Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Now Completely Reversible

Just when I thought brioche couldn't get any better, it has. Introducing:

Reversible Increases and Decreases for One-Pass Brioche.


This is magic. This is groundbreaking. This actually has me excited to rip out a month's work.
This is so much harder to explain than regular increases and decreases that I made videos. I know I've been saying I would for a while. Now you have them.

I'll start with why I'm so stupidly excited (other than that I get like that pretty easy.).
With regular brioche, the increase or decrease is made with both knit and purl columns in the same stitch. While this gives a nice branching effect on the right side, on the wrong side, the columns suddenly stop and start, and the true pattern isn't shown.

Half-made Interweave hat, showing both right and wrong sides.
Regular increases and decreases start and stop abruptly on the wrong side (top).

With the reversible increases and decreases, the stitches are rearranged and each column is worked separately, to give the exact same effect on both sides. So the pattern shows true on both sides on the piece making it truly a reversible fabric. Magic!

Half-made Interweave hat showing both sides.
Reversible increases and decreases are the same on both sides of the fabric.

Then we're on to the exciting stuff. Increases. You'll need a cable needle or a crochet hook, just something to stash a stitch safely while you knit just one other.


Here's the complicated version:
Knit, do not drop the old stitch, transfer it to the cable needle and keep in front.
Move yarns as normal to prep for a purl. Purl the next stitch, again don't drop the old stitch. Draw out the new stitch and drop it to the back. Slip the original purl stitch to the left needle.
Move knit yarn to back, slip stitch off the cable needle to the left needle.
Move knit yarn to front, place loose purl stitch back on left needle. Check it's mounted correctly with the loos tail to the back of the needle, and tighten it up.
Your yarns should both be in front, a knit and a purl column have been worked and the next stitch is a knit.

And finally decreases. The process is slightly different for each, but pretty obvious when you look at which way you want it to go. It is possible to work these with ssk, k2tog etc, but I find it absurdly hard with four pieces of yarn involved. Working the stitches individually makes it less likely I'm going to drop something and easier to remember which way the decrease will lean. Bonus for righties: easier to mirror if you want to!


Again, complicated version, Decrease Left:
Knit, slip the purl stitch to the cable needle and keep at the back.
Slip the new knit stitch back to the right needle and pass the next knit stitch over.
Slip new stitch back to left needle.
Place the cabled stitch back on to the right needle. Make sure your yarns are set up for a purl stitch and purl.
Reverse the mount of the next purl stitch by slipping knit wise, then back to the right needle purl wise. Slip the new stitch back to the right needle as well, then pass the reversed stitch over.
Slip new stitch back to left needle.
Your yarns should both be in front, two knit and two purl columns have been worked and the next stitch is a knit.


Decrease Right:
Slip knit stitch knit wise, slip the purl stitch to the cable needle and keep at the back. 
Knit next knit stitch and pass slipped stitch over. 
Move yarns as normal to prep for a purl.
Slip cabled stitch to the left needle, purl the next stitch then pass cabled stitch over. 
Your yarns should both be in front, two knit and two purl columns have been worked and the next stitch is a knit.

I hope you enjoy these techniques as much as I do, and please get back to me with any feedback or questions.

Cheers!

Monday, 11 March 2019

One-Pass Brioche

Now with Videos!

Seems I'm making videos, I'll start at the beginning. I still haven't found a good video for my favourite cast on, so here's the Chinese Waitress Cast On, Left Handed.
I use this for everything, including brioche, I just start working with the contrast yarn then tie and weave it in later.


And here is the One-Pass Brioche. It gets such a nice swinging zen to it. While this is based on the Sockmtician's One-Pass Brioche method, I found that holding the purl yarn at the front consistently simplifies things significantly.



It's my absolute favourite thing at the moment. And it will just keep getting better... watch this space...

