One of my recent designs is for a stole made up of lace blocks which use a variety of techniques. I use this cast on to make one of the centers. It is a simple way to start a circular project from the center out.
1. Make a loop with the yarn with the working yarn on top of the yarn tail. Hold the needle in your other hand. The yarn tail should trail off toward the hand holding the needle.
2. Insert the needle through the loop from front to back.
3. Catch a strand of the working yarn and knit up one stitch.
4. Yarn over.
5. Repeat Steps 3 and 4 until you have the desired number of stitches, ending with Step 3 for an odd number.
If desired, wrap the yarn tail around the loop and knit through the tail and the loop, as shown above. This provides a firmer circle with less tail to weave in. You can pull on the tail after a few rounds to close the center as much or as little as you like. Keep your fingers in the center to keep the hole open.
For a center that results in a very large hole, stay tuned for the Chain Beginning (in a future post).
'Tis the season for wearing warm gloves, and my husband dug his out of the closet the other day. He had worn holes in the thumbs and asked me to mend them.
I began by threading a yarn needle with a length of yarn. Cut the longest length you can handle, because adding new yarn is a little awkward. I started off to the side a ways before and below the hole, inserting the needle between the knit part and the thermal part and making sure to keep hold of the tail.
I then proceeded to weave in the tail. If you do it before you start, you don't have to worry about how to do it after you've filled in the hole! I took the needle over the bars between the stitches. You can do this from the right side, and it's just as invisible as from the wrong side. I couldn't get a clear photo of it, but I took the needle 4 diagonal steps down toward the hole without pulling through, and then stuck it back up through the glove to the right side. I pulled the yarn through, making sure to keep hold of the tail. I stuck the needle down through the same place it came up and wove it over and under the bars again, 4 steps up toward the hole.
Then I duplicate stitched 2 rows below the hole, starting 2 stitches before and ending 2 stitches after the hole. Now comes the good part.
When I got to the hole itself, I started looping the center stitches over a double-pointed needle. Then I was able to keep the end stitches on the glove as reinforcement, and knit across the stitches over the hole.
Where the hole got larger, I moved my end stitches outward, and where it got smaller, I moved them inward. I ended by grafting the live stitches to the glove fabric.
As you can see, they turned out serviceable---better, in my opinion, than buying whole new gloves. But it took a little over three hours for two thumbs. A matching color would have been less visible, but still apparent. I was interested in the work and doing it for the man I love, but it isn't a quick fix.
In anticipation of the next issue of Clotheshorse magazine, I thought I'd post a tutorial from one of my designs that appeared in last winter's Clotheshorse.
This is Baroque, a double-breasted capelet with contrast color facings, done in stranded colorwork using steeks.
One way to prepare steeks involves a sewing machine. You can also sew them by hand or crochet them---or simply leave them to felt. For this design, I chose a knotted steek. The knots fill in the space between the facing and the colorwork, adding insulation.
Below is a photo of the back panel before cutting. The stripe running up the center is the steek itself---a bridge of stitches which will not appear in the garment itself. The narrow black line marks the center, and it is where I will cut.
Whew! Now for the knots. I gently unravel the stitches all the way to the solid white line. Then I choose one black strand and one white strand and knot them together. I pair a black strand with a white in hopes that I will get two strands from the same row. Perplexingly, it doesn't always work out this way and I end up with an extra white strand and have to knot three strands together, then root around for the black strand that escaped earlier.
I used an overhand knot---maybe a half-hitch?---for most of the knots. But in spite of my clever color-coding of the steek itself, some strands were too short and had to be tied in square knots. Below are action shots of the half-hitches in process . . .
. . . and the final fringe, which is to be tucked in neatly under orchid-colored facing.
A few years ago my wonderful husband gave me an exquisite nostepinne. Ever since, I have been trying to work out how best to use it. I think I have figured it out. I read about it and watched youtube tutorials but it really was trial and error that led to my success.
I know you are supposed to be able to use a film canister or a wooden spoon, but I couldn't figure them out and anyway this nostepinne is a work of art. (And it matches my rocking chair!)
So everyone's on the same page, I'll start by saying yarn often comes not in balls, but in skeins like this one.
In order to wind the skein into a ball or cake, the first step is to stretch it out. Some people have handy collapsible umbrella swifts, some people just turn a chair upside down on a table and stretch it out over the four legs. I have an Amish adjustable swift--another gift from Hubby. The advantage of a swift over a chair is that the swift turns as you wind. I tried using the back of a swiveling counter stool, but it just wasn't as good.
