Those Pesky Sticks

Also called Double Pointed Needles.

As I have mentioned before, and probably more often than you might want to hear, I do love knitting socks on dpns. Love it. Can’t get enough of it.

Having said as much, when I got started I had most certainly the same issues that you have when you get started knitting with five needles at once. Well, you don’t really. You still only knit with two, the other three just hang about. And that is the issue.

The result are often extra yarn overs, weirdly twisted stitches, a hole in your finger…nah, the last one never really happened! I am not saying you cannot poke a hole with dpns, I am just saying I have never encountered my students hurting themselves like that, maybe it is only me who thought it was a good idea to sit down on the couch while not paying attention to the sock on the go and thus ramming a needle in my thigh…(It stuck, I had to pull it out. That was gross. And it hurt.)

Teaching how to knit socks on dpns has taught me a lot, also. The most important fact – and the one I am sharing today – is that the order of the needles, meaning which one is on top and which is below, is very important. In fact, it is so important that your enjoyment of knitting with dpns depends on it.

Hence this post. So let’s get to it.

If you have ever tried to knit in the round with dpns you are sure to have experienced the frustration that goes on while working on the first few rounds. All the needles seem to be in the way, the knitted fabric does not look like anything and the sticks, well the sticks seem to stick out all over and are in every which way in your way. Yeah, I feel you.

Being a Continental knitter I have figured out a system that works for me – and not surprisingly this system is going to work for you also – if you do the opposite of what I do, because most of you carry the yarn English style, meaning with your right hand.

What I am going to tell you is probably going to sound a bit confusing – once your sit down and you are doing, or actually trying it, all will become clear. (Isn’t that often the truth?)

The trick is to keep the needles in the ‘correct’ order, in this case deciding which needle is ‘under’ and which is ‘over’.

To make it easier for you to understand what I am talking about, I have put my just started sock on four different colored needles. 

IMG_9653Please pay attention to how the needles are arranged: The orange needle lies on top of the pink one where you start to knit, meaning once you start knitting the pink one will be below the orange one and hence out of the way and the chance of getting your yarn tangled around it practically non-existent. (I do the opposite. If it was me knitting, I would hold the orange needle below the pink.)

IMG_9652

When knitting, it looks like this:

(Sorry for the weird angle, it is hard to photograph this!)

IMG_9656

The most important thing is that the orange working needle in the right hand is above (here rather: behind) the pink one.

As long as you pay attention to that order, knitting with dpns will be much easier than expected, and most probably improved if you were doing it differently.

I know. Small change, big difference.

Happy knitting, as ever!

- Mona

New store sample: Happy Street

happy_street1

We love knitting Veera Välimäki’s garter stitch shawls for relaxation and reward and Happy Street was no exception. Always beautifully simple in construction and perfect for showing the subtle tonal qualities of hand-dyed yarn. This wrap is generous in proportion making it perfect for wrapping around the neck as a scarf or wearing across the shoulders for drama. Using Antique Lace, Charcoal, and Onyx in Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light, this version is decidedly more moody than “happy”.happy_street2- Melissa

 

Free pattern Friday (on Monday): Pathways Vest

As anticipated, we were so busy in the store due to our anniversary sale last week not much else got done.  Apologies for late delivery of our Free Pattern Friday post!

pathways1(Photo: Universal Yarn)

The Pathways Vest by Amy Gunderson is a statement-making piece which, although originally designed with cotton, would also be gorgeous in a wool or wool blend for the fall/winter. Perhaps something hand-dyed – Tanis Fiber Arts Green Label or Madelinetosh Vintage or Chunky. Worked in two pieces, the main body is knit sideways and the the centre back ribbed section is worked separately.  Looks fun and quick (gauge is a loose 15sts in Stockinette). Stay tuned, I may just cast this one on this week!

pathways2 (Photo: Universal Yarn)

- Melissa

We’re 4!

balloons_blogJuly is here and we are happy to be celebrating another successful year in business! Thank you once again to our incredible community of knitters, crocheters, and all-round fiber lovers who continue to support us and make this all possible. To show our appreciation we’re having a sale!

Please join us for our 4th ANNIVERSARY SALE
July 15th through July 20th, 2014.

10% off Madelinetosh and Quince & Co. yarns.
25% – 50% off all other in-stock yarns!

Please note that our capacity to provide knitting help during this time will be limited.

Free pattern Friday: Gidday Baby

free_gidday_baby(Photo: Georgie Hallam)

Gidday Baby by Georgie Hallam is a lovely and simple cardigan that combines a striped garter stitch circular yoke with a stocking stitch body.  A few well-chosen buttons add interest and bring the whole look together.  Knit seamlessly from the top down, this pattern provides a perfect template for showing off both beautiful and more practical DK weight yarns.  Or why not use a soft and beautiful hand-dyed gem from your stash at the yoke and cuffs in combination with something else for the body and sleeves? A series of blog posts (links found on the Ravelry project page) complement the pattern with useful tips and guidance.  A satisfying project for both beginner and advanced knitters!

free_gidday_baby2(Photo: foxslane)

- Melissa

Playing Favourites

We have a lot of nice yarn at the store (d’uh) – however, if you ask me about my favourite yarns at this time (it keeps changing, due to season, novelty, personal obsession…) I have an easy top three to offer:

1. Quince Sparrow – 100% organic linen in great colors in a fingering weight

I knit a sweater and the Harpswell Apron by Pam Allen with it and Lisa also knit a sweater and designed the cute little bag you probably saw on Melissa’s last post. We also have a shawl knit up and I am currently trolling ravelry to find something else to knit with Sparrow – I just adore it!

2. Habu Tsumugi Silk – 100% raw silk in a light fingering, almost lace weight, knit up either double stranded or single

Well, yes, my Ombre Tank design is of course on the top of that particular yarn list, then there is Paulina, our version features Tsumugi combined with Habu Silk Stainless Steel, and the Age of Brass and Steam. Not to forget Insouciant by Julie Hoover – a timeless tee for many occasions.

3. HiKoo CoBaSi – a fingering weight yarn in a mix of Cotton, Bamboo, Silk and Elasthan, to give it bounce.

Any pattern you find knit up in a finer gauge works well with this yarn – it is soft, summery and easy to knit with. I am working on a little something for my daughter and am impressed with the texture and softness of the fabric. I do not have a picture, but to feel the texture come to the store and feel up some socks!

What are your favourites for summer? ‘Cause as Melissa said, not knitting in summer just doesn’t make any sense…

Happy Knitting, as ever!

- Mona

 

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