Makers’ Minute – The YarnIt

The YarnIt!

  • Protects your yarn from dirt, grime and debris.
  • Unbreakable, high quality globe for crocheting.
  • Cat and dog proof (they hate it!)
  • Knitting kit keeps your yarn tangle free!
  • Yarn bowl allows you to crochet & knit effortlessly anywhere!
  • Knitting kit fits into a standard cupholder for cars & planes.
  • Clip-on strap allows you to take a project on-the-go.
  • Personalize your YarnIt bowl with fun colors and decals.

To shop the full range of colors available, Click Here!

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Fridays with Franklin – The Adventure of the Warm Puppy: Part Four

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The Adventure of the Warm Puppy: Part Four

For an introduction to what goes on in this column, click here.

For the the first part of this adventure, click here.

 

 

Rosamund is still waiting patiently for her new sweater.

Warm 4.1

A View of the Bridge

When last we left our steek, it looked like this.

Warm 4.2

Before we go further, let’s take a closer look at the place where all the action is going to happen: the bridge.

The bridge is the fabric we created specifically so that we could cut it open. Our version–used in making the leg openings for Rosamund’s sweater–requires an odd number and a minimum of five. This swatch steek has seven stitches, worked in reverse stockinette.

Warm 4.3

That center stitch is where we cut. The pairs of stitches on either side are where we secure the fabric before cutting, so that cutting does not lead to unraveling.

To this point we’ve been looking at the steek from the right side of the fabric…

Warm 4.4

…but now we’re going to flip it over so that the wrong side is uppermost. This shows us the little Vs of the reverse stockinette, which makes it easier find our way around.

Warm 4.5

It’s useful to have guideline for both the securing and the
cutting; so once the knitting is finished, I sew a running stitch right
up the center column with a piece of scrap yarn. I can, quite literally,
cut along the dotted line.

Securing the Bridge: Part I

We will secure our bridge using my favorite method: the crocheted steek. I didn’t invent it, I just love it. There are several variations; this one is not the “correct” one–it’s the one I use, and therefore the one I feel comfortable demonstrating.

If you don’t think of yourself as one who crochets, even if you have never used a hook to do more than pick up dropped stitches, don’t stop reading just because I used the C word. This is about the simplest crochet there is. You can do it.

We need, of course, a crochet hook. While knitting Rosamund’s sweaters I fell so in love with my addi® Olive Wood circular needle that I decided I should try out the Olive Wood crochet hooks, as well. The construction is top-notch, and the handles aren’t just comfortable; they’re little works of art.

Warm 4.6

The size hook I choose is usually equal to or slightly smaller in diameter than the needle used to knit the fabrics. If you’re using a slippery fiber, choose the smaller size.

Recall that we wish to secure the pairs of stitch columns immediately on either side of the center stitch. To be specific, we wish to crochet together the legs at the center of each pair, here colored red.

Warm 4.7

We’ll begin by inserting the hook under the legs at the base of the right-hand column, then pulling through a loop of our crochet yarn.

Warm 4.8

(I could have used the sweater yarn, but the purple Simpliworsted is easier to see in this demonstration.)

Then, bring the working yarn over the hook once more to make a loop, and pull this loop through the stitch legs and through the first loop on the hook.

Warm 4.9

*We move up to the next pair of legs, and put the hook through both.

Warm 4.10

Yarn over the hook again, and pull this new loop through the stitch legs and through the loop on the hook.

Warm 4.11

Repeat from * until you have secured all the legs in the pair of columns.

Warm 4.12

When you’ve finished, snip the working yarn leaving a six-inch tail and pull the yarn through the final loop to secure it.

Confession Interlude

The sharp-eyed among you will have noticed that in the above photos, I actually moved out from the center one stitch too far when working my chain. I could pretend that never happens to me, but I promised when this column began that I would show you stuff that goes wrong.

So what did I do? I pulled the crochet out and did it over. Both the bridge and I survived the operation unharmed.

My point? It’s no big deal.

Steeks are no big deal.

Securing the Bridge: Part II

When side one is complete, turn the work upside-down (so the last of your chain crochet stitches is now nearest you) and work side two exactly the same way.

When you’re finished, this is what you get. (I’ve trimmed the yarn tails here to get them out of the way.)

Warm 4.13

Get the Scissors

Then we cut along the dotted line. Use small, sharp scissors (embroidery scissors are my favorite). Take your time. If you’re cutting something circular, put a piece of paper or cardboard or a slim book inside the tube to make sure you cut only the bridge.

