Seaming Tips

tips for seaming hand knit sweaters

I’m making a lot of progress on the super secret cardigan I’m knitting for my sister! Knitter details can be found here but there aren’t any pictures. I am determined to keep this cardigan a surprise.

So I’ve knit all the pieces and am working on seaming them together. Seaming is something I still feel really uncomfortable with. I always spend at least 30 minutes researching tutorials online to help. I figured I’d share them here with you! That way, next time I’m seaming, all my favorite resources will be in one place and hopefully this will help you out as well.

Weave in the ends

I like to weave in the ends that I’m not going to be using for seaming in first. That way there are less ends getting in my way.

This guide by Purl Soho is by far the most comprehensive one out there! In case you’re wondering, my go to is the “weaving ends in on wrong side with duplicate stitch.

Order of assembly

I don’t have enough experience seaming sweaters to really have an opinion on this, but some people suggest seaming your sweater together in a specific order to make it easier/get the best results. Easier seaming and better results are definitely something I can get behind.

This blog post by Tanis of the Fiber Space is my favorite on the “proper” seaming order!

Setting in the sleeve

Hands down the most tricky part of seaming a sweater – setting in the sleeve. You want to make sure it’s even or else you’ll get weird puckers but how does one go about making it even?

Luckily Amy Herzog, sweater wizard, is here to help. Her blog post is so incredibly clear and helpful and makes this really overwhelming topic simple!

Mattress stitch and three-needle bind off

Now that you’ve got your sleeve in like a boss, time to seam up those sides and sleeves. There are many seaming options, but my favorites are the mattress stitch and the three-needle bind off. I like the mattress stitch for the side seams and sleeves and the three-needle bind off for the shoulder seam.

Purl Soho comes to the rescue (again!) with a great video and written tutorial of the mattress stitch. And the Twist Collective has a very clear tutorial on the three-needle bind off.

 

And that’s it – all the seaming resources a knitter could need.  Do you knit sweaters in pieces or do you prefer the seamless options?

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Overrun by Knitting Projects

Pile of Hand knit projects

My friends, I have too many projects on the needles. How many? I’ve got 9 currently! Depending on your comfort level that may not seem like many to you (or you may be in the same boat as me) but I’m feeling totally overwhelmed!

I had no idea how bad it was until this weekend. The school my boyfriend teaches at is having an auction to raise money for the teachers fund and they asked if I would knit something to donate. I said of course and picked out this beanie . Their mascot is the Knights so it makes sense to knit a beanie that looks like a knights helmet. (I think it’s a little cheesy but they were all excited about it and I can see a 5th or 6th grader being really into it). Anyways, I got excited about it, I got the yarn, I was ready to cast on but I needed my favorite US 7 circular needle I always use for hats. I knew it was on this project but when I went looking for it, the project was nowhere to be found! Seriously!

As I was looking for it, I kept unearthing projects I had forgotten about (sometimes intentionally) and decided enough was enough. I put all the projects into one pile to decided whether they were worth finishing or if I should just frog them.

So now my 9 projects is down to 8 … I had a really hard time letting go. Still way too many but I think if I dedicate myself to just one a week, I can get down to a more comfortable number!

My happy place is three projects. One easy no-look projects (my go to is plain vanilla or simple textured socks), one medium project where I have to look maybe half the time (currently my quilted vest), and one hard project where I can’t look up from my work (I’m working on the Umaro blanket for the grandparents).

And I still haven’t found the circular needles I was looking for!

So what’s your comfort level? How many projects (and of what type!) do you like having on the needles?

Show and Tell

Hand knit fair isle mittens, Knitting

I made something that I am so proud of – these mitts for my Mom. They are probably the most complex, intricate, beautiful things I have ever made and I can’t think of a better person to give them to.   She is an avid knitter as well so she completely understands all the love that went into them.

