The Long Tail Cast On

The long tail cast on is probably my favorite go-to cast on. I love the rhythm of it, how quickly my stitches appear on the needles, and how it has a bit of stretch to it while still being sturdy. I also find that when I use the long tail cast on, my next row is always very easy to knit. It is also the cast on I primarily use for most of my projects, unless the pattern specifically states otherwise (and even then, there have been times I turned to my trusty friend – the long tail cast on).

Having had such a good relationship with the long tail cast on, I was shocked when I learned that it wasn’t always the go-to choice for other knitters. Some mentioned it was too finicky, that it looked confusing, or just that it seemed like too many steps for a simple cast on. And being such a big supporter of the long tail cast on, I couldn’t resist making this video tutorial all about the long tail cast on – filled with step-by-step instructions as well as a few tips and tricks.


Three Color Stranding

One of my favorite parts about working with other knitters and crocheters is how much there is to learn! It seems that everyone has their own repetoire of tips and tricks that they have gathered from years of experience. That being said, this is exactly how this week’s technique of the week came together! Kerin is always working on something, whether it be charity hats, pullovers, or complex colorwork sweaters. While knitting on a hat she had been making up, the converstion turned to the techniques of stranded colorwork, which led (obviously) to how one handles stranding three colors across the row at once! As usual, Kerin was nice enough to indulge my excitement and we created a video tutorial to share this technique with other colorwork obsessed knitters!


Technique of the Week: Kelley’s Mitten Class

Whenever I head out the door during the cold winter months, mittens are an essential part to my outfit. My hands always get so cold, especially during those early morning car rides into work – I really don’t know how I would manage without one of my many pairs of mittens! In fact, I have just started to wear holes through the top parts of where the pads of my fingers are on my very favorite pair of mittens. Instead of sulking in the tradegy of my fast fading pair of mitts, I saw this as a great opportunity to make myself another pair. So in honor of my love of mittens, we will kick of Technique Tuesday with Kelley’s Mitten class!

And just what is Technique Tuesday, you ask? Every week, we will feature a different technique, lesson, or video class to help build your crafting skills! Mittens are such a wonderful project for beginning knitters who are familiar with knitting in the round, but want to throw in a few extra skills. In addition to ribbing for the cuff, you will learn how to create a gusset for your thumb through a series of increases, which leads into the hand of the mitten that will later be tapered down through decreasing.


Technique of the Week: How to Use Silk Hankies

This week’s technique of the week is all about silk hankies! Also known as mawata, each silk hankie is made
of silk from cocoons that are stretched and dried over a square loom that can
then be pulled apart, drafted and worked into yarn.
Best part of all is that you don’t need any special tools and you don’t even need to know how to spin in order to enjoy these lovely silk hankies. Simply peel off a light-as-air layer of silk and slowly pull it apart by beginning in the center, and you’ll be ready to knit or crochet with it.

These stunning Silk Hankies from Hanks in the Hood are available in so many beautiful colors, choosing your favorite just might be the hardest part! Another advantage for those unfamiliar to spinning techniques is that silk has very long fibers, which makes it easy to draft without accidentally pulling it completely apart. Although the process of turning your silk hankies into yarn is rather simple, it can be a bit intimidating at first and feel somewhat like you are venturing into unknown waters. And if you are anything like me, a little visual reference can go a long way when I am learning new techniques. Which is why we put together a video tutorial all about how to work with silk hankies. You’ll learn all about seperating and drafting each layer by layer, how to start working with your drafted fiber, along with other tips and trick for working with these beauties!


Video Tutorial: How to Line the East Meets West Bag

Bags, purses and satchels are such fun accessories to make, in addition to being a quick and chic way to add a pop of color to any outfit. But sometimes, depending on the size and shape of your bag – it can lack the structure of a bag or purse you might find at the store. Lining and reinforcing your bag with a stiff interfacing is great way of adding structure and support to any bag, but it can seem like quite an intimidating process at first. This is exactly why I teamed up with Kerin to create a step-by-step video tutorial on how to make the most of your bag with a little fabric, stiff interfacing, and a few other supplies.


