December 13th, 2006


Gifting Query: Care labels?

Tis the season, and all of that, and I'm likely to be giving my Very First handknit gift this Xmas, and I have come up against a minor dilemma. It's a scarf out of 100% alpaca, so it needs a bit of care (tossing in the wash == bad) and while since the recipient is my dad so I can just TELL him what to do with it when it gets dirty, I was wondering how other folks handle this problem, particularly if you're giving the item to someone who isn't likely to ask for instructions (or donating to a charity or something)?

So what kind of information do you include when you give a knitted gift? Do you include a bit of the yarn(s) in case repair is needed, or do you only do that if you think the recipient is handy enough to do such repairs? Do you try to actually attach a care tag to it (like you'd get in commercial items) or do you just put a little note in of some sort?

I'm really quite curious about this now. :)

(For myself, if my belongings weren't mostly halfway across the Atlantic on a cargo ship and thus I had my paper supplies and so on, I would probably whip up some kind of semi-professional looking care card, and possibly a care tag to be sewn in using some ink jet transfer paper and a piece of ribbon, depending on if there was a good place to sew in a tag. Scarves are a bit difficult that way. :) )

Cast on and Bind off

I've mastered three different cast ons now, and I'm starting to learn various bind off methods. Here's my problem though: right now I have two scarves almost done (all I need to do is bind off) but I can't find a bind off that resembles the cast on. Every bind off I try ends up about 3 times lumpier than the cast on, and since they're short keyhole scarves you'll really notice the difference between the ends. On one scarf I used the double cast one method (at least I think that's what it's called...the one where you use one needle and hold the yarn with the other hand and wrap it around your fingers all weird-like....thanks Annie for demystifying that one!) and the other scarf was begun using the backward loop method (which I also just learned and ended up being very loose and bumpy).

Do you guys know of any site/blog/etc that has a list of which bind offs and which cast offs they look like? I have both knitty articles bookmarked (the cast on and bind off ones, with pics) but I'm not seeing any options there. Thanks!

"Leaky" Yarn?

Thanks to everyone's advice regarding the hat I'm making for my father - It turns out I'm going to have to pick up some more yarn to make the scarf long enough so I'll probably just rip the hat back to make it longer.

My question this time is about the yarn. As I mentioned I'm using Paton's Shetland Chunky Tweed yarn, in a navy blue colour with brightly coloured flecks. Very pretty. However, my fingers are turning blue - the dye from the yarn is rubbing off onto my fingers as I knit. I've even got a little blue stripe on my index finger from the yarn rubbing as I knit!

I'd like to give these items a good wash before I send them - I'd hate to turn my father blue. My question is about how to do this. I know to use cold water so that the 25% wool doesn't felt, but should I just use regular detergant? Zero? Hand soap? Vinegar? Salt? I'd like to get rid of the excess dye, but don't want the item to fade too much. Any advice on how to do this would be most appreciated. These items need to be shipped on the 18th, so I need to get on top of this ASAP.

Also, once I've washed the dye out, should I try to block these items properly or just lay them out to dry? The general consensus was that they wouldn't block well due to the high acrylic content, so should I bother at all?

THANKS! Once I get this scarf of dooOM finished I will post pictures of the final product :)
Shy Violet

Oversized beret

Hi all!:)

I'm still considering myself a novice knitter. I've been kitting for a year.. Ive done a hat, almost done with a cable scarf and I started a new simple scarf this week for a yule gift.
My question is: my friends birthday is in Janurary  and she has mentioned interest in a over sized beret. Does anyone have a good pattern for such a hat? I would love to surprise her with it.
Any info would be soo appreciated!


Need Opinions on a book.

Does anyone here own (or has at least looked through) a copy of "200 Knitted Blocks" by Jan Eaton? My LYS doesn't carry this book, and none of the bookstores here have a copy I can look through. I need some feedback on this book before I purchase a copy.

Would it even be worth purchasing? What kinds of projects are in the book, or what kind of projects could the patterns in the book be applied towards? Are there any other books you reccomend along with this book? How about instead of this book? And anything else you want to add would be appreciated. Thank you!

2 skiens DB Pure Silk

In an impromptu LYS crawl this weekend I ended up in Noe Knits and while I was there I picked up two skeins of Debbie Bliss Pure Silk in a lovely grey/pearl/foggy/silver delicious color. I've been researching it a bit, and it looks like it doesn't really hold up well. People have mentioned it pilling *while* you knit it, etc. I'd love to get a good shawl/scarf/wrap out of this, but I'm coming up pretty blank. I have a few lace patterns I've looked at but nothing has come together for me. Any ideas? I'd love to hear other ideas for it besides wraps, too.