The idea for this project started before this last Christmas. I had picked up this gorgeous skein of yarn and was planning on knitting my Mom a pair of fingered mitts for her Christmas gift. But life got in the way – I was graduating and all of the stress that goes with that didn’t really leave me with a lot of knitting time. Since my Mom was a knitter I figured I’d just give her the skein as a gift. It’s really lovely yarn and I knew she would enjoy working with it.

Hand knit fair isle mittens, knitting
Pattern: Snowflake and Garland Mitts by Olga Kalnitsky
Yarn: Juniper Moon Farm Herriot Fine and Regia 4-fädig
Ravelry project page HERE

Christmas morning came and she loved her gift – it’s stunning yarn, what’s not to love? But she kindly asked me to knit her a pair of mitts with it and so I did.

The pattern originally only called for two colors but I found this awesome maroon color in Mom’s yarn stash and it had to be in there. It had to! So I added it as a stripe around the cuff motif and I duplicate stitched it in the main motif. I really like how it turned out!

Your turn! What have you knit that you are most proud of? It’s a really good feeling to knit something at the edge of your skill set and survive!

How To: Tubular Bind Off

How to knit a tubular bind off

You guys. I have discovered the best bind off ever! As I was finishing the body of my sister’s cardigan, I knew that I didn’t want to do a normal bind off or Jenny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off. I’m not overly impressed with how either of those look on 1×1 ribbing. So I pulled out my handy book “Cast On, Bind Off.” I tried a few bind offs from the book but still wasn’t happy. So like any reasonable knitter, I put the project in time out and decided to catch up on some of my favorite knitting blogs. Sari of Luna Knits had recently finished a sweater and had mentioned the cast off she used – the tubular bind off! It was perfect.

The tubular bind off creates a seamless edge. It almost looks like the knitting just rolls over onto the wrong side. It’s really flat, reasonably stretchy, and perfect!

Here is a quick tutorial of the bind off.  It’s written for knitting flat but can really easily be converted to knitting in the round.

Set up rows:

Row 1 & 2: *K1, slip 1 with the yarn in front* repeat until the end of the row.
Slip all the knit stitches onto one needle and all the purl stitches onto a second needle.

What you’ve done is created a double layer that looks like this:

How to knit a tubular bind off

Kitchner Set Up:

Now you start to Kitchner the seam closed.  Cut the yarn ball from your knitting leaving about a foot long tail.  In the first stitch of the front needle, insert the needle as if to purl and pull through.  In the first stitch of the back needle, insert the needle as if to knit and pull through.  Now you’re ready to Kitchner!

Step 1:

In the first stitch on the front needle, insert the needle in the stitch as if to knit.  Pull the yarn through and slip the stitch off the needle.

How to knit a tubular bind off

Step 2:

In the second stitch on the front needle, insert the needle in the stitch as if to purl.  Pull the yarn through and but leave the stitch on the needle.

How to knit a tubular bind off

Step 3:

In the first stitch on the back needle, insert the needle in the stitch as if to purl.  Pull the yarn through and slip the stitch off the needle.

How to knit a tubular bind off

Step 4:

In the second stitch on the back needle, insert the needle in the stitch as if to knit.  Pull the yarn through and but leave the stitch on the needle.

How to knit a tubular bind off

Finishing up:

Repeat steps 1 through 4 until all stitches have been worked.  And that’s it!

How to knit the tubular bind off

What do you think? It’s a bit of a pain I’ll admit (unless you’re a huge fan of the Kitchner stitch) but I am so in love with the results it’s worth it.  Have you used this bind off before?

On Shawls

I’ve never really been into shawls. OK that’s not quite true. The knitter in me is crazy obsessed with shawls. I love the complex lace and the fine weight yarn. It seems like an awesome challenge and really rewarding to knit.

But shawls just really aren’t my style. I can get behind rectangle wraps because they’re just like scarves and I love scarves but I’m lost when it comes to triangular or crescent shawls. I don’t want to spend hours knitting something I know I’ll never wear but I think I’m going to take the plunge.

It could be one of those things where I don’t think I’ll wear it because I don’t have one and don’t know what I’m missing (the logic I use to convince myself…).

