I’ve been a terrible blogger, but I hope you’ll forgive me when you see the new designs & classes coming out. It’s been an insanely busy summer with planning for filming a new online class for Annie’s as well as an exciting new teaching plan (sorry can’t tell ya yet, stay tuned) and many new designs (sorry, can’t show ya yet).
Since the summer is slipping away fast, you can imagine how excited I was when I found out I’m going to CAMP, Camp Stitches that is!! Yep, that means three straight days of knitting in GORGEOUS New Mexico! Squee!!
Camp Stitches -
Secrets to Spectacular Sweater Success!
Join me for a three day sweater intensive – click here for more info and to book
There are so many ways your sweater can go wrong but even more ways it can go sooo right. In this three-day sweater intensive, we will be looking beyond the pattern to really explore all the secrets and tricks every knitter needs to know to create their perfect sweater. We will begin with an exploration of knitting technique—how to create a more stable fabric with no “rowing out,” how to make neat edges and fix the big loopy first stitch, as well as better cast-ons and bind offs to name just a few.
Next we will delve into specific knitting techniques and how to improve them including best practice for picking up stitches, tricks to avoid gaps in your necklines, and how to improve the look of ribs and cables, better matching YO in lace, making a SSK that matches your K2tog, better transition from rib and so much more!
We will also be answering what every knitter wants to know: what parts of the pattern to ignore or change. When to use short rows, should you or should you not convert to in the round, what if you want to get a different size or use a different yarn.
Finally we’ll address what you need to start and end a perfect project: gauge and blocking. How and why does your gauge swatch lie to you, and how to block your garment perfectly?
Make this the year of your perfect sweater!
For those of you who hear “camp” and have these images jump into you head
Actual uniform catalog. Note the helpful fashion suggestion to “Show that you belong – wear your complete dress uniform properly and with pride at all times”.
Or perhaps you grew up as a city gal, and have never camped a day in your life . . .
Camp STITCHES WILL have:
Camp STITCHES Will NOT have:
|- Fabulous Teachers
- Fun classes
- Brilliant Students
- Beautiful Setting
|- Uncomfortable sleeping bags
- Ugly camp uniforms
- Horrible camp food
- Bad camp songs (Can’t swear to this one)
Hope you can join me November 13 – 17 and make this the year of your dream sweater!
In the last Tuesday Tip I covered the felted join as the spit splice. This type of splice is for animal fibers that are non machine washable . . . but wait, there is another way.
Meet the Needle Felted Join
When I want to splice a non animal fiber I try pulling out my handy dandy needle felting pen. I’m never 100% sure if a fiber will hold the splice until I give it a try, but often if a yarn has a bit of bite to it, a cotton, or raw silk blend for instance, or a machine washable wool, acrylic blend, it will work like a charm.
1) The first thing I do is cut away a bit on each tail. Here I have a single ply, and I’ve done a bit of a diagonal cut on each end.
3) As you stab (being oh, so careful to keep your hands far away from those CRAZY sharp needles), you’ll see that the join may start to flatten out a bit. You can turn it so it stays round.
4) Give a delicate tug to see how it’s going. If it starts to slide apart, keep stabbing until . . .
5) Ta Da . . . the needle felted join.
I like this so much more then weaving in ends
An Ode to Excellent Crafter’s Spouse
A few evenings ago I had an exchange with my husband that only confirmed what I already knew. I have an excellent “Crafter’s Spouse”.
It went something like this:
David: (hollering from bathroom): “Honey, where’s the dental floss”
Me: (still in living room, finishing a row): “Sorry, it’s in here”
David: “We have thinner floss than that if you need”
If you are a non crafter, the significance of this exchange might not jump out at you. You see a non-crafter husband might have wondered “Why is my wife flossing in the living room”, but a CRAFTER husband wonders “Is that floss thin enough for her crafting needs?”
He didn’t know what I was doing with the floss, but he assumed it was craft related (I was using it to tie the center of 1″ pom poms for some mittens I had designed).
Breaking the “old” Crafter’s husband mold
When I used to work in yarn stores I would always cringe at the conversations about how the customers’ husbands would complain about how their wives spent too much time or money on crafting. My husband has always been so proud of me and my creations. He’s supported me when I gave up my career as a Stage Manager to run a yarn store, and most recently when I made the leap to full time knitting teacher and designer.
You might have an excellent crafter’s spouse (or best friend) and not even know it.
Here now, are the top 10 reasons I know I have a keeper. Leave a comment and let me know yours:
# 10 He knows you will be packing more yarn then you need on vacation, and keeps his mouth shut.
#9 He will voluntarily, without being asked, google for yarn stores when you go on vacation, just in case there are any near by.
#8 He ALWAYS wears some thing you knit for him when you go to a party, and then looks for the opening to tell everyone “She knit this”.
#7 He knows just how to hold the skein of yarn for you to hand wind a ball when you are away from your swift.
#6 He vaguely knows what “worsted” means.
#5 Will occasionally look up at you while he’s talking, and realizing his mistake declare “oh, sorry, you’re counting”.
#4 He recently not only went out and bought you 8 magazine boxes to deal with your knitting magazine crisis, but he rearranged the office book shelf to make room for them.
#3 He worries that now that you’re a professional knitwear designer, you never have time to knit anything for yourself.
#2 Has attended Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool with you EVERY YEAR (and never complained that it’s also our wedding anniversary weekend).
And the number one reason you know you have an excellent crafter’s husband . . .
#1 When you say you’ll be there as soon as you finish the row, he knows you’re lying!
