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  • knitting1105 11:46 am on November 10, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , ,   

    English Tailoring Part II 

    A few years back, I took a class at Vogue Knitting from CocoKnits on English tailoring, and loved it.  We made a baby sweater in that class, which I gave to a friend’s grandson.  I repeated a similar class with her a couple of years later, hoping to hone this process and apply it to more sweaters.  Most recently, I gave Dan yarn for Christmas last year, and have attempted to knit one of CocoKnits top down sweaters for him, I had great difficulty with the gauge, and he has yet to receive that sweater.  I am thinking that this might be a good Holiday project for me…

    So, I posted recently that I was working on this Dale of Norway baby sweater, and wanted to do the set in sleeves as the English tailoring method.  I am proud to say that I have completed this, there was a bit of ripping back and experimenting, but I am quite proud of the end result.

    The only seaming is a few stitches under the arm.  And, the fit is a nice shoulder.

    This sweater has a sweet flower pattern at the bottom.  The pattern called for knitting the fair isle back and forth, but I choose to knit it in the round for those few rows, and steek it.

    I also knit the sleeves in the round.  These few adaptations really made this work as a great English tailoring sweater.

    Hoping to sew the short steek soon and finish this up.

    Julie Weisenberger is a really great teacher and I would highly recommend her classes.  If you are not able to take one of her classes, I highly recommend her new book, which I purchased this past year.


    Julie also has several great tutorials on her website that you all should check out, regardless of whether you use the English tailoring method.  I am always on the lookout for new techniques that either minimize finishing or give my knitted objects a more finished professional look.

    Another book that comes to mind is The “I Hate to Finish Sweaters” Guide to Finishing Sweaters.  This is a great book on sweater finishing, i.e. thinking about how you set up your sweater before you start knitting.  Many, many years ago I took a finishing class, and the instructor recommended this book.  It is a short spiral bound book, and one that I refer to over and over again.  I saw it on Amazon for $36!, but found reasonably priced copies here.


    • Diane Hamilton 12:29 am on November 14, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      The baby sweater is so pretty, I always admire your talent and skill in knitting. The time you put into these gifts is something that can’t be measured.


  • knitting1105 1:56 pm on January 13, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , knitting techniques, Tubular bind off   

    Tubular Bind Off 


    Or perhaps I should call this Je Suis Fini!

    Yesterday after posting how to do the French Cast On (Formerly known as Tubular Cast On), I had the inevitable questions of how to bind off in this manner.  I know that the infamous Elizabeth Zimmerman has her sewn bind off, which is similar, but lacking in one very important way.  My method involves 2 rows of set-up which truly give you the stretch that is desired.

    Here we go!  Finish your ribbing to the length that you want.


    • Set up Row #1. *Knit first stitch (I continued to use my twisted rib), With yarn in front, slip the next purl stitch (slip as if to purl)**       Continue from * to ** to end of row.


    • Set up Row #2. *With yarn in back, slip the next knit stitch (slip as if to purl), Purl the next stitch**     Continue from * to ** to end of row.



    • Prepare for cast off.  Using 2 don’s held side by side, slip the knit stitches to the front needle, and the purl stitches to the back needle.


    • Now, Cut a long enough tail to Kitchener off all of the ribbing.  I have done this for 300+ stitches, just with a very long tail.
    • Start Kitchenering the front knit stitches to the back purl stitches, one at a time.  Much like sewing together at the end of a sock at the toe.  This post explains the process to Kitchener.
    • Here is a good video explaining how to Kitchener.

    • Keep your tension taught, not too loose or it will be sloppy, nor too tight or you will defeat the purpose of this lovely bind-off.


    • Since we are working in a round, only a few stitches at a time can be set up on to the front and back cast off needles.  Because I use 5 dpns, I do the first needle, then the second then the final 2 together. Once you have reached the approximate 1/2 way point, you can put the remainder of the stitches on the cast off needles and finish sewing off.


    At the end you have a slight jog, which is taken care of when weaving in the end of the yarn.


    And Voila! again.  Once you get the hang of it, the process is very quick.  I bound off these 48 sts in less than 5 minutes, including taking photos.

    You have a lovely finished edge that truly distinguishes the finished product from craft to art.


    • Erin 9:38 am on January 28, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Wonderful tips! Thank you for the excellent photos.


      • knitting1105 11:03 am on January 28, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        Great! Glad it helped. When I can figure out how to shoot and edit a video I will do that.


