Five Fall Patterns with Tips from Patty Lyons’ Knitting Bag of Tricks
I am a self-taught knitter who has done everything wrong. When I started knitting, I didn’t always know the “right” way to do something. These mistakes lead me to countless opportunities to do things better or easier. Over the years, I have been frequently asked to put all my tricks in one book. So here it comes! Patty Lyons’ Knitting Bag of Tricks is a book revealing how I went from self-taught knitter to knitting teacher. To get you more sneak peeks from the book and to celebrate the sweater season is finally here…
…Check out these 5 fall knitting patterns and the tricks (A-HA moments) I used or came up with while I designed these projects.
Skill Learned: Buttonhole & Best Pick Up
The Saugerties Cardi is an easy-fit, unisex, comfortable cardigan with deep pockets and cozy collar. This pattern also allows you to learn a ton of new skills along the way. One of the tricks I have shared in the book is teaching you how to make the best buttonhole.
A two-row buttonhole is one of the most common kinds of buttonholes. But it has two problems: on the bottom of our buttonhole, we have the gap and the dip from the start of our bind-off, and we have the chokehold at the end. So the question is: how to make a better buttonhole? In my book, I show you, step by step, how to make your buttonhole look magical when the bound-off stitches for the buttonhole are bordered by knits.
Skill Learned: Pick Up Stitches for V-Neck
One trick I have taught in my two patterns—Affiknity & Costa Maya is how to round the corner of a V-neck. The issue is: when we pick up a button-band on a V-neck, our band has to go straight, then around the curve created by the neck shaping. All too often the fabric puckers.
For this trick, we borrow from crochet, which adds stitches to turn a corner. We will add two YOs to our pick-up! Don’t forget to count those two YOs as stitches when counting your pick-up stitches.
Skill Learned: Sloped Cast-On
When I was working on the Palm Canyon sweater, a fun knit with an integrated sleeve and tons of options, that created the sleeves by casting on stitches at the start of each row, I was thinking about smooth seams on the shoulders.
Stair-step sleeve cast-ons aren’t any more fun to seam than shoulder bind-offs. So I thought: if you can smooth out the top with a sloped bind-off, why not a sloped cast-on? In my book, I will reveal the trick and show you how to get a smooth, easy-to-seam dolman sleeve.
Skill Learn: One Move SSK
Last but not the least: one of my favorite tricks in the book! Used in my Tortola tee, my ah-ha moment in fixing the SSK came when I realized why the bind-off always leaves a big loop at the end or why the first stitch of a row looks loose: all our stitches are made with one continuous piece of yarn, flowing from one stitch to the next. That means the stitch we’re knitting now affects the stitch that came before it.
To fix that, I came up with the following move that both tightens the top stitch and allows you to do the SSK in one move, making it as fast as the K2tog. No need to prep or slip or do anything in advance.
STEP 1: Advance the next two stitches to the tip of the left needle. Insert the tip of the right needle into the front loop of the first stitch and pivot around to enter the back loop of the second stitch. This keeps the structure of variation #2 — the top stitch is open (you are knitting in the hole), while twisting the bottom one (you are knitting through the back loop).
STEP 2: Pivot the right needle away, stretching out the second stitch. The stretching will tighten up the first stitch.
STEP 3: Wrap the working yarn around the right needle and knit the two stitches together by pulling the needle out through the same spot the needle went in, at the base of the little triangle formed. This move will make the top stitch smaller.
STEP 4: Pull the new stitch off the needle, letting the old first loop drop off, and as you are exiting, gently tug the old second loop with your left needle. This removes any remaining slack out of the first stitch that now sits on top.
STEP 5: When you enter the next stitch on the left needle, give a tug to your working yarn to snug up your one-move SSK.
If you enjoyed these tips, be sure to grab a copy of the book, which will be officially released on October 11! If you haven’t pre-ordered it yet, get your AUTOGRAPHED COPY when you order directly from my store here! Or purchase the Bag of Tricks Gift Bundle to save even more. We currently added two more new versions of the Knitting Bag of Tricks project bags in the stores, check out here for all six collectible designs!