So I ask: what lace or stitch pattern would you use with ~280 yds or pure DK weight silk?


what else might you do with this lovely stuff?
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Hat blocking

Does anyone have any tips on blocking hats without a polystyrene head? I have just bound off a Shedir (from the breast cancer issue of Knitty) in Jaeger Matchmaker, and it's going to need a good blocking to make the cables pretty. There's nowhere I can get a model head around here, and Google has been less than helpful. I was thinking about stuffing a plastic bag and tying it off in a head-shaped ball, and then putting the wet hat on that, but does anyone have a better way to do it?

What's my damage? (Also titled: Help Me Donna)

I've been knitting Donna, my first-ever sweater, for several months. I finally seamed it yesterday, put it on, and...

...was not at all impressed.

For starters, it's too short. I'm going to need to make it at least two inches longer in order to feel comfortable wearing it in public. Secondly-- and, frankly, more vexing to me-- the short row bust shaping I did is not in the right place. At all. It's more like short row upper stomach shaping. It does nothing for my figure at all.

Obviously, I'm going to have to do some frogging. But my question is, how much? My feeling right now is that on the back, I can get away with just frogging up to the point where the ribbing ends, and reknitting until it's my desired length. I don't think I'll even have to undo the sleeve seaming to do that.

But the front... given the short row shaping fiasco, I just don't see how I'm going to be able to make it right without frogging the entire thing and starting over again.

So tell me, more experienced knitters: are my instincts right? Will the back be okay if I just take out a couple of inches, or will the knitting look awkward and different enough to merit just redoing the back? Is the front of the sweater salvageable in any way, or am I just going to have to suck it up and do it over?

(I would also love to hear more disatrous first sweater stories, by way of encouragement and knowing I'm not alone.)

rolling my own sweater pattern

Well, here I go, I guess.

I've been searching for "the perfect sweater pattern" to suit my J. Galler "Peruvian Tweed" superfine alpaca yarn (it's alleged to be a DK weight yarn although it feels a bit light to me but whatever). I haven't swatched it yet, although I did knit a scarf out of some of it a while back that I ended up giving away (and that was using 3 strands held together). Anyway. I finally realized I have a sweater in my closet that is essentially the sweater I want, except not.


I measured the sweater I have. It is a 3x3 ribbed v-neck NY&Co sweater made from a 100% cotton very fine gauge yarn. The UNSTRETCHED dimensions of the sweater (as in, I threw it down on the floor and measured without touching the edges to pull them out) are:

33 cm across (measured at hem, waist, and sleeve-seam to sleeve-seam, all the same)
20 cm across the back neck opening
15 cm from top of back to "point" of v-neck
45 cm from point of v-neck to hem
60 cm from shoulder seam to hem (yes, I measured separately to be sure)
64 cm from outer edge of shoulder seam to edge of cuff

What this says to me is that this is a VERY stretchy sweater - because I do NOT have a 26 inch hip, waist, or bust measurement. In fact, I am a 38 inch bust (36 DD bra)! However, this sweater does not look slutty on me at all. Seriously. No, SERIOUSLY. I have three kids. I am a PTO member. I am not prancing around looking slutty at the preschool I swear.

So, OK. My questions are:

1. is there anything I neglected to measure, or is this good?
2. I had though of doing 2x2 ribbing as opposed to 3x3 - that's even stretchier, not less stretchy, right?
3. Once I swatch and figure out my gauge - is it actually likely to think I'll be able to do some simple math and then end up with a sweater that fits, even though the original sweater is fine-gauge cotton and the planned sweater is heavier gauge alpaca?

I can't quite wrap my brain around this and I have read three different "how to make a sweater even if you are a total moron newb" books! But hey, if you have an ill animal at hand, let me know, I will be happy to help. Thanks for any replies.
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The Yin Yang scarf

My brother asked me to make him a scarf. A black and white, simple enough.

And then he asked if it could look like a yin yang symbol.

I've looked all over the net and couldn't really find anything I liked or that matched anything I want to do, so I'm going to try winging it. I'm going to make it half black and half white. I don't want the middle to be a flat line.

So, I'm hoping someone can either walk me through a swirl or point me in the direction of one. Something along the shape of this ~ A curvy line...

I couldn't find anything on Google, and I'd used several terms. Is it possible to even make a swirl like that (I've never made my own pattern before) or should I just stick with what I know and make the whole scarf a diagonal.
kuzco D:

DPN vs 2 circular

Hey everyone. I'm looking to knit these cigar gloves and it calls for using two circular needles. I've never done that before, but I have some DPN experience. Plus, I don't even own circulars in the required size. But I've never done gloves, so I'm not quite sure how they work, anyway. I was wondering if there was anything that needed to be done different if I wanted to use dpns instead? Would I follow that pattern exactly as it is anyway? I've read over it and it doesn't seem like I would have to change anything, but I just wasn't totally sure. Thanks.
ask me anything

FO: Verterosa [Pony-Tail Hat]

Inspired by piccadillycirc's hat a few days ago (post here), I grabbed some of the pile of Paton's Classic Merino that I keep on buying to make myself feel better about my then looming final paper, and starting thinking.