      • V o n n a 8:08 pm on January 31, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        Definitely will be coming back to read this when I need to use it.


  • knitting1105 2:53 pm on January 12, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , French Cast on, tubular cast on   

    French Cast-on 

    A woman visiting our SnB group last week mentioned trying to do a French Cast-on.  I must admit that she had me perplexed until we talked a bit, and it was just a fancy way of saying tubular cast-on, although I do prefer the name French Cast-on, and may have to use it from now on.  This got me to googling it when I got home.  Nothing new, except that I found this video by Eunny Jang:

    Ignore the fact that her producers did not have her use 2 highly contrasting yarns so that it would be evident as to what she was doing.   Normally I make a tubular cast on starting with a crochet chain where I pick up the requisite number of stitches needed in each of the bumps on the chain.  I have shown that in the past in this post.

    • What intrigued me about Eunny’s technique was that I could actually cast on 1/2 + 1 the final number of stitches needed in a contrasting color and just knit, (use a needle 1-2 sizes larger than you will end up knitting with.  Here I used a size 3 don). I wanted to end up with 48 sts for my mittens, so I cast on up 25 + 1 = 25sts.  I am only using 4 needles here, the stitches on 3, as there are so few to work with. Join in a circle (with the forever mentioned note:  be careful not to twist your stitches), and knit 3-4 rows.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
    • knit for couple of rows, then start with your garment color and knit 3-4 rows still using the larger needles.


    • Using the needle size that you will be knitting the socks with:  *Knit the first stitch.  For the second stitch, reach over the top of the knitting into the cast-on edge, and pick up the first “purl bump” of your sock yarn (not the contrasting color yarn that you cast on with), this is where using a clearly contrasting color such as I did really helps.  Put it onto the left hand needle and purl that stitch.**
    • Repeat from * to **, ending with a K1.  You will now have your desired number of stitches plus one extra on your finished needle size, the first and last stitches will be knit stitches.
    • Do 2-3 rows of 1×1 ribbing. On the first row knit the first and last stitch together. The stitch count will now match your pattern requirements.  I am doing a twisted 1×1 rib here, using 5 size #1 dpn’s.
    • After you have knit at least 3-4 rows, or anytime in the pattern progress that you feel like, it will be time to pull out the contrasting cast on yarn.



    • You can clearly see here how the coast on yarn (purple) is now pulled underneath the fabric.


    • It always helps to have a pair of Eiffel Tower scissors to trim with.


    • Just cut a row or 2 into the cast on contrast yarn.  Cut off the bottom cast on row(s).


    • Pull out all of the cast on yarn


    • And Voila! you have a beautiful finished edge that looks like the knitting just rolls over on itself.
    • It is very stretchy, almost feels like the edge has elastic in it.

    The key to making this work is to do the set up rows where you have 1/2 the number of stitches, in a larger size needle.  Otherwise it will be very hard to pick up and not have the stretch that you are looking for.

    Merci Beaucoup!

    • Helen 6:51 am on January 13, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks, I hadn’t thought to check out the tubular cast on and now I have to try this on the next pair of socks or mitts!


    • V o n n a 4:36 am on January 14, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Seems awesome. Results I’d like to have, but honestly could not wrap my head around this. Perhaps 4:30 AM and NOT watching the video was to my disadvantage. I’ll comeback when brain cells want to learn a new knitting technique. 😉


      • knitting1105 3:50 pm on January 14, 2015 Permalink | Reply

        Please come back soon! Watch the video, then try a sample with very different colors so that you can clearly see the bumps. I think it will make sense when you are awake and can focus. Just do a practice swatch first. Let me know how it comes out.

        Liked by 1 person

        • V o n n a 4:26 pm on January 14, 2015 Permalink

          Sure. Sounds like a plan. Question: can you use this cast on for any hat knit in the round?


        • knitting1105 7:57 pm on January 14, 2015 Permalink

          You can cast on using this method for anything that has ribbing. 2×2 ribbing is a bit more fiddly, I will talk about that at a later date. I have used it on knitting that is not in a round. See this post where the bottom was knit back and forth prior to joining in a round. Or this one where I describe it in more detail, although using the crochet chain for the cast on.

          Liked by 1 person

        • V o n n a 8:16 pm on January 14, 2015 Permalink

          Thanks I’ll go through everything and reread your post about the cast-on including watching the video before I cast on my hat to see if I’d like to try it on barley.


