Monday, December 29, 2008


Picking up stitches around a neck edge or armhole or even an afghan isn't as hard as it sounds. There are ways to make this #@!*%@ task and easy one!!

Let's say you have a neck edge to pick up. Instructions read something like this: With right side facing, pick up 16 stitches along the left front edge, 30 stitches along front and 16 stitches on the right side.

So, how do you pick up 16 stitches if you have more than 16 rows? Well, the easiest way to do this is to divide your front edge in half by folding it in half and placing a pin or stitch marker at the mid point. Then you can pick up 8 stitches before the marker and 8 stitches after the marker. The same holds true for the front: fold it in half, place a marker at the mid point and pick up 15 stitches before the marker and 15 stitches after the marker. I can't stress to you how much easier and more uniform this looks!

Say you have an afghan that needs crochet edges and you have to crochet 100 stitches along the edge (we're only going to use this one side as a demonstration.) Fold the afghan in half, place a marker at the halfway point. Then fold the half in half and place a marker at that mid point, then do this again on the other half. You should now have 3 markers. So you now are going to pick up 25 stitches in each of the 4 sections making your crochet journey a much, much easier one!

Picking up and knitting these stitches will become easier each time you have to do it. Some people use a crochet hook to pick up their stitches and then transfer them to their needle. I like to eliminate the middle man (actually the crochet hook) and just pick up and knit with the knitting needle!

Also, when you are picking up your stitches, make sure that you are picking up both the front and back loop of the stitch. If you only pick up one of them, the stitch won't be secure enough--as a matter of fact, it even will be loose.

Hoping that picking up stitches will be a lot easier for you! It truly will be a better experience when you have a little bit of help along the way!!

HAPPY STITCHING, my friends!!

Saturday, December 27, 2008


When I write my newsletters, I like to look back at past ones so I can make sure that I am not writing the same info as others before!

In writing our January 2009 newsletter, I came across January 2007's. On past newsletters I wrote HELPFUL HINTS, which I no longer write because of this blog!

But, this HELPFUL HINT was a good one that I want to share and it went like this:

Thursday is my day off. Depending on how I feel, I may kick off my shoes or maybe not even put them on and watch TV. I finally got to watch an episode of KNITTY GRITTY. I couldn't believe it was on! Well, there was a woman (didn't catch her name) who was teaching sock knitting. What a wonder! I was delighted to see it on TV. After the sock session was over, they had this great helpful hint. Let's say you have yarn, you don't have the labels, so you don't have any idea what size needle to use. Take out your handy dandy knitting needle gauge, the one with the holes, and double the yarn and pass the yarn through one hole. If it's too tight, try the next size hole. If the yarn passes through the hole easily without pulling, then that's the needle size to use! Neat? Yeah!!!

See, it pays to look back sometimes, (even if it's a newsletter!)

Just for the heck of it, pull a label off from one of the yarns in your stash (I'm sure you have LOTS OF STASH) and try the above exercise. Don't look at the yarn label to see what size needle to use. See if it works and let me know!


HAPPY STITCHING, my friends!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


I am knitting a capelet that is a design from Plymouth Yarns. The yarn is yummy - and it's called CONFUSION (if you ever knitted with it, you will understand why). Anyway, The capelet goes from stockinette stitch to reverse stockinette stitch, about every 4 rows or so. Hard? No! Keep your place--not a problem......until you forget to mark off where you are!

I am almost done stitching it and I realized that I should have had a cross reference of the rows--meaning this: Since this goes from Strip 1 of 4 rows of stockinette to Strip 2 of reverse stockinette, etc., AND the rows are numbered for each strip 1 through 4, I would number the rows consecutively on a separate piece of paper and put whether it's a purl or knit row. It may sound like a bit more work to do before you start knitting it up, but when you are reversing every 4 rows it's okay, but it goes from 4 rows in some areas to 10 rows in other areas and this yarn consists of 12 yarns connected together and sometimes it's hard to see what you have done. So, cross referencing your rows to another sheet of paper, at least for me, helps me to keep my place and keeps me in check! It tells me where I am suppose to be!!

