DIY Bondage Cord

We moved house on the last day of the months, and one the items that got lost along the way was our cord.  It was not a priority item to replace, but I guess that Himself felt the loss as he started stroking the finger knitting that I was turning into a thicker piece for further knitting.  Something about it made me wonder if it would work for *ahem* other purposes.  Rigorous testing shows that it not only works, but is a more enjoyable experience.  If you’ve never finger knitted, this might be the time to start.


This is what 9.6m of tickly soft, strong rope looks like

How much yarn
I had a selection of weights and thicknesses to hand, none of them more than 25g.  25g of chunky cotton/silk made a rope roughly 15 feet long, while the lace mohair pictured was 3g.  I suggest grabbing some small balls that you like the feel of and, if there’s enough of it to fit comfortably in the palm of your hand then just work until you run out.
Think about the sensation that you want, and choose your yarn to match: tickly mohair (with nylon for added strength), whispering silk, absorbent cotton (if things get messy)

You will essentially be using your non-dominant hand as a small loom, creating a cord approximately 1/2inch wide.  The width may vary somewhat according to yarn thickness, but that’s the finest I’ve known it.
With the palm of your non-dominant hand facing you, take the end of your yarn in your dominant hand and tuck it between your thumb and forefinger, clamping it in place.  Wind the yarn behind your forefinger, in front of your middle, behind the ring, and right around the pinkie.  Coming back towards the thumb, go in front of the ring, behind the middle, and in front of the fore.  You will repeat this process once more, creating two loops on each finger; using your dominant forefinger, grab the lower of each pair of loops in turn, and slowly lift it over the finger and off.
One loop will stay on each finger until the end, and you will weave around as above to create the second.  Your work will grow down the back of your hand, and tugging on the bottom every now and then will keep it neater and help the loops lie lower on your fingers.  It takes a little while to get into the rhythm, but it grows quickly once you do.
If you need a break, slide each loop in turn onto something cylindrical (I used a spent AAA battery).  Once you are near out of yarn, cast off by taking the single loop off your forefinger, placing it on your middle finger, lifting the lower loop as before, and repeating along your fingers.  When you get to the last loop, pull the yarn through and tighten until it snugs up.  Secure both ends of yarn by sewing them into your rope, and enjoy your new cord.  Please don’t show me photos of it in use.

Want to see what I originally intended the cord for? I’m currently working on that project, and will show you when it’s finished.


Who’s Book, is it?


This is a second learn-along to teach my friend Steve to knit. His daughter has started school, and he’s finding it stressful enough that he wants to take up smoking again. We decided that knitting is a far less dangerous addiction, so I gave him some stash. If part of the directions make no sense to you, it’s because they’re aimed at him.
He has made the “4S bookmark”, as he calls my last pattern, and I will try not to wait too impatiently to see it. Based on an idea I was presented with earlier, here’s a homage to his favourite Doctor.

You will Need

– Oddments of all one fibre yarn, no thicker than dk classification. That’s the acrylic in the small bag, luv.
– Knitting needles, any type, of the right size for your yarn. I’m using 4mm double-points again, as I have a weakness for DPNs.
– Something that cuts yarn. I’m using embroidery scissors, he has yarn snips. I also have a nifty Clover yarn-cutter pendant on a 30″ chain.
– A wool/tapestry needle. Those are in the lil book.
– A book, to measure against. I’m using Canto for a Gypsy by Martin Cruz Smith, as that’s what I’m reading right now. It’s a small book, so I’ll finish quickly 😛

-Cast on
-Knit stitch

Psst, you learned to do those when you made the last bookmark.

