31 March 2014

tips for double pointed needles

I have only been knitting in the round with DPNs for a few years now. I shied away from this type of knitting for a long time, as it was all toooo scary, but now I love it and it has become like second nature. It can feel a bit awkward and fiddly to start off, but with practise it does become easier.
The advantage of using DPNs is there are no bulky seams and less sewing at the assembly stage. A stockinette is produced, no need to knit and purl as it is all knit. This method is also necessary for small tubes, such as socks, gloves, the crown of hats etc. when circulars will not do.

What type of needles
I prefer carbon fibre needles as I am a very tight knitter and with these needles the stitches glide easily. However for beginners, bamboo or wooden DPNs are probably better as stitches wont slip off the end. Needles come in sets of four or five. I tend to use just the four needles and have the fifth as a spare.
Charity shops can be good to find needles, but take you needle gauge with you.

Casting on
Cast on all stitches onto one needle......

then transfer the stitches, redistributing them evenly among two of the other needles. Transfer them by slipping stitches purlwise. Firstly, slip a third of the stitches onto one of the free needles.

Then slip a further third onto another of the needles, leaving one free (working needle).

Keep stitches in the middle of needles to avoid them slipping off the end when they are not being worked.

Place work flat on the table, making sure stitches are not twisted and all of the "bumps" of the cast on stitches are facing inwards. The needles form an open triangle which needs to be joined.

Joining in the round
Knit the first stitch on needle 1 (the first cast on stitch) with needle 3 - the triangle is now joined.

Now start using needle 4 (working needle), knitting the remainder of the stitches on needle 1, as you would with straight knitting. The needle which once held the stitches is now free and can be used to knit the stitches on needle 2. Repeat this for the stitches on needle 3. The first round is complete.

The first row is quite tricky so work slowly.
Slide stitches to the centre of the needle when not in use, then slide them to the end when it is time for them to be knit.

Stitch markers
No need to buy fancy stitch markers, which inevitable end up down the back of the sofa. For a cheap alternative, just use scraps of yarn in a contrasting colour than the project. Cut a piece of yarn about 6 inches (15cms) long and make a slip knot, like the first stitch of casting on. Then trim the ends. I always insert the marker between the last stitch and the one before the last stitch, so I know that the round is completed. If you prefer not to use a marker, you can keep an eye on the cast on yarn end, as his indicates the end/beginning of a round.


Between needles
Work stitches tight at the beginning and end of needles, pulling the yarn tight to minimise the gap between needles. If this is not done there will be a noticeable vertical line, also known as laddering. Alternatively randomly move a couple of stitches back and forward at the end of the needles as you knit.

Hope this helps a bit and maybe encourage you to have a go with double pointed needles. My Chick and Nest pattern and also my Bunny Crème Egg Cosy pattern are knitted with DPNs and there is still time to knit before Easter.

 Bye for now, Ali.


25 March 2014

barnardo's barney jumpers

Thanks to Helen who writes the blog Midget Gem Quilts I discovered that Barnardos (Northern Ireland) are looking for knitters to knit jumpers for their Barney Bear. The Barneys with jumpers are to be raffled later in the year as a fundraising event.
So I spent the weekend knitting up jumpers. I was able to have another go at Jeny Staiman's Surprisingly Stretch Bind Off. To see the video of this cast off click here. It is a very clever cast off technique and it is surprisingly stretchy, useful for sock tops, glove ends and in this case neck edges.

The pattern is straightforward enough and is available at local libraries and you can be creative as you want to be to make a unique jumper.

Jumpers have to be finished by the 30th May and again can be left for collection at your local library.
If you need any other information contact Barnardo's Community Fundraiser & Volunteer Manager Karen Kerr telephone 028 9067 2366.
Bye, Ali.

18 March 2014

passion for purple

Yesterday turned out to be a sortoff purple day.....

I started the day off with purple porridge. This is a favourite of mine, porridge sweetened with Ikea's blueberry jam and topped with a few blueberries mmmmh!

Then I headed out wearing my new purple boots, bought in the Christmas sale. These Gola boots are one of Liberty's collaborations and are made with a beautiful burgundy Liberty Art fabric - Petal and Bud.

The day was complete when I knitted a wee bit more of my latest purple scarf. The yarn is a very nice Louisa Harding self striping one - Amitola and the shade is "Berries". The pattern is one I have been wanting to have a go at for a while, it's called "Wingspan" and for more details click here.
Bye for now, Ali.

11 March 2014

crazy randomness

What I love about blogland is the chance to interact with other bloggers and be inspired by their posts. Once such blogger is Ali who writes Random Wooliness. Her projects are always colourful and a bit wacky......have a look at her blog click here
A wee while ago we decided it might be fun to do a joint project, pick a theme and then see what both of us would come up with.  Ali is a great ideas person and she came up with the title "Crazy Randomness". We are hoping to reveal our work at Easter and the theme is "Spring", looking to the poem - "It's Spring" by John Foster for inspiration.......
It's Spring

It's spring
And the garden is changing its clothes,
Putting away
Its dark winter suits,
Its dull scarves
And drab brown overcoats. 

Now, it wraps itself in green shoots,
Slips on blouses
Sleeved with pink and white blossom,
Pulls on skirts of daffodil and primrose,
Snowdrop socks and purple crocus shoes,
Then dances in the sunlight.

John Foster 

Just to give us a bit of a challenge we decided to include something recycled (or from a charity shop) and also a new technique in our final piece.
I've been in the garden today looking for inspiration as the weather has been very spring like.....

Can't wait to see what Ali comes up with! Have a great week everyone, Ali.

3 March 2014

new easter pattern

Just a quick post to say that I have released a new Easter knitting pattern - Babs and Bobby Bunny crème egg cover. I love these crème egg covers, they make great wee Easter gifts and can be used for Easter egg hunts. I have a two other free ones on my blog, but this one is for sale on my etsy shop or on my Ravelry page.

The bunnies are knitted with dpns, except for the tail and ears which are knitted flat on two needles.

It has to be said that no crème eggs were harmed in the making of this pattern ....ok its a fib.......maybe just one or two!

Bye for now, Ali.