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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Picot Ribbing Cast-On

This wonderful cast-on produces a picot edge to ribbing.  If you care about the fine details of your knitting, it's worth learning.  And it's not that hard, because it builds on the long-tail cast-on you (should) already know.  (See this blog's post for April 7, 2011, The Long-Tail Double-Edge Cast-On.)

This cast-on consumes about the same amount of loose-edge yarn as the long-tail, so measure roughly 12 inches for every 20 stitches.  (I hold the leading edge in my left hand and run the yarn about 4/5 of the way to the crook in my elbow:  that gets me about 20 stitches for each such pull.)

Now make a slip knot. 

Make a tent with your left thumb and left forefinger, just as with the Long-Tail.

At this point the Long-Tail takes the tip of the needle up through the hole created by your left thumb.  Hold that thought; we'll get to it in a minute.  But first, for the Picot Cast-On, you're going to bring the needle tip under the left wall of the tent

and then you're going to snag the right wall of the tent, making a simple wrap on the needle,

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Ribbing with a Picot Edge

The newest vision Charlotte has presented begins at the ribbed top of a turtleneck.  No ordinary spider she, Charlotte has insisted, this time, on a picot edge to that ribbing.

Here's what it looks like so far:

Note:  that is not a turned, double-back picot edge; it's a single edge that was cast on that way.

Stay tuned and I'll show you how to do it.

Tomorrow:  The Picot Ribbing Cast-On.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Charlotte's At It Again

Well, as you can see from the photo on the right, Charlotte's been busy again.  When the spider speaks, spin and knit I must. 

This lacy collar uses loops and bobbles for its closures.  The bobbles needed a little cotton stuffing, I decided.  One Q-tip per bobble provided just the right amount. 

I'll bet you've never seen a pattern call for 5 Q-tips.

Watch for it on Ravelry:  Sunday at the Sea.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Where Do You Get These Ideas?

At lunch the other day, my good friend Helen (wearing the Have-It-Your-Way Big Beret, photo on Ravelry) asked me, "Where do you come up with these ideas?"

I tried to explain that it's like an image that floats in, unbidden, and won't let go until it's made manifest.

I remembered Ratatouille.  When Matt and I were writing the cookbook (Cast Iron Cuisine from Breakfast to Dessert), I would often joke, in the throes of needing to prove a new dessert inspiration, that the rat was in my hair again.  (If you haven't seen Ratatouille, the Pixar delight, this will sound grotesque.)

But Ratatouille is purely a kitchen diva.

So who is it that takes hold coaxingly, imperiously, and will not rest until the whim has been knitted out?

That would be Charlotte, I believe.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Free or For Fee?

So, a new design is finished and ready to share with the public.  Then I wonder, should I charge for it or give it away?

Others may have their own criteria.  Mine comes down to this:  how much time did I have to spend writing up the pattern?

If the design came together easily, if the prototype joins my Christmas Gift stash, and if the written instructions were straightforward, I am inclined to post it to Ravelry as a freebie.  Easy Rib Turtle Bib is one such.  Eight Godmothers is another.

But if it took me four to eight hours just to create the written pattern, then I feel entitled to some compensation for that time, especially if there were original charts involved.  Lacy Popover was exceptionally time-consuming.  Lady Folderol took many hours.

So for those I charge a little something.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

On Having It Your Way

Aunt Ruth crochets marvelous, inventive caps, no two alike—except they're all form-fitting skull caps.

But I like a big floppy beret.  Even better, I like a newsboy cap, or a golf cap, with a bill to protect my glasses from the rain.

So why not a convertible beret, I wondered.  One that can spring forward

 or fall back.

Done and done, worked in 100% pygora (hey, if you've got it, flaunt it).  This used two ounces, spun to sport weight, worked on increasingly larger circular needles, finished on double-points.

Watch for it on Ravelry.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Using Up the Scraps

Who among us doesn't have leftover balls of yarn, too few to make anything with, too beautiful to throw away?  I have bags full.  There they sat, taunting me.  "You're the designer," they teased.  "You figure it out."

After a few false starts, a few dead ends, I finally turned to Barbara Walker for inspiration.

And there it was in her second volume:  Scrap Yarn Afghan Stitch.  I liked best the look of the stockinette version.

This will be a scarf.  Its lovely scalloped edge is perfect for the purpose. As you can see, I used three (harmonizing) colors in a sequence of two rows each. 

Here's a tip:  when working with three strands that begin and end on the same side of the work, begin your knit row by knitting the first stitch with the two lowest strands held together.  (The first stitch of each knit row will thus use two strands of yarn rather than one.) Then continue the row with the color whose turn it is, leaving the other one to dangle at the right edge, waiting its turn.  This will prevent long, awkward skips on the right edge.

Here's the pattern:

Using color A, Cast on in multiples of 12 plus 3.  (The illustration shows 27 stitches.)
Knit one row with color A.
Row 1:  Using color B, k1, ssk, k9, sl 2, k1, p2sso, k9, k2tog, k1.
Row 2:  With B, p6, (p1, yo, p1 in same stitch), p9, (p1, yo, p1 in same stitch), p6.
Row 3:  Color C, same as Row 1.
Row 4:  Color C, same as Row 2.
Row 5:  Color A, same as Row 1.
Row 6:  Color A, same as Row 2.