  • knitting1105 10:35 pm on November 16, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: knitting continental style   


    I was away with girlfriends for the weekend in Michigan.  Great time, and as usual, I was busy knitting while there.  Chris videotaped these of me knitting in slow motion.

    As you would see me knitting:

    As it looks from my side:

  • knitting1105 12:23 pm on February 25, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Sweden   

    Twined Knitting 

    Last weekend I took a class from Beth Brown-Reinsel on twined knitting.  We had to wind center-pull balls to use in the knitting of twined fingerless mitts.  Years ago I had taken a class on knitting Gansey’s from her at Stitches Midwest.  She is a really great teacher, and a really wonderful person also.  I knew that the class would be good, and this was a technique that I had been wanting to try for a long time.  I am not sure that I would have been able to knit this from a book or website (maybe my good friend Manning would have, she is better at that than I).

    Twined knitting was invented in Sweden and is also called Tvåändsstickning which is Swedish for Two End Knitting, it has also been found in Norwegian and Danish garments. This technique, in which you use both ends of the same ball of yarn and twist the strands between each stitch, produces a firm, wind-resistant fabric that’s ideally suited for mittens, hats, socks and used on cuffs of sweaters.  While there are examples of sweaters knit entirely in twined knitting, the fabric is not as elastic, and I think better reserved for the areas or objects that get a tremendous amount of wear.

    It can be done with one color or as 2 or more colors.  The key is to “lock” the center pull ball in place and let the twist gather between your knitting and the ball of yarn.  When the twist gets to be too much to work with, you unwind the ball by holding it in the air and separating the two strands, the ball will spin until all of the twist is taken out.  For those of us old enough to remember telephones that were attached to the wall with a long cord, remember holding the cord and letting the receiver spin to take the twist out, same concept.  This style of knitting gives a very durable fabric, and the inside has the look of a corrugated cloth.

    I almost finished my first mitt.


    And here are the class mitts in progress:


  • knitting1105 11:49 am on January 11, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    Zebras Again 


    I finally finished the Zebra sweater and dress for my niece Riley. It had sat unfinished for quite some time waiting for steeking, which is always a bit unnerving regardless of how many times that I do it. You spend all this time knitting a complicated fair ilse colorwork, to then take scissors to and cut it in half.




    The biggest advantage is that all those ends do not have to be woven in.

    The sleeves are more difficult, as they need to be the same depth. I put a black yarn in the center of the sleeve steek, counted the stripes and added a pin to know where to stop.



    I love the soft pink and orange stripes that I chose for this sweater. The orange is a tribute to my brother’s favorite color, softened down for a little girl. The zebra stripes give it some pizzazz.


    Waiting for a little girl to play in it.


    Pattern: Zebra Striper
    Pattern Source: Dale of Norway Pamphlet #8101
    Yarn: Baby Ull by Dale of Norway
    Needles: US 1 & 2
    Date Started: 4/8/10
    Date Finished: 12/30/12
    Finished Dimensions: 3 Years old

    • Diane 9:46 pm on January 12, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      What a lucky little girl–this is absolutely adorable and she will look so cute in the outfit. Good job!


  • knitting1105 10:44 pm on January 4, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: American Girl, Martha Stewart, Pompom,   

    Just ask Martha 

    I want to take a couple of posts to talk about some of the Christmas presents that I gave. Hard to write about them on the off-chance that the recipient might actually read my blog (definitely not a problem with items made for my husband).

    Just ask MarthaThis sweater and hat and mitten set was made for my niece Rebecca, for her American Girl Doll Rebecca. If you have been reading my blog for a while, you might remember the amazing thank you drawings that I got in the past for Barbie clothes that I knit for her. She is such a cutie, and an appreciative recipient. This was a pattern that I bought many years ago to make for my daughter’s doll. While my daughter did receive some sweaters for her dolls, I was not confident enough in my stranded knitting at the time to tackle this pattern. The pattern was very well written, much better than most that I find today.

    The knitting was very straight forward, I used some Baby Blatt yarn that was in my stash. As I was applying the last finishing touches, I needed to make a pompom for the top of the hat. In the past, my pompoms have often been less than fluffy, and the double doughnut method never seems to work real well. So, off to google to search an alternative, and I found this post by Martha Stewart.

    Essentially you take a strip of cardboard the radius of your finished pompom size. Cut slits at each end and insert a longer piece of yarn

    Then wrap the yarn around the cardboard about 150 times.

    Gently slide out the cardboard, keeping the longer yarn separate. Tie a tight knot.

