On the third Monday of the month a group of enthusiastic knitters meet in the Resource Room at the Duxbury Free Library. From 6:00 - 8:00 you can find knitters of various skill levels with yarn between their fingers. We would love you to join us. If you can't, follow us here!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Can You Take a Little Ribbing?

I was recently asked by someone, "Why is my ribbing weird?".  When I looked at her knitting . . . well, sure enough, she had 'gutter issues'.  

See how only the first knit stitch to the right
of the purl stitches is distorted? 

Uneven ribbing can be a problem for some knitters since many people purl looser than they knit. The extra yarn that is used in the purl stitch relaxes, or slides back into the stitch before it. When it is a knit stitch . . . well, it appears bigger, looser, wonkier . . . any of these adjectives can be applied!

The knit stitches on the left hand side of purl stitches won't loose their shape since any extra yarn will relax into the stitch before it, not the stitch after it.

It's also common for this to happen with cables. In order for the cables to really stand out, most patterns have purl stitches on either side of them . . . the same thing happens . . . the purl stitch relaxes into the left-hand side of the cable.

There are many opinions on how to fix this . . . here's two of what I think are the easiest. (You did want MY opinion . . . didn't you??)

If you pull the yarn tighter there will not be
any 'extra' to slide back into the knit stitch
before it.

The easiest way is to try and work the purl stitch tighter. Bring the working yarn as far forward as you can. (Pull it until the 'purl bump' from the back is visible in the front), then keeping the tension tight, go ahead and purl the stitch. Then purl the rest of your stitches as you would normally.

Try a few rows. Sometimes that is enough to solve the problem.

Since the yarn is going under the needle, it will
use a 'smidge' less . . . that means less to go
back into the knit stitch before it.

If that doesn't solve the problem, try working the first purl stitch backwards. 

Instead of wrapping the yarn around the needle counter-clockwise, wrap it around clock-wise. (The yarn will go under the right needle.)

The stitch will be twisted. . . but don't worry . . .we'll fix it on the next row.

The stitch is twisted since the
'mount' is in the back.

When you come to that stitch on the next row, it will be twisted.

Just knit it through the back loop.


Look how much better those knit stitches look! 

If you have trouble with your ribbing, or with your cables . . . give either trick a try.

Hopefully it will help your tension.

Well, your knitting tension. 
If you have other kinds of tension, I would recommend a glass of Pinot Noir.

Until next time, keep your nose in a book or your fingers in fiber.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

A Rookie's Hand Painted Yarn

Well I did as I said . . . and now my yarn stash is all neat and organized. It is all arranged by color and tucked away in plastic bins with a cedar block inside. (My mother told me I HAD to use cedar blocks . . . and as I tell my kids, "Always listen to your mother." So I used the cedar blocks!).

While I was doing my little organizational project, I found a little surprise. My mother had given me a kit to dye two skeins of yarn. . . please don't ask me when she gave it to me!! So I suddenly had a project for the afternoon! I quickly put the plastic bins away (good thing I had finished organizing!) and set off to the kitchen.

Here is the result. I will confess it looked much nicer when it was wet. I hung it outside to dry and when I went to bring it in, I looked at it and chuckled. All I could think of were the many yarn labels and pattern directions that state "work from two skeins when using hand painted yarn." 

It's kind of obvious why, isn't it? Just a few extra seconds in the dye, or a little extra swishing around and one skein is darker in some areas than the other.

That's okay. I think I will make a scarf with it. I'll work the two skeins together and hopefully it will blend beautifully and no one will ever know what a beginner dyer I am. 
I'll show it to you as I go.

Until next time, keep your nose in a book or your fingers in fiber.

Friday, November 7, 2014

I Think I've Reached 'Shut-Off'.

Much as I love working in the library, much as I am fortunate enough to work with REALLY great co-workers, much as I enjoy banter with the patrons, much as I love talking about books . . . well, actually just talking . . . I must admit that I also love it when it is time for a few vacation days!

So here I am with 5 days off. A couple of the days will be me completely alone in the house. So what do I have planned? Well, what else? Yarn organization! I plan to pull everything out from my eaves . . . plastic bins, bags, boxes . . . every skein, hank and scrap. 

Then what? Do I arrange it by color? By weight? By project? It's a dilemma. I'm not even sure how I ended up with this much yarn. I feel like the guy in the movies that goes up to the bar and is told, "sorry bud, you're done". 

I think I need to stay out of the yarn stores and knit from stash. 

Until next time, keep your nose in a book or your fingers in fiber.