Here is a round up of the shawls I’m thinking of knitting.

Collection of Handknit Shawls for Spring1. Twigs Stole by Jenise Hope // 2. Waiting for Rain by Sylvia Bo Bilvia
3. Campside by Alicia Plummer // 4. Texelle Chunky Shawl by Brenda Lavell

Give me some guidance – are you a shawl lover? If you are, how do you style them? What’s your favorite shawl pattern you’ve knit recently?

Dubro Sweater

Fashion blogger Hand knit sweater outfit of the day

This is a sweater I have been unintentionally quiet about on the blog! I finished it last September (I think…) but I wasn’t blogging consistently then so it didn’t get shared which is sad because I am kind of obsessed with it.

It is really versatile and perfect for Texas “winters” because of the half sleeves. It’s really easy to layer a cardigan over it if it’s colder or just wear it on it’s own. It is knit out of a cotton and acrylic yarn held double that I reclaimed from a sweater I thrifted and unraveled.  This is the second time I’ve done that and it’s pretty fun to reclaiming yarn and make it beautiful again, even if it is pretty labor intensive.

Hand knit sweater outfit of the day

Pattern: Dubro by Michiyo // Yarn: Reclaimed
Ravelry project page HERE 

Like usual, I didn’t take great notes on it but I do remember not doing as many body increases as the pattern called for. It is meant to be A-lined but I felt like the called for number of increases would have been too much. But how many increases did I do? No one will know.

Details of hand knit sweater

Liebster Awards

liebsteraward-roses

I’ve been given the Liebster Award by two lovely women, Anges from Ready to Knit and Rachel from From Bad to Worsted. Both of you have been such huge supporters of the blog and I am floored every day by your kindness! Thank you!

The Liebster Awards are a way to get to know each other a little bit better and to recognize blogs that don’t have a massive following. I think it’s a great idea! I haven’t shared much about myself (besides my love of knitting) so I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to do so.

The way this works: I answer 11 questions asked by the lovely ladies who nominated me. Luckily there was only one question of overlap, so you’ll get to know a whole lot about me! Then I nominate my favorite blogs and ask them 11 of my own questions.

Let’s get started!

 

From Rachel –

Why did you start blogging? (Anges asked this as well! It’s a good question.)
I started blogging here about a year and a half ago. I liked the idea of sharing what I was knitting but I knew going in that I wanted it to be a bit more than that. I really want my blog to be useful for my readers beyond just giving inspiration. I want them to feel like they can be fearless knitters and tackle new techniques.

What did you want to be when you grew up?
As a kid I wanted to be a scuba diver/astronaut/paleontologist/princess. The plan: As an astronaut, I would go explore a water based planet so I would obviously need the scuba gear. Then while I was exploring underwater, I would find dinosaur bones that would need to be carefully removed (which is where the paleontologist skill set comes to play). And obviously, I would be a princess.

I’m an environmental scientist now so not too far off!

If you could have any one superpower, what would it be?
Super strength! Or to be able to teleport.

What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?
I’m not the biggest ice cream fan but I do love rocky road or mint chocolate chip.

Tea or coffee?
TEA! All day, every day, multiple times per day.

What’s your favorite color combination?
It varies all the time! I’m currently working on a pair of socks with yellow, teal, and a speckled green. It is very bright and very happy!

What do you think is your best trait?
I think I’m pretty resourceful and can think outside of the box. This happens to me when I’m knitting – I have an end goal in my head of what I want my project to look like and I try out new techniques or “invent” new ones of my own to get my project to look the way I want it to.

What’s the weirdest event you’ve ever witnessed in person?
Not necessarily weird but… The other day, I had my dogs in the backyard and they were going crazy. There was clearly something on the other side of the fence that they were really interested in. I went out side to see what was going on and I noticed that there was this little Chihuahua on the other side of the fence. I went over to see if it had tags so I could get him back to his people (and so he could stop peeing all over the fence!). As I was working on getting close enough to him to read his tag, this huge guy ran around the corner and was clearly happy to see his puppy. Apparently the dog had escaped by jumping out the window. I’d never heard of a dog jumping out of a window! I’m glad my dogs haven’t figured that out yet.

