Sometimes you're making something where both sides will be visible, and you really don't want to spoil the integrity of your fabric one little bit, even with the neatest sewing in of ends ever seen.
Well, there is a way.
This works best with singles yarns. I've not widely experimented to adapt to a highly twisted yarn, but I expect there are ways and means, and if anyone has any tips, please share them in the comments section.
This is just a simple technique which only takes a few minutes and your knitting will look as if you have worked from one ball continuously all the way through.
Step 1: Work up to the point where you have approximately 5cm of yarn left. It doesn't matter if this is in the middle of a row - in fact, it's better if it is!
Step 2: Take your new ball and lay it side by side with the last 5cm of the old ball.
Step 3: Separate the strands of both sections of yarn without breaking the fibres.
Step 4: Gently work the fibres from both balls together by holding them between your index finger and thumb and gently twist them and squish them together, working in the same direction as the natural twist of the yarn. Even with a singles yarn, the fibres will tend to slant in one direction, so try and identify this before your start working the fibres together.
Step 5: Continue in this way until the yarns are integrated and the join is pretty much invisible to the naked eye. Test the join by tugging GENTLY - not too much as a singles yarn breaks easily anyway! A little bit of instability is ok, as when the yarn is worked, the knots tied by the stitches will firm up the join.
Step 6: Continue with your pattern and enjoy the seamless join!
This tutorial explains how to work the edging for the cushions from the Sojourn Pattern booklet #11 using the simple two double pointed needle method. There may sometimes be a slight gap or seam between the stitches on the back. However, this doesn’t matter at all in this pattern, as you will be sewing the i-cord onto the edge of your cushion, and so concealing this. Bear in mind that 6 sts is the maximum you can use to create an i-cord using this method.
You need two 6.5mm double pointed needles and a small amount of Libby Summers' Chunky.
Step 1: Cast on 6 sts using 6mm dpns.
Step 2: Knit the first row. Do not turn work
Step 3: Slide sts to the other end of needle.
Step 4: Knit the next row, pulling the yarn tightly across the back of sts to close the gap between one side of the knitting and the other side.
Step 7: Repeat steps 3 - 4 until i-cord is desired length. Cast off.
An exercise in procrastination
Granola is a great favourite in our house. We not quite earthy and hardline enough for muesli. I have tried to like it but it tastes like rabbit food to me. So we munch our way through a 550g packet of Dorset Honey Granola every week. I have been meaning to have a go at making my own for literally an age, and for some bizarre reason (probably procrastination about other less appealing tasks) I decided to have a go this morning.
It was so easy to make I was kicking myself for not having tried before, but as the golden flakes of oats and nuts rustled together in a pleasing manner as I poured them into the jar, I asked myself the question how much did this cost to make and would it be cheaper to buy it?
The question of whether to make your own or buy is not just as simple as price though. There is also the question of taste, and the issue of how healthy the bought stuff is in comparison. If you are making your own you can also vary the ingredients and control exactly what goes into it. So for example, we hate coconut with a passion, so I have to be careful when buying granola that I don't buy one with coconut in. We love pecans and we love dried fruit such as dried apple, cranberries, blueberries and so on. So we can pop those in instead of raisins. You can also reduce the sugar and salt content too if you make your own. I didn't put any salt in at all, as I don't see the need for it.
My granola tastes VERY different to Dorset Cereals Granola. Both are lovely, but I think mine is really quite special. It is a very different taste though, so you may not like it. So mine wins on taste (for us), but does it win on price?
I did a proper price comparison, which took the exact measures of all the ingredients in the granola and compared the total price for making your own with buying Dorset Honey Granola - the granola which is closest in ingredients to mine. I was disappointed to find that it is marginally more expensive to make you own, whether you buy your ingredients from Morrisons or Waitrose. It is also interestingly, only a tiny bit cheaper to shop at Morrisons for this particular recipe. When pricing the goods I used their online shops, and the cheapest matching product available.
However, price considered, I will still make my own because I like the taste, and I like the flexibility of being able to chop and change the mix of ingredients. Here is my basic recipe if you'd like to try it. You can modify the mix of seeds and nuts, as long as you keep the overall balance between wet and dry ingredients. I haven't included any dried fruit in the recipe because we will mix that in just before eating to ring the changes.