Cast on 7 stitches, using your first colour. To make this book scarf you will need to learn to purl. This also teaches a cute stitch pattern called beaded rib stitch, which I’ll sum up after a few purls of wisdom.
Remember that stitch you did last time? That’s called the “knit” stitch! To purl instead, insert your empty needle from the right, with the yarn held in front instead of behind. Wrap the yarn around the tip, as before.
You’ve probably noticed that the first row of knit stitches comes out as little Vs, which is how that stitch naturally looks when patterned a bit. If your new stitch looks like a – instead, you just purled!! Don’t stop now, do another of those.
Mix it up a lil now: knit a stitch, purl 1, knit another, purl 2. That was your first lesson in “knitterese”, which I bet ya excel at.
That’s the first row done, now to turn and do the second. Knit 2, purl 3, knit 2. Still with me? Goood!! These 2 rows form the pattern known as beaded rib stitch, which I rather love. I’ll lay it out for you a lil better
Row 1 (right side): purl 2, knit 1, purl 1, knit 1, purl 2.
Row 2 (wrong side): knit 2, purl 3, knit 2.
Keep colour changes to the end of row 1. If you’re thinking that this is incredibly difficult and you’ll never master it, let me just point out that I’m doing it on an incredibly bad day (panhypopituiarism; I’m having trouble thinking, seeing, and gripping).
Motivational photos of my work in progress:


The point at which I thought it was terrible, and wanted to give up. That’s when I was given the pattern idea, which I am eternally grateful to bethanyg for.

Taken just before I, literally, dropped my needles for the last time today. Sleep well, all, more in the morning.
By the way, I don’t like acrylic yarn. It’s on my list of “reactive” substances, as something in the generally loose spinning makes the fibre detach and bring me out in a sweat. It was a little while before I realised this, though, so I largely have acrylic in my stash.
I am not against the stuff, it’s readily accessible and cost-effective. I just can’t handle it for all that long, so will eventually need to pursue finding non-acrylic dk mini-skeins for making these.
If using my quick-and-dirty colour change method, you can either leave the colours tied together or hanging apart at this point. I just thought of a potential use, but don’t wanna “spoiler” you just in case I don’t pull it off.
When you get bored, check for fit. Once your book scarf easily ties around the book vertically, cast off. To cast off in pattern, repeat the first row. If that’s a wee bit advanced for you, the Doctor won’t mind you using all knit.
Did you know that the original scarf came into being when a woman was just given yarn and told to knit a scarf for it. She used all the yarn, and so a classic was born. Once the ends are woven in, retie any dangling tails of yarn and snip shortish.
They’re looking for the next Doctor. Know anyone suitable? I believe the requirements are:
Australian natural blonde, great smile, likes to hang around in cemeteries, plays the bass.
Sorry that Seta’s got the snuffles, hope she’s better in time for school. Wouldn’t it be a shame if she missed that? *snicker*
Last step: make a kajillion bookmarks. Just me again? Darn!! My surplus-to-requirements handmade bookmarks can now be found at all the best book exchanges, by the way (Waterfront Cafe @ Sheppey HLC)

Scholars’ Scraps Softcover Scarf

Today, I’m going to teach you how to knit a bookmark with some scrap yarn. I assume no prior knitting or knot-tying knowledge here, but please tell me if you need anything clarified.
It’s called a learn-along for two reasons. Firstly, I make the item as I write it out to better teach (no “how the heck do I make a slip knot again?” moments). Secondly, you can tell me where my writing needs improving and how you worked the pattern. So pretty please comment.

you will need
– Oddments of yarn, approximately 4 inches long minimum, all the same rough thickness. I have seen bookmarks that sit happily in a think paperback at Aran thickness, but suggest no thicker than this.
I use the dk category, which frankly covers everything from Sport to heavy Aran in this country. The example photo above runs the gamut there.
I also highly recommend using yarn of all the same fibre content, as it’ll be easier to wash. If you’ve never spilled coffee on a favourite bookmark, I’m frankly jealous. I use 100% acrylic; don’t even get me started on that!
– Knitting needles, any type, the size suggested for your yarn. For dk, I’m using 4mm double-points. If you’re not sure what’s best for your yarn, feel free to ask.
– A large-eyed needle. If you don’t already have one, ask for a wool or tapestry needle.
– Snippy things. I’m using small scissors, and really must tighten them up.
– Measuring device with inches on it.