We all do it. Every single New Yorker who rides the subway does it. We compose the rants we wish we could say (and once in a while, do) to our fellow commuters. Sometimes the pile of undelivered letters gets too large, and we have to jot a few of them down. Please share yours in a comment.
To the coven of Wall Street business types,
I see you standing in your very important circle of suits in the coveted space just to the left of the subway door. I realize how vital it is that you keep you chatty, coffee circle, wide and open, so you can have space for your attache cases at your feet. I realize how your protective circle helps keep the unwashed masses from touching your pristine suits. I realize all of this, but it’s Calcutta just to the right of you, so I’m sure you understood why I felt it was necessary to reclaim some of that space for others by gently elbowing you until you moved.
Thank you for your understanding.
To the subway fine diner,
Thank you so much for sharing your meal with the entire subway train. We all love the smell of your chicken dinner so much, that I’m quite sure it’s why you chose to leave all the bones on the seat. It was so we can savor the delicious aroma of your meal all the way home to Brooklyn.
To the scowling teen,
I see you in your pants down to your bum, and your stupid cap with the straight rim and the (inexplicably) important round sticker still under said brim. I see you sitting there looking tough and scary and scowling. I see you glaring at others as if to say “stay away from me”. I also see you when you helped that woman down the stairs with her stroller. I see you be the only passenger to stand up when you noticed the old woman clinging to the poll. I see you shrug her thanks off with a grunt of “whatever”. I see you, and know you are not the “thug” that the rest of America would think you are. New Yorkers see you.
To the tourist family on the Canal Street Q train,
Yes. That is a bag of fish heads.
Welcome to New York.
To the music lover on the 2/3
Yes, please do turn your music up. We all share your taste in music and are so very very happy that you are providing a concert for us. No, don’t worry, that person trying to read the paper is more than thrilled to have a sound track.
We know headphones are uncomfortable, we would never DREAM of asking you to wear them.
To the man clearly on a first date,
You know you like her. You know you took her to a Broadway show, and probably and expensive dinner. You know this is not your train, but you are riding her home. You know you keep looking at her every time she is not looking at you. What you don’t know is she keeps looking at you every time you look away.
It’s going well.
To the family of disgusted tourists,
Just because we are all wearing headphones staring straight ahead does not make us deaf. We can all hear you.
To the dad who is wearing his backpack on his chest (looking like an idiot) saying “this is how you have to protect yourself from these people”, and the wife who is clutching the littlest one to her training him to be afraid saying, “don’t look at anyone, they could be dangerous” and the teenage daughter who refuses to touch the subway poll because “eww, I don’t know who’s touched that”, so therefore keeps loosing her balance and bumping into me, and to the son who disgustingly declares “Can you believe they cram into these trains everyday. Nobody has cars here. I feel so sorry for them” – to all of you we have the following to share.
We didn’t want to hurt you before, but we do now.
That’s only a handful of the letters that rattle around in my head, but it’s nice to get a few of them out.
Thanks I feel better.
Who amongst us loves to weave in ends . . . raise your hand. Nobody? That’s what I thought. Meet one of my all time favorite tips:
The Felted Join
Today’s tip will cover the wet felted join. Later, we’ll cover other options for non animal fibers.
This little marvel can be done as a wet felted join with any (non superwash) animal fibers. It works great on 100% animal fibers, but don’t count those blends out – experiment. It will depend on the grip of the blend. Every animal fiber has a different scale profile (with the exception of silk, the only protein fiber with no scales). Some fibers have many small smooth scales, others have larger rough scales. It’s the scales of the animal protein fiber that grab onto each other.
I’ve successfully wet felted blends with as little as 40% wool but it was a very grippy wool.
The other thing I love is no WASTE!! When you are working with Cashmere, or your precious hand-spun and you want to use every last inch . . .
When you get near the end of your ball of yarn, or need to add a new color (more on color change later), you can do your felted join. Make sure to leave yourself 10″ or so of the old ball, so you have enough room to maneuver, but once joined you can knit every inch of your yarn!
Begin by cutting away 1/2 the plys of each end of yarn. I usually cut away about an inch. If you are working with a single ply you can untwist the yarn and pull away some of the ply. Many tutorials skip this step – don’t. If you just felt the two ends together you will get a fat bump in your yarn.
Over lap the yarn tails together at around 1/2″ from the end. The overlap should be in the middle of the cutaway plys.
Fold the cut away ply ends back on the yarn, so you create two interlocking loops. Wet your fingers a bit (yes I use spit . . . hence the other name of this join, “spit splice”) and twist the cut ends so they stick to the yarn. This will help control the main splice.
Once the ends have been twisted, you can put the overlapping loops in the palm of your hand, and add a bit more of the magical splicing ingredient – your spit. I usually just lick my palm before placing the ends in. Yeah, you heard me right, I lick my palm. What? I washed my hands first!
Final step, rub your palms together until you start to feel some heat. Remember the magical ingredients to create felt, animal fiber + water + agitation = felt. Sometimes you’ll then get a bit of fuzz on either side of the join, just move the fuzzy part to the middle of you palm and give another little rub to smooth it down and . . .
Ta Da – two balls of yarn fused together as if they were one. Beautiful!
You can also do this handy little trick with stripes to make the color change right at the end of the row. To do this:
1) Work to the end of the row of color 1.
2) Pinch the yarn right at the last stitch, tight to the needle, and cut the yarn leaving just enough to grip. Then unknit a few inches, so you have 6 – 10″ of the color 1 yarn free.
3) proceed to do the felted join.
4) Knit to the end of the row again with color 1 and color 2 will be joined right where you want it!