As days warm up, we are more likely to be knitting and crocheting with cotton and other plant-based yarns. Depending on the pattern you are working, you may find yourself with a few yarn ends that don't stay where you put them. Unlike wool yarn, plant-fibres don't stick to each other. It is common for the yarn ends to fray and to wiggle their way to the right-side of your garment. Oh no!
These photos are of the finishing of the Vanier V-neck Sweater, crocheted in Cascade Ultra Pima dk. The technique described for securing the yarn ends works in any knitted or crocheted project, as long as the yarn is a plant-fibre (cotton, linen, bamboo, or rayon). The plant-fibre can be blended with a bit of synthetic or animal fibre--just test first to make sure it is strong enough and stays secure.
First, see how the 100% cotton yarn tends to separate and fray after just one blocking? Over time, this end will likely work its way from the wrong-side to the right-side, and no one likes that.
So here's one way of dealing with those pesky cotton ends. Start with the tail trimmed to just 3" or 4". It doesn't have to be too long.
Use a tapestry needle to weave the end just one-half inch away from the very edge of the work.
Remove the tapestry needle and twist the yarn tail to open up the plies. Separate the yarn into 2 strands. In this case, the Ultra Pima has 4 plies, so I separated into 2-ply strands. Depending on the yarn you are using, separate into two halves.
Using the tapestry needle or a crochet hook (my tool of choice), pull one strand under and through just one stitch. Now, the strands are on either side of a stitch. This anchors the knot you will tie in the next step.
Tie the two strands together using a simple overhand knot. Pull the knot very tight. Take care to prevent either strand from puckering the crocheted or knitted fabric. Tie another overhand knot and, again, pull very tight. The tighter you pull, the smaller and more durable the knot will be. You may need to test your yarn to see how much stress it can bear. Ultra-pima, and most cotton yarn, is very strong and can take a very tight knot.
Use sharp scissors to trim both yarn strands very close to the knot. If you made a tight knot, it will stay tied for the life of your garment. If you are uncomfortable that the knot will come untied, you can put a drop of Fray-Check (a liquid available at most fabric stores) on the knot. It, basically, glues the knot together.
Can you see the knot in the picture? Give this technique a try next time pesky cotton or plant-fibre ends are getting the best of you. You can see the finished Vanier V-neck Sweater in the shop.
Here is the Vanier V-neck Sweater, crocheted with Ultra Pima sport. I've assembled the TWO pieces of the sweater (this is the easiest crochet project ever), gave it a quick block, and now nothing left but dealing with the pesky, cotton ends. Plant-fibre is so slippery, dealing with the ends can be a bother, but I have an app for that. Watch for a post on this soon! (The Vanier V-neck is a free download from Ravelry.)Comment >>
We posted a picture of Valentine before I made the head and asked if anyone could guess what animal I was making. If you guessed "Bunny", you were right. This little fellow has skills--he stands up all by himself. Our love bunny is crocheted in Eco Wool with a 3.75mm crochet hook to make the stitches very tight (the better to hold the stuffing in). Valentin Love Bunny pattern, designed by Anisbee Anisbee, is a free Ravelry download. Our next version will be crocheted in Ultra Pima, and then maybe sock yarn, and then...Comment >>
Woot! I finally finished both the back and front & am ready to start the sleeves. I may be the slowest member of the first Happy Hour kal, but I will finish and be proud!Comment >>
A lot of progress this week! You can see in the picture that I've made it up the back just past the sleeve-shaping rows. I've walked through working cables without relying on a cable needle. The jury is still out on whether anyone is a true convert...it takes practice and patience to feel comfortable with a new technique. If you have trouble keeping track of your cable needle between twists, try anchoring it in the fabric you are knitting.
While this cable pattern is very simple, I have proven many time this week that it is still possible to work the wrong row or twist the wrong direction. My most common mistake so far is to accidentally work the purl stitches in the centre panel as knit stitches. Two of the rows have purl stitches in the cable, which is a little unusual I have found that I can't knit this accurately and chat/drink wine/dose at the same time I'm not much of a multi-tanker.
Next week, I'll be away, but I'll have my sweater with me. I'll ask Sabrina to take photos of the other knitters' projects to share.