If you can already knit, skip sections as needed. The essentials are in bold If not, read through entirely first. I knit Continental style, by the way.
Hold your first scrap in your left hand, and an empty knitting needle in your right. Twist the yarn into a loop, a little way from the end. Insert your knitting needle through that loop, and wrap the yarn over the front of your needle. It should now look like you have a lil lasso and a lil line of yarn there. Grab the top of the lasso with your fingertips, and pull it up and slowly off the tip of your needle. If it then looks like

20130531-124557.jpg, you have a slip knot. Apologies for photo quality, it is ridiculously hard to take a photo with a knitting needle in one hand and an iPad in the other.
So, you have 1 stitch on your needle and will need another 9.The next part is easiest for me if I turn the needle vertically, with the stitch facing towards the top. Put your empty needle through the side of the loop facing you, and wrap the yarn. Next, wiggle the needle in your right hand back and out of the loop. Catch the new loop that’s on your right needle, and drop it onto the left needle. The easiest way to do this is to grab it with your fingers. Repeat until there is a total of 10 loops hanging from your left needle.

20130531-133221.jpg We just cast on.
Turn the needle, like so,

20130531-133749.jpg and repeat the wrapping and sliding action. But wait, there’s a twist! Instead of dropping the new loops back onto the left needle, we’re gonna let them stay on the right. When you’ve got all 10 stitches on the right needle, you’ve knit a row. Keep placing the turned needle back in your left hand and knitting a row, until you’re almost out of your scrap of yarn.
Rewatch the second Christopher Eccleston episode of Doctor Who while knitting. Nope, that’s just me! By the way, it doesn’t matter whether you wrap the yarn over the needle tip from the left, right, or a bit of both at this point. I’ve been knitting successfully for 3 years now, and I still do a combination of the two. My completed bookmark done this way proves that it’s not that important. Technique improves with practise. The important bit is to keep the longer length of yarn, also called the working yarn, at the bak of your work. Apologies to anyone who’s been swearing because they didn’t know this!
So, I’ve just got to the point where I no longer have enough of the first yarn to knit a row. Knowing when that is takes not only a fair bit of practise, but the ability to undo those knit stitches as needed. As you don’t have either of those yet, err on the side of caution, so stop when it looks like you’ll have plenty for one more row.

There are many ways of changing colour, but I’ll tell you the quick-and-dirty way for now. Lay the start of the next yarn against the end of the first, and tie there together loosely. You can undo them later to help make it tidier. Carry on knitting, making sure to change colours on the same side as the first in future.
The point where the row of stitches in the new colour looks neat from one side marks that as the “right side”. It’s not that important, but your work will look neater with this facing out, as in the completed pictures. Carry on until your bookmark is roughly 6 inches long.

This is my work thus far, and a way of using old chipped mugs. I keep as much of my scraps as will fit in there for ease of access, and those are my crochet hooks of cute critter war. Sewing needles and stitch markers can also go in, but tend to float to the bottom.
Steve hon, here are some more resources that should help you some
I’m glad it’s making sense so far.

So here’s the right side, after the second colour change. Changes are on the right this time, and were on the left in the example. I suggest making them on the right, as the second row is the right side otherwise; which gets confusing.

I got to 5.5 inches, and just plain got bored. This is perfectly fine, as maximum bookmark dimensions should be 2.5 x 6.4 inches. When you get bored, measure your work. Stop when you want!
To get your work off the needles, knit the first two stitches as usual. Then grab the stitch furthest away from the tip, grab it, and slip it up and over the other until it drops off the needle. That takes a lil while to stop being scary, I swear!
After that, knit a stitch, drop the second, knit again until just one stitch is left. Slide the needle out of that stitch, expand the loop, pop the end of the yarn through, tighten.

So you’ve now got a swell bookmark, with all these ugly loose ends. You could just snip them off, but that’s not very secure. Flip your work over to the wrong side as pictured, and thread your needle with an end. Make a few stitches, as position, then snip the end.

Here is my complete bookmark, flipped to show both sides. I look forward to seeing yours.
Rough Instructions for the Initiated
Cast on 10, knit until almost out of first yarn, change colour keeping changes on the right, knit until shy of 6.4 inches, cast off, weave in ends.