Friday, 1 March 2019

Back to Brioche

Yes, it turns out I do get distracted easily. Pretty colours, luscious textures, challenging new techniques and gorgeous patterns just keep popping up everywhere and taking me off on tangents.
This time it’s a combination of all of these that have me obsessed.

Interweave hat in teeny sock yarn
We have the beautiful Misti Alpaca Hand Paint Sock that my husband only wanted ankle length socks out of. I’m not one to argue when it leaves me half the skein to play with! I did love making them and he does love to wear them, so it’s certainly up there on my list of successful projects. This yarn is just gorgeous knit up normally, I was stupidly excited by the idea of trying it in brioche. It's just the most amazing combination of colour and texture.
I picked this one up on a weekend trip to Launceston, a lovely yarn store called Knits Needles and Wool.

Misti Alpaca Hand Paint Sock
On my next adventure, I picked up the contrast, also Misti Alpaca Sock in a gradient dye at the Woolshed in Canberra. It’s now my mission to visit these little shops everywhere I go, they are all so wonderful!

I’ve had the Interweave Hat in my Ravelry queue since my last affair with brioche early last year. I think there are another two or three pairs of yarn in my stash that are also slated for making this hat. It's so pretty and a very sensible pattern, once you get the hang of it. Of course sock yarn was probably not the ideal thing to try it out for the first time but I’m a deep end kinda girl. Same goes for my first attempt at one-pass brioche.

I found the Sockmatician’s One-Pass Brioche technique as I was learning early last year and immediately put in the Too Hard basket. As it turns out, it’s not much more complicated than regular brioche knitting per stitch, keeps things simpler with all the yarn at the same spot in the project, and really does get a beautiful rhythm to it.

It also turns out that the increase and decrease instructions I left for myself on my intro brioche post were terrifying, so I'll work on putting something much better together.

For now I keep my fingers crossed that I will have enough variegated yarn to get through this quite ambitious project, and in the meantime just really, really enjoy myself!

Monday, 31 December 2018

Making Socks Easy

I decided I was going to try making socks. Tried a couple of worsted weight, simple short row heels. Pictures of the atrocities are featured elsewhere. But I figured it could get better, but want to try some nice sock yarn. Enter my Mum at birthday time in a yarn store. She's dangerous because she is also a textile hoarder and just loves to say: "Yes, and why not get it in blue, as well?". Now all hell has broken loose. My husband has been dragged to yarn stores to pick skeins. It's bad.
So here is everything I'm loving about socks.




Yarn


  • Bis-Sock by Biscotte Yarns: 85% Merino, 15% Nylon - feels like warm satin clouds spun into yarn. Also self-striping in insanely pretty colourways. This is Arielle.
  • Malabrigo Sock: These guys have the most striking colours. They make me just want to pick them up and gaze while I pat them for hours.
  • Misti Alpaca Hand Paint Sock: I could not put this skein down once I picked it up in store. So soft, so pretty. Alpaca/merino/silk/nylon, I cannot believe these are destined for my husbands feet. He had better appreciate them, though I am definitely going to enjoy the crap out of knitting them.

Needles


  • HiyaHiya interchangeable sock set: So tiny, so sharp! The cables are super soft and flexible and swivel so they don’t get twisty or undo the needles. A set of 5 sizes from 2-3mm with 4 circ cables. 

Patterns


  • Eddie's Super Sock Calculator: This was the first pattern I tried with my worsted weight socks, and everything that was wrong with those socks was all down to my terrible knitting. It's the simplest, most perfect thing ever, and taught me how to short row.
  • Zhenya's MUMTU socks: my first attempt with sock yarn and heel flaps, and the basis for my super happy simple pattern.