Homemade Granola - Ingredients
3 tbsp sunflower oil
80g soft brown sugar
50g whole almonds
350g porridge oats
6 tbsp maple syrup
50g mixed seeds
Makes approx 625g of granola
Preheat oven to 150 or 130 for fan ovens. Mix together the dried ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk together the sunflower oil and the maple syrup. Pour over the dried ingredients and mix well. Spread out in a thin layer on two large lightly greased baking sheets. Bake in the oven for 30 - 40 mins, checking and turning every ten minutes, until lightly golden but not too coloured. Remove from oven and cool on trays. When cool, decant into jars.
1 x 50g ball Libby Summers Fine Aran Yarn A (photographed in shade 660 Sailor's Blue)
1 x 50g ball Libby Summers Fine Aran Yarn B (photographed in shade 874 Vintage Green)
1 x 50g ball Libby Summers Fine Aran Yarn C (photographed in shade 101 Lima)
1 x 50g ball Libby Summers Fine Aran Yarn D (photographed in shade 730 Wild Heather)
4.5mm [US7] circular needle 60cm [23½] in long
The cowl uses about 30g of each colour, and only 20g of Yarn D, so you will have yarn left over to make something else. How about one of the Mini Cakes projects?
Approx 28cm [11in] wide x 28cm [11in] high
One size: a roomy cowl for a child and a neat mini cowl for an adult
18 sts and 26 rows to 10cm [4in] measured over stocking stitch using 4.5mm [US7] needle
Before you start, if you are wondering how to create jogless stripes, try this tutorial.
Cast on 104 sts using Yarn D. Join to work in rounds, taking care not to twist stitches. Place marker for beginning of round.
Rib Round: (K4, p4) repeat to end of round.
Repeat Rib Round three times more (four rounds altogether).
Continuing to work in rounds, change to Yarn A and knit five rounds.
Change to Yarn B and knit five rounds.
Change to Yarn C and knit five rounds.
Repeat striped pattern as set above (five rounds in each colour) three times more, then knit five rounds in Yarn A, so you finish with the same colour you started with.
Change to Yarn D and work four rounds in Rib pattern as worked at the beginning of the cowl.
Cast off loosely. Sew in ends.
This tutorial explains how to do the special decrease stitches in Berwyn’s Jacket from the Berwyn’s Adventures Collection #07. The special effect is created by working a particular series of increase and decrease actions into two stitches over three rows. When you wrap the yarn twice around the needle on the first row, you need to work these wraps as separate stitches on the next row, and if you're not careful the second wrap comes away when you work the first one, so that is why it can be a bit tricky. I hope this tutorial helps.
Step 1: Work to the point in the pattern where it says M2. To work M2, first insert RH needle into 2 sts on LH needle and knit tog without removing them from LH needle.
Step 2: Wrap the yarn round RH needle twice.
Step 3: K2tog through the same two stitches, this time removing them from the LH needle
Step 4: On the next row, work to the point in the pattern where is says 'sl 4p'. To work this abbreviation, slip the 4 sts which you worked on the previous row without knitting them, by inserting the right hand needle purlwise into each stitch in turn, moving it onto the right hand needle as you do so.
This pictures shows several of the clusters after the second row, about to start the third row.
The cluster is not completed until the third row of the pattern where they are worked (k1, p1, k1 tbl, k1). The next few steps will show you how. Work up to the point where the pattern says (k1, p1, k1 tbl, k1) into patterned stitches.....
Step 5: Knit the first stitch of the cluster.
Step 7: Purl the next stitch of the cluster, noting that it is attached to the third stitch, and leave this one on the LH needle....
Step 7 (cont): ...As shown in this photo.
Step 8: Knit into the back of the third stitch of the cluster.
...Leaving you with just one stitch left from the cluster.
Step 9: Knit this stitch. Cluster is complete.
Your work should look something like this when you have purled the next row.
This tutorial is based on the baby sock pattern in the Berwyn’s Adventures Collection #07, which is written to be knitted on either dpns or on one circular needle using the magic loop method. I recommend a fairly long circular needle, maybe 100cm, so that you have plenty of wiggle space for moving stitches around. This tutorial shows you step by step how to work the magic loop method from casting on to the end of the heel. It assumes a good understanding of the basics of knitting. You might find the tutorial confusing to read unless you are actually following the pattern at the same time!
To start off, you will need a circular 4mm needle, 50g of Libby Summers Fine Aran and the Berwyn's Adventures pattern booklet.