Iceland Wins!

So, In my post Fana, Faroe or Fair Isle?
I asked for your opinions on what my next project should be. After
reading through the comments, I realized that I was really captivated by
the Icelandic yoked pullovers that were suggested. Not only were the
geometric yoke patterns really interesting, but I realized as well that
it would be a perfect excuse to do a stranding project with more than
two colors in a round!

As soon as I got home on that Thursday, I wound up my yarn and cast on.


Finishing Tips for Fair Isle

You might have seen my post last week where I admitted that I have a horrible time starting the final finishing touches on almost any project I do. Yes, I know it isn’t hard and it really doesn’t take too long. I can’t explain it but once I bind off, my mind just classifies the project as done. Which is why I was thrilled when Kerin showed me a clever way of finishing yarn ends for fair isle projects!

This method is so simple, it makes me wonder why I hadn’t stumbled upon it before. Instead of painstakingly weaving in each yarn end from all of the color changes, simply make sure to leave a good length yarn for your ends and you will be able to braid them together! After you get to the end of your yarn strands, all you have to do is finish
it off by tying all the strands together in a knot and trim the ends. Brilliant! Kerin also mentioned that by braiding all of the longer yarn ends together, you can use those ends to easily mend any small holes or loose stitches that might occur throughout the life of your sweater.

So, for any knitters out there working on any fair isle gift knitting – check out our video on how to braid yarn ends to save yourself a bit of time (and sanity, in my case!).


Seaming & Grafting

It’s officially one week into December, and like many people, I have a few projects that are just about ready for finishing – things like seaming, weaving in ends, blocking, etc. This year, I will be trying to work on the finishing touches as I go along, which means I will hopefully be able to avoid the mad dash of sewing and seaming.

For one reason or another, as soon as I bind off my last stitch my mind instantly categorizes my project as done. But! There is still so much to do after binding off, I know this yet, I try to avoid it. Once I get into a good workflow, I can spend the weekend finishing up projects and blocking out shawls with no problem. Like everything, starting is the hardest part – even if it is the finishing that you are starting on.


Advanced Cabling Techniques: Closed Cables

Over the past month, we have posted all kinds of cabling technique tutorials – everything from a beginner’s guide to cabling to unique and unusual cable textures for more advanced knitters. Not only do cables keep your knitting interesting, but it adds so much classic texture to the finished piece. Cables are also a wonderful way to dress up simple patterns that you might have laying around. By choosing a cable panel that works with your stitch count, you can easily transform your favorite basic hat or scarf pattern into your very own cabled creation.

So to finish off our Advanced Cabling Techniques video series, we saved a very unique cable for last – the closed cable! This is a cable that creates a completely closed ring without pulling in your knitted fabric, unlike many other cables. Check out the video to see how you can create closed cables!


Advanced Cabling Techniques: Increasing & Decreasing Cables

So far in our Advanced Cabling Techniques video series, we have covered how to add a splash of color to your cables with intarsia cabling and how to create interlocking cable textures with multiple crossing cables. And just what else can you do with cables? How about adding in a bit of shaping!

For our third video in this series, we show you how to create both increasing and decreasing cables. This technique allows you to shape your cables to grow larger or smaller, letting you create unique and interesting cable patterns. I think increasing and decreasing cables have a lot of potential as interesting design elements on a hat or sweater. In addition to their distinctive look, there are also many clever ways you can incorporate increasing and decreasing cables into your knitting! If that cabled cardigan or Aran sweater is a bit too boxy, simply add in a few increasing and decreasing cables for a bit of clever waist shaping, and voila! A nice, flattering cabled sweater!

Check out the third video installment of our Advanced Cabling Techniques to start creating cables with shaping!