Sunday, January 31, 2010

Valentine Knitting

Valentine Cookies by Aine_D on Flickr. Used under Creative Commons Licence

There are still around two weeks' worth of knitting time before Valentines Day is upon us, if you celebrate it. A handmade gift is always a winner and goes a long way to show how much you care.

Here is an idea which would work for everybody, that you will still have time to make from our pattern archive:

Pretty, Pretty Gloves by knitonthenet, copyright

Pretty Pretty Gloves is a very quick knit in aran (worsted) weight yarn. Customising the colours used and adding or leaving out the ribbon makes these fingerless gloves a great unisex knit. You can even make them two-at-a-time to help combat second-sock (glove?)-syndrome by magic-looping with a long circular needle.

Originally made using a self striping yarn, they also look great in solid colours or in a variagated yarn. Greys and black could look especially striking on this pattern, but if you do knit them for your chap, perhaps renaming them 'Rugged, Manly Gloves' might be an idea...

... and if you're looking for that perfect card, how about ordering an A Stitch in Time card featuring beautiful vintage knitting, which you can customise with your own message. There are six gorgeous designs to choose from, and they are available from the knitonthenet shop in both black and white or in colour.

A Stitch in Time Notelets, copyright

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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Technical Bits: Short Rows

Maile, copyright

We often get asked about short-row shaping at knitonthenet: it is a great technique to use and very useful too.

Essentially a short row is a row which is not fully knitted, just as the name suggests. The piece of knitting is turned around before reaching the end of the row, and knitted back in the other direction. But that's not all...

You may have come across the pattern abbreviation 'w&t'. The 't' stands for turn, but the 'w' is for wrap. In order that the finished piece of knitting does not have stepped holes in it at the turning points, the yarn is passed around the next unknitted stitch.

You would do this by knitting up to the point indicated in your pattern, slipping the next stitch to your working needle, passing the yarn to the front of the work (presuming you are working in knit), slipping the stitch back, turning the work and continuing to knit you pattern.

There are some great instructions by Gudrun Johnston on our Useful Information page which include how to pick up the wraps in the coming rows for a seamless finish.

Short rows are included in knitting patterns as a way to shape a garment, whether it is to create a heel in a sock or bust darts in a top. It works by introducing extra rows of knitting into the pattern on a horizontal plane, whereas other increases will be introducing extra stitches into the pattern on a vertical plane.

Another place that you might come across short rows is on shoulder shaping in patterns such as the man's vest, Maile. They are used at the shoulders or armholes to create a more attractive cast-off edge a slanted edge.

As well as Maile, other patterns where you could try out short-row shaping include Woolly Wormhead's slouchy hat, Ziggy and Gudrun Johnston's Little Black Dress.


editorial assistant


Saturday, January 23, 2010

Make, Do and Knit


knitting and making fair

Saturday 27th & Sunday 28th March, 2010

March 2010 sees the launch of an exciting event in the knitting and craft calendar Make, Do and Knit, which is to be held in the beautiful surroundings of the historic Grade II listed Bluecoat School in the charming and lively suburb of Wavertree in Liverpool. This new event is brought to you by knitonthenet editor and co-owner, Susan Crawford and designer/maker, Helen Chatterton, owner of Perfection of Production.

This exciting two day, knitting and making fair will have a vintage feel, echoing drapers of yesteryear where one could buy everything one needed from under one roof. Within the school's main hall, featuring magnificent arched windows, carefully selected retailers offering a wide selection of high quality knitting, spinning, dressmaking and haberdashery supplies.

Fashion shows will run throughout the two days in the historic, circular stone chapel with its glass domed ceiling. The chapel also offers visitors the chance to 'knit in the round' and relax in this awe inspiring setting, and have the opportunity to view the Poetry Society's knitted poem.

Additional attractions will include book signings and textile art exhibitions. The café will also have a vintage feel offering high quality, home cooked food at affordable prices.

You can find out more information as it happens and book your tickets on the Make, Do and Knit website. You can also join the Ravelry group to discuss all of the latest details. Tickets are also available from the knitonthenet shop. It costs just £3.50 for a day ticket or £5.00 for the weekend.

Hope to see you there!

editorial assistant

Friday, January 15, 2010

How You Made It: Retro Cloche Stash Hat

Retro Cloche Stash Hat by Just call me Ruby, copyright knitonthenet

The Retro Cloche Stash Hat, from knitonthenet Issue 1 is a gorgeous close-fitting hat, of the style popular in the 1920s and early 1930s. Knitted in double knitting weight yarn it is constructed flat from the crown down. Designed by Just call me Ruby, her original hat is pictured above.

