Tinking

Anyone who has been knitting for a while has probably also tinked.  I was tinking (or unknitting) long before I knew the term sinking.  Tink is “knit” spelled backward.  Tinking, is going backward in your knitting, taking out the stitches one at a time to correct an error.  I always use tinking when I’m taking out rows of lace knitting because it is so easy to lose your yarn-overs and end up with the wrong stitch count.  If I am ripping out garter stitch or stockinette, I will rip back a large section instead, then gather up all the stitches on my needle.

When tinking, it’s important to get the stitch mount correct.  Sometimes, when tinking, the stitches end up twisted on your needle.  The next stitch on the needle in the photo is twisted.  I can tell when I come to a twisted stitch in my knitting because the back loop of the stitch lies closer to the tip of the needle than the front loop.  Normally, the front loop lies slightly closer to the needle tip.  The stitch also feels a bit tighter when twisted due to the twist in yarn at the base of the stitch.  The simplest way to fix the twist is to knit into the back loop of the twisted stitch.  I try to remember “2 wrongs make a right” in this circumstance, first wrong is getting the stitch mounted wrong on the needle and second wrong is knitting into the back loop.   You can also untwist the stitch and remount on your needle, then knit into the front loop like usual if you prefer.

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving and find plenty of time to knit, with very little tinking required!

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How to create a Picot edge

A picot edge adds a wonderful decorative detail to a piece.  I recently finished “hot oatmeal” which is a lovely shawl with a picot bind-off.  You can see the pretty detail the picot adds to the shawl, and this shawl has not even been blocked yet.  After blocking, the picots will stand out even more.

Like most things in knitting, the picot bind-off is a very simple technique that really jazzes up your knitted piece.  The technique involves casting on, then binding off extra stitches to create the picot bumps.  You then bind off an equal number of stitches between the picot bumps so they are spaced evenly.  It’s really as simple as that.  Picots can be made in different sizes.   Creating a picot by casting on and binding off 2 extra stitches per picot bump seems to look the best in my projects. To create a 2 stitch picot bind off, you would cast on 2 extra stitches at the beginning of the row to be bound off.  Then bind off 4 stitches (2 for the picot bump which are the extra 2 stitches you cast on, then 2 from the project edge that will space out the picot bumps).  Here is a step by step guide to the picot bind-off.

 

 

 

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Picot Bind-Off

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1. Cast on 2 stitches at beginning of bind-off row

 

 

 

 

 

018c07f05060134681c2c397b06fb44fee630ef8a52. Bind off 4 stitches

 

 

 

 

 

01622d720fa2946633553b7ae13fd77c5c4635cf733. Transfer remaining stitch from right needle to left needle.

 

 

4. REPEAT steps 1-3 until all stitches are bound off.

 

 

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In this picture, 1 picot has been made and the additional stitches have been cast on to start the next picot.

 

 

 

 

 

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About half the stitches have been bound off in the picot method.

 

 

 

Always remember to account for extra time and extra yarn to complete the picot bind-off.

Course Review, Blocking with Kate Atherley

I really enjoyed the Crafsty course “Blocking Hand Knits”  with Kate Atherly.  I was several years into knitting before I even heard of blocking.  Then, it took another couple of years to try it.  Now I want to block lace shawls.  I recently finished “hot oatmeal” and realized I really need to block it.  Thus, the motivation for the class.

Kate Atherly really simplified blocking for me.  She showed enough examples of pieces pre and post blocking that I was  able to appreciate the huge benefits of blocking your work.  She also showed how simple blocking can be.  She teaches how to block different types of fibers.   Even more importantly, she shows how to block different pieces including socks, mittens, lace shawls and sweaters.  She spends the majority of time using the water immersion technique for blocking but also touches on the use of steam for blocking.  She  goes over how to handle superwash wool and how to protect your pieces from moth damage.  She demonstrates the use of sock forms, blocking pins and blocking wires.  Kate is really practical and teaches in a way that is easy to understand.  I no longer feel intimated by the blocking process, even for a lace shawl.   I think most knitters can benefit from education on blocking, and all of our finished  pieces can benefit from blocking.  I would highly recommend this Craftsy course to boost your confidence when it comes to blocking your hand made treasures.

Shadow Knitting

Like many techniques in knitting, shadow knitting is deceptively simple.  Shadow knitting relies on the difference in height between knit and purl stitches.  The purl stitches from one row, block out the knit stitches from another row.  This style of knitting is usually done in 1 light and dark color.  When viewed straight-on, the piece of knitting looks like simple contrasting stripes.  When viewed from an angle, a picture emerges from the knitted piece.  Worsted weight yarn seems to work the best for this technique.

img_0593 img_0597 The pattern is worked on the wrong side of the item.  The pattern stitches are knit on the wrong side, thus they look like purl stitches and stand out on the right side.  The background stitches are purled on the wrong side.  All right side rows are knit and the color is changed every 2 rows.

When you view charts for shadow knitting, they sometimes show additional color changes so you can see the picture that emerges from the knit and purl stitches.  It is important to remember that you will not be changing colors except at the beginning of every other row when doing the actual knitting.  The additional colors in the chart are only placed to help you visualize the picture that will emerge in the knitting.

This technique is simple and really fun.  There are many free patterns on Ravelry for shadow knitting (also called illusion knitting)   It’s also quite simple to design your own shadow knitting patterns.    Vivan Hoxbro has a good book on this subject if you’re interested in exploring it further.

 

Shadow Knitting