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Archive for June, 2010

The new class schedule for July through September is here and we are super excited about the classes being offered. You can download the full schedule here.

We start the month out on Tuesday, July 6th from 5:30-7pm with Barb’s Beginning Crochet class. In three sessions you’ll learn all the basics you need to begin building your crochet skills.

We are super happy to bring Julie Conway back and she’ll be teaching a one day workshop on top-down sock knitting with a heel flap and gusset. You’ll make a baby-sized sock in the workshop so you get through all the necessary skills in one day, including learning the Kitchener Stitch to close the toe seamlessly! She’ll be here 9:30-4:30 on Saturday July 10. Please bring your own lunch.

On the July 11-12 we have brought in Ann Budd again for her 2-day Sweater Basics and Finishing class. It was a huge hit last time and those of us in the class learned so much! We are no longer afraid of sweaters that are knit flat and seamed and when we knit them they have a very professional finish. The class is both Sunday and Monday from 10am – 5pm. Please bring your own lunches.

Later in the month we have Jenny Hubbard teaching an adorable Shi Bui Baby Dress, Robin Stitzel teaching an Advent Mitten Calendar and Liz will be offering a Beginning Knitting for Kids class so there is lots of fun and learning for everyone available!

Check out the full schedule for class descriptions, required skills and more information. As always, you can call or stop in to sign up. Class do fill so sign up early!

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Stellar Facecloths

The free pattern in this month’s Stitches newsletter is a fun facecloth pattern in the shape of a 5 pointed star, Stellar Facecloth by area designer, Kristi Schueler. It is knit using 1 skein of Frog Tree Yarn’s (a fair trade company) Picoboo yarn that is a blend of pima cotton and bamboo. This yarn was chosen for its softness, slight sheen and the reported antibacterial properties of bamboo fiber. If you opt to make a set of three as shown above and use minimal ends you can likely squeeze out a 4th striped one with the left overs.

Stellar Facecloths

The facecloth is knit from the center-out – a perfect project for trying out all those circular cast-ons! Kristi has found the perfect mix of increase rates to allow for a pleasant ratio of point width to body size on these 12.5″ (from point to point) cloths. You can read about her adventures in designing this project on her blog.

An Upcoming PatternWe have all discussed how great these would be in a gift basket with some handmade toiletry items like soaps, bath salts, bath bombs and sugar scrubs. Barb has mentioned just using them like doilies as well. Kristi said her grandma requested a set in Christmas colors to hang as decoration in her bathroom during the holiday season! But, they have been designed with ease of use in mind so one should not be afraid to use them. They lie quite flat without really blocking, the body portion is sized similar to most washcloths in the stores and the points of the star are handy for small areas like removing eye make-up.

As I’ve mentioned, the pattern is in the June issue of Stitches, but it is only available for the month of June, so download the newsletter now while you can still get the pattern!

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Nethefield Socks

Most of us first learn to knit flat first, as we advance to increasingly complex projects it is likely to eventually need to cast-on a relatively small number of stitches that occur at the center of a project. Such projects may include socks from the toe-up, or hats or mittens from the top down or shawls.

Cast your mind back to when you first learned to cast-on. Remember how it took a few tries to get an even edge and how those first few rows of knitting were difficult because of the lack of finished fabric hanging from the needle? The same holds true when casting on in the center. Practice is required and knitting the first several rounds is awkward with all the extra needle hanging around, even for those experienced in these techniques. Keep this in mind and don’t get too frustrated the first few times you try any of these methods. Get up, take a deep breath and maybe go for a walk if you find yourself getting too stressed.

Two Needle Methods

There are three different methods of casting on central stitches onto two needles – the Turkish or Middle Eastern Cast-on, the Figure-8 Cast-on and Judy’s Magic Cast-on. All three of these cast-ons can be made even easier by using circular needles as you can rest the stitches on the cable portion of one needle while you work the stitches on the other one. This gives you a bit more room for working the stitches and allows the unused needle to lay out of the way. If you are brand new to these methods try using circular needles made of two different materials so it is easier to figure out which needle tips belong to the same circular.

The methods of these cast-ons are very similar and the results nearly identical. They are particularly well suited for toes, mitten tips and bottoms of bags. They are not as neat looking for flat items as the other methods as they start from a central row of stitches rather than a circle. Try each one to see which works best for you.

Two Needle Tutorials and Videos:

Stellar Facecloths

Closed Circle Methods

For items that lie flat such as shawls, doilies, washcloths etc. cast-ons that start with a circle of stitches rather than a row of stitches will give your items a more finished look. Probably the best-known of these cast-ons today is the Emily Ocker cast-on (occasionally referred to as the pinhole cast-on) where you form a loop of yarn and then single crochet over this loop the number of stitches required. After knitting a few rounds the tail can then be pulled to tighten and neaten the circle. A similar method skips the crochet hook and involves working knit stitches and yarn overs around a similar loop. This method is sometimes known as the Disappearing Loop cast-on or lighter circular cast-on.

The end result of these methods are very similar. Some feel the disappearing loop method is superior because the crochet of Emily Ocker’s cast-on is a bit bulkier and longer than a knit round. But choose the method that you find most comfortable. Whichever you choose, work the first round or two as though you were working an i-cord before dividing onto multiple needles and it will be a bit easier to keep the needles under control.

Another way to achieve a similar result is to cast-on the required number of stitches with scrap yarn of comparable weight and work an inch of so of i-cord, then switch to your project yarn and begin the pattern as instructed. When the project is done you unravel the scrap yarn and run the tail of the working yarn through the live stitches and cinch closed just like you would finish a normal bottom-up hat.

Closed Circle Tutorials and Videos:

Which of these methods do you usually use? Did I miss one of your favorites?

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Katherine Ware HeadshotA Chicago native, jewelry artist Katherine Ware has resided along the Colorado Front Range for 26 years. She moved to Boulder to follow her siblings to the University of Colorado where she studied Art History. As part of her studies she “learned the traditional methods of casting and fabricating in silver.  I enjoyed studying ancient jewelry and jewelry in portraits, and I was inspired to try recreating what I liked.”

Katherine Ware Designs Jewlery

Katherine’s mother taught her to knit when she was young, but it was her Norwegian friends she met while volunteering in Israel before college that hooked her. Combining the properties of metal with knitting and crochet aids the creation of more imaginative shapes that make her jewelry designs unique, wearable art.
She finds her jewelry work an intuitive process where the pieces make themselves while she acts as a facilitator. To deal with creative slumps she likes to look at photos of old and new jewelry for inspiration, puts on music and starts simple.

Katherine Ware Designs Jewlery

Katherine recommends those looking to try knitting or crocheting with wire to “use [a] fine gauge (24-30) and make sure the wire is ‘dead soft.’  Use wooden or plastic needles (not metal) as they work best with the metal and will help keep it from getting stiff. I like fine silver for its color and that it can be fused to itself without solder.”

Katherine Ware Designs Jewlery

Opting for smaller and portable projects that can travel with her, Katherine still knits with more traditional materials as well. She says most often you will find socks, shawls and gloves on her needles. She also enjoys painting, drawing and spinning her own yarn. She says, “It is good for me to mix things up and try new things to keep my ideas fresh.”

In addition to seeing her trunk show at My Sister Knits through the month of June she will be taking part in Longmont’s Studio Tour in September and frequently has shows at the Muse Gallery on Main Street in Longmont.

Katherine Ware Designs Jewlery

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