Category Archives: Technique of the Week

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Smitten with Single-Ply Yarns

Have you met the newest addition to our special reserve line up – Preciosa? This has got to be one of my favorite special reserve yarns to date, not only was I instantly drawn to the bright, saturated colors (I’m looking at you Ginger and Gecko!) but I have a special place in my world of fiber for single-ply yarns like Preciosa. My needles simply cannot resist the siren song of a single-ply Merino. And because Preciosa is a single-ply, the loose twist really brings out the cushiony softness of the fibers. Although single-ply yarns do require a bit of special attention, I’m always up for the extra care because the end result is just so lovely.

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How to Block Lace

My summer knitting ritual consists of finishing up any sweaters that I may have still on the needles in favor of lace. It can be anything from a very large, traditional shawl to a cute, elongated shawlette - if it's got lace, then it has a home on my needles during the warm, summer months. But, in order to fully appreciate all of the time and effort that went into the lace project, I definitely have to set aside a day of blocking for my projects. If you are anything like me, you might even have more than one lace project set aside, just waiting to be blocked out into its full lace glory. It’s okay to admit it - blocking your project takes a bit of time and patience. Unfortunately, it is a necessary evil (in my opinion, anyways!) since your finished lace project will come off of the needles looking akin to an ugly duckling. The lace yarn is so feathery light that it cannot hold its intended shape. And like the duckling, it is awkward and clumsy. But fear not! With a little dedication, blocking will transform your duckling into the beautiful swan it wants to be. And to help you reveal the regal and delicate elegance of your lace project, we've got a wonderful video tutorial to help you block your lace into shape!

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Figure Eight Cast On for Toe-Up Socks

Knitting socks from the toe up has been quickly becoming a favorite technique among knitters. At first, the idea of working socks from the toe up instead of the cuff down boggled my mind- how would you cast on, how would you work the heel, would there even be a heel flap? All of these questions came to mind, but eventually my curiosity grew to the point where I simply had to see how a toe-up sock came together. And I have to say, I'm so glad I gave it a shot! It was a lot easier than I thought it would be and I even found a few advantages to toe-up socks that I really liked.So, if you've been on the fence to trying toe-up socks, this week's technique of the week is here to help you get started! In the Figure Eight Cast On for Toe-Up Socks video tutorial, Kerin shows you a simple and effective way to cast on for your toe-up socks.

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How to Read Lace Charts

Unlike last year when we had a very late spring/summer, we are getting a taste of summer a bit early here in the Northwest! For the past week, everyone has been absorbing the sunshine and enjoying the nice weather. In addition to changing up the wardrobe with skirts and dresses, warm weather also signals a change in my knitting habits. As soon as there are a few consecutive days of sunshine, it takes a lot more willpower to pick up that sweater I started last month. Instead, my needles long to cast on light and airy shawls. Lace projects are my go-to summer project for so many reasons. I love that the project is small and lightweight, even though it will be large in size when blocked out. And I particularly love that I can squeeze my shawl project into a small bag that I bring with my when I ride my bike. And when I am done, my beautiful lace shawl keeps the chill off my shoulders on cool evenings. In my mind, lace knitting is portable, practical, and just plain fun! However, if you are new to lace knitting, there are many reasons that might make you weary of equating lace knitting with fun. And to help you love lace as much as we do, Kerin and I worked together to create an in-depth video tutorial that goes over all aspects of reading charts for lace knitting!

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How to Dye Tonal Yarns

Have you seen our new selection of tonal yarns yet? There are so many reasons to love adding the subtle shifts of color found in tonal yarns into your projects. Tonal yarns are a wonderful way to add the subtle variations of a color to your project without fearing that it will distract from textured stitches, cables, or even lace patterns. Each of our tonal yarns are made up of seven different shades of your favorite colors, which combine together to create complex, monochromatic colorways. Not only do tonal yarns add lots of visual interest when worked up with simple stitches, but they also beautifully highlight intricate stitch patterns.

