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Author Archives: Laura Yona

  • Where Was I Again? How to Figure Out Where You Left Off

    Back when I first became capital-K Knitter and really started interacting with other Knitters, online and in person, I would quietly giggle behind my hand at those who bemoaned their stacks of UFOs (Unfinished Objects) and WIPs (Works In Progress). I only had one project going at a time, and I was sure I would never be one of those poor souls who just couldn't manage to start what they finished before moving on to the next project.

    Of course, it wasn't too long before I discovered that I need lots of quiet to work on complicated lace and cables, so I decided to allow myself one simple project and one more complicated one. That's reasonable, right? Of course, I was commuting by bus at the time and sometimes a project would just get too big to be easily transportable, so I decided I could start additional projects to commute with while finishing up the big ones at home.

    Talk about your slippery slope...I now have "exceptions" to my "single project" rule for gifts, seasonal appropriateness, craft (now that I am also a capital-C Crocheter), soft yarn, pattern lust...you name it, I can make an exception for it. I currently have seven WIPs...just in the basket under my desk at work. That's not including the two projects in my knitting bag or the socks I always carry in my purse, or the other socks I always have in my car, "just in case". Let's not even talk about what I've got stacked up at home.

    The only real problem with this is that I often put down projects "just while I cast this on" or "until I get this super-quick gift made" and they end up languishing for weeks or months...and since I didn't intend to put the thing down for more than a day or two, I haven't marked the pattern. Or worse, I've misplaced the pattern...which is where I've marked the size I'm making.

    This is exactly what happened to me with the Saturday Morning Hoodie Knit-Along (project pictured above). I cast on with the best intentions and then got distracted by who-knows-what and stopped at a point fairly far along on the back. I went to pick it up the other day because I really want to have it to wear around the office when the temperature drops, and discovered that I have both no idea what point I'm at in the pattern and no idea what size I'm making. Fortunately, I can just print out another copy of the pattern, but if it were a pre-printed pattern I'd've made a copy to work from originally, both in case of this very situation and also so I could write notes on it and circle sizing information without marking up my original.

    What size was I making?
    So now that I've got my new copy of the pattern, the first thing I need to figure out is what size I'm making. The easiest and most accurate way to do that is to just count your stitches. You want to count fairly close to your cast-on row, and check the pattern to see if there are any increases/decreases before where you're counting so you can take that into account. In this case, there are no increases or decreases until after the ribbing, so I just counted right across the ribbing and came up with 54. That corresponds to the 44" size, which does seem like the size I'd have chosen. Next step, circle all of the numbers corresponding to that size, just as I did the first time around.

    Where am I in the pattern?
    Now I need to figure out where I am in the pattern--what my next steps should be as I begin working on it again. According to the pattern, after the ribbing (which I can see I'm way past) I am to work in stockinette stitch until my piece is 16" from the beginning. So I'm just going to measure and see where I am. (This process gets a little more complicated if you're working on something with a more complicated stitch pattern, because you need to figure out not only where in the project you are, but where in the stitch pattern. I recommend tackling the two problems separately, handling the stitch pattern part first as that may well give you clues about where in the project you are).

    I'm at 14", so I have another couple of inches of straight knitting to go before I need to start my raglan shaping, so it looks like I'm in pretty good shape on this one. Yay!

    What if I can't tell where I am?
    I have, on occasion, been unable to figure out where I am in either the pattern or the project...when that happens, really the only thing you can do is find a point further back that you can identify and rip back to there. And try to remember next time to mark where you are in the pattern...even if you're only planning on setting it down for a day.

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  • Did You Know...? How to Fix Knitting Without Frogging

    Picture this: you're knitting merrily along when suddenly you realize that on the previous row, you somehow purled where you should have knitted and knitted where you should have purled. You only did this on two stitches and then straightened yourself out, but you didn't even notice it until now. Do you have to rip out the whole row you just knitted to go back and fix those two stitches?

