We haven’t had any rain to speak of all summer, and then this week rolls in. Power outages, wind storms, trees down, water coursing on the driveway—all the bad weather has arrived at once.
After the MR left this morning, rain was pummeling the roof making me question our safety. Maybe this would be a good day to knit.
Let’s be honest; for me, any day is a good day to knit. I’ve been knitting for over 30 years and crocheting longer than that. I figure I know what’s what, but there’s always room to learn more.
Earlier this summer, I bought a video from Interweave Knits called “The Knitter’s Toolbox: Lily Chin’s Techniques and Tricks for Savvy Knitters”. Lily couples attitude with a ton of practical advice. One tip I encorporated immediately was using an overhand knot to add a new skein of yarn. This helps keep that first stitch tight without adding a lot of bulk. I was in the middle of designing a bodice made up of mitered squares and this came in totally handy.
Another tidbit was to use the plastic squares from your bread bag to keep loose ends out of the way. Now you can have a nice long tail for seaming without it getting tangled up in everything. She talks for a couple of hours sharing all these ideas. It was a bit like drinking from a firehose.
I think I’ll rewatch it, take notes, and write down the times when certain techniques are demonstrated. It’s easy to forget these fancy skills if you’re not using them.
Yesterday, I wandered down to our local yarn shop for knitting group and was getting ready to cast on a scarf when I remembered Lily had shown a great chain cast on so that both ends of your scarf match. Chain cast ons are nothing new, but instead of chaining with a crochet hook and then picking up and knitting through the back loop, she suggested simply crocheting over the knitting needle which makes this technique so much easier to execute.
Over the summer, I’ve been listening to the Never Not Knitting podcasts for yarn and designer recommendations. That’s where I listened to an interview with Ysolda Teague about her book Little Red in the City. Literally half the book is devoted to proper fit.
Now even with proper gauge, fit can be an issue. I finished a little swingy crocheted jacket last month, and I’m basically swimming in it. It looks fine with a belt, but I definitely can use some help achieving a good fit.
I haven’t quite got through all the fitting advice, but it’s on my list. When I was cleaning up our room, I ran across a vest that’s patiently been waiting to be finished since April. I decided to check out what Ysolda says about blocking. Instead of simply wetting down your pieces and laying them out, she suggests soaking them for 20 minutes, so the fibers are fully permeated.
That was easy enough; I filled the sink with warm water, a little Woolite, and my knitted pieces. Now this is the yarn that was turning my hands green all winter. I kept starting projects, running out of yarn, rethinking, ripping it out, and starting anew. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised when 20 minutes later the water looked like this.
I’m hoping that soak got rid of most of the overdye. I won’t be wearing this vest with a white shirt any time soon. But the soaking did make the wool easy to block into shape.
I love the definition of the cables. I’m hoping this will make a great layering piece this fall and winter.
As me and the MR were saying the other night, it’s never too late to learn something new. Books, videos, podcasts, we have a whole world to explore.
Where do you find tips and tricks?