Side Matters

IMG_0065IMG_0075As in…. the side in which the yarn is held in fair isle knitting affects the final appearance of the knitting.  2016 is my year to learn fair isle knitting.  I am traditionally an English knitter, or thrower.  However, for fair isle, my wise sister advised me to learn combination knitting, in which you throw with the left hand yarn, and pick with the right hand yarn.  I knit this hat with combination knitting and was fairly pleased with the results.  However, when I examined the hat more closely I discovered that “side really matters”.  When you examine the two  strips of blue circles on white background, they appear slightly different.  In the top strip, the blue is more prominent.  In fair isle, the background color is held to the right, and the foreground color is held to the left.  For a combination knitter like me, that means the background color is in the right hand and is thrown.  The foreground color should be held in the left hand and picked.  In the bottom example, I held the white, background color to the left.  This yarn position resulted in a less prominent blue design on the white background.  In the top strip, the yarns were held in the correct position.  I would love to say I knit the hat this way to demonstrate the importance of yarn position.  However,  I was completely unaware of the importance of yarn position while I was knitting the hat.  This is another fine example of learning from mistakes.  Fortunately, my daughter would like the same hat knit with the same color scheme.   I have enough yarn left to make another hat so I will have my second chance.  Now, if I could only figure out how to fix the row jog at the beginning of a new round.

Book Review: A Knitter’s Home Companion

IMG_0043I checked out a lovely book from the public library.  A Knitter’s Home Companion by Michelle Edwards is a delightful collection of short essays about knitting and also includes recipes and knitting patterns.  Each short story serves to remind the reader of the human connection with knitting.  When we knit, we are deeply connected to the people we are knitting for, and if we are lucky, the people we are knitting with.  She also illustrates how sometimes the person receiving the gift is actually the knitter.  I can clearly picture the author in her studio, with her bird feeder outside her window, writing and working on her knitting.  The patterns and recipes that she includes are also clearly linked to the stories.  The patterns are fairly basic, and include a simple mitten and sock pattern.  The author knit 100 pairs of mittens in 1 year, all for charity.  I tried out the Mandel bread recipe (essentially almond biscotti) and thought it was great but could even be improved with a dash of salt.   The author does a fair bit of charity knitting and reading this book has inspired me to be more generous with my knitting.   I thoroughly enjoyed reading 1 or 2 stories at night before turning out the lights content and dreaming of knitting.

Organizing Circular Needles

Instruction for making circular needle organizer


circular needle organizer, final product1. Cut a piece of felt 16 inches by 30 inches.  Trim the bottom and sides with a pinking shears if a decorative edge is desired

2. Turn over 1 inch toward the wrong side on the top edge and stitch.

3. Use felt letters or embroider Needles at the top of the organizer.  I embroidered 3 1/2 inches down form the upper edge.  You can buy self-adhesive felt letters and numbers from the fabric store.  I usually stitch over the adhesive letters so they hold permanently.

4. Cut a piece of contrasting felt 4 inches by 4 inches for a gauge pocket.  I stitched the felt letter “G” on to this pocket.  Cut a piece of contrasting felt 3 1/4 x 2 3/4 inches for your tape measure.  I stitched the felt letter “T”  on to this pocket.

5. Cut strips of felt 2 inches by 4 1/2 inches to hold your needles.  The number of strips needed is determined by the number of different size circular needles you have.  You can fit holders for at least 10 sizes of needles.

6. Stitch on the pockets for the gauge and needle holders near the top of the holder.  Stitch 3 sides and leave the top edge open.

7. Now, position your 2 x 4 1/2 inch strips evenly across the needle organizer.  I placed 5 strips on each side.  I placed the left hand strips 2 1/4 inches from the left edge, leaving space to put the number labels to the left.  I stiched the right hand strips 1/2 inch from the right edge.  Stitch the upper and lower edge of each strip, leaving the sides open.

8. Place a felt number to the left of each strip that indicates the size of circular needles that will be placed in each slot.  I left one slot unlabeled at the bottom to use for “other sizes”

9. Insert a dowel through the opening in the top and tie a piece of twine to each end of the dowel.  Hang up your needle organizer and fill with your circular needles.


Step 5
Step 5