Knitting in Stitches
Keeping your sense of humor while knitting
I truly believe all those cliches about laughter - how it keeps you young, is good medicine, and a day without laughter is a day wasted (Charlie Chaplin). Knitting is my love and my meditation, so I believe that it too should be kept light and lively.
So that brings me here, to my desire to share knitting stitches that bring me joy, not tears. Stitches that are easy enough to knit while watching a movie or riding in a dark car at night. Stitches that are simple to achieve but appear to be mysterious and clever. Knitting jokes, knitting stories, knitting advice, knitting questions, knitting pictures - it's all here, or will be eventually. I'll keep on keepin' on with this journey.
All the while, making you smile and maybe even laugh. Bookmark this page, you may need it some day...like, right after frogging your day's knitting...
Cheers! Now choose your yarn, pick up those needles, and listen to a yarn or two along the way while learning some amazing knitting stitches. Maybe I'll invent something besides a tall tale or two, but mostly I'll simply point out what works for me.
Wool works for me. It stretches, shrinks (whether you want to felt your knitting or not, so take care), and goes back and forth. Elasticity for cuffs and other things you want to cinch. In short, wool yarn is a delight to knit with, more than any other material known to this woman.
Wool comes in so many varieties, even those who think it's scratchy and unwearable can find something comfortable. Wool is warm, even when wet. Soaking wet. And there is superwash wool for those who don't want to wash their finished projects by hand.
If you love wool, thank a sheep.
Not just another 'cheating song' from Nashville
From the ladies that bring you the blog Mason-Dixon Knitting here's a hilarious video about being caught cheating (knitting for another guy).
Their blog is humorous and inspiring, as they share everything knitting, including mistakes and those "d'oh" moments, empowering even the most timid to pick up needles and yarn and give it a try.
Royal Quilting Stitch - My current favorite stitch
This stitch meets all my criteria for a fabulous stitch - it looks terrific and is easy enough to knit while watching a movie. I used it on the side of the pillow in the picture above. Thank you Barbara G. Walker for sharing this stitch in your book A Treasury of Knitting Patterns.
How do I love this pattern? I wish I could tell you all the ways, but words escape me. It looks exotic but is SO EASY.
Knitting Stitches Instructions - one stitch at a time
There's a book here for you: how to knit and basic stitches for the beginners, written instructions and charts, so no matter if you're learn best from reading how, or from looking at pictures, this book has what you need.
Instructions, photos, and charts for all the stitches makes it easy to learn how to knit simple or fancy. Basic knitting stitches are included. Make 400 potholders, or sew your squares into afghans as you experiment and find what suits you best.
The Double Knitting video that started it all - hold onto your seats
A breathtaking introduction to one way to cast on your stitches for double knitting. Yes, this went viral...
One Way to Doubleknit
Double knitting is knitting with two colors that gives you a double layer of fabric in stockinette stitch on both sides, one color on one side and the other color on the other side.
Here is a video tutorial of one of many ways to do this stitch. Double knitting is great for any project where you want to have a thick, insulative product, such as a potholder or thermal vest. Mittens are also great in this stitch.
Anyone can knit! - was this Photoshopped?
Hilarious, yes, but there's wisdom here too.
1. Anyone can knit.
2. Men knit.
3. The more stressful your life, the more you need knitting.
4. Knitting seems so boring, yet it offers limitless opportunity to step out of your comfort zone.
Running out of yarn
Maybe by hearing my story you'll feel better about your own.
First, in my defense (can you tell I'm feeling a bit defensive?), it's easy to say buy extra, but you still have to guess if it's enough. My latest project is a knitted bag to be felted. (Here is the link to the free pattern) I substituted yarns because I prefer buying from KnitPicks. I chose a yarn, all the numbers matched up. It seemed foolproof. I bought three big hanks of yarn.
I knit the shoulder strap, part of which is also the gusset between the two sides. Equal parts of all 3 colors were used. Then I knit one side and realized halfway through that one color is predominant - this isn't obvious from the picture and the pattern called for one big hank of each.
Here comes that sinking feeling...I realized I would run out of one color before completing the second side. I knit some more and realized I'd run out just before or just as I finished the first side.