 

Cats or dogs?
Dogs for sure. I have two dogs – a retriever mix named Arya and a Shepard mix named Parker. They are the center of my universe! This picture perfectly describes their relationship. Parker is very happy go lucky, while Arya is a little more judge-y.

20160216_100214_01

What’s your favorite flower?
Growing up it was the pansy. I still think they are so pretty and happy. For bouquet type flowers though I’d have to go with hydrangeas.

 

From Anges –

What is the most difficult thing you ever did in your life?
I’m going to have to say my comprehensive exam for graduate school! There were three parts – I had to take a test that covered everything I had learned (it was a take home exam thankfully!), I had to give a presentation to my committee, then I had to answer any other questions they might have had. The last part was the most nerve wrecking! I couldn’t really prepare for it because I had no idea what they would ask me ahead of time. Sometimes I’m not the greatest at thinking quickly on the spot so I was definitely nervous. But it went alright! My committee was incredibly supportive, gave me some great compliments, and I survived (and graduated!).

Apart from any economic constraint, where would be your ideal place to live?
I’m pretty happy where I am now but I would love to have all four seasons so I could actually wear the things I knit. I think I’d like to move back to the east cost (dream big haha) or maybe move to Germany!

Your favorite movie?
I don’t really have a favorite movie. I am definitely more of a TV show type of girl. I like how short the episodes are but how long you get to spend with the characters over the course of multiple seasons. I’m currently watching Parks and Rec (it’s my first time and I love it!), iZombie, and I love watching reruns of the Simpsons.

A favorite craft tool?
I love my Knit Pro Zings! I have two fixed circular needles that I use for socks and Zings as DPNs for sweater sleeves. They’re great in both forms!

If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be?
I would change people’s view on climate change so we can work together to reach a solution to the problem. Or, you know if I had magical powers, I would just fix it myself.

What are your crafting plans for 2016?
I want to do more designing this year! I had a lot of fun creating my mitten patterns but haven’t done anything since then. Also, I want to knit more sweaters! You can never have enough sweaters.

Which of your blog posts was the most read?
My most read post is this one I posted in October 2014. I had just finished knitting my favorite vest of all time and had taken some outfit photos of it. I seriously, I still wear it constantly. Best knit ever!

If you could go back in time and do something differently, what would it be?
I’m happy with the way my life is turning out so far! I might go back to my college self to tell me to wake up earlier. I get my best work done earlier in the day. After 4 pm I am useless and can’t write a coherent sentence. Unfortunately in undergrad I saved all my work until after 5 pm. I kind of shot myself in the foot there…

What do you do when you’re stuck on a project?
I put it in time out for a couple of days! Usually when I’m stuck on a project, it’s because I’m unsure about how to do a technique it calls for. After I do a little bit of research and find some good YouTube videos though, I’m good to go.

Your favorite material, or yarn?
I recently used this alpaca yarn to knit my mom’s mittens and it was GORGEOUS! It was so soft and warm. Definitely using more alpaca from now on.

And that’s it about me! I’m going to pass this on.

I’m nominating:

Sari from Luna Knit
Stephanie from Crafty Effie
Lolly from Lolly Knits
Angela from Pans & Needles
Wencke from StrickMaedchen Designs

My questions:

  1. How did you decide on the name of your blog?
  2. Describe your blog in 5 words or less!
  3. What is your favorite knitting technique or style?
  4. Are you a morning person or a night owl?
  5. Assuming money wasn’t a problem, what is one thing you would love to do?
  6. What is an item you can’t live without?
  7. Who is your favorite knitting designer?
  8. Do you like learning new knitting techniques?
  9. What is your big knitting goal of 2016?
  10. What’s your favorite book you’ve read recently?
  11. What was your dream job as a kid?

 

I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I liked answering these questions!  I’d like to get to know you a bit better as well! In the comments, feel free to share 1 to 3 things about yourself. I can’t wait to get to know you all a bit better.

