It’s that time of year again: time to put away the sandals and dig
through my collection of warm, comforting handknit socks. The only
problem is that my sock drawer is empty – all of my socks are in the
I’ve often heard folks say, “Darning? That’s when I say “darn!” as I
toss them out!” I, however, prefer the old wartime motto: ‘Use it up,
wear it out, make it do or do without.’
Keeping in the theme of embroidery, this week’s technique highlights the crochet chain stitch! This embroidery technique allows you to easily create
outlines for shapes and motifs with a stitch that actually resembles the shape of
a knit stitch. Whether you outline an intarsia pattern or you create freeform shapes across a pillow or blanket, the possibility for using this stitch to introduce fun pops of color into your next project are endless. The beauty of this particular stitch is that you can really create curves and shapes, making it up as you go right on top of the surface of your knitted fabric.
And to help you embellish your knits, watch Kerin’s video tutorial on the crochet chain to get started!
For last week’s technique of the week, we started our embroidery series with an introduction to the back stitch. This week, we are going to keep with our embroidery obsession and show off the satin stitch! This embroidery technique uses a series of flat stitches (short or long depending on your motif) to completely cover a section of your fabric or knitting. This makes the satin stitch a great technique for when you need to fill in an area of a motif that is already outlined with the back stitch or crochet chain stitch.
Here is Kerin’s finished motif that shows off the satin stitch to fill in the petals.
To help you get started, check out our new video tutorial that shows you how to do the satin stitch!
A very common question I get is, “how do I pick colors for my
colorwork project?” The short answer is that that’s a really personal
decision. You know what colors you like or that you like to wear, and
there’s no set aesthetic regarding what colors ‘should’ go together.
(believe me, since art school, my personal color palette includes all of
Generally, a safe bet for a 2-color sweater is to go with a light and
dark version of the same color. So, that means a dark red and light
red, dark blue and light blue, and so on. These colors can be
interchangeable, so it can be a light or dark background. This is great
if you have a favorite color in mind, or want to be completely sure that
the colors will look good together. If you want to use two colors that
you know go well together, be sure to use a light version of one and a
dark version of the other.
That said, choosing a basic palette for a garment starts with a few basic steps.
Every couple of months, I get the urge to break out of my little knitting bubble to try my hand at some other crafty craft. My latest adventure has been with crochet. I’ve dabbled in crochet here and there but I’ve never undertaken more than a small toy (yet at the moment, I am completely obsessed with working on my first-ever crochet blanket!).
However, a few months back when I got the itch to try something new with my yarn collection – I fell in love with the world of embroidery! This was a whole new way to explore color and texture, it was almost like drawing (slowly) with yarn. I even bought a shadow box to frame my little embroidery sampler that I was working on as a fun way of meshing my crafty explorations with pretty home decor.
So it was no surprise that my interest in embroidery was revived when I saw Kerin’s latest design – the Suzani Jacket!
This pattern incorporates four different types of embroidery to embelish and beautify this colorful cardigan. If you’ve had your eye on this pattern but haven’t had much experience with these techniques (or maybe you just want more fun and unique ways to use up those odds and ends!), we’ve created a series of video tutorials that focus on different embroidery techniques.
For this week’s technique of the week, we’re highlighting the versatile back stitch!
After investing a great deal of time into knitting a sweater, you want to give it a beautiful finish. This often involves blocking the sweater to the proper dimensions. When you block a sweater, you are setting the stitches and evening out the fabric in addition to preserving the correct sizing. Generally, sweaters can be wet blocked (good for cotton and linen), spray blocked (good for wool and alpaca) or steam blocked (good for wool and alpaca) depending on their fiber
And to make sure that your first sweater blocking session is a success, we have a handy video tutorial that walks you through all of the steps! The video also shows you what to do for the three different blocking methods (wet, spray and steam). That way you can match a blocking technique that is best suited for the fiber type of your sweater.
Alpacas are known for their cuteness, but they do have a few other tricks up their woolly sleeves! Hailing from South America, Alpacas belong to the camelid family (which also includes camels and llamas) and are known for its fleece that spins into luxurious yarns. In centuries past, the Alpaca was an incredibly valuable animal, even more so than precious gems – although if you ask a knitter or crocheter today, they still might be inclined to agree with that sentiment.
So in honor of Reverie, our newest Alpaca blend yarn, let’s explore the properties of Alpaca and just what exactly makes it so wonderful for us fiber fanatics!
Our newest addition, Reverie!
The provisional cast on is a technique where a piece of scrap or waste yarn is used to create a cast on that can be easily undone later on to expose live stitches. These stitches are then picked up and allow you to seamlessly knit in the opposite direction. It also allows you to easily graft the new live stitches onto another knitted piece. And I have to admit that for the longest time, the provisional cast on was the most elusive cast on method to me. No matter how many times I practiced this only to rip it out and try again, I never quite got mine to work quite right. Instead of easily pulling back my waste yarn to neatly unzip my stitches from the cast on, my attempts always ended up taking quite a bit of time as I calmly tried to sort through the mess I made of my stitches.
Yet no matter how hard I tried, the universe was dead set on keeping this technique in my knitting. Project after project, the provisional cast on kept showing up in patterns I was working on. I loved what this temporary cast on allowed me to do; I just didn’t love the process so much.
So in my quest to find a provisional cast on that even I could master, I turned to Kerin. Of course she had just the thing I was looking for, so we put together a video tutorial to help you master the crocheted provisional cast on as well! In addition to your yarn and needles, you’ll just need a piece of waste yarn and a crochet hook to get started.
One of my crafting goals that I set for myself way back at the beginning of the year was to learn how to spin. I had used a spindle on and off for a while, and felt that it was finally time to step it up a notch and try spinning with a wheel. It took a few bumpy starts, but once I got the feel for it I knew that I was completely hooked. I’ve been spinning up yarn faster than I can use it, and have gotten quite the ever-expanding fiber collection already!
However, the one thing I have noticed is that I am still in the learning process for spinning with a specific weight of yarn in mind. So far, I have been spinning away, happy to see how the fiber twists up and plies together – all with no specific end goals or projects in mind.
But for now, I am left with many skeins of yarn ranging from light sport all the way up through super bulky. So far, I’ve found myself spinning from 4oz. batts and rovings, which means that my finished product is going to be a single one-of-a-kind skein. This makes it tricky when it comes to using up my handspun yarn. I don’t want to fuss with too many gauge swatches to find out what weight of yarn I have, since it is already a limited quantity.
This is when I turned to wraps per inch as a tool to help me gauge my yarn!
It was just around this time last year when everyone was buzzing with excitement over the second Sock Summit, held here in Portland, Oregon. And even though there are no gatherings on such a grand scale happening this summer, it sure hasn’t stopped any of us here at the office from springing right into a summer of sock knitting! It seems as though everyone has slowly put away the sweaters on their needles or quickly finished their WIPs in favor of these portable knitting delights.
Even more interesting is watching just how everyone works their way through socks – some work their socks both at the same time, some use the magic loop method, and others use double pointed needles all while some knit from the cuff down and others from the toe up. Don’t even get me started on the various cast ons, heels, and bind offs there are to choose from! And I love that about sock knitting – even though everyone is going through the same motions to create the same basic shaping, everyone gets to pick and choose from different styles and techniques to arrive at the finished project – a cozy pair of handknit socks.
So in honor of our sock obsession that is taking over all of our needles, this technique of the week highlights our video tutorial for the backwards loop cast on! Perfect for starting your next toe-up pair of socks, this is yet another cast on that is wonderful to have in your knitting repertoire.