    Cut all of the threads and trim!

    Voila! A perfect pompom.

    • Rose 6:20 am on September 10, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Is the pattern for the pink gown made of tiny balls available for purchase?


      • knitting1105 3:09 pm on October 2, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        I purchased it a few years ago, not sure where you can get it now.


  • knitting1105 3:09 pm on October 31, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Nicky Epstein, Vogue (magazine), Vogue Knitting Live   

    Vogue Knitting Live Recap 

    I spent last weekend at the historic Palmer House Hotel in downtown Chicago taking classes at Vogue Knitting Live, their first appearance in Chicago.

    Day one was a class on English Tailoring.  The gist of which is that you knit an inset sleeve to the front and back instead of sewing, and have a tailored sleeve with 2 small seams at the back.  Judy Weisenberg (cocoknits) was the instructor, and I loved this class.  Can’t wait to apply it to my own sweaters, but I think that I might first practice again by using one of her patterns.  Would have been the perfect class if I could have stuffed a ball of yarn in the obnoxious person who sat behind me and tried to talk over the teacher each time she spoke.  How does a teacher control that?  Wish that I had been able to say something to quiet her, my friend said that I should have said that I spent money to listen to the teacher, not her.

    Day 2 was lectures only, the first one being Parlor Tricks, learned some great things, absolutely worth while.  The second was Nicky Epstein, and I could have passed on looking at her past projects.

    Day 3 was 2 classes, the first we learned to put in a zipper.  Great class again!

    Second class was Oddball stitches with CookieA.  I have the funniest swatches from that class.  Fun as always to be in one of her classes, what a great teacher.

    The market was under whelming, although I have my eye on ordering some bamboo in the future for a bamboo Fair Isle sweater, so soft and lightweight.  I did find this cute project bag with a grommet in it for my sock knitting.

    And, I purchased this book, hot off the presses.  I love it, have almost finished the cover hat. More on that tomorrow.

    The last day, I finally found the gallery (they had to move it from an obscure corner, as nobody knew they were there), with some amazing knitting and knit art.  This was a knitting group project knitting up of all of the US Presidents:

    Go Obama!!!


    • Karen 3:13 pm on October 31, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Yup, there he is looking presidential again. Where’s the golf clubs? I almost didn’t recognize him but the Hawaiian shirt gave him away.


      • knitting1105 3:23 pm on October 31, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        HaHa. The only black skin in the group should have been an indicator also.


    • Diane 9:31 pm on October 31, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Looks like you had a good time. Love the hat book and can’t wait to see your creation!


  • knitting1105 4:19 pm on June 18, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   


    I am loving this shawl as it knits up.  It as addictive as a good Fair Isle pattern, where you want to keep going just one more row to see how it will look.  The color transitions keep me engaged.

    My second skein of this fiber was not plyed very tightly, so I put the hank on my swift and quickly sent it back though my wheel in the plying direction.  Then I used my ball winder to take it off the bobbin and wind it into a cake, and to even out the twist, I had the winder about 20 feet away from my wheel.  I choose not to set the replyed twist in this yarn, I think that it will be fine knitting it up just from the wound cake. I will be knitting from the opposite color end this time, starting with the blush color and the shawl will hopefully end in the green.

    I have almost finished with the first section of the Echo Flower Shawl, and I really want to maximize the length and use the most of my handspun possible. To achieve that I know that I need to save approximately 40% of the total yardage for the border (based on comments on a KAL thread for this shawl), so I am installing life lines at the end of my next 2-3 repeats so that if I do need to frog back, I will not be picking up 100’s of stitches willy-nilly.  I am going to try to finish with the first skein, and the pink section of the second skein, which is also a good transition point to the border.

    To install a lifeline:

    • It works best if you are putting the lifeline on a purl or non-pattern row (if not available, make the lifeline at the most logical place).  I am doing mine at the end of the pattern repeat, which happens to be a purl row.
    • Find a yarn that is thinner and a contrast color to your project.  It also helps if you use a cotton yarn if the project is in wool, and it will then slide out evenly without sticking to the stitches.
    • Do not cut the end of your lifeline until you have captured all of the working stitches.  Work directly off the skein or spool.
    • Thread a blunt end needle and run the thread through all of the stitches from left to right.  Do NOT include any stitch markers unless you want to take them off the needle on the next row and keep them with the lifeline.
    • When all stitches are threaded, make sure that the thread is longer than the garment and tie to the knitted fabric a couple of rows below at both ends.
    • Knit the rest of your project, and if you need to rip back for any reason, you have secured that row.  When ripping back, I like to pick up the last row by unknitting my stitches one at a time while I put them back on the needle.
    I wish that I had used a cotton crochet thread or a thin cotton knitting yarn instead of the heavy sewing thread.  It would have made it easier to not catch up the lifeline on the next knit row.