I-cord: Rampant Stag Necklace


I have been knitting since the end of February 2011; I remember the date when I chose my weapons of scarf construction quite precisely, as we were having a jaunt over to Faversham because it was two days before my dad’s birthday and we went to get him some nice food for that. I had a whole kg of Point 5 to use, and a gorgeous kit to tempt me along. The lady who runs the LYS there is who I came to with both my what the hell do I do with this hooky thing? questions when I wanted to crochet back in June 2009, and who was a safe pair of hands for my I think I'll start knitting with a scarf concerns. And this is a pretty long way of saying that I’ve not been yarncrafting that long and need the right nudge to get going with anything new.
I had been stalking the woodsy association since about the time of its release, as the funky antler charms whispered to me of many potential uses. The fact that they would play nicely with cute wristwarmers that I might also make at some point was more of a bonus than a reason to get that pattern. So when I saw the news that the pattern has lost its exclusivity with KnitPicks, I immediately asked if directions for making the charms are included. And that’s a pretty long way of explaining why this was the perfect pattern for boosting me into success with i-cords, which I previously failed at without an interesting project to work it into.
So here come the instructions
Materials Needed
1 Copy of the Woodsy Association pattern (I will be referencing this pattern, so it’s a must if you want to do this project)
10g or more of 100% cotton yarn (I used Patons Mercerised DK-weight in shade Limestone, previously overdyed with Lift instant tea using a Kool Aid method for that shiny beige look cos that was the suitable yarn that I had to hand)
2 needles in the size recommended for your yarn (I used 4mm dpns, but you can also use straights)
Internet access (I’ll also be referring to a video)
Sewing needle (I used one with a large eye and slightly pointed tip)
Crochet hook (only if you can crochet a little and happen to have one the same size as your needles, don’t worry otherwise)
The crown measurement of the recipient (for that custom fit)
Something small and snippy (I used slightly blunt pointed scissors)
Water (I stood by the kitchen tap while wearing the final piece)
Moments of quiet (it feels rude to have people talking at me cos I’m in the zone)
Model (for blocking)
Skills Used
Casting on firmly
Knitting in the round
Kfb/increase 1
If you don’t have even a nodding acquaintance with ALL of these skills, do not try this method
Cast on the number of stitches specified in the pattern then, leaving your empty needle in the last stitch, knit the first round without turning. Work all subsequent rounds by slipping stitches to the other end of the needle, twisting the hanging yarn around the back to reach the start, and the knitting the next round. If you’re working on straight needles or looking as puzzled as I did at this point in written instructions, I hope that this video will help you as much as it did me.
Continue as the pattern directs until you hit the first SSK. If your stitches are too tight to work a successful SSK, don’t panic (like I did!). Slipping the stitches back and forth a few times (I counted 3) will loosen them up nicely. Once your slips are loose enough to place your empty needle at the correct angle, work the SSK, and then follow the pattern to complete the main antler. If you get distracted and lose track of how many plain rounds you’ve just work (I got an event invite while reading the pattern on my iPad), it’s better to work one too many than too few. Don’t try and spot the extra round on the right antler pictured, please.
Once the yarn tail was snipped on the main antler, I picked up the stitches for the prongs on one needle, and then slid the needle through until the were near the right tip. I then inserted the other needle into the first stitch, and then just knit that tightly by pulling out the tail after the stitch was complete. Follow the pattern to the end, weave in all but the first end on each antler, snip trailing yarn.
If you can crochet; start with a tail of at least 6 inches, work chain stitches loosely until chain almost fits comfortably over your head (crown measurement plus 1 inch), then work another 2 inches (10 stitches, in my case). Snip yarn at roughly 6 inches, expand last stitch to make a loop large enough for starter tail to easily fit through, close loop around this tail. Knot the tails for security, leave ends.
If you can’t crochet; follow chain instructions using one or two stitches of plain i-cord.
Moving back to the charms, arrange them so that the prongs are on the inside, sew one antler lightly to the base of the other. Position necklace chain/cord so that the front middle comes to a point, sew first one and then the other antler on through the middle of this stitch. Snip ends.
Place the necklace naturally on your model, heavily wet your fingers (with water, naughty), and scrunch the antlers in your wet hand until they’re as firm as you want them, gently manipulate them back into shape, and leave to dry naturally. You may want to shape the antlers further when fully dry; I did a bit more after taking the photo. They’ll move about as you wear them, so don’t be alarmed if you also need to snip ends a bit closer for your tastes.
You will know that your finished necklace looks professional if you’re asked where you got it, as happened when mine was as pictured. Now that I’ve used the DK I had to make this experiment, I know that I’ll need some 4-ply to make an earring that matches without being massive. We’re off to Hythe tomorrow, and there be a yarn shop there. Housemates know what I’m looking for, so it’s not a devious plan.