Different dyelots aren't an issue for me on this project - the new dyelots would be on the back of the bag, held against the body when carrying it. However...back orders became the issue. I decided to order another skein of each color just to be sure, and one color is in stock, one will be in stock by the end of May, and the third not until July.
Grrr. Oh the anticipation...
So now that project is in hiding in a dark corner in a plastic bag...waiting for summer.
I will always buy extra yarn. I will not try to tempt fate.
Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, At Knit's End
Knitting in public - Yes, there is an international holiday for knitting
I will ... freak out my children by knitting in public, it's good for them.
International Knitting in Public Day 2012
brace yourselves, children of the world
Got yarn, needles, pattern? Be prepared, oh addicted knitters, to flaunt your obsession from the 9th to the 17th of June, 2012 - International Knitting in Public Day.
Do it alone on your doorstep or in a cafe, do it on a park bench, do it in a Flash Mob, just DO IT!
Children may find this embarrassing. Being seen in public with your mother can be awkward even if she doesn't knit. You can either suffer or, alternatively, join her! As a child, I resisted for a few years, but am I ever glad I finally gave in and let Mom teach me. Now I wish I'd done the same with sewing...
YES - a Knitting Flash Mob
Dirty Dancing with Yarn and a host of other knitters, it just doesn't get much better. Well, ok, the dancing could get a little better. Lol. But hey, it's the spirit of it all that matters. Got yarn?
Fun with Knitting - as it should be
New Wool Yarn Has Arrived! - a day to celebrate
I've got big plans for this yarn (Bartlett Yarns Chunky). I intend to knit felted boot slippers and then open an Etsy shop. So all my savings went into this big box of fiber, but did I ever get a deal. I found a shop that is discontinuing this line so it was deeply discounted. Basically, I bought two and got one for 25cents. As you can see, I completely filled my limited storage space.
R. said if I need any more space just tell him. Before I could blink, I said "sure, empty out your dresser please." He laughed. Then I said, "ok, how about an addition?" He laughed again, then said, "it's in the plans..."
The Lovely Garter Stitch
so easy to knit
When you're knitting on straight needles, nothing is easier or faster than garter stitch. Knit, turn to knit the next row, and just keep on knitting.
For beginning knitters, I found a simple utilitarian kitchen dishcloth pattern that is lovely as well as fast to knit. You'll want to knit lots of these in many different colors, and throw away all your old rags.
Choose your needles according to the yarn you are using; I recommend Knit Picks Dishie, a cotton yarn that is soft, durable, and machine washable, of course. I love the color selection. You can expect that with a lot of use and washing, the colors will fade a bit.
This pattern makes approximately a 10" square, but why not cast on 75 stitches, keep on knitting for about 26", and make a dishtowel to match?
To begin, CO 51 stitches with green.
Row 1 (RS): With green, K to end.
Row 2 (WS): With green, K to end. Do not tie off.
Row 3: With white, K 3, *sl 1, K 3* to end.
Row 4 and all alternating rows: With same color of previous row, K all K stitches and sl all sl stitches keep yarn at front.
Row 5: With green, K 1, *sl 1, K 3* to last 2 stitches, sl 1, K 1.
Row 7: With white, K 2, *sl 1, K1* to last st, K last st.
Row 9: With green, as 3
Row 11: With white, as 5
Row 13: As 1
Row 15: With white, as 5
Row 17: With green, as 3
Row 19: As 7
Row 21: As 5
Row 23: As 3
Repeat these 24 rows 3 times more.
Repeat Rows 1 and 2 once more. Bind off in K.
Potholder knit in Ball Band pattern - another dishie featuring garter stitch and stockinette stitch
I first ran into this dishcloth pattern in the knitting book Mason-Dixon Knitting: The Curious Knitter's Guide but have since seen it all over the 'net. I love it. Here's the pic of the one I knit up (a bit limp and wanky because it's wet from use!) and here's the link to the pattern.
This is a great pattern to work in whatever are your favorite colors. Or use a variegated yarn, or if you're really adventurous, two variegated yarns. Me, I like the crisp contrast that let's the design shine. To each their own. I crocheted around the edges; when I make another, I'll add an additional single crochet row on each side.
I'm in love with dishies. What a great way to explore patterns, colors, and designs. Ball Band is definitely a keeper.