    This is a good video tutorial that I also found on YouTube.  I did try the tape method, and could not get it to work.  And I do not have the Knitpicks interchangeable needles to work her other method, but perhaps one of you does.

  • knitting1105 11:06 am on April 17, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    CookieA classes 

    Friday, Saturday and Sunday I spent the whole day taking classes with CookieA through the Windy City Knitting Guild.  The lessons were divided up among 3 1/2 day sessions, and originally I was going to piecemeal different classes together.  However, the drive out to Skokie is not a pleasant one, and I decided to stay the full-time each day.  I am glad that I did, as I learned something new in each class, and had a fabulous time.  I cannot say enough good things about what a great teacher she is, good sense of humor and genuinely nice.

    Friday Morning: Sock Innovation: Top Down Sock Design  Loved this class!!!  Taking this class has given me the confidence to tackle designing a sock, that is when I have the time, finish UFO’s and have some needles free.

    Friday Afternoon: Flat to In-The-Round and Back Again This was one of the classes that I was waffling on, and it turned out to be my favorite of all the weekend.  Sometimes the descriptions and titles do not really convey what you will get out of the class.  Cookie is fabulous with breaking down problems into manageable math solutions, and gives great handouts that clarify what she is talking about in the classes.  This was one of the classes that I was going to skip, and am happy that I did not, as it turned out to be one of my favorites.  Learning how to take a written pattern and chart it, how to take a pattern written in the round and transcribe it to flat and visa-versa. She had a great whiteboard to write on, and filled it up with very clear diagrams.

    Saturday Morning: The Perfect Rib  Another great class, and one that will help me to get that seamless rib into pattern look that Cookie is so well-known for on her sock design.  This was very well thought out and the handout, as usual, was superb.
    Saturday Afternoon: Cable Suckage Factor Don’t be turned off by this name.  The purpose of the class was to come up with our own personal cable “suckage factor”, so that we could both modify patterns for fit and design those that would fit.  We knit a plain sample swatch, and then knit 2 different cable pattern swatches to see how much pull-in we were getting as a percentage factor.  Then learned how to apply that suckage % to designs to make sure that our fit is good.  Suckage factors can be anywhere from 25-50%, mine was 42%.
    Sunday Morning: Toe-Up Socks with Gusset  I am not a fan of toe-up socks and while this was a good class, it did not change my mind.  We did, however, get good worksheets for figuring out the required widths and how to gauge when and how much to increase for the gusset.  This is always the part that poses problems for me with toe-up socks, and I do not like the short row heel with no gusset.  It just does not fit a person with a high instep like myself.
    Sunday Afternoon: Traveling Stitches.  This class did not give me much new information, as I had already completed many of Cookie’s socks and she loves to use traveling stitches.  This class combined with the cable suckage class really gave me lots of designing tools to use for socks and sweaters.

    Here are my weekend swatches.  Starting at the upper left and going clockwise:

    • (gold) perfect ribbing sample
    • (gold) flat to in the round and back again
    • (pink) traveling stitches
    • (purple) top down sock design
    • (green) 2 samples of cable suckage factor, plus gauge swatch
    • (white in center) toe-up sock design

     And some of my classmates:
    Including cute Mimi who for some unknown reason does not like her photo taken:
    I had my photo taken with Cookie, but it is not press worthy (totally on my part).  I will post it on my refrigerator for inspiration…
    • kathytny 12:46 pm on April 17, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Wow, your blog made me feel like I was right there! I have never gone to any kind of class for knitting etc. though I have dreamed of it. I would love to take a Cat Bordhi class! Everyone looks like they are having so much fun!


    • Stefanie 9:08 pm on April 18, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Oh wow, I’m so jealous you got to take all of the classes! Thanks for sharing – She really was a fantastic teacher! I only got to take the toe-up socks class on Sunday, but totally would have taken a few more if time and money hadn’t been an issue. Also your swatches from all of the classes are gorgeous!


      • knitting1105 9:11 pm on April 18, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you so much. I enjoyed all of the classes, and you can attest to what a great teacher she was!


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