Once the skein is stretched out, I wind the yarn around the handle of the nostepinne, then several times around the shaft. For a nice flat cake, I started with 2"/5cm for a 50g, 100m skein. A skein with more yardage or more weight might need a longer initial winding.
Then I wind the yarn in a criss-cross pattern. I have seen both criss-cross and single direction windings recommended. The way that works best for me uses both.
After I build up some bulk with the criss-crossing I switch to single direction winding. How do I know when to switch? Well, eventually the crissing starts falling off the tidy little bundle of yarn and that's when I restrict myself to crossing.
I continue with single-direction winding until I have a lovely center-pull cake like the one at the top of this post. I also know how to wind the yarn into adorable round center-pull balls and elegant center-pull eggs. And if I'm using a slithery yarn like linen I don't have to pull from the center. It's just nice to have the option.
I enjoy winding my yarn by hand because it allows me time to get to know the yarn. Knots make themselves known, and color repeat patterns reveal themselves. When I have a deadline coming up, nine 250yd skeins can be daunting, but winding them allows me time to mull over aspects of the design or just take a break from knitting and computering.
It's all good.
Here's a tutorial for grafting live stitches to each other using a yarn needle. I hope you find it useful! Note: I say in the video to use a yarn tail twice as long as the seam, but you really need a little more than that. Try three times as long, just to be safe.
This is my first video with the Nikon D5100. I had to put it on manual focus so it didn't keep zooming in and out---as a result, the picture blurs when I move my hands closer to the camera. Still, it's better than my previous video! More soon.
In this section of the tutorial we will make nodes corner, smooth, or symmetric, and make selected segments into lines or curves.
Begin by drawing the schematic you see here. Review the earlier sections of the tutorial if you're unsure how (scroll down for the earliest ones).
Choose the Nodes tool from the toolbar on the left-hand side of your Inkscape window (2nd one down) and click on the collar.
Across the top of your Inkscape window you should see several icons. There should be faint gray vertical lines between the 2nd and 3rd, the 4th and 5th, and the 6th and 7th icons. We will be using the 7th - 10th and 11th & 12th icons in this section of the tutorial.
Select the node at the lower left corner of the collar and press Shift +C or click the 7th icon. It should say "Make selected nodes corner" when your mouse hovers over it. This will split the node into two nodes which angle (rather than arch) away from each other when dragged.
Drag one of the nodes down one square and to the center of the collar.
Now click on the 8th icon (or press Shift+S).
You should see two handles coming out of the node. Drag one out to the edge of the neckline.
We have just "smoothed" the node. Let's make it symmetric by clicking the 9th icon.
Isn't that neat? Drag the node a little farther down and see what happens. Now click the 10th icon or press Shift+Y. This activates the Auto-Smooth function, which changes the curve a little but mostly makes a difference when moving adjacent nodes.
Try changing from Auto-Smooth and back, moving the adjacent nodes each time, to see the difference.
Now let's make those smooth curves at the bottom of our collar back into straight lines. Select two adjacent nodes at the bottom of the neck, and press Shift+L or the 11th icon.
Now press Shift+U (or the 12th icon) to change it to a curve. Move the handles until you're satisfied. Notice this doesn't change it back to the same curve. You'd want Edit--Undo (Ctrl+Z) for that.
These are really useful tools--I hope you enjoyed learning about them.
Visit the whole tutorial here.
This section of the tutorial will cover nodes, or those little knobby things along a line that you can manipulate to suit your drawing. We will select, move, add, and subtract nodes, join two nodes into one or connect them with a new segment, split one node into two or delete a segment that connects them. In Part 2 we will make nodes corner, smooth, or symmetric, and make selected segments into lines or curves (very cool!).
Begin by pressing F2 or selecting the Nodes tool from the toolbar. The Nodes tool is second in line, right beneath the select tool (plain arrow).
Now click on any object to select.
Large and small square nodes appear. Click on a node to select it, or the segment between two nodes to select both nodes. Shift+Click selects several nodes in succession. Tab selects the next node; Shift+Tab selects the previous node. Click anywhere outside the line to deselect all nodes.
Make a schematic similar to the one above, with a square neckline. Click on one of the small nodes and drag it diagonally downward.
The blue line with a circle at the end is called a handle. You can select and drag it, too.
See what happens when you do.
Ctrl+Drag restricts a node's movement to horizontal or vertical, and Ctrl+Alt+Drag takes it along the direction of the node's handles. You can also use your keyboard's Arrow keys to move nodes.