If you have any ideas on how to keep your place in a quasai simple pattern, PLEASE let me know!

HAPPY STITCHING, my friends!

Monday, December 15, 2008


My Dad was in the shoe business for as long as I knew him, so I guess you can say I am the shoemaker's daughter! Normally the shoemaker's daughter goes without shoes. Did I go without shoes? Heck no! You should of seen how many pairs of shoes I had as a kid and now have!!

The reason for the above silliness is this. Sometimes we have to improvise when our knitting "tools" are not in site! Do I have stitch markers!? Yes, I do. Where they are is another question!! They could be in one of many bags! But...I don't want to take another set out of inventory, so I improvised. (See how the shoemaker's daughter comes into play!)

I was knitting a Christmas Tree hat (which, by the way, came out really cute!) I didn't have my stitch markers available, so I used yarn instead, but in a different color.

There are times when we are leaving for a trip, and we think we have everything that we need, and then we realize we forgot one important item (not toothpaste, but a stitching aid!)

Improvisation is not only in a comedy helps when we need to make do with what we have! The yarn that I used for stitch markers were okay and if I lost one, I made another one!

If you need a split stitch marker and don't have any...use paper clips, if they're available to you. I don't like using safety pins. There's something about them that says "no" when it comes to yarn.

So, take the advise of the shoemaker's daughter...don't fret if you forgot a stitching tool...I'm sure you'll find different ways to make one up...and if you do...let me know!

Happy Stitching, my friends.


We have customers who would like to knit or crochet, let's say, a shawl, and either has a certain pattern or their going to design their own. How do you know the gauge?

If you are buying a published shawl pattern, then of course, you're going to follow the directions. But let's say you like the pattern, but it's too tight OR you want to design your own, using one of the ga-zillion type of "patterns" that are out there!

Start with a swatch in either knit or crochet and whatever size hook or needle chosen. Stitch for several rows and if you are not sure that this is the size you like DO NOT TEAR OUT THE ROWS. WHY?

Example: You knitted or crocheted with size "x" needle/hook for 3 inches. Place either a split marker or a paper clip at the end of the row. Now, knit or crochet using a needle/hook that is either smaller or larger (whichever way you want to go). Now you know what both samples look like! If you had taken out the swatch and started over, you probably would not have remember what it looked like and now you do.

This makes your decision making a lot easier. The gauge may not be important in this particular case, providing you have enough yarn! Sometimes all you need is what is pleasing to YOUR eye, because it's your design!

Happy Stitching, my friends!


If I wrote before that you NEVER stop knitting in the middle of a row, then, sorry, I'm gonna repeat it! NEVER STOP IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROW. Why?

We had a customer knitting her first grandchild's baby sweater. 'Ginny, I have a hole here, why?', she asked. 'Did you stop in the middle of the row before you went to bed?', I asked. 'Yes', she said. Sound familiar?

If you have to stop in the middle of the row for more than 20 minutes, then read on. Remember that the yarn should be on the right needle. What happened to my customer is that she turned her work, making the yarn on the left side. In ripping out her work, it looked like she short rowed (knitted in one direction before completing the row, and then turning the work.)

So, rule of thumb here is: Either finish your row or don't start another one before bedtime. But if you do, remember your yarn needs to be on the right side to start up again!


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Stitch N' Rip

My friend Brigitte is knitting herself an afghan. After getting through about 1/8th of the pattern, she realized that her double moss stitch wasn't double moss anymore! She had to rip out at least 4 rows (or maybe more!)

I felt like Mighty Mouse...'here I come to save the day!' Instead of either taking out each stitch at a time OR ripping out all those rows without protection (oh my), I had her take a long strand of yarn that was attached to a yarn needle and made her weave through her stitches on her last correct row.

This makes it easier to rip your stitches down--you are saved by the yarn. Brigitte didn't have another circular needle with her, so you improvise, like others do! This made putting her stitches back onto her circular needle an easier job and a lot less frustrating as well!!

So, don't throw away your long strands of yarn. Keep at least a few of them with you wherever you go, because it's easier to stitch n' rip with this handy little tool!

Happy Stitching, my friends!!