Warm 4.14

Warm 4.15

Warm 4.16

Voilà, a beautifully shaped and utterly stable opening in our knitting.

Warm 4.17

Was that so hard?

Warm 4.18

The edges of what used to be the bridge fold to the wrong side, and can be gently sewn down using whip stitch. I prefer to do this using the yarn used to knit the fabric.

Warm 4.19

And here we have the view from the right side.

Warm 4.20

The edges of the opening are now ready for whatever you wish to do next. One of the reasons I left the reserved stitches on a scrap of yarn is that nine times out of ten, I will finish the opening with a picked-up edging or by picking up stitches for a sleeve. Those reserved stitches are waiting for me to do either. It saves a bit of time and trouble.

Puppy, Warmed

And so my experimental sweater for Rosamund is complete.

Warm 4.21

My finishing touches–to mitigate the over-large leg holes and the unintended off-the-shoulder neckline–were additional ribbing at the legs and collar. I think the turtleneck rather suits her, don’t you?

Warm 4.22

Warm 4.23

Warm 4.24

She loves the sweater. I had to chase her around to get it off her, even though she knew that as a reward for modeling nicely we would play in the sprinkler.

This test piece has shown me what to do and not to do for her next sweater. I learned a lot about knitting to fit a dog, and I had a blast doing it. There will be a lot more Rosamund sweaters in “Fridays with Franklin,” because it seems to me they could be fun way to test new techniques and design new fabrics.

Plus, as Charles M. Schulz famously wrote, happiness is a warm puppy.

Ready for a new adventure? I’ll meet you back here in two weeks.

Floralia Update

Kits and patterns for the Floralia Blanket (and a matching pillow) from this adventure are available from Makers’ Mercantile.

Warm 4.25

If you’d like help in choosing colors for your project, a member of staff will be delighted to assist you. They’re awfully good at that sort of thing.

Tools and Materials Appearing in This Issue

Simpliworsted by Hikoo® (55% Merino Superwash, 28% Acrylic, 17% Nylon; 140 yds per 100g skein). Colors: 611, Earth and Sky (swatch) and 033 (Red Hat Purple).

addi® Olive Wood crochet hook

About Franklin

Designer, teacher, author and illustrator Franklin Habit is the author of It Itches: A Stash of Knitting Cartoons (Interweave Press, 2008). His new book, I Dream of Yarn: A Knit and Crochet Coloring Book has was brought out by Soho Publishing in May, 2016 and is in its second printing.

He travels constantly to teach knitters at shops and guilds across the country and internationally; and has been a popular member of the faculties of such festivals as Vogue Knitting Live!, STITCHES Events, Squam Arts Workshops, Sock Summit, and the Madrona Fiber Arts Winter Retreat.

Franklin’s varied experience in the fiber world includes contributions of writing and design to Vogue Knitting, Yarn Market News,Interweave Knits, Interweave Crochet, PieceWork, Twist Collective; and a regular columns and cartoons for Knitty.com, PLY Magazine, Lion Brand Yarns, and Skacel Collection. Many of his independently published designs are available via Ravelry.com.

He is the longtime proprietor of The Panopticon, one of the most popular knitting blogs on the Internet. On an average day, upwards of 2,500 readers worldwide drop in for a mix of essays, cartoons, and the continuing adventures of Dolores the Sheep.

 

Franklin lives in Chicago, Illinois, cohabiting shamelessly with 15,000 books, a Schacht spinning wheel, three looms, and a colony of yarn that multiplies whenever his back is turned.

Makers Minute – Reward Point Program

Katie describes how the Rewards Program works at MakersMercantile.com and what you can purchase with your points!

Don’t have a Makers’ account yet? Click Here to sign up (it’s free!)

To see our current rewards offerings, click here.

To find out more information about the program, click here.

 

Fridays with Franklin – The Adventure of the Warm Puppy: Part Three

fwf-logo-v11The Adventure of the Warm Puppy: Part Three

 

For an introduction to what goes on in this column, click here.

For the the first part of this adventure, click here.

 

In the two weeks since the last installment, I’ve had more than a few inquiries about one aspect of Rosamund’s sweater-in-progress…

Warm 3.1

…namely, the leg openings and how they were made.