Step by step simple socks: week one

If, like me, you’ve tried knitting socks only to rip it out because it just doesn’t look right, this one’s for you. I’m not trying to exclude those who know their stuff, please comment with tips and encouragement, but you’re not really gonna learn anything. I’ve not yet got to the point where I like what I see well enough to keep it going, so I’m going to take it nice and slow this time, breaking it down, researching the problems I encounter, and taking breaks as and when I need to because learning a new skill can be so tiring.
I’m gonna be adding info and pics as I go, then wrapping each post up and publishing it on Monday. I started on Tuesday, see, and wanna show how it progresses through each week, even if I can only show how many extra rounds I got done. I will be doing this for as long as it takes, please give me feedback.

Step One: Gather your materials
There’s certain things, like yarn, that it’s a given you need and others that I just plain forget may help or not know why that style is best. So I’m gonna explain what I’m using and why.

O 100g sock yarn If you don’t know what to look for, you’ll want 4ply superwash wool with a nylon binder. I also know of 3ply and other fibre being used, but those are too tricky for something I’m already having difficulty with. Been there, lost patience with that. I am using Zitron XXL in shade 1002, which selfstripes in green and yellow and works up prettier than the pictures will show.
O a simple patternMine is a sock and gift bag pattern that you can get free with the linked yarn. It’s easier to understand than other patterns I’ve tried, but only shows sizing for a woman’s medium, which roughly translates to the UK standard 4-7. If the feet that you want socks for are not the right width for these sizes, then find a pattern that you like and makes sense to you. I will be referencing my pattern as we go along, so it’s not a dealbreaker if you want to just pick things up from here.
O 2-3mm double pointed knitting needles My pattern worked with 2.5mm for the gauge, but sock yarn generally works with 2-3 depending on the gauge.I started using 20cm bamboos cos that’s what I had, but if you have choice those are best cos you want grippy not slippy.
O Closed stitch marker markers with moving parts make things so much more stressful here, as you just can’t slip them as you go without them slipping off. Use those if that’s all you’ve got, but allow for extra annoyance.
O 2-handle mini tote bag keeping everything together in one bag is great, and it’s easy to just take the work out and dip in for anything else needed as you go, then pull one handle through the other so nothing can fall out when you’re done
O darning needle Because this is a fine yarn, you don’t need a massive eye on your needle but the longer eye and sharper makes darners easier to use
O snippers yarn snips are best for cutting the yarn neatly without tearing it or jabbing you.
O row counter there’s plenty of options that don’t go on your needle, cos those are chunky and heavier than you need, but if that kind is all you have you can use it in place of a stitch marker. Otherwise, there’s apps where you type the number in and the Kacha-kacha that stands on the table (and gets mistaken for a gum ball machine) and Mini Kacha that you can wear (which looks like a smiling frog). There’s also bracelets that are meant to work kinda like an abacus, but I dunno how.20130319-191108.jpg
Above you can see my stitches cast on loosely, I did 60 with the classic knit or two needle method. This is purely because I can’t understand other methods, anything that gives you a stitch floppy enough to slide into easily will work. It’s kinda tricky getting that amount of stitches to fit on one 20cm needle without them trying to slide off one or both ends, so bunch them a bit as
Before casting on, I checked that my gauge was right. My pattern called for 36 stitches and 48 rows per 10cm/4inch stockinette square on 2.5mm needles, which I had trouble with at first cos I tend to loop loosely. I had no small dpns, so had to find a way of working tighter on the ones I had. After a bit of experimenting, I discovered that wrapping counterclockwise gives me tighter gauge and made it so I didn’t have to hunt down skinnier sticks. If you don’t have dpns already, do your gauge swatch on single points in the size recommended and work from there until you know which size you need.

