Monday, April 19, 2010

Starting a circular shawl on 2 circular needles

My favourite way to start a circular shawl is to do a long tail cast on to one circular needle.  Then slip half of the stitches to another circular needle.  Then slide the stitches along the needles so they are in place to join and knit in the round.  Cat Bordhi has some great YouTube tutorials (Part 1 and Part 2) on knitting in the round on 2 circular needles. 

I thought I'd try taking photos as I cast on for my next EZ 100th Anniversary Shawl in case it might be useful for people who might be making a circular shawl for the first time.  There are lots of ways to do this, this is just one possibility.

First I use long tail cast on to cast on the 9 stitches onto the first circular (the nickel one).  Then I slip half of (in this case, 4 of the 9) stitches onto the second circular (the bamboo one).

Then,I slide the stitches to the other end of the 1st circular, and to the middle of the cable of the 2nd bamboo circular (watch Cat Bordhi's tutorials and practice using 2 circulars). In this position, I am ready to join and knit in the round.

Here, I am knitting the first stitch of the round.  Be careful not to pick up and knit with the tail by mistake!

In the next photo, I have knit across the 1st (nickel) circular, and am starting to knit the second half of the round on the 2nd (bamboo) circular.  When you knit the first stitch on the needle, tug gently to get good tension so there isn't a lot of extra slack between the needles.  You don't have to worry about this too much.  What I usually do is just knit the first stitch without worrying too much about the tension, then when I place my needle to knit the second stitch I tug on the yarn to gently tighten up the first stitch.

In the next photo, I have knit 1 round.  It will feel a bit wonky at this point, but hang in there, it will get much easier very soon! 

Here, I am partway through the first half of the second knit round.

And here, I am partway through the second half of the second knit round.  As soon as I knit that last stitch I will be ready to start my first increase round (increasing from 9 to 18 stitches).

Okay, I have finished half of the first increase round, by doing (k1 yo) across the needle.  Be careful with that last stitch, it is a yarn over and needs to be held with care as you switch to the second circular.

 In the next photo, I have slid the stitches along to start the second half of the increase round.  Notice how I am making sure I have not lost that yarn over at the end of the first circular. 

Here, I am finished 3 rounds after my increase round.  I have 18 stitches on my needles.  I am ready for my second increase round (increasing from 18 to 36 stitches).

Here I have just completed (k1, yo) all the way around, I have 36 stitches, and I am ready to knit the first half of the first knit round.  Once again, be careful not to lose the yarn over at the end of the previous needle.

Here, I have finished 8 rounds on 36 stitches, and I am ready for my third increase round (increasing from 36 to 72 stitches).  Once I have 72 stitches on my needles I can probably knit across the first circular, then keep using the first circular needle to knit across the second circular, so that all the stitches will now be on one needle. 

Finally, I have completed my third increase round, I have 72 stitches on my needle, and I have knit the entire next round with the first (nickel) circular needle because all 72 stitches fit around.  It will be a bit tight for a few rounds but will loosen up quickly.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

EZ 100th Anniversary PI Shawl

I've got a lot of editing to do for this project!  I added it as a pattern on Ravelry and I need to link to this page, so here goes.  The pattern instructions can be found on Ravelry, search for the pattern called EZ 100th Anniversary PI Shawl.  We also have a KAL thread started in the "10 Shawls in 2010" group.  Join us!

The PDF with directions for the shawl in the photo, as well as preliminary directions for the next version that I've started (which will be similar but without the Gull Wings, it will be all hearts and vines), can be found here.

Elizabeth Zimmermann was born on August 9th, 1910 (8/9/10), so this year 2010 is the 100th anniversary of her birth. This shawl was designed as a tribute to EZ and a celebration of all she has done for us. It is based on her PI Shawl which can be found in her book Knitter’s Almanac. For this EZ 100th Anniversary PI Shawl, modifications have been applied so that the lace design stitch repeats and the number of rounds are multiples of 8, 9, and 10 (the numbers in her birthday).

Use any yarn weight and needle size that you like. You don’t have to use the stitch patterns provided here, you could unvent your own! Include any pattern that has stitch repeats of 8, 9, or 10.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Colour Cards

Colour cards are great!  Not just for accurate colour but for getting to feel the yarn.  I think most of the yarn I buy is from my LYS (local yarn store), so I'm also a big fan of spending way too long wandering around in there enjoying the eye-candy and feeling yarn.  But I also like to buy yarn on-line on occasion, and the colours on screen don't always match the actual yarn colour -- how could they?  A few Knit Picks colour cards just arrived and I'm planning to collect more.

This week my sample card from the UK (Garthenor Organic Pure Wool) also arrived!  There is a great thread on Ravelry about how we should be more aware of the importance of supporting diversity of sheep.  Merino yarn is so popular right now, I love it too, but other breeds are at risk.  Some breeders are dedicated to the survival of rare breeds.  Garthenor Organic Pure Wool is just one of these.  The have a great page with photos and descriptions of the different sheep they breed.  I'm definitely going to buy some of their yarn soon.

The samples come in a little booklet with about 80 different yarns.

More photos of Mom's scarf

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Mom's scarf is done!

Soaked it in SOAK and squeezed it in a towel. It's blocking now. It started to dry amazingly fast. It looks great so far!

At first I put the blocking pins at the edge of the sides, like I would do for a triangular shawl, but that pulled too much and I didn't want a scalloped edge, so they are at the inside edge of the border, right where the lace starts, that seems to work well.  Except at the corners, where they are right at the tip to create a good 90 degree corner.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Nancy Pygora-Merino Lace Scarf

I've been working on this scarf for a while.  It's for Mom, I think she'll like it.  The pattern is from "Luxury Yarn One-Skein Wonders: 101 Small Indulgences", but this isn't a one-skein scarf -- which might be because I'm not using the Pygora-Merino yarn.  I'm using Knit Picks Palette in the colour currant.  It's a very nice yarn, perfect for this scarf.

In an earlier edition of this book there was an error in the chart for this pattern, and there are corrected charts available.  They must have corrected it in the edition of the book that I have.

The pattern involves a 36 row repeat, each RS row is different so it requires some attention!  Discovering an error usually occurs 2 rows later (after completing the row with the error, plus the WS purl row, plus part of the next RS row where I run into something that is clearly not right).  On one occasion I didn't notice until 4 rows later and for that one I removed the needles and ripped back to the beginning of the error row, then carefully pulled out that row, catching the stitches one at a time, putting me back at the end of the previous WS purl row

One skein of the Palette completed 8 repeats.  I'm aiming for 12 repeats, and I'm working on the 11th one, so I'm almost done!  The scarf has a nice moss stitch border.  Can't wait to see what it looks like after blocking!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Mwaa starts a blog

I love Ravelry! It's so helpful to be able to see other knitters' projects and photos, and I enjoy keeping my own projects pages up to date. It's a great way to keep notes about projects (I also keep notes with OneNote). Sometimes I want to include more information and annotated photos about things I'm learning -- it's helpful to be able to look back on the process -- so I've been thinking about a blog to keep track.
We'll see how it goes!

Just playing around for a bit, learning how to include images and such... I've learned that I can create blog posts and back date them, so I can include notes I've made about projects already finished -- cool!
Here's what I'm working on now, the pattern is Nancy Pygora merino lace scarf:  The photo shows just over one repeat and I've got almost 4 repeats done now.  It's a scarf for Mom, she picked the colour.

And as I edit this, at 9:30 PM (EST) on February 14, 2010:

Winter Olympics Vancouver 2010, Men's Moguls:  Alex Bilodeau has just won a gold medal for Canada!!  Wooooo Hooooo!!!