement, thus helping to maintain peace on Earth in general and your immediate surroundings in particular.

2. You can do it in public.

There are no age restrictions. Scientific research has shown no durable damage to the health of babies and infants (and adults) who have been exposed to knitting. (Just make sure to keep those pointy needles out of the kids’ reach!)

3. It burns calories.

If sport is movement, than knitting is one!

4. It saves time.

Source: amazon.co.uk

Source: amazon.co.uk

A true knitter won’t waste her time on useless stuff, as long as she can knit. (Beware an over-dedicated knitter though: they tend to see any occupation other than knitting as “useless stuff”!)

5. Knitting is love.

A hand-knitted present is just another way to say “I love you”. Every stitch of that ugly reindeer sweater Granny gave you last Christmas is a quintessence of warmth, kindness and devotion. (Tip: if you don’t want to receive an owl sweater next year, offer your Gran a subscription to a classy knitting magazine: it will both show her that you appreciate her hobby and give her a source of inspiration for future projects.)

Need any more reasons?

 

 

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Week 19: Mitered knitting

w19Mitered knitting is yet another form of modular knitting. If you have ever seen an afgan, chances are, you have already seen what a mitered square looks like. If not, here’s an example:

Not bad, hein?

The good news is, it’s very easy to knit and the number of stitches decreases as you progress!

Here’s a video tutorial from the Creative Knitting magazine showing you all you need to know:

And here are a couple of free patterns: the blanket you see above (from chocolateachuva.blogspot.com), a mitered scarf from DROPS and why not a pair of mitered socks (by Monika Steinbauer)?

Got leftover yarn? You know what you have to do!

Week 13: Selvedges

w13This week we’re going to explore selvedge (or selvage if you prefer) stitches. The reason of this choice is simple: I’m back to designing and I need the best, neatest and most pick-up-and-knit-friendly selvedge ever!

Speaking about design… I know I never really stopped “improvising” baby clothes but this time I’m up to something big, as big as half a sweater, adult size! I’ve already knitted a swatch – which is rare – and I’ve totally enjoyed it – which is even more rare! My hands are itching to start knitting but before I cast on, I need to persuade my baby boy to fall asleep so I can do my math… Wish me luck!

Yes I know I’m hopelessly late… But not with my knitting! I have cast on an intimidating total of 366 stitches and my big mysterious project is moving on!

All right, now to selvedges: instead of repeating what others have written, I give you a link to a very good post from tessknits.com: here you go!

As to my question (which selvedge will suit me better), the answer is – none! That is, no selvedge, both the first and the last stitches should be worked in the main pattern (reverse stockinette) – this will provide me with a denser edge without bumps – just what I need!

Hope you enjoy your knitting as I do!

 

Week 11: Double rolled and shagged knitting (and thrumming)

w11With -12 Celsius last night, one is more likely to think about toasty mittens rather than sleeveless tanks… Hence this week’s topic! Both double rolling and shagging are used to create a lining adding an extra layer of warmth to socks, mittens etc. The first technique uses an additional thread (roving is the best choice but I think any bulky single-spun yarn will do) and the padded lining is created while knitting. The second is worked in two steps: first an item is knitted in a specific kind of ribbing to prepare the base for shagging and then a padding is added with the help of a sewing needle.

Here’s a picture of a double rolled mitten:

And here is what the inside of a shagged sole sock looks like:

Image source: Dawn Brocco via http://www.craftsy.com

You can find the directions for double-rolled knitting here and here (pp 36-45) and there’s a description of a sewn shag on p. 46 of the same book. The source for both is Favorite Mittens: Best Traditional Mitten Patterns from Fox & Geese & Fences by Robin Hansen. This part of the book is published on Google Books and is accessible to everyone so there’s no copyright breaking involved.

And while we are talking about warmth, there’s one more technique that can provide a similar result – thrumming. Here’s a thrummed mitten:

And here is a tutorial (based on the same book as I can see).

Now you have no excuse for having cold hands or feet!

Week 10: Loop Stitch

w10Let’s continue with fun stitches! If any, loop stitch (or fur stitch) definitely falls into this category. I know few people who would wear a “furry” hat or pullover but a loopy cosy, a rug or a toy look like a perfect project for this stitch. And hey, isn’t it just fun?

Image source: stitchywitches.blogspot.com

You won’t believe it but I actually began doing my homework today!

Here is how you knit the loop stitch:

http://www.knittinghelp.com/video/play/loop-stitch-english

(Sorry, the video seems unwilling to appear in the post, just click the link…)

I’m not sure if one can cut the loops like in the picture above and not cause an irreparable damage to the knit work… Personally, I wouldn’t dare. But then, I’d never dare to cut steeks either…

Homework! I cheated and made a very small loopy patch – but even at such a small scale it gives you an idea of how a bigger piece would look.

w10-homework

Yes I know the picture is flipped onto its side!

My verdict: it’s a fun stitch and once you get the hang of it, it knits very quickly. Unfortunately, I’ve  found it to be somewhat unstable. If you pull the knitwork vigorously in all the directions the stitches that are supposed to secure the loops get loose – at least this is my own experience.

If you are not afraid of ending up with a herd of runaway loops, here’s a vintage pattern for you: a tea cosy from knitting-and.com

Good knitting and see you next week!

Week 9: Bobbles!

w9I admit I haven’t had much time to work on this week’s challenge – in spite of living with knitting needles in my hands! In fact, I found myself speed knitting all kinds of baby clothes for my oh-so-quickly growing boy!

Well, let’s say that the cat ate my homework once again…

So, what about bobbles? For those who don’t know what a bobble looks like, here’s a picture:

See those funny balls? – that’s them!

Here is a picture tutorial showing you how to knit bobbles, “popcorns” and nupps – all in one!

And here is another clever tutorial explaining how to make bobbles of a contrasting colour – I’m so going to try this one! (that is, when I’ve finished what I’m knitting now…). Here’s the picture from the tutorial – small but cute!

And here are a couple of free patterns featuring bobbles: a vintage Bobble Stitch Jumper from http://zilredloh.com, a girl’s cardigan from http://www.allaboutyou.com and the Cables and Bobbles Throw from http://www.redheart.com. Enjoy!

P.S. Now this is what I call mind reading! Look what has popped up on the Purl Bee blog today: a Bobble Sheep pillow!

P.P.S. I did my homework! Better late than never, right?

w9-homework

My verdict: use a crochet hook for the final “knit all together” – it’ll make your life so much easier!