Skills


  • Judy's Magic Cast On: The best things my socks have going for me, even exclaimed over by a lovely stranger in a yarn shop. The super best thing is Ann's beautiful Left-Handed video.
  • Two at a time on Magic Loop: The concept that made sock knitting a possibility for me. I'm terrible at finishing projects and assume that if I tried to knit one sock at a time I would have an infinite collection of single socks. I would probably be a good patron for the local amputee association. So the idea of knitting both at once, and that they would then turn out exactly the same, was a revelation. And that I could then package them up neatly and take them anywhere was the icing on the cake. I cannot, for the life of me, remember where this amazing idea came from, however. Probably a half-asleep scrolling Pinterest lullaby that got processed and mushed up overnight. I'll get back to you.
  • Yarn Over Increases: Both the toes and the gussets are increased on alternate rounds. This makes the yarn-over increase the perfect way to remember where you're at. Yarn over on round one, knit the yarn-overs through the back loop on round two. When (not if) you get lost, look for the yarn overs. If they're there, knit 'em tbl, if they're not, chuck 'em in! Easy! Just make sure you do knit through the back of the stitch when you come back around, otherwise there will be holes. 
  • Shadow Stitch Short-rows: makes picking up the stitches for the heel flap almost too easy. Like, 'I'm obviously doing this wrong and it's not going to work' easy. But it works perfectly. I'll get back to you with a left-handed version of this one, as I said, I learnt from Eddie's Super Sock Calculator.
  • Purling Backwards: The ultimate in smooth, zen heel knitting. By purling the short rows and heel flap backwards, you eliminate the stop-start arrhythmia of turning the work, and make the shadow stitches much simpler on the purl row.

The Super Happy Simple Pattern


  1. Dump all of the numbers into the MUMTU pattern; pick your primary stitch count and put the right numbers in instead of letters from the chart.
  2. Cast on about two-thirds of your total stitches (E) using Judy's Magic Cast On and knit a round.
  3. Increase until you have E stitches. Round 1 (each needle): K1, YO, knit till 1 left, YO, K1. Round 2: knit, knitting yarn overs through the back loop. 
  4. Enjoy knitting blithely until your sock is 8.25cm shorter than you'd like it to turn out.
  5. Start increasing on one needle using the alternating yarn over rows from the toes. This is the gusset and will be the sole side. Keep going until you have D stitches.
    Up to now, it's basically just the MUMTU pattern. We'll stop working in the round and turn each heel separately. This is where the magic happens, it's when things get really lazy, and we're going to totally mess up the heel extension section. The G and J stitches are still going to hang off either sides, but in-between will just be worked in Shadow Stitch Short Rows. Don't worry about all that other jazz. 
  6. Knit until there are J+1 stitches remaining, make a shadow stitch so J stitches are left hanging. 
  7. Purl backwards until there are G+1 stitches remaining, make a shadow stitch so there are G stitches left hanging.
  8. Now the short row section is pretty obvious, keep making short rows until there are K stitches left as singles. End heel extension; begin revelation.
  9. Now we need to pick up L stitches on each side of the short rows. If it's an odd number, knit the first two shadow stitches together. Otherwise, knit through and treat every shadow stitch as an individual stitch, the purl back the same way so you have E-2 (or M) stitches, plus the G and J stitches on the side.
    Now we can get back to the ordinary, lovely heel flap.
  10. Sl1, K1 and repeat till the end, SSK the last heel flap stitch and the first hanging J stitch together.
  11. Sl1, purl back, P2tog the last heel flap stitch and the first hanging G stitch.
  12. Repeat 10 and 11 until there aren't any hanging stitches left. If you like, bung in an extra Sl1 at the start of every second knit row for fancy Eye of Partridge stitch.
  13. One the heel flap is done, you've got two less stitches on the heel needle than the instep, so make an extra one to the right of the flap, using a lifted increase. It will help close the little gap. Then do the whole heel thing from 6 to the second sock.
  14. Once the second sock has a heel and an extra little stitch, get on back to the magic loop thing and knit across both insteps.
  15. Add that lifted increase to the left side of the heel flaps, so you're back to your original stitch count (E).
  16. And thats it for the tricky-fun part of socks. Go ahead and knit till you run out of yarn, rip back an inch or two and re-work that last bit in rib. You can probably find a better solution to the top of a sock than that, like measuring and weighing or using an actual pattern or some such.
  17. Bind off with something super stretchy. The interlock stitch bind off is brilliant, but again, only a right-handed resource. I have a list and some really terrible videos coming your way.