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How to Make Your Own Starting Points Baby Booties

It seems that every other project of mine lately seems to be yet another baby project! I've had everything from baby blankets to tiny sweaters and hats on my needles over the last few months and I find myself constantly on the look out for quick projects that I can whip up. So, it was to my delight when I came across these super-adorable Starting Points Baby Booties! These faux suede booties are not only lined with a super soft sherpa fleece to keep your little one's feet toasty warm, but the cuff on the inside of the booties holds a mesh tape that can be directly knit or crocheted into - simply brilliant! If you haven't seen these before, they are truly the go-to solution for last-minute gifts (especially for all of the baby showers that I have been attending lately). And to show you just how easy-peasy these baby booties are to work up, we've create a step-by-step tutorial that shows you how to attach the cuffs into the mesh lining and voila, you've got a super-cute gift that looks fancy and impressive!

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Cable Cast On

The cable cast on is a great cast on method to have in your arsenal of knitting tricks, and yet oddly enough, it actually doesn't have a lot to do with cables at all! The Cable Cast On is a way of casting on your stitches in a way that creates a strong, yet flexible foundation row that works well for edges that you don't want to stretch out. This method also leaves you with a neat appearance on both the right and wrong sides of your work. Additionally, because it produces a firm and strong cast on edge, the cable cast on is one of my favorite ways to cast on stitches in the middle or end of a row and it also works particularly well on top of a section of bound of stitches, like a buttonhole. And if you are anything like me, instructions can sometimes tend to turn into a jumbled mess when I am trying to learn a new technique on my own. However, watching the fluid motion of a technique is all it takes for things to click and make sense - which is why we have a video tutorial to help you through your first cable cast on! Like all new techniques, this cast on can seem a bit tricky at first but it is a great cast on to know as every method has its unique advantages.

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How to Sew on Care Labels

We've all been there. The anxious phone call from a friend or family member asking is there was any way to stretch out the lovely handknit or crocheted project "just a bit". And after a few investigative questions to determine just exactly how much just a bit was and why the fit was off, the real reason reveals itself - the gift that was carefully made stitch by stitch was accidentally thrown into the wash or taken care of in a way that wasn't good for the yarn. After having this happen on an occasion (or two), I knew that things would be different for my knitted gifts in the future after I saw these adorable care labels we have at Knit Picks! These small care labels are perfect as that little reminder to the recipient as to how to wash your gift. We even made a video tutorial that shows exactly how to sew the labels onto your knitted or crocheted project in two different ways. The first way shown in the video lets you attach the label in a way that can be easily removed (if you want the recipient to know how to care for it, but be able to snip the tag off) and the second way in the video will show you how to firmly attach the label in place by using a simple backstitch.

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How to Dye Yarn with Food Coloring

As the sugar high of chocolate, jelly beans, and Peeps finally wears off, you might find a box or two of leftover Easter egg dye lying around the kitchen. Instead of tossing them back in the cupboards, grab some of your favorite Bare yarns and start dyeing! You might be surprised to learn that a lot of unconventional dyes, like Easter egg dye and food coloring, are a wonderful way of dyeing protein based fibers like wool, alpaca and silk. In addition to being inexpensive, these are dyes you can easily find at your local grocery store. Another great thing about dyeing with Easter egg dye and food coloring is that these are nontoxic dyes, making them ideal for a fun afternoon crafting project with children. And if you are anything like me, you might already know that right after the holiday is the best time to stock up on Easter egg dye packages for year-round yarn dyeing fun!      

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How to Spin Yarn on a Drop Spindle

During the very first sock summit (which was almost three years ago, back in 2009!), I got overtaken by all of the fiber fumes and came home with a drop spindle. I hadn't the faintest clue as to what I was going to do with said drop spindle, but I knew I needed one everytime I walked past someone drop spindling as they were standing around, waiting in line, or just hanging out. After I recovered from the fiber festivities, I tucked my drop spindle away in one of my craft containers. Finally a year or so later, I dusted off my drop spindle after a visit to an alpaca farm where I couldn't resist buying some fiber. From then on out, every few weeks I would break out my spindle to spin up a bit of fiber. It took a while to get the feel for drafting, but every time it got easier and more natural. If you have ever been intrigued by making your own yarn or spinning with a drop spindle, we have an entire 6-part series video class to help you get started! Kelley's Drop Spindling Class covers everything from terminology to drafting, finishing, and even plying your yarn. It really is so much fun and a great way to play with fiber!

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