The Best Knitting Stitch
is the stitch just knit
In other words, find some yarn, get inspired by a project, take needles in hand, and cast on! Then don't stop there, knit a stitch. Voila! the best knitted stitch ever. A homely purl, a simple knit, a yarn-over here, a ssk there...increase, decrease, bind off, there you have it.
Procrastination is the enemy, and it's allied with Inability to Finish a Project. If the knitting needles, yarn, patterns and magazines sit on a shelf for too long, they take on a life of their own.
I was reminded of this today by these words: "As usual, the sock yarns have no idea what is going on."
- Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (The Yarn Harlot)
Yarns have ideas? Oh my...now I'm in trouble. It's like the toys in Toy Story....what do my needles do when left on their own for too long? What is that pile of newly-acquired chunky wool thinking as it sits there day after day? My magazines and books sit on a shelf above my laptop. One of these days will I find one of them lying on top of my lappy, opened to the page with the Brioche Stitch striped pullover I 'said' I wanted to knit?
My knitting supplies know where I live - should I be very afraid? My yarn is in my bedroom, watching me sleep. Will I wake up one morning to a bedroom that looks more like a spiderweb than a tidy space with my yarns stuffed neatly into a space that used to hold a TV? It's like having so many young children - boredom is your worst enemy...
This all reminds me of the Lakota Sioux saying, "Mitakuye Oyasin", meaning all my relations, we are all related, or, we are all connected. With a twist (of the spindle). But I only have two hands. Maybe it's time to re-prioritize. My needles are calling me, my yarn is threatening to come unraveled. My books are creeping closer to the edge of the shelf, or am I imagining that?
photo taken by JAM Project
A policeman spots a woman driving and knitting at the same time.
Driving up beside her, he shouts at her "Pull over"!!
"No," she shouts back, "it's a cardigan!"
Some mistakes are bigger than others
and the woman who saved me
I have a really hard time with successful knitting designers/authors who try to convince me that "they're a normal schmuck just like me." It's like Oprah doing her "poor little black girl" routine. Please...you're a billionaire, Oprah, don't make me cringe.
Excuse me but that is so easy for you successful people to say. You've published books, have designed incredibly beautiful and original knitting patterns, and are making money at what you do. You've successfully managed to turn your hobby into your job and you still love your work/hobby/knitting.
Yes, you may be a schmuck like me in that you still have to cook meals, clean house, raise kids, and find time to sleep. But you are that and so much more. I am simply that and the rest are hopes and dreams.
Recently I was convinced otherwise by one woman. Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, successful blogger, knitter, designer, mom, wife, and homemaker. Normally, I thoroughly enjoy Stephanie's writing, finding it to be humorous and uplifting. However, as I was reading her book "All Wound Up", I sensed resentment creeping in. How dare she insinuate her life is just like mine. Is this jealousy? Probably but I still don't want to go there...yet...
It wasn't until I read her chapter about gauge, chaos math, and deterministic chaos that she won me back. I've given this some thought, and realize now that it was her perspective on knitting that convinced me that she and I and millions of other knitters out there are truly all in the same boat. Only then did I believe her. We are all victims of the same misplaced faith, faith in gauge.
When she pointed out that we measure gauge in a relatively small swatch that is lying on a flat surface horizontally, while she wears a complete (heavier) garment almost always while being orientated vertically, that sealed the deal. Brilliance. How obvious, but how brilliant to notice. Unless you are knitting in space sans gravity and small children begging to be fed who then spill their soup all over your sweater...gauge doesn't mean much. It's a starting point. It works perfectly in a totally predictable, controllable world.
We're back on a level playing field again, Ms. McPhee. Now we can once again thoroughly enjoy each other's company. I was beginning to miss those belly laughs.
with some Weird Crochet thrown in for good measure
Maybe your idea of wild knitting is a crazy color combination. Fasten your seatbelts and get ready for a ride.
I bet you've been wondering where the world's biggest knit rabbit is. Or whether it is possible to truly transform a cute child into something horrible and scary for Halloween. Perhaps your burning question is, has anyone ever knit a digestive system?
These questions and more are answered on this most grotesque yet fascinating blog, Dark Roasted Blend: Strange Knits and Yarn Monsters. Go ahead, look; I dare you to.