Enjoy!

Saturday, 24 November 2018

Ankhar Earrings



These earrings are based on Karen Cabrera’s
basic ankhar tutorial #105. Karen’s videos are brilliantly made, even though they’re backwards. 

This is an elegantly simple design, made just with rings on a single shuttle. An 8mm bead is fixed to each earring as part of the finishing loop. 

Use the Larks Head join to keep everything smooth. Again Karen Cabrera is my go-to for this technique, I use the original #85. 

Use small, decorative sized picots. There needs to be enough room to allow two joins, but still keep everything in tight. 

Don’t tat in the end at the beginning, use it to secure the bead and tension at the end. 

R1: 16-8
R2: 10+10
R3: 8+8-8
Repeat R2 and R3 until there’s 5 of each
R11: 8+16

Cut the end long. Thread behind each front ring and through R1 to the back to cinch the curve down. Thread the bead on, loop over R11 and back through the bead. Tie to first thread and stitch in ends. The ends can also be threaded back through between the rings to give a little extra tension and height, and tied around the base of R11 then just snip off closely. Fix an earring hook around the final ring.

Make the second earring the same way. When finishing, make sure the rings overlap the other way around, and fix the earring hook to the other end.

Last year, I was attaching findings to picots. Unfortunately, the hooks I use seem to have too big of a gap to be securely attached to a mere picot and couple of my gifts wandered off by themselves. I've now taken to fixing the hooks around an entire ring, so there's no chance of them going anywhere and I don't have to worry about adding random picots.

The ankhar earrings pictured are made with #20 Milford Mercer in Black and 8mm glass beads. 

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Distracted by String


I’ve been very lax in posting as I’ve been obsessively busy making things. I thought I had calmed down enough to spend a bit of arts and crafts time writing about arts and crafts but aparently not. So here’s what I’ve been making!



A hideous pair of socks!
Mister has one foot slightly larger than the other from an old injury so I thought it would be nice to make him a pair of socks that fit both feet. Maybe with a couple more tries they could be wearable. 



A brioche scarf!
A gift for my father who will probably think it’s too shapey but, hopefully, will enjoy the squishyness. 



A slightly less hideous pair of socks!
More practise still required. And a new bind off. 


A lace cowl!
Turns out I can’t work a lace piece and a brioche piece at the same time, my fingers get confused as to what they’re supposed to be doing with yarn-overs. My own fault, I suppose, for trying to do everything at once!



A necklace!
The piece-de-resistance and four weeks solid effort. Some happy tatting, but a lot of un-tatting and frustration. Many times did I happily finish a section, put it on and be horribly disappointed with the way it puckered, gaped or cupped. Even after three attempts at trial runs.
All positive credit to Marilee Rockley, whose beautiful work hand-dyeing thread inspired me to attempt it myself and acutually get the colours I needed, and for her beautiful Beguile design on which this piece is based. It is only my inexpert additions and fuddling about that caused my issues. 
I take my hat off to all of the designers out there, your efforts are amazing and it will be a long time before I attempt any such thing again!

This piece was made with Lizbeth 10  thread in what was originally Bright Dark Turquoise #663 and Turquiose Twist #142. However, I dyed over it with some half-strength Dylon Tropical Green to make a more greeny shade of teal to suit my Nan, to whom I gave it as a birthday gift. 

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

More TIAS

It's coming together! Check out the game at Tat It and See.

As always, I'm enjoying working Jane's pattern. They are so well written and worked, I love how she presents backside elements.

The split rings have been so tiny and I had a couple of moments getting my head around some of the direction changes with the chains, but careful reading and following the thread has got me thus far without any dramas.