Keep knitting!Comment >>
A quick report on our first week of the kal. We wound a lot of yarn to get started--boy, the big Eco hank winds into a giant center-pull cake about the size of a tree stump! This sweater is designed for traditional, bottom-up, flat knitting, so we all checked our gauge and got started on the back ribbing. The ribbing is knit with a smaller needle to keep it snug. Above the ribbing, the cable pattern starts. The first tip is to use stitch markers to separate the columns of different cable and double seed-stitch patterns. The second tip is to follow the pattern charts. The pattern charts are large enough to read (yeah!) and follow a simple rythym: seed stitch, Cable A, Cable B, Cable A, Cable C, Cable A, Cable B, seed stitch. The Cable A pattern is very simple and separates the other, more complex cables. Cable C is wider, working up the center, with Cable B on either side. The different sizes vary in terms of the width of the double seed panel that is worked to form the sides of the sweater. Since there are no cables or complicated pattern on the sides, it is easy to customize fit with some waist shaping or, even, bust darts, if you think that is necessary.
Tip 3 is to visually check your cables to make sure they look right after every 2-4 rows. If you are uncomfortable pulling our cabled stitches, (Tip 4) add a lifeline every inch or two of knitting. Last tip, Tip 5, these are pretty simple cables and are very agreeable to dropping stitches down a few rows to correct any mis-turned cable or two. It is always easier to do this with your work laid flat on a table than with it in your lap. You can identify the stitches that need to be reworked; it could be 2 or 4 or 8. Let these stitches do a controlled drop as many rows as needed and pick them back up using a double pointed needle. Notice that the horizontal strands of yarn that you have "freed" represent the working yarn that you used to make the original stitches. Remember, working yarn in back for a knit & working yarn in front for a purl. A crochet hook one size smaller than your knitting needles, or a knitting repair hook, is the best tool for recreating stitches. Stay calm. The worst that can happen? You choose to pull everything back to the problem row. That's not big deal.
In the picture, my knitting stops where I noticed I followed the wrong row in the Cable B chart about 4 rows back. I'll be dropping stitches to fix that tonight. Don't look for other mistakes--I've decided to treat them all as design elements!Comment >>
We had so much fun with the last KAL, we are doing it again---and this time with cables. We are knitting Melissa Leapman's Saddle Shoulder Aran sweater in Cascade Eco or Eco+ wool. The pattern is available free from Cascade here. If you'd like to join us, we will meet in the shop on Thursday evenings, 5:30-7:00 pm, starting April 7. The only cost of joining the Thursday night KAL is to buy your project yarn from Dartmouth Yarns. If you can't make it on Thursday evenings, you still knit along with us sharing on Facebook and our website.
We are special ordering Eco and Eco+ so you can have the perfect color for your project. You can see the available colors for Eco here and for Eco+ here (the only difference is that the Eco is in natural colours, while the Eco+ has been dyed). The cut-off for the order is 6:00, Tuesday, March 29. You can order in the store on Tuesday or online here.
This is going to be a fun knit, and we hope you will join us. Call the store at 902-422-YARN to add your name to the Thursday night group and get you special order in before time runs out!Comment >>
We had a great first meeting of the First Sweater KAL. We are knitting Sabine by Julie Weissberger at Cocoknits. This is a light-weight, top-down raglan sweater with very little finishing--so boho chic. The pattern gives you a lot of freedom in choosing yarn, so swatching is critical. We grumbled a bit, but we all swatches and adjusted needle sizes to get the prescribed 4.5 st/in gauge. We were using Halo, Rowan Pure Wool dk, and Euroflax sport and ended up using needle sizes between 5.0mm and 6.0mm. Everyone added stitch markers while casting on. This make it easy to see where to make yarn-over increases in the upper part of the sweater. The easiest way to make a mistake is to forget one of the yarn-over eyelets, so watch you work as you go. It is easy to add a missed yarn-over if it isn't more than a couple of rows down in your knitting. The first 2 rows repeat until it is time to put the sleeve stitches onto waste yarn. Once you do that, you can see the sweater shape start to form. This top-down, raglan construction is really very similar to making a gusset thumb in a mitten.
I've finished 15 or 16 repeats of Rows 1 & 2 on mine (I'm knitting Euroflax). I'll post a picture soon. Comment below to ask a question or share your progress. Knitting along at home? We'd love to hear from you, too!
(Photo credit Cocoknits)Comment >>
Such a beautiful and fun project to crochet. Manos del Uruguay Alegria is the softest, kettle-dyed sock yarn you can find and it crochets quickly into a simple, open-work scarf. Download the Artfully Simple Angled Scarf, by Tamara Kelly, free from Ravelry and start your scarf now. Rather have a cowl? She has a cowl version, as well.Comment >>