There have been some great interpretations of the hat such as the one below by LeAnn Rudge, a spinner and shepherdess from Central Oregon:

CVM/Bamboo Slouchy by Ishton on Ravelry

WyldRose from Texas knitted her hat from some pink stash yarn as a break from complicated knitting:

My Hat by WyldRose on Ravelry

This beautiful green and white interpretation of the Retro Cloche Hat was made by Allie from Mississippi.

Retro Cloche Hat by TwitchyKnitter on Ravelry

Heather, also from the US made her hat in blue and in her Ravelry knitting notes points out the importance of the ribbon band to this pattern:

Wool Cloche by Jungandinsane on Ravelry

This great version by Karen in San Diego was knitted in a variagated yarn, showing off the lace effect beautifully:

Lacey w Brim Hat by Nitdaily on Ravelry

Do let us know in the comments what you think of these lovely hats, or tell us about the one you have knitted too.

editorial assistant

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Technical Bits: The Trials and Errors of the Tension Square

I'm cross posting this article from my IngridNation blog because I thought it might be useful to some of you to read a bit about tension squares and swatching. I resolved this year to knit more swatches. I'm terribly lazy about this most of the time and sometimes it does not matter so much, such as with scarves, but it is very true that being just one or two stitches or rows larger or smaller can make a substantial difference to the finished garment. I've recently been knitting up tension squares for the Sun-Ray Ribbing jumper Knit-Along on knitonthenet's sister group A Stitch in Time - 2008 on Ravelry and it has brought home to me how important it really is.

The Trials and Errors of the Tension Square

No, not the Gauge Swatch, my friends across the Atlantic: the Tension Square. Must be properly British, you know…

Actually, that comment was prompted by my Mum asking me what on earth I was talking about when I mentioned that I was swatching for a jumper last week and then made comments to the effect that my Nan (who taught me to knit) would ‘turn in her grave if she had one’ to hear me say it! So, for my Mum and my Nan, I will be talking about tension squares.

Stack of Tension Squares for Sun-Ray Ribbing

If you’re a member of the A Stitch in Time group over on Ravelry, you will know that we’re starting a Knit-Along (KAL) on Friday 8th January. We’re knitting the pattern Sun-Ray Ribbing from Susan Crawford and Jane Waller’s book A Stitch in Time. The garment is a lovely 1930s jumper with the quintessential sun-ray pattern, popular in design and architecture of the period. I’ve been knitting up tension squares to test out different yarns for the project over the past couple of weeks and after quite a bit of heartache ( more of which later) have come up with my final decision.

Swatches for Sun-Ray Ribbing

These are the same swatches as in the first photograph, above. You can see from this photograph the importance of making tension squares in deciding the final yarn and needle size to use. It really is essential to make sure that your square is knitted to the right size, as a little bigger or smaller at this size (generally 4 inches) could make a difference of one or even two sizes in your finished garment. The pattern instructions will ask you to knit a certain number of stitches and rows over a desired size. Below are my attempts to get the right tension, the right yarn and the right needles for this pattern.

The square top left is knitted in Rowan Cashsoft 4ply, as called for by the pattern. I used the suggested needles but as you can see, it came out rather too big, as I knit a little loosely. I had a number of other yarns to try out, and on the top right is the same yarn in a different colourway, knitted on needles a size smaller. It came out just right, but I’m not so keen on pink for this jumper and decided to keep it for a cardigan. I was set on a green so tried out some double knitting yarn that I had in my stash (bottom left) with the smaller needles, and while the density of the knitted fabric was better the tension square was much too large. My last attempt (and in all honesty the yarn that I really, really, really wanted to use) was with some Artesano Aplaca 4 ply. I knitted it up with the smaller needles again, but despite my best efforts to talk myself into using it, the tension of the fabric was really too loose and holey. It is a rather thinly spun 4ply in contrast with the much bouncier Cashsoft.

Bearing this in mind, and revisiting my stash yarns, I found that I had enough Sirdar Country Style DK in a warm mid-brown to make the jumper. It is a wool/nylon/acrylic mix which and I wasn’t sure if it would have enough spring to retain the shape of the garment as wool would, the tension square turned out quite well, so I’m going with it. Although my previous attempt swatching DK yarn turned out rather large, this is more thinly spun and similar to the American sport weight yarn. Using the smaller needles it actually knitted exactly to the right tension, so that is what I’ll be using.

Final tension square (middle)

There’s still time to join the Knit-Along for Sun-Ray Ribbing if you’re on Ravelry, and if you don’t fancy that pattern, we’ll be having another in April, so do join the group and get voting for your favourite pattern from A Stitch in Time and get your tension squares on the go.

editorial assistant

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Friday, January 01, 2010

Happy New Year

Labyrinth of Light by ItzaFineDay on Flickr, used under Creative Commons Licence.


We would like to thank all of our readers for your support throughout 2009 and are looking forward to producing some really exciting issues for you this year.

Let's make 2010 a great one.

from Susan, Gavin, Ingrid
and all of the knitonthenet team