Archive for the 'knitting' Category

Expand Your Knitting Horizons (My First Giveaway!)

Okay, so you’ve picked up your Knitting Stitches Dictionary and you’ve mastered the basics: You can cast on, you can knit, and you can purl. You can even combine knit stitches and purl stitches in different ways and get really cool results. What now?

Well, it’s time to practice some more. Do you want to try some color work? Some cabling? How about knitting on four needles? I have just the book you need: Learn to Knit by Sue Whiting.

Learn to Knit on Amazon.comThis is a great book for the Intermediate or Advanced knitter. The introduction is full of reminders of the basics, from fixing common mistakes to shaping and finishing your work. The book has clear diagrams and photographs throughout, including 20 “simple” projects. Just a note: the first project, a pot holder rated at one star (least difficult) is worked in three colors with slip stitching. Other projects include sweaters, gloves, and even a pair of boot socks.

I’m giving away one copy of this little book on Sunday, April 4th 2010. There are three ways to enter:

1. Subscribe to this blog by clicking on “Subscribe in a Reader” on the right-hand side. (Or Subscribe to The Landlocked Sailor by Email)
2. Follow @landlockedsailr (note spelling) on Twitter–you can use the Twitter button on the right, too.
3. Fan The Landlocked Sailor on Facebook
The next step is very important: Comment on this blog post and tell me how you entered. Each person can enter up to three times, once per method (subscribe, follow, or fan). Also leave contact info (Your Twitter @name at least) so I can notify you if you win!

One winner will be chosen at random on Sunday, 4 April 2010. Winner will be announced via Twitter and http://www.thelandlockedsailor.com on Monday, the 5th. If prize is not claimed within 48 hours, another name will be drawn. Happy knitting!

Sarita Li
aka The Landlocked Sailor

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Knitting Without Patterns

So… you knit. It’s fun, right? It’s relaxing, it’s rewarding… and sometimes it’s frustrating.

When I first started knitting, I just knit a row, purl a row, knit a row, purl a row. It’s called the Stockinette Stitch, and it makes a smooth side (covered in V’s) and a bumpy side. It also curls up on the edges, so I had a lot of scarves that wanted to twist themselves into tubes. I liked them.

Red Baby Bibs in Two Different Styles

Red Baby Bibs in Two Different Styles

After getting a lot of practice with the basic stitches, making scarves and potholders and wash cloths, you’ll probably want to branch out into something new. You head to the yarn store, and start browsing their shelves for wonderful, beautiful, complex knitting patterns. This can be overwhelming and, in the end, discouraging. I propose an intermediate step, which will not only lessen your frustration level, but also make you a stronger knitter in the long run.

Instead of a pattern book, find yourself a Stitch Dictionary. There’s even a Field Guide to Knitting, which helps you identify stitches you find out in nature (I mean.. uh… all around you).

Now, instead of jumping into some complex project that you’re never going to finish, try your old standards: a washcloth, a scarf, a baby blanket, in different stitches that you find in your Stitch Dictionary. You’ll learn that a knit done in garter stitch is reversible and doesn’t curl up on the edges, but maybe you won’t like the way it looks (both sides are the “bumpy” side). Find another reversible stitch, and try it. Keep going until you find some that your really like. Mark the pages. Take notes. Practice increases and decreases. Practice casting on at the beginning and at the end of a row.

As you work through different stitch methods, you’ll learn the texture and behavior of each one. Later, when you go to make your first pair of arm/wrist warmers, you might run across a simple pattern that has a stretchy ribbing at the cuff. Not only will you understand why ribbing is used, you’ll be able to modify the pattern if you want to, knowing that you’ll have to substitute a different rib stitch instead of a non-elastic decorative stitch. If you want to make the item longer, you’ll know how to adapt the increases and decreases to fit your own arm.

Once you understand and have a feel for the different textures and behaviors of different knit stitches, you’ll be on your way designing your own knits!

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When Two Wrongs Do Make a Right

I hate throwing away yarn. In fact, I never do it. When I go through my stash and find an “Oh my goodness what was I thinking” yarn, I set it aside to donate. I might even get around to actually donating it.

But this week, I was going through my cotton yarns, and I found a whole lot of an odd brown color. My first thought was, “Yuck, What was I thinking?” Upon closer inspection, I realized that the “odd” brown really looked like seine twine, or fishing net. It could even be seaweed. Hmmm… sounds nautical. Maybe that’s what I was thinking when I bought it. On the next shelf was a big cone of variegated cream/light brown cotton with an almost pink shade to it. It just barely missed the mark of being pretty. Again, “What was I thinking?”

Then I had an idea: I wonder what these two weird yarns would look like if I worked them together? So I turned on my favorite old Clark Gable movie and went to work. Voila! I LOVE the effect! What do you think?

Two yarns worked together.