I knew from the first that I wanted to work this piece in the round, with steeks cut for the forelegs. That aroused comment, because there is a widespread sentiment in the knitting community about steeks.

Warm 3.2

This is silly.

Steeks are not frightening in the least, nor are they difficult. They’re like everything else in knitting: bewildering, when you don’t know how they’re done; and exciting, once you do.

Since so many of you asked for more information about steeks, we’re going to devote the next two parts of this adventure to those in Rosamund’s sweater.

Steek?

A steek, if you are unfamiliar with the term, is an opening cut into a piece of knit fabric that follows the vertical* grain–the columns of stitches, as opposed to the rows or rounds. The word comes to us (thanks to the inimitable Alice Starmore) from the Shetland word for “gate” or “opening.” Steeks are traditionally much used on Fair Isle sweaters.

Warm 3.3

You will sometimes find “steek” definied as a “slashed vertical opening” because “slashed” sounds more dramatic than “cut,” as though you went at your sweater with a kitchen knife or meat cleaver. Indeed, who among us has not felt the impulse?

But steeks are almost never impulsive. You plan for them.

Planning the Opening(s)

Rosamund has two front legs. Therefore, two steeks. Therefore, double the fun. Where to place them?

Let’s take another look at the measurements.

Warm 3.4

Measurement F, the distance from the collar to the shoulder, tells us how long our top-down sweater must be when the openings begin: 5 inches.

The sweater reached 5 inches after a series of increase rounds–described in detail in the previous installment. At this point, the number of stitches per round had risen to 124 stitches.

To figure out where in that round to start the openings, this is what we do.

1. Take note of our gauge, which is 4.5 stitches and 6.5 rounds per inch.

2. We look at measurement E, the space between the legs: 4 inches. At our gauge, that means we must preserve 18 stitches at the bottom center between the openings.

3. Next we look at measurement H, the leg circumference, to figure out how many stitches are required in this first round for each opening. The total measurement is 9 inches, and we will make use of roughly one half** of that number: 4.5 inches, which at our gauge is roughly 20 stitches.

And so that first round–the foundation round of our steeks–will look something like this:

Warm 3.5

Knitting the Openings

With calculations complete, we start knitting.

It would have been kind of messy to show this on the actual sweater, so instead I cooked up a simple swatch to demonstrate how one steek opening is made. The swatch is small–only 26 stitches wide–and knit flat; but the process was the same on the circular sweater.

Here I’ve knit a few rows of stockinette to stand in for the sweater from the collar down to the foundation round of the leg holes–the round we planned above.

Warm 3.6

In that foundation round, when we reach the stitches needed to begin the opening, we slip them onto a piece of scrap yarn

Warm 3.7

and then we cast on*** a certain number of brand new stitches to serve as the foundation of what is often called the “bridge.” This is the fabric that’ll be cut. The number of stitches in the bridge can vary. For the steek technique I have in mind, we need an odd number and a minimum of five. I used five in Rosamund’s sweater, but to make this demonstration very clear I cast on seven.

Warm 3.8

Now, if you are accustomed to reading your knitting, you won’t necessarily need stitch markers on either side of your bridge stitches. But if you are new to steeks and/or not confident in reading your knitting, they can be helpful.

Warm 3.9

With the bridge stitches cast on we simply continue knitting.

The main fabric, as before, is in stockinette. To distinguish the bridge fabric, we work it in reverse stockinette.

Warm 3.10

If we want to shape the opening, and we often do, it’s easy and frankly rather magical. Let’s say we want to expand the width of this opening at both sides. First, we knit up to the last two stitches before the first marker, and we knit two together.

Warm 3.11

We slip the marker and work the bridge stitches as usual. THIS IS IMPORTANT: All shaping happens outside the bridge. The bridge stitches do not decrease or increase; if we start with seven, we end with seven.

Once past the bridge and second marker, we slip, slip, knit to decrease in the first two stitches.

Warm 3.12

In the following row, we do not decrease.

If we repeat these two rows–one with decreases, one without–five times, we begin to see that our opening is changing shape**** and the knitting looks extremely odd. People who have never worked steeks will begin to think you are some kind of mad genius. There is no reason to tell them otherwise.

Warm 3.13

Once the steek has reached its full height, we bind off only (only!) the bridge stitches. Be sure not to bind off any stitches that are part of the main fabric. If you’ve been using markers, you can discard them now.