Works in Progress Wednesday

I’ve been busy for such a short month so I don’t have a whole lot of WIPs (but I’ve got a lot of finished objects).

The first work in progress one is this white sweater that I’ve barely worked on this month. I really shouldn’t have cast it on but I couldn’t help myself! I really wanted a sweater on the needles. I told myself I shouldn’t cast it on because I had just ordered a sweater’s worth of yarn from Knit Picks for Jenn’s surprise sweater but impulsive me won.   This is another Jen sweater because I love my red one so much. I’m going to do stripes this time but I don’t know exactly what I want yet.  I’m thinking of doing a few larger stripes at the bottom of the body and sleeves.  I’ve got miles of knitting to do though so I have a lot of time to come up with a plan!

 

Hand knit Sweater Raglan V neck

Pattern: Jen by Josée Paquin
Yarn: Vintage Red Heart Sock & Sweater // My Ravelry project page HERE

 

The second project I’m working on is the Umaro blanket. This has been in my queue since 2011! I think it will be the perfect project for my Grandparent’s 60th wedding anniversary. I cast this on as part of the Queue it Down 2016 KAL that the Caffinated Knitting podcast is hosting. The premise is really simple.  You just knit 16 things from your queue this year. It is definitely something I can get behind since I have 570+ items in my Ravelry queue!

This blanket is going great. I don’t think I’ll ever memorize the pattern but it’s one of those patterns where you don’t have to constantly look back at the chart as you’re working the row.

 

 

Umaro Knit Blanket by Jared Flood

Pattern: Umaro by Jared Flood
Yarn: Knit Picks Brava Bulky in Dove Heather // My Ravelry project page HERE

 

The last project is a surprise. I can’t share any pictures because I know my sister reads my blog (she’s my #1 fan). I have a Ravelry project page set up that you can check out if you want the knitting details but there aren’t any pictures.

And that’s all I’m working on currently! I’m happy that I have a good mix of plain stockinette and the texture on the blanket that is a bit more complicated. What are you working on? If you’re knitting a pair of socks especially, let me know! I don’t have a pair on the needles and I’m probably going to cast on a pair soon.

 

 

How to Avoid Laddering

How to Avoid Laddering while Knitting in the Round

How familiar does this sound? You’re knitting happily in the round using double pointed needles. You’re chugging away on that sleeve or sock you’re knitting, making really great progress. Then you look down and that tiny ladder you noticed ten rows back has grown to be a GIANT ladder.

The struggle is real. It happens to me more frequently than I’d like to admit. So I did some research, practiced to perfect my technique, and created a video for you! I’m sharing my favorite tips for how to avoid ladders when knitting with DPN, the two circular needle technique, and when you start a row with a purl stitch.

Video is definitely a different medium for me but I thought it would be the easiest way to clearly show the techniques. What did you think?

FO: Grandma’s Socks

Hand Knit Socks, Self Striping Yarn

My knitting this year has been very unlike me. I would say that I’m a pretty selfish knitter. I just really like knitting things for myself! I’ll occasionally make a pair of socks as a gift but usually my knitting time is all about me.   Surprisingly, I’ve only got ONE thing on the needles that’s for me. Craziness!

This is a gift I finished at the beginning of this year for my Grandma’s 90th birthday this year. I think she’s deserving of a pair of socks!

Handknit Socks, Knitting, Self Striping Yarn

Pattern: Bickersstraat by Kemper Wray
Yarn: Opal Schafpate  // My Ravelry projects page HERE

I didn’t put a lot of thought in the pattern/yarn combo. I wanted to knit this pattern because I had just downloaded it, the yarn was there, I wanted to try out my Knit Pro Zings, and so it happened. Oh my goodness, it was a match made in heaven! The stripes of the yarn matched up almost perfectly with the repeats of the pattern! To keep the striping nice and even, I did an afterthought heel.

Overall, I’m very happy with how they turned out! It’s nice when a yarn makes you look good.