    Nope! The good news is, it's actually really easy to fix a mistake like this. It can be a single stitch you got reversed or a whole grouping, but you're going to work one stitch at a time, and you're going to do the same thing on each stitch. You can do this with just your knitting needle, but you'll find it easier with a crochet hook (something close in size to your knitting needle or slightly smaller). Please read all the way through the steps to make sure you understand what's going to happen before you start. Here we go:

    1. Remove the first stitch to be fixed from the left hand needle.
    2. Slip the top loop out of the next loop down (this is the stitch that's going the wrong way). This will leave you with a "bar" of yarn, either in front of the next loop down or behind it, depending on what kind of stitch it was.
    3. Move that bar to the opposite side of the loop. If you want the stitch to be a knit, start with the bar in back of the loop; if you want it to be a purl, start with the bar in front of the loop.
    4. Use your crochet hook or the tip of your needle to pull the bar through the loop, creating another loop.
    5. Place the new loop on the left needle and work it as to continue across the current row. (There's a great visual of steps 4 & 5--which are essentially just picking up a dropped stitch--available in our Learn To Knit center.)

    Repeat steps 1-5 for each stitch you need to reverse.

    Note that you can do this for multiple rows, even if you have some correct stitches above a mistake stitch. Just drop all the way down to the row below the mistake and then pick up the stitches in the correct orientation. What determines whether to use this method or go ahead and rip back is usually just a comparison of time and effort: which is going to require the least amount of both? For instance, if you're working on 50 stitches and you somehow screwed up 45 of them three rows back, you're probably better off just ripping back because it does take some time to drop each stitch down and then bring it back up again. But if you only messed up five of those stitches? Definitely just drop down, fix them, and be on your merry way once again.

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  • Eek! I Ran Out of Yarn! (Or How to Finish a Project with a Coordinating Color)

    Darn that Zontee. I was looking through past blogs for something to send to a customer and I happened on her blog post from last summer about upsizing the Bebop Cardi by using larger yarn. I've actually seen her sweater in person and it's fabulous. I meant to make it back then, but then I sort of forgot about it as other projects took priority. But when I saw the post again, I knew I had to go ahead and chain on.

    In the original blog, Zontee notes that she went up to a category 5 yarn and made the small. I'm a little larger than Zontee, so my choices were to either go all the way up to a category 6 yarn, or stick with the category 5 and make a larger size. Since I had two balls of Tweed Stripes in Caribbean handy, I went with the latter option. I did my swatch, found that the large was going to be the size for me and chained on.

    The yardage from the two balls of Tweed Stripes should have been plenty, but I remembered that I'd used a bit of it for another project awhile back. Not much, though--just a few yards. That wouldn't matter, right? (Stop laughing. You know denial isn't just a river in Egypt.) Sure enough, I ended up about 3 rows short. Grrr. They were three short rows, too!

    Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I could have just bought another ball of the Tweed Stripes when I got to the office the next day--it wasn't quite the same as when you run out of a discontinued yarn that you just can't get more of, or can't find a matching dye-lot or something like that. Working at a yarn company does have its privileges and sitting on top of a warehouse full of said yarn is one of them. But I wanted to be done with this thing, and I was mad! How dare my yarn betray me like that! I'd show it! Who needs the original yarn when you can just finish up with a coordinating yarn?

    So that's what I did: grabbed a partial ball of Vanna's Choice that I'd had laying around for a long while and that also happened to coordinate perfectly with one of the colors in the Tweed Stripes. I finished off my three rows and it looked okay, but just okay. What I really needed to do to make it look as if I'd planned this all along was add more of the Vanna's Choice in another location. It's a bit of a cliche, but it's true: if it occurs once, it's a mistake; if it occurs twice or more, it's a design feature.

    What I decided to do was add a border all the way around the outside edge (meaning the open sides and the bottom, since the color was already at the top of the sweater) and then also around the sleeves. I probably could have also done just a couple of rows of dc at the bottom of the sweater, obviating the need to do the sleeve edges. One more note: Vanna's Choice is actually a category 4 weight yarn and not a category 5. I know this, but I also know that Vanna's Choice is at the thicker end of the category 4 spectrum, so I was pretty sure it would work okay with the same hook. It did turn out to be a little tighter in gauge than the rest of the sweater -- enough so that I ended up working one fewer round than called for in the pattern. So do definitely keep in mind your gauge and what weight yarn you need to work with to obtain that gauge when you're choosing a replacement yarn like this.  (Just in case you're wondering about the "design" I used for the border, it's just a simple *sc, ch3, sk next sc. rep from * all the way around the sleeves and on both side edges. The bottom edge I just worked a sc in each stitch across.)

    I really love the way this one came out--it might be one of my favorite things I've ever made. So I guess instead of darning Zontee for leading me down this path, I should be saying, "Thanks, Zontee!"

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