Once the stitches are cast on and you’ve recounted them, they’re divided over 3 needles (sometimes 4, your pattern will tell you which if it matters), with 20 stitches per needle in my case. The way to do that is to start from the first stitch cast on, stick one of the empty needles into it and move stitches until the right needle has the right number on it, recount, and do the same with another needle. Get all the stitches facing inwards and lined up so that the needles with the first stitch and the trailing yarn sit over the other needle.
When it looks all triangular (you’re not gonna have a triangular sock, because I was kinda scared thinking that), you’re gonna join your stitches. I’ve just learned myself by trial and error how to join without swapping stitches about or having a strand running between them. Keeping the triangular shape, hold your needles so the slip knot is one the left and the trailing yarn on the right. Pull these needles so that the left needle rests over the right with no gap and the slip knot is against the last stitch. Hold the needles together with your right thumb at this point, and bring your fourth needle in to knit the slip knot stitch as tightly as you can.
You’re also gonna wanna wrap the yarn a lil tighter for the first stitch of each needle to gently bring the last needle into alignment with it better.
Most sock patterns that start from the cuff (known as cuff down) uses knit 2 purl 2 ribbing, and that’s what my pattern calls for. Knit the first stitch a little tighter than usual, and then you can let go with your right hand and loosen a little. The beauty of circular knitting is that you’re always working with the right side facing, so can just progress round with none of the loathsome flipping until you’re all done.
And if you’re getting bugged cos you can really see lil chinks of light through the stitches, don’t panic. Your work is at it’s most stretched by being on the needles, so it’s unlikely to look like that when worn (and anyone spotting it then if it did would really have to get down there with a magnifying glass, so if it feels good when you stick an appendage through it’s just fine.

When you need to do something else or have trouble concentrating (I put the latter as a given cos I sure hope I’m not the only one who has to step away so I don’t mess up big time), tuck your triangle down as above, and put everything safely in your bag. Do NOT work your sock while watching tv, cos I had to rip mine twice cos I lost concentration. And if you ever have real trouble collapsing your work, your work is a smidge too tight.

When you start the second round, don’t be alarmed if you do find that the connecting piece of yarn between the end and beginning stitches is long enough to notice. This happened after my last rip, and I despaired at the thought of starting AGAIN. So I puzzled it out, and wrapping this linking section around the left needle and then knitting that and the next stitch as one worked great. Once I got that sorted, the start of the next round was just as it should be. Tell me if you need a pic of this, and I’ll try to recreate it.
So once you’ve got the first stitch of the second round, slip a stitch marker on before knitting the second stitch, as shown in the pic. This is the only way I found of keeping it on the needle. See my funky day-glo o ring here, which is all I had that worked. The stretchiness of them works well for slipping from one needle to another, and also worked great for bundling my needles. I may need to acquire more for bundling.
As you work, it’s easier to move the needles you’re currently working to the front, and to slide the stitches towards the tip of the left needle and of the one to the left of that so your work doesn’t get the horrible tight stretch that I really struggled to work with. If you don’t do this, you’ll get the tip or long exposed length of the needle to the left of the active ones swinging about in front and blocking the way. You can hopefully see my positioning a bit in the pic, but I’m gonna show that better in the next one.

So this is a pic of my progress through round 9 of 16 of the ribbed cuff, and you can see that the working needle are kept in front and the stitches of the other needles are moved so that they form a rough circle without much strain. If you want to do more than 16 rounds of cuff, which makes about 2 inches, there’s definitely enough yarn for that in my pattern if you’re not doing the accompanying gift pouch that I really hope I can cover after. These socks are for me, but I always need more gift bags than I have and it’s good to learn now so I know I can pull it off when I want to make someone socks in a matching bag. It was so satisfying when I did that with earrings, so the more things I can do that with the better.

This is what the completed 16 rounds of ribbing looks like.

And this is how it looks right way up. If you get to this point and think your cuff’s gonna be a bit short, this is just the top bit of that and the whole cuff is 73 rounds. Some socks will have more of the cuff ribbed or even be ribbed all over, and that’s something to explore later. I saw a delish all-over rib pattern that I ache to make.

Here I’m working round 8 of 57 for the stockinette section of the cuff. You can see how just knitting every row creates this pattern cos the front is always facing out. The same happens on knitting looms.
By this point, you probably won’t need to concentrate quite so intensely so can watch light tv or have a chat while working. If you’re shortsighted, it may help to work without glasses, though, as I ave trouble seeing the fine stitches otherwise.