Warm 3.14

When, in the following row or round, we come to the place where the bridge used to be, we cast on whatever number of stitches the pattern calls for. This number will vary. In the photograph above, you’ll see that I cast on ten stitches–the total number I had decreased–so the swatch will lie nice and flat while I demonstrate the cutting process…in two weeks.

Warm 3.15

See you then!

*There is a method for cutting an opening that follows the horizontal grain, and we will certainly play with it another time because it’s super fun.

**This was a guess on my part, and gave a very wide leg hole. Next time, I will probably go with a smaller fraction of the total measurement–something closer to about a quarter.

***Working with a single color, I typically use a simple backward loop cast on.

****Please don’t get the impression that you must mirror your shaping. You may shape in any way that suits you. Rosamund’s leg openings were shaped only along the upper edge, rather like a racer-back tank top, because I didn’t want to remove any of the fabric covering her delicate pink undercarriage.

Tools and Materials Appearing in This Issue

Simpliworsted by Hikoo® (55% Merino Superwash, 28% Acrylic, 17% Nylon; 140 yds per 100g skein). Color: 611, Earth and Sky.

addi® Olive Wood circular needles size US 4, 16 inch (40 cm)

About Franklin

Designer, teacher, author and illustrator Franklin Habit is the author of It Itches: A Stash of Knitting Cartoons (Interweave Press, 2008). His new book, I Dream of Yarn: A Knit and Crochet Coloring Book has was brought out by Soho Publishing in May, 2016 and is in its second printing.

He travels constantly to teach knitters at shops and guilds across the country and internationally; and has been a popular member of the faculties of such festivals as Vogue Knitting Live!, STITCHES Events, Squam Arts Workshops, Sock Summit, and the Madrona Fiber Arts Winter Retreat.

Franklin’s varied experience in the fiber world includes contributions of writing and design to Vogue Knitting, Yarn Market News,Interweave Knits, Interweave Crochet, PieceWork, Twist Collective; and a regular columns and cartoons for Knitty.com, PLY Magazine, Lion Brand Yarns, and Skacel Collection. Many of his independently published designs are available via Ravelry.com.

He is the longtime proprietor of The Panopticon, one of the most popular knitting blogs on the Internet. On an average day, upwards of 2,500 readers worldwide drop in for a mix of essays, cartoons, and the continuing adventures of Dolores the Sheep.

 

Franklin lives in Chicago, Illinois, cohabiting shamelessly with 15,000 books, a Schacht spinning wheel, three looms, and a colony of yarn that multiplies whenever his back is turned.

Makers’ Minute – Olive Wood Click Set Unboxing

Katie unboxes the brand new and extremely popular Olive Wood Click Set from addi®! Made from the same recycled olive wood as the fixed circular needles, you’ll love the inclusion of SOS cords with this set.

Shop for an addi® Olive Wood Click Set

Transcript

Oh hello, and welcome to your Makers Minute! I’m Katie and today we are going to be unboxing the Olive Wood Click Set.

So, right off the bat, you’ll notice the first thing that you pull out is the Click set wallet in this brand new olive green color. The zipper in the back houses the three cables for your Addi Click set and your Addi gauge. Turn it back over and open it to find not only your Addi gold heart pin but also some literature about this product as well as your tips. These tips start at a US 4 and go all the way up to a US 11. Just like it’s fixed circular needle counterparts these are also beautifully marbled olive wood. The points are nice and sharp, and they’re very smooth to the touch. For a video demonstrating the correct way to connect your cables to your tips click below.

Another bonus of this product is that the Olive Wood Click Set comes with the signature SOS cables. SOS cables have a split in the cord, so you can thread your lifeline through your knitting without skipping a beat. The 24, 32, and 40-inch cords that come with this set all have that great feature!

We can’t wait for you to try out your new Olive Wood Click Set. Click below for all of the details on how to order it right here at makersmercanitle.com.

Check out our Makers’ Minute on correctly ‘Clicking’ your Clicks Tips:

Makers Minute – Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month! You can help by purchasing Egg-stra Special Sock Kits and pre-make knitted items on the Makers’ ‘Giving Back’ section of the website.

Remember, taking care of yourself is just as important as taking care of your loved ones!

For more information on Ovarian Cancer Research and Awareness, visit www.marsharivkin.org

Purchase Egg-stra Special Sock Kits

Visit the ‘Giving Back’ Section of Makers Mercantile to purchase pre-made items.