Step 1: Cast on the number of sts stated in the pattern for your chosen size.
Step 2: Divide the sts evenly between the two ends of your circular needle, taking care not to twist the stitches at their base as you do so.
Step 3: Join to work in rounds, taking care not to twist work. Do this by moving the sts closest to the ball of yarn onto the flexible section of the needle, and then start to knit the sts from the rigid end of the needle, making sure they are all facing the same way with the base of the stitches all facing downwards. Pull the yarn tight against the first stitch so you don’t get a break between rows.
Step 5: Knit across all the sts on rigid section of needle, and then move these sts down onto the flexible section of needle. Move the sts from flexible section of needle up onto the other rigid end of needle, so you can work them next....
Step 6: MB. Work the next set of sts to complete the round and place your marker to show where each round begins. Pop it on the RH side of needle and slide it down to sit with the sts on flexible section. This photo shows your work after you have done this and are just about to start the next round.
Step 7: Work rounds 1 - 13 in this way, following the instructions given for the moss stitch edging on rounds 5 - 8.
Step 8: Round 13: K7 (7, 8, 8), turn. The photo shows work turned to the wrong side.
Step 9: The heel flap requires you to work 11 (11, 13, 13) sts, so isolate the extra sts needed to complete this round from the sts left on your flexible needle, and move them onto the rigid section of the needle to join the 7 (7, 8, 8) sts worked before you turned. This photo shows the 7 sts on the right hand side of the flexible needle and the four extra stitches isolated on the left hand side of the flexible needle just before sliding them down to join the 7 sts already worked.
Step 10: You can then put the marker aside and complete the heel flap as directed.
Step 11: Complete the heel as directed, leaving you with 6 (6, 8, 8) sts.
Step 12: Shows the position of your work just before picking up the stitches for the gusset.
Step 12: Picking up the stitches for the gusset
Step 13: Push the stitches you have just picked up down onto the flexible section of the needle to allow you to knit across the 12 (12, 14, 16) sts which were previously left on the felxible section of the needle, now pushed up onto the rigid section.
Step 14: Pick up and knit stitches along the other side of heel flap as directed.
Step 15: Knit across 3 of the 6 (6, 8, 8) sts left when you previously completed the heel flap (see photo from Step 11).
Step 16: Place marker for new beginning of round, so round begins midway across the heel.
Step 17: Work five rounds of shaping as directed to complete the heel and then you are ready to knit the foot.
This tutorial explains how to carry out the three needle cast [bind] off for the Meander hat from Meander Pattern Collection #10. The principle is that the stitches are divided into four sections, which meet in the middle, like a cross roads, which gathers the knitting at the crown, without compromising the basket stitch pattern. It looks quite fiddly but once you have got the hang of it, it is quite simple, and can be used in place of casting off and sewing seams together, for example on shoulder seams of a garment, where you would just work straight across the rows, not dividing them into four sections as in this tutorial.
Work the hat up to and including the row 'Shape Crown'
STEP 1: Cut both yarns, leaving enough thread to sew them in later. *Slip first 6 (7) sts from the LH needle onto a spare needle. Fold outwards so that this needle is behind LH needle and lines up with LH needle, with tips pointing to the right and work RS tog.
STEP 2: Insert loose needle into both sts at once, as if knitting them together. Complete the stitch in the usual way.
STEP 3: Work the second pair of sts in the same way, so that you now have two completed sts on your RH needle.
STEP 4: Reach over the first st on the RH needle to grab the second stitch with your spare or LH needle and pass it over the first stitch, thus casting off the first pair of sts, one from each needle.
STEP 5: Repeat steps 2 - 4 for the rest of the sts isolated for this section. Don’t fasten off the last stitch....
STEP 6: ...but slip it back onto the LH needle. Cut your yarn, leaving a thread to sew in later.
STEP 7: Rejoining yarn, repeat from * in Step 1 to the end of Step 5 three times more, slipping 7 (8) sts onto spare needle instead of 6 (7) sts each time....
STEP 8: ....and casting off the last st from the spare needle on its own each time.
When you have finished casting off, you will have four cast off sections meeting in the centre. Pull the loose ends gently to close any gaps and sew the ends in on the wrong side. Turn the hat the right way round and sew up the side seam using mattress stitch.
I'm crazy about yarn, Scotland, food, my husband and my three girls, and I live in a perpetual state of organised chaos. Some just call it creativity.