Monday, September 22, 2008

K2, P2, K4, P6, * #&! % $, OH MY!!

I taught a cable purse this morning and in teaching this class I realized that sometimes when we have a lot of changes (k2, p2, k4, p6, etc.) along a row, it tends to get mighty confusing in reading where we have already gone!

So, how can we fix this!? First off, I like to make a copy of my pattern. I bought it---it's mine--I can make a copy (but don't pass it on to your friends). I'll mark the pattern up for easy reading. Today, I took the row of changes and with my yellow hi-lighter I hi-lighted the knit stitches. They stood out so that the stitcher can see and follow a little bit easier than just reading across the row.

If that doesn't work, then re-write the instructions as I have said in another blog:

Re-writing the instructions vertically is easier on the eye so you can follow it a bit faster!

Oh, and don't forget your Post-It Note to keep your place!

HAPPY STITCHING, my fellow knitters!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


In October 2007 I started a wonderful knit sweater that I happened to see at our summer convention. The beauty of this sweater is that it starts from the left sleeve, then you knit the left front, then the back, then the right sleeve and then you finish it off by knitting the right front. Easy? Yes. AND...there's a but! I truly enjoyed knitting this project, but something else (who remembers what) came along and I stopped knitting my wonderful sweater.

So why is this blog titled NEW PROJECT/OLD PROJECT? The sweater is my old project that I put down for almost a year (shame on me) and now that I'm finished working all that needed to be done for classes, I wanted to start something new.....ta-da, my sweater, now a new project.

The problem with starting something new that was old is that I didn't practice what I normally preach. NEVER, EVER put down a project and not note where you were on your instructions. It took a while before I knew where I was PLUS I needed help, from Peggy, to find my place.

So, needless to say...IF and WHEN you put down a project, you MUST note where you stopped or else!!! Use a Post-It Note to keep track, that much I've said before on other blogs!

You will save yourself a lot of heartache and time to keep your place!!

HAPPY STITCHING, my friends!!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Denise Interchangeable Needles

I have been asked: "What kind of needles do YOU like?" Well, I'm a chameleon. I can use any needles, but I do like my Denise Interchangeable Needles. Never heard of them? Let me tell you how great they are!

First, they come as a set: Sizes 5 through 15. If you want sizes 17 and 19, then they are sold separately. They come with 6 cords: 5", 9", 12", 14" and 19". They have 2 extenders so that you can join your cords to make a longer cord (for BIG projects), and 4 end buttons. The end buttons are used so that you can use them as straight needles. BUT...if you don't want to use 2 different size cords, they do carry a companion set so that you have the same 6 size cords as the kit. You can even use the cord as a stitch holder: just put the end buttons on each side of the cord!

Now the beauty of using these needles is this: suppose you are knitting on regular circular needles and you purl looser than you knit. Your project will be uneven: the knit stitches will be tighter than the purls. IF you were using your Denise needles, you can use one size smaller for you purls so that you are knitting evenly!!! This happened to one of our customers who happened to be knitting a sweater for her daughter-in-law. She had to pull out the whole project because she was knitting unevenly.

Also, they are very easy to connect - put the cord into the needle and turn a 1/4 turn and it's connected!

If you are traveling and want to take a few projects with you, then you have your needles all in one set. Need to change to another project, but use the same size needles? No problem. Just unhook them and put the end buttons and your safe.

So, I guess you could say I really LOVE my set of Denise Needles! They are a fine quality of needles and are a delight to knit on!

Try them, you'll love them too!!!

(P.S. We carry them at our shop, A Stitcher's Haven)

HAPPY STITCHING, my friends!!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


I want to share a story with you regarding felting. Peggy, one of my employees, was becoming a grandmother for the first time. She knitted an adorable sweater with a hood for her new granddaughter. The yarn was 99% wool and 1% nylon. Knowing that the sweater was made of wool, her daughter thought 'I'll wash it in cold water so it won't shrink.' Well, I guess we all would think that. But guess what? It shrunk....and got real small---small enough to fit one of our bears!

Try this little exercise: take a strand of 100% wool and moisten it. Now rub it between your fingers for about 10 minutes or so. It soon will felt. It's not so much the hot water that turns your BIG project into the size it should's the agitation of the washing machine that felts it. That's what happened to the sweater!

It probably is better to felt in hot water, since we're instructed to do so. Rule of thumb: do what your instructions tell you to do. Don't be afraid to felt. It really isn't hard to do. I always start out washing it for 10 minutes, then I check EVERY 5 MINUTES, and then restart the machine to it's longest cycle. Just remember that when you stop seeing your stitches, then your project is felted enough. The only thing that I don't care for is that your project smells like wet dog in a rain storm!! Never put it through a rinse and spin cycle. Rinse out the project in your sink and gently squeeze until you get most of the water out. Then air dry---which will take several days.

So, felting should be done in hot water...but remember you can felt in cold water as well!!

Happy Stitching!!!! (or should I say Happy Felting!!)

Monday, September 1, 2008

Tips of the Trade

While trying to help a new knitter, who happened to learn the continental method of knitting (yarn in the left hand), I saw how tight her stitches were.

For those who knit continental method, it is VERY important that you NOT knit on the tip of the needle. The purpose of the tip is so that the needle can enter the stitch easily. Think of this: there's no point on the needle. How hard would it be to get the needle into the stitch? VERY hard!!! By knitting on the tip, you will never get your gauge (SEE other blog: TO GAUGE OR NOT TO GAUGE...THAT IS THE QUESTION--July 2008). If you are knitting tightly and you are knitting, say, an afghan, you're going to use much more yarn than if you knitted it to gauge. Why? The tighter the rows, the more yarn you will need to get to your length.

The reason why we have different sizes of needles is because of the types of yarns that are available: fingering, sport, DK, worsted, chunky, bulky. If there was just one needle and we just knitted on the tips, can you imagine how tight the stitches would be?

So my suggestion is this: cast onto another set of needles and knit onto the SHAFT of the needle. That's the area just passed the point. Practice your knits and purls for awhile and get used to knitting on that area. I tell my knitting newbies to think of your needles as a pencil. You don't knit on the sharpened area of the pencil, but just below it, on the yellow! If you look at your needles that way, you will be surprised how much easier your stitches will flow when you knit properly on the shaft!

So, that's my TIP of the trade today!!!

Happy Stitching, fellow knitters!!