Posts Tagged ‘circular’

Knitting Inside Out

March 20, 2018

Has this ever happened to you, dear knitter? You’re knitting in the round, perhaps on your first hat, and suddenly something doesn’t look right at all. You’ve unintentionally created a band of bumpy reverse stockinette. That’s what happened to Helena, one of my Knit 101 students at Stitch House.


In my experience teaching knitting, it’s not an uncommon mistake for a novice knitter to make. So how does it happen and, most importantly, how can it be avoided?

This “inside out” knitting is the result of unintentionally knitting on the inside of a circular project. The knitter picks up the project and continues knitting across the project.


A closer look shows that the working yarn — the yarn connected to the ball or skein — is on the last stitch on the left needle, rather than where it should be — on the right needle.


Most often, the mistake is made when the knitter picks up the project after taking a break and doesn’t check to be sure that the working yarn — the yarn connected to the ball or skein — is connected to the last stitch on the right-hand needle.

That’s how to avoid “inside-out” knitting. But how does a knitter fix this error? For the sake of argument, let’s assume they don’t want to incorporate a band of reverse stockinette as a “design element” — always an option if one doesn’t want to remedy a mistake.

The only solution I’ve found is to rip out or tink back the erroneous stitches. Then, take a deep breath, check that your working yarn is on the right (not left) needle, then double-check it, and begin again.

What are your most common knitting mistakes? Any tips for avoiding or fixing them?

Eclectic Cowl

March 24, 2015

Until I made an Eclectic Cowl for my old long-standing friend Beth, I’ve never known the artist who created the yarn for my project.

Diane, aka Lady Dye, is a talented local fiber artist here in Boston. Her “urban-inspired yarns” are inspired, in large part, by street art. Her hand-dyed, multicolored yarns are simply exquisite and the colorways are delightful. My skein was from JP Knit and Stitch in Jamaica Plain.


The pattern is simple and shows off the color changes beautifully. It reminded me, in many ways, of the Yarn Harlot’s Encompass Scarf (one of my favorites).

Dear friend Beth, whom I’ve known and loved since we were in grade school in central Maine, says she just loves her birthday gift. Doesn’t it look great on her?!


The Thrill of a First Sock

April 30, 2014

There’s something very special about knitting a sock. It’s a simple piece of clothing that’s not particularly visible and endures a lot of wear and (eventually) tear. But the structural components of a sock make it a wonderful challenge even for a beginning knitter. The different parts to a sock provide learning opportunities, a multitude of options for customization, and enough variety that a knitter can’t really get bored.

– circular knitting on double-pointed needles (DPNs), two circulars, or one very long circular (magic loop method)
– ribbing
– construction of a heel flap and gusset
– toe shaping
– grafting the toe using the Kitchener stitch

And that’s just in top-down socks! For a first-time sock knitter, each section and technique can also provide the opportunity for much muttering and lots of occasional cursing.

In yesterday’s knitting class, Bonnie finished her first sock. How great is this?


first knit sock

Lucky daughter Liza will be the recipient once its pair has been knit. Keeping fingers crossed that Bonnie doesn’t develop a case of Second Sock Syndrome.

Strange, Sacred Time

January 9, 2014

The most recent cold snap has broken and the pipes in the second floor bathroom have thawed — without bursting, again. The contractor from whom we bought our house ran pipes up an uninsulated, exterior wall and didn’t add any heat to the bathroom — duh! We leave the taps and shower dripping and put a space heater in when the wind chill gets below 10F, but that wasn’t quite enough for the recent deep freeze. Suffice to say, the water is again flowing and the pipes have not cracked. (Fingers crossed, salt over shoulder, etc.)

Christmas came and went and was lovely, if a bit strange this year. All agreed that we had an awesome tree. I think every Christmas tree is beautiful just by being, but this balsam was particularly lovely and well-proportioned even before it was decorated with our extensive ornament collection. The decorating festivities included Grandma, lots of laughs, and only two broken ornaments.


We’ve entered a new part of our life journey over the past month or so since my father-in-law, who lives nearby and has been in a rehab facility for six weeks, decided after nearly six years of kidney dialysis and a failing body (multiple spinal fractures, constant pain, limited vision) that he doesn’t want to die in an ambulance or in the emergency room. He’ll have his last dialysis treatment in 10 days and will then go home where he can die in peace — without pain, surrounded by the familiar and the loved — including his wife of 52 years and his remarkable daughter and son (my sweet husband).

To be sure, it’s sad, but it’s not tragic, and in some ways, it’s a sacred time. His decision and planning, aided in large part by son Patrick and daughter Claire, have given his family and friends a gift in the opportunity to express their love and appreciation to him. It’s a gift to himself — although it may not feel that way all the time — to be able to hear those expressions, to accept them with a humble and generous spirit.

On the knitting front, Kevin was pleased with his new socks even though one is a bit too big. I took my circular scarf down to the wire — knitting during cocktails on Christmas Eve and weaving in the ends on Christmas Day. Thanks to Claire for capturing me in all my knitterly glory!


Know What’s Fast? Arm Knitting (seriously)

December 11, 2013

Inspired by Skye, an extraordinary young girl at the Friday knitting group at JP Knit & Stitch, and by a recent Wall Street Journal article and video, I decided to try something new.

As we sat together on the window seat last week, Skye created this loose, chunky, oh-so-soft scarf.


Totally intrigued, I bought a skein and the next day made a chunky circular scarf in about 30 minutes using only yarn and my arms. Look Mom, no needles!


I cast on (using the long-tail method) 6 stitches and used two strands of yarn. I chose Malabrigo Rasta in Soriano, a lovely black-purple-gold combo that I hope will look good on the recipient, who has a new black down coat (to keep out the icy winds of NYC) and who wears a lot of black as she moves from dance class to stage and back again. Taking one strand from inside and one from the outside of the ball ensured that I ended up with the same amount.


It took me two attempts to get the hang of the “knitting” so the total time was closer to an hour. Looking back, I think that I got the stitches and movements right but it looked so different that I thought I’d made a mistake. Stitching together was pretty straight forward (no needle involved).

I generally don’t care how long a project takes and have been known to rip out projects twice or even three times in order to get the finished product to come out right. But I must admit that a bit of instant gratification now and then can be quite exhilarating!


Ambidextrous? I Think Not.

November 18, 2013

Just before I finished the second of K’s socks, I succumbed to the lure of my next project: the Diamonds Are Faux-Ever cowl.  It’s a Fair Isle style, knit with two yarns, one of which changes color, giving the illusion that you’re knitting with more than two.

fair isle style cowl

I modified the pattern slightly, starting with the solid green [Cascade 220 Superwash in Shire] rather than the multi-colored [Liberty Wool in Neon Parade].

This is my first attempt at Fair Isle so to save time switching between the two yarns, I’ve starting holding the yarns in separate hands. It took multiple attempts to find a “wrap” for my left hand that was the right blend of snugness without being constricting. I doubt I’ll make the switch to Continental style, but it’s fun to try something new.

As you can see, M’s basketball season is starting — at least, the practice part — just as the football season is winding down. Knitting in a gym is much easier and enjoyable than knitting outdoors in the chill and dark of November. Of course, K’s hockey season will start soon and knitting at an ice rink is — if you’ll pardon the expression — a whole different ball game.

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