Across the top of your Inkscape window (in Node mode) there should be a row of icons. If you hover your mouse over each one you can read a description of its function. Select the node or segment first, then click on the icon to implement.
If you're as bad with a mouse as I am, you may prefer keystroke commands. Double-click or Shift+Alt+Click anywhere on a selected path to add a new node at that point without changing the shape of the path. Ctrl+Alt+Click to delete.
Now I'm going to show you a few tricks that may or may not be useful to you in drawing schematics. First up is Join Nodes.
Select two end nodes. In this case, the one at the top corner of the collar and one on the sleeve. First I selected the sleeve line with Shift+Click, then the nodes one at a time using Shift+Click for the second one I chose. The lower nodes of the collar won't work for this because they are along the path of the neckline, but you can choose either sleeve node.
Then choose the third icon which shows two nodes being made into one. Nifty, huh?
Undo all that (Edit -- Undo or Ctrl+Z) and choose the two nodes at the top of the collar. Choose the sixth icon, the one that shows two nodes connected by a segment becoming open (unconnected). Whee! Now connect them by clicking the fifth icon.
What about the fourth icon? This one's pretty neat. It splits the node into two nodes in order to move them separately.
I found the Inkscape manual very helpful in preparing this tutorial. A great resource!
Next up: Nodes Part 2 including some really wonderful features.
This section of the tutorial will cover the Transform Menu: Move, Scale, Rotate, Skew, and Matrix.
First, select the object you intend to transform. This might be a piece of your schematic or the entire drawing. Then choose Object -- Transform from the top menu or press Shift + Ctrl+ M.
Under "Move" you have horizontal and vertical options. To the far right you have your choice of units: pixel, point, pc (which I can only hope doesn't stand for parsec (3.26 light years or 30.9 trillion km)), millimeters, meters, inches, feet, and centimeters. Choose a unit and fill in the amount of horizontal and/or vertical movement. Use the arrow keys to raise and lower the amount if you wish.
Make sure the box next to "Relative move" is checked, otherwise you will not be moving the entire shape as one piece. Finally, click "Apply." Another option for moving shapes is not to use the Transform menu at all but to use the hand cursor and mouse to drag it or arrow keys to nudge it once it has been selected.
The "Scale" function is incredibly useful to adjust a schematic accidentally drawn to the wrong proportions or to shrink an entire drawing to fit on the page. This has options to the far right as well. Shrink or expand a drawing by a certain percentage or to a certain number of pixels or parsecs. You can set one dimension and then select "Scale proportionally" to shrink or expand the entire schematic exactly the way it looks, or you can select only the sleeves, say, and reduce the height by 50% if, for instance, you forgot you were using one grid square to mean 2 inches instead of only 1. You must click "Apply" to see the results.
"Rotate" and "Skew" are two other useful options for designers looking to adjust schematics or transform copied objects. They are fairly straightforward so I won't go into them further.
"Matrix" can flip and stretch the drawing. "A" stretches the width, "B" stretches widthwise and slants (positive inputs slant upward, negative slant downward), "C" stretches lengthwise and slants (positive inputs slant to the right, negative slant to the left), "D" stretches lengthwise, E and F may be for shifting perspective in 3D drawings. They return text boxes to their original positions and don't appear to affect the transformed (2D) schematic itself.
Next up: Using nodes to control curves.
Read the Tutorial from Part 1 here. (Scroll down for earlier entries.)
I've got some projects in the works, one of which is an eBook I'll be giving away to subscribers to my blog.
This eBook will detail methods of lace design--basically, how to use holes to draw pictures. Various decreases will be covered, along with ways to manipulate yarnovers. I'm not sure when I'll have it ready, but if you really don't want to miss it contact me with your email address and I'll give you a heads up when it's done.
Oh, and today is the last day to enter my giveaway. Good luck!
This section of the tutorial will cover combining shapes and turning lines into curves.
Let's say we want to draw the schematic for a cape. We can first draw several shapes . . .
. . . then select them (with the select tool) . . .
. . . then go to the Path menu . . .
. . . and choose Union. The shapes will merge and the inner lines disappear. Here is the final cape schematic, with a center dividing line and a dotted hemline.
Neat, huh? Now let's make a curve. First we draw a few segments. (This is a waistline.)
Then we choose "Edit paths by nodes" from the toolbar.
Now we select the two nodes of the middle segment (click on the first one, then shift-click to select additional nodes) and press shift+U. One node has a red dot on top of it.
Move the dot until you get the curve you want. Ignore the line connecting the dot to the curve. (It's a tangent line.)
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