Hi my dear loom knitters. I hope you are all having a wonderful New Year. I am hanging there, finally got a little sleep last night, the past week has been a bit hard on me, my little Benny is sick, slept only for a few hours each night (on the downstairs couch with little Benny). Then Friday night when going up to the kitchen, in my groggy state I fell down the steps. I thought I was fine, but today my entire right side is aching, especially my ribs, ouch! I guess I fell down harder than I thought. My little Benny is still sick and not eating much of anything. We have found out she likes to have soup and she only eats the carrots, so guess what we will be eating for the next few days.
But you are here to read the Loomy Q & A day, without further ado, on to our questions.
Question 1: I read everywhere to knit a swatch before starting my project. What is a swatch and how do I knit one.
A swatch is a small piece of knitted fabric that is knitted with the same knitting loom (or needle), pattern stitch, and yarn weight as called in the pattern. Knit the piece of fabric with the same stitch as called in the pattern. Some patterns indicate the pattern stitch for the swatch, some do not, when it doesn't say the stitch pattern, knit the swatch in the overall stitch pattern of the item you want to knit.
Almost forgot: if the pattern says the gauge was knitted in the round, knit your sample in the round. Gauge may vary when knitting in the round or a flat panel.
How small to knit the swatch? The gauge in the pattern should be your starting place, if the gauge in the pattern says something along the lines of:
8 stitches and 12 rows=4 inches
I suggest casting on the stitches above + 10 more, in this case, cast on 18 stitches. Now you have the number of stitches, but how long to knit it?
Knit at least 12 rows + 10 more, so about 22.
The above panel should give you a panel wide enough to measure for gauge.
When measuring for gauge be sure to count everything: 1/2 of a stitch counts, and even 1/4 of a stitch.
- Having too many stitches per inch will give you too small of an item.
- Having too few stitches per inch will give you a bigger item.
If you do not get gauge, try the following:
Too many stitches per inch:
- Try a thicker yarn, maybe a different gauge loom.
Too few stitches per inch:
- Try a thinner yarn, or a different gauge loom.
Only try one change at a time, it may be that you only need a different thickness of yarn.
If knitting with the variations of the Knit Stitch, try the different methods of knitting it: the flat stitch method--lay your yarn above the loop on the peg and just lift over. U-wrap method--lay your yarn above the loop on the peg, but instead of just lifting over, *hug* the peg with the working yarn (so there is more slack on the yarn) then lift over. The knit stitch as when it is done like an upside purl stitch as demonstrated in this video.
When knitting a knitwear item such as a sweater or a vest, or something that needs to fit a specific person, be sure to knit a swatch before knitting your project. You do not want to knit the entire sweater just to find out that the item you made doesn't fit.
Question 2: I am about to attempt my first project involving Intarsia on a loom and I would like to ask if you have any tips or special advice for me. I have knitted a swatch using the technique and it came out ok, some of the spaces between colors did seem a little big, maybe gaping a little.
First lets define what we mean by loom knitting intarsia (some of us are a bit new to the world of knitting and we are not familiar with the term).
Intarsia is a knitting technique that uses a different yarn(s) to knit a motif on a piece of fabric. The different yarn(s) are woven together at the back of the work to eliminate any holes/gaps between the color yarns to provide you with an even fabric. Darning and blocking when the item is completed is also imperitive to provide your knitted item a professional look.
The pictures below show the front of an intarsia motif and the back of it. As you can see, you will have many ends to weave in but take it slow, when you have completely finish an area, sit down and weave in the ends. Do not wait until you finish your entire project, if you do you will have a huge amount of weaving in to do and it could be a bit frustrating.
How to work with the yarns: if possible, obtain a few yarn bobbins, if no yarn bobbins, wrap the different color yarn(s) that you will be using in a piece of card board. Working with small bobbins of yarn is easier than working with a huge ball of yarn--less tangling.
Attaching the colors: When you reach the area that needs the different color yarn, attach the new yarn to the main color (X) by making a slip knot, snug the slip knot as closely to the work as possible, continue knitting with the new color (Y). When you reach the other side and you need to pick up main color, reach over, attach the yarn the same way.
After the colors have been attached: you need to be sure to weave the yarns around each other. When picking up the secondary color (motif color), drop the main color, pick up the secondary (motif) color under the main color--by doing this, you will be wrapping the yarns around each other.
Sweaterscapes has a great tutorial on Intarsia knitting (with needles) but you can see how to weave the yarns around each other to eliminate the gaps.
Remember: block your intarsia project--it will even out the stitches and the places where you joined the yarn.
Thank you for sending in your questions, please keep them coming, til next weekend,