Here’s a screenshot of the app I use to keep track of everything, Vogue Knitting Buddy. It’s like a lil Ravelry (I’m new there, guess my username) that counts rows, inches, whatever too. That’s 41 outta 73 total for the cuff section.

I realised a few rounds later that I made an error, and I feel it’s really petty to undo all that for a really minor imperfection. Can you see it?

49 rows in, the plain stitching is getting boring. And I have another 24 rounds of that to go, even Craftlit cannot relieve the tedium. I get bored easily, so I have a LOT of hibernating projects. What to do? I usually break each piece I make down into how much I have completed, but I can’t do that here cos the crocheted socks I made were all of thicker stuff so worked up differently.
I realised at this point that you’d have no idea how long I’d been doing it til I got bored, so I’ll go back and split things by day as much as poss. I will also be putting in the time of each addition in consecutive weeks for the same reason.

My stitches are that small and my camera that poor that this is the best I can show my stitches, but hopefully you can see that I’m sticking to gauge pretty consistently cos my stitches are well defined without being gappy.

At row 53, I realised that I had 20 rows to finish the cuff and that I could break things down by relating in that way before. I’ve done that before, but I’m not well right now and kinda panicked.

I realised that I was not so much bored as concerned when I listened to the part of my brain that was screaming “this looks too long”. So I tried it on my foot for a better idea of fit, then looked up how long ankle sock cuffs usually are.

Research shows that cuffs are usually 5-7 inches long, and a couple of measures told me I’d gone far enough. So now for the heel.

Knit first 15 stitches of next round, turn. Wonder how you’re gonna work with stitches on 4 needles, feel silly cos that’s what you’ve already been doing, carry on. You are now working flat

*Slip 1, purl 29 stitches, slide the rest of your stitches onto one of the spare needles, which is gonna act as a big stitch holder.
Next slip 1, knit to end of row, turn*
Repeat * section to make a total of 30 rows.

I realised that having all the hanging stitches on one needle makes things too rigid, so divided 15 onto each spare needle.
I realised that circular knitting gauge is naturally looser, as I was working my flat rows too tightly. This isn’t really noticeable visually but makes it hard to move the stitches along the needles, so it’s important to loosen up.

Coming back after a lil while on WoW, the fineness of the wrong side @ row 7 made me smile. I usually loathe the reverse of stockinette cos it’s big and dull, but it’s so much less so in variegated daintiness.

I was really struggling with consistent tension in the flat, but the fact that I couldn’t see it one bit through the viewfinder showed me I was being too critical. So maybe that’s a good thing to do if you can’t tell how important it is.

22 rows into the heel flap, and the last photo before bed.

Not that I’m stopping yet, but I’ll have to at row 30 cos this is what a photo taken from my iPad with just my lamplight looks like.
I was trying to set up a handwarmer on aluminium this morning, and I just got why I was having trouble with it and why I failed to work socks on the darned things. The problem I have with aluminium for circular work is that things that are niggles with straight work are magnified there. I failed to knit slipper socks before cos the heavier aluminium slipped right through the stitches so much that it brought about a rare bout of swearing, and they’re also that bit clumsier because the very fact that they’re a rigid material means that they work against the yarn a bit. And that’s not just a metal thing, I found birch to be harder work too.
Just realised why I’m enjoying using the dpns best for flat work, compared to other styles of needle in the same material. They’re more equally balanced, so are gonna make lighter work of it. Nuh-night.

This is what my work looked like when I laid it down last night. That’s the heel flap done, now for the shaping.

Starting on the wrong side again, I slipped the first stitch, purled 16, purled 2 together, purled the last stitch, and turned.
On the next row, I slipped the first stitch (this makes a smaller amount of larger stitches for picking up), knit 5, then stopped because I couldn’t remember how to SSK. I’m gonna have to reread my own earlier post to check that what I just tried to do is in fact correct.
I dunno if my brain is just super foggy or what, but I couldn’t understand my own instructions, so Lion Brand showed me how. So slip the next 2 stitches, knit them together through the front loops, knit 1, turn.
So that sets up the extra stitches at the sides, which will be picked up and decreased over as you go. I then slip the first stitch of each row, work stitches until 1 before the gap, then decrease with SSK on right side and p2tog wrong side. This is gonna go on until there’s no more stitches I can decrease over.

