Monday, March 25, 2013

Screwed it up? Knitfall, not Pitfall

Best Quote I Heard All Day
"Summing up, it is clear the future holds great opportunities. It also holds pitfalls. The trick will be to avoid the pitfalls, seize the opportunities, and get back home by six o'clock." Woody Allen

Expert knitters screw up their knitting too, even though most of them don't want to admit it. I make occasional mistakes and I'm about to add Knitfalls to my design directions.

Lace provides the stack of Knitfalls. What's the major Knitfall? Skipping a yarnover but making its attached decrease. The next Knitfall is fucking up a Slip1, K2together, Pass Slip Stitch Over (Sl1, K2tog, psso), the double decrease that shows up frequently in lace. Often its *yo, sl1, k2tog, psso, yo* and also *yo, sl2, k1, psso, yo*. And further on, the double decrease's yarnovers can be placed elsewhere. That's called "delayed increases."  Delayed increases provide a wave. So what's that Knitfall? Putting the yarnovers next to the decrease when they are actually placed elsewhere on the row/round because you've been putting the yarnovers by the decrease primarily and your brain and hands don't hit the delayed yarnovers.

Want another Knitfall? Here's one of my new sock designs with a slip stitch with yarn forward (sl1wyf) pattern.

Working it in the round helps to avoid this Knitfall...where you forget to move the working yarn in front of the slipped stitches. When knitting flat, you're more likely to keep the yarn in back and slipping the stitch(es).

The yarn for the socks? Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock, Rainbow. This will be going up on Ravelry shortly. My Punk Princess Liz saw them and said, "Wow Grammy! Those are Mardi Gras socks!" So that's the design title. Liz, now a Bachelor of Fine Arts junior at Montclair State University, still loves to be my sock model, although those are my feet in the picture above.

If you have some Knitfalls you'd like to share, feel free to comment.


Da Mags

Although I have my iPad Vogue Knitting subscription, I haven't bought the other knitting magazines in a long time. Because I design my own stuff, I don't do other people's. But last week, I bought Interweave Knits and Knitter's. Way back when, I bitched about both of them. And both magazines have improved incredibly. There are now so many knitting magazines, it's tough to say which one sucks. These three are now my favorites.

The two magazines that I always buy are Pieceworks and SpinOff. I haven't done any weaving in a long time but I'm going to hit my Schacht Flip loom. Can't fold open my Mighty Wolf loom because of the lack of room. But I'd like to get back into weaving. Interweave Handwoven is the perfect magazine for novice weavers. As is SpinOff for spinners.

Edit Time

I'm about to tech edit for Yarnwise, a UK knitting magazine. And my friend Lars Rains's Lopi book. Lars is a rare and handy Lopi designer. I'll let you know when the book is published.

Later, skanks.

Friday, March 01, 2013

Sockitis Gusset Remedies

Best Quote I Heard All Day
“One can never have enough socks," said Dumbledore. "Another Christmas has come and gone and I didn't get a single pair. People will insist on giving me books.”  J.K. Rowling

Sooner or later, some damn idiot will knit a fucking book. Yeah, do the words via intarsia. Knitting has gone out of sane limitations these days.

So I'm still designing socks, finished all the lace designs. Rather than put them all in one book, I'm going to upload the individual patterns. All of my designs are cuff-down, not toe-up. Why? Because if you have a hefty instep, cuff-down socks will fit your feet far better due to the heel shaping. I have a couple of designs with short-rowed heels but I prefer a gusseted heel.

I've had people on Ravelry ask me questions about sock designing so I figured here is the place to yack about it. If you're looking to become a knitting designer, sock designing is a good start. If you're teaching beginners who are ready to make something, cuff-down socks are great because they include techniques that beginners need to learn--increase and decrease types, shortrowing, stitch pick-up, and grafting.

Gapped Out Gusset

Many people don't like to do a standard heel gusset due to the potential heel and leg junction issues. I have a very simple technique that I use for my patterns. When you're done with the leg length and are ready to knit the flap, start off with one knitted row, then one purled row, sans initial slipped stitches. If you do the flap with nothing but slipped stitches at the beginning of each row, the first two rows with slipped stitches will make a gappy mess when you're picking up stitches for the gusset.

So after the two plain stockinette rows, then go for the *Sl 1 purlwise" pattern for the rest of the flap rows. Yes, adding the two stockinette rows means that when you pick up the gusset stitches, you will have to pick up either one or two extra stitches there. For example, if you have 15 slipped stitches on each side of the flap, you'll use those to pick up the gusset stitches and then add one or two more from the initial two stockinette rows. So you'll have either 16 or 17 gusset stitches, not 15.

Here's a picture of one of my gussets, done this way.
A perfect junction. What you need to do with the one or two added stitches is to decrease them immediately, on the first two rounds. Then continue the decreases every other round. Got it? Yeah, try it.

And when picking up the gusset stitches, don't forget to knit them through the back. Whenever you pick up stitches, do this.

Sockin' Needles

A while back, I wrote about Magic Loop and how I wasn't going to bother with it. Well, I was wrong. I still use double-pointed needles but often, depending upon the design, I go for Magic Loop. My favorite DPNs are my Signature Needle Arts needles. Fabulous pins!

What I like about them are the points. You can get either Stiletto or Blunt points. Mine are Stilettos, although if you have the bad habit of poking your needle point into the yarn, you don't want these. Plus, these needles are incredibly expensive--$34 per set. I also go for Addi needles too, especially for my circs.


Credit for Edit

 I've been busy writing directions but now that it's Friday night, I'm done for the weekend. If you read the comments in the last post, you can see that the editor of Yarnwise, a UK knitting magazine, left me a message. Yes, she has asked me if I would like to do tech editing for them. Yes! I love editing directions because I've done it for years and want knitters not to yell, "What the fuck does THIS mean?" My friend, Lars Raines, is working on a Lopi sweater book, which I will edit for him. Lars does beautiful designs so I'll let you know when it's published.

Another reason why I wrote that interactive book for Open Air Publishing. I love beginners. Remembering when I first got into knitting seriously, when I was 23, there was no internet, no training videos, very few knitting books, so I had to figure out shit on my own. I recall reading a vest pattern in a Mon Tricot issue, the magazine that taught me how to be an intermediate knitter, that had directions for shortrowing.

I'm saying to myself, "WHAT? Stop knitting in the middle of the row? NO!" And then I picked up some yarn and needles to see if this was actually a mistake or a real method. Duh. It was. Made a wedge. Wow! That experience made me realize that you can manuveur yarn loops in amazing ways. Shortrowing is rare and handy, for sure!

Later, skanks. I'll be back next week.