November 29, 2012

Short Rows - is there a better way?

 I love short rows. Crazy about them. I adore how they add 3-dimensionality to something that would otherwise remain flat. 

What i'm not such a great fan of though, is how they can look if you don't work the wraps in well enough to keep them hidden. 

As I was knitting the first of several Aviatrix hats in anticipation of Justine of Just Jussi's visit, I started thinking. Surely there are some good resources around that give you some options for better short rows. 

And of course, the ever amazing Alice of Socktopus comes to the rescue. I could have spent hours working my own way through lots of instructions, taking lots of photos, and she's done it all already. Alice's shadow wraps technique is my favourite - as long as I remember to use it. 

(image from Alice)

See the picked up wraps? No? That's because this is such a super awesome technique. I'm a pretty big fan of not having to pick up the wrapped stitch on the way back, which I find annoying and slows things down. I suspect it'll be one of those things like Kitchener Stitch - for the first twenty or so times you work it, you need to look up the instructions. An entire Aviatrix using shadow wraps will have you a Grand Master at the technique, i'm sure!

You will need to be sure that you count the twinned stitches as ONE stitch rather than two.

Seeing as this Aviatrix hat knit up super fast...I think I may need to cast on another and see if I can finish two in one night.

Happy knitting, and wrapping and turning!

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November 20, 2012

Sacred Stocking Stitch

 There is something about stocking stitch.

Complain as we may when I project has what feels to be miles and miles of the stuff, it is oddly soothly and reassuring. 

Row after row of knit or purl (or in the round, just knit), it's the perfect stitch for tv watching, or talking with friends, or daydreaming. mostly because it's pretty hard to mess up. 

While knitting away at the sunshine yellow cardigan I got to thinking how easy it is to get obsessive over a project that is mostly stocking stitch. 'One more row' easily turns into ten, and there's something soothingly rhythmic about the whole thing. A long row of knit, a long row of purl, turn, repeat, over and over. 

The Sunshine Celestite Cardigan in progress

I know there's a bit of history behind stocking stitch (the English is Stockinette, but stocking is so much simpler to say), so I decided to hunt out some tidbits of info.

Each column of stitches on the right side of the fabric is a 'wale' - which I love. Except I keep thinking of actual whales. Also, the bumps on corduroy fabric are also called 'wales' (hooray for old fabric store know how!).

Knit and Purl stitches are asymmetrical (I didn't know that!) which is why stocking stitch fabric curls at the sides and ends.

The path that your yarn takes is called a 'course' and each loop is called a 'bight'

Knitted garments can stretch as much as 500%! Holy moly!

When we knit by hand we are 'warp knitting' as we are creating wales that run perpendicular to the course of the yarn (hooray for putting terminology together!)

Feel smarter about your knitting? I do. Feel smug because I should have known all this stuff already and you totally do? Yeah, that's cool.

Happy knitting!

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October 23, 2012

Next Steps Crochet: guest post by Sofia

Thanks to Sofia i've caught the crochet bug well and good - as have lots of our eager crochet learners. Whether you've learned the basics with us, or would like to add to your skills, the Next Steps class is the way to go. And it's this Saturday! 

Sign up online, call us or drop by the shop to book your spot.

Take it away, Sofia!

There have been several very successful 'absolute beginners' crochet classes held at HRYC now and I've loved how enthused almost every one of the newbie crocheters have got about the craft. One recent comment was 'if I'd learnt to crochet before knitting I can see I might not have learnt to knit'.  I doubt that's really true though.  I can now knit too, I've not knitted a lot, but I can do it and I intend to do more of it in future even though crochet is my first love.  Trouble with crochet is, you have to learn much of the more advanced stuff by yourself, there's not many crochet classes beyond the beginner level but there are loads of techniques that can move crochet beyond the granny square and several techniques that I wish I'd been able to learn from someone in person.   So I'm sharing my new found knowledge in a 'next steps' class suitable for those that can already crochet a little.

One of the 'must know' techniques we'll cover is a more advanced method of chaining called the foundation single crochet, it's much stretchier and so it's ideal for clothing, plus it gets rid of that frustrating 'first row' experience.  Reading charts is another technique many people have mentioned they'd like to learn. There are some gorgeous patterns which make a whole lot more sense when charted thats for sure!  Best tip I can give you is this; read your chart anti-clockwise or from right to left as that's how we create our 'fabric'.  We'll also cover a few different methods for joining squares and something called an invisible decrease so hopefully there's a little bit of something interesting in there for a few of you.

I must admit, I'm really looking forward to it, I'm hopeful I might pick up a tip or two from those that come along as well!

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September 17, 2012

#twitknit technical help...

 Sourced by our Twitterers! 

A quick run down of our favourite technical help sites and links, as mentioned during #twitknit on Monday.

Technical Knitting - a seriously good site with clear written and visual instructions, neat wee tricks and sidesteps when you make mistakes.

Techniques With Theresa on - I particularly love the tutorial on kitchener stitch, increases and decreases and fixing mistakes. Actually, ALL Theresa's tutorials are excellent.

There's also a bunch more instructional posts on that are well worth a look through.

For those who love to learn from videos, pop on over to or tried and trusted Youtube.

My absolute favourite Magic Loop tutorial can be found over here on - in case you fancy venturing into socks if you haven't already!

And the book Tash learned from - Stitch 'n bitch by Debbie Stoller

Not just for learners, this is full of handy technique tips and is a great book to have on hand when you can't be bothered going to the internet.

Have I missed anything? 

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