So that’s the heel decreases done. It looks weirdly long at this point, cos it’s not yet in the natural position.

And this is where I am in the pattern.

After I realised that picking up those larger slipped stitches involves knitting rather than just sliding a needle in as I initially thought, I picked up the 15 stitches by putting my needle through from the bottom so that it sits between the two loops of each stitch. It’ll be easier if you can use 5 needles here, and knitting firmly minimises holing.

I then knit the 30 remaining cuff stitches onto one needle, and picked up the 15 slipped stitches from the other side. Now we’re set up for working in the round again. My pattern mentioned placing 3 markers, but I wanna discover how important that is and why. I’m learning all the time see, and other patterns have demanded markers where I just didn’t need them.
Don’t forget to knit a lil tighter in the first stitch to join, then knit to three stitches from the end of second needle, knit 2 together, knit to end of 3rd needle. At this point, I realised that stitch markers would help if working with 4 needles, so you’d need to work to 3 stitches before end of side there.
If you get any visible joins, wrap the yarn and knit with the next stitch as before. So knit the first stitch, SSK, then knit to the end of the round, then knit the next round.
Aaand repeat 1 round of decreases, 1 round plain until you’re back to 60 stitches. Turn your counter to 74, which is how many stitches you’ll have after the first round, and lower the number by one after each decrease.
71 stitches. I keep falling into the rhythm of the plain rounds, which is fine until I forget to decrease.

Partway through the plain round of 66 stitches.

Learn-along: Granny Rectangles

I was browsing the Red Heart site when I came across a video for the rectangular granny. Intrigued, I clicked the link and was soon enthralled. I prefer the written word when learning, no damned rewinding, so I thought I’d create a written guide to support the video. Pics coming sooooon.

You will need:

O access to YouTube while working, so you can watch the video and refer back here.
O Any yarn you like, all the same thickness and material
O Crochet hook that gives you a slightly loose gauge. This will vary according to your tension, the flexibility of your yarn, and what tension you like. To give you a better idea, though, my standard gauge is amiguru tight and I needed an 8mm hook for standard tension with chunky woven tape yarn, but wanted my work tighter when using acrylic dk and so opted for a 5mm there.
O Yarn needle
O Small, sharp scissors or yarn snips
O (Optional) smaller hook, for edging

Stitches used:
Slip knot
Treble crochet (US double)
Slip stitch

Please do not attempt this method until confident with all stitches used


set up:
Start with a slip knot, *chain 3, then triple crochet in first chain*, repeat section between * until it is as long as you want the middle of your piece. A longer starting section creates a piece that builds faster lengthwise than widthways. I followed the video instructions and did 4 groups, partly because that’s familiar from the square method and it’s usually best to get the method down before tweaking it.

Round One:
Chain 3 then, in the space created between the last triple crochet and chain, work 2 triple crochet, chain 3, then work another 3 triple crochet in this space. This starts the first corner, which will be finished at the end of the round. *Chain 1, work 3 triple crochet in next space*, repeat * section until you reach the last triple crochet of the set up round, chain 1, then work 3 tc, ch3, 3 tc, ch3, 3 tc in last space. This turns the corner, repeat * until back at the start, join with slip stitch.

Round Two and beyond:
To create corners- 3 tc, ch3, 3 tc in largest space. At the start of the round, the first tc is replaced by a ch3.
To work around, repeat * area from round one, then switch to corner method at corners.

The other way
If you know how to do granny squares and find the set up for rectangles baffling, you can instead make just the starting round of 2 squares and sew them together, then continue from round one of the rectangle method.

If you want to add an edging to your finished piece, picot worked fairly tightly works best. You can add it in a contrast colour, make it more balanced by using the starting colour, work in different colours for some of the humps, or keep it simple by continuing in the last colour of the main piece.

I hope you find this easy and informative, but please comment with any queries. And I’d love to know what you create with this method.