I wanted a hat that would match my coat, so decided to use the Leaf Green as the MC and Good Earth, a print, for the CC. Because I wanted it to be a quick and easy project, I double stranded the yarn and knit it on US10 circs.

As piccadillycirc did, I used this chart (it's a *.pdf, just FYI). Since it is twenty stitches wide, I decided that eighty stitches would be a good amount for the hat and a give me four repeats of the pattern.

I started with a few rows of 1x1 ribbing, and then went into the pattern. After completing one repeat, I worked it again, from the top down.

I had decided I wanted to have a little hole on top for my hair to go through (I have a lot of hair, and always wear it up, and despite all that, desperately want to wear a hat). The first thing I did was kind of what I did with my Phoebe pattern - just decreased once, and stuck some ribbing in. It didn't fit my head very well, and looked funny, so I ripped it out.

The second time, I went with more basic decreases (place a marker every eight stitches, decrease before the marker every other row until there are only a few stitches left). But this time I did a little afterthought hole (got the idea from the recent Knitty's Piggle, picked up the stitches, knit a few rows, and cast off. Well, I had to redo it, because I decided that using US5s was a good idea, but the idea was the right one.

Perfect. I'm in love. So in love, in fact, that I'm making coordinating mittens (using Knitty's Manly Mitts pattern.)

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More info is on my blog here and here.

Kim Hargreaves

I'm aware of Kim Hargreaves' incredible reputation because of her work with Rowan, and am wondering who here has ordered her kits. I'm looking for feedback and comments to do with her patterns, ease of use, consistency, final results. I am interested in some of her cardigans and am noticing that they aren't that terribly priced, even after I get them shipped to California. What are your thoughts?

Unpicking long tail cast on (and methods of joining a new ball of yarn)?

Okay. So I'm almost done with my pair of Dragon Scale Gauntlets. In fact, all that I have to do is weave in one more tail...

The problem is, my row gauge tightened up between gauntlets, so the second one is about 3/8" shorter than the first. I don't want to rip back to before the thumbhole and knit it longer, so the only thing that I can think of doing would be to unpick it at the cast-on edge and knit some more ribbing at the bottom. Is it possible to unpick a long tail cast on? I Googled a bit, but couldn't find anything helpful. And I don't really want to just try it without advice, because these took me a long time to knit and I don't want to mess one up and have to reknit it. I know that I could thread a lifeline through the stitches a few rows above the cast-on, cut the yarn and unravel it to the lifeline, then knit more ribbing, but I'm having enough trouble picking out individual ribbing stitches when weaving ends in that I'm pretty sure I'd screw up, and I would honestly rather just have the armwarmers of unequal lengths if that's my only option.

If I can unpick my cast-on, I definitely don't have a long enough tail to knit as much ribbing as I'll need. So as a related question, what's everyone's favorite way to start a new ball of yarn? My impulse is to just knit with the old and new yarn held together for a while, but I'm worried that that might make one part of the ribbing noticeably thicker. I know that fiber content sometimes affects what you can do -- I'm using Plymouth Encore D.K. (75% acrylic, 25% wool).

Thanks so much!
Wicked Piper

Short rows and wrap and turn

Ok, I did look in the memories for this, and while it helped on knitting the wrapped stitch, I'm still confused.

I've finished a couple of Calorimetry, but I dont' really like the holes (I crochet on strings instead of using a button). Someone in another community mentioned the wrap and turn, so I looked up how to do it.

I thougth I understood it, but as I tried knitting, I realized I was just all sorts of lost. I ended up frogging the whole thing. I think first and foremost, it being in 2x2 ribbed is throwing me off. So, a few questions:

1) When I need to do a wrapped stitch, the stitch to be wrapped is a purl, but the stitch before is a knit. Will this affect how it looks later? If it will, what can I do to fix it?

2) When exactly do I wrap the stitch, and how many times? For example, if I have to wrap a stitch on row 5, but then then next time I have to do a turn in front of that stitch is row 15 (turning into 16) and I'll be knitting/purling it on row 17, do I wrap it both at 5 and 15? Or only on one of the rows? If I do both, do I pick up both of the wraps?

3) When I was trying to do this, it was looking kinda tangly on one side. Is this because it's ribbed instead of stockinette? Or is it because I'm doing it wrong?

4) I'm sure this is because I was doing it wrong, but when I was trying to do the wrapped stitch thing, whenever I knitted the stitch, there'd be a hole between the wrapped stitch and the stitch following it. Do I need to wrap this thing differently than I would in stockinette to prevent this?

Sorry for asking so many details that I'm sure sound all the same, but I'm just not getting it.

Thanks for the help in advance!