Loomy Q & A: How do you make a shrug?

Qa_3 It has been a few months since we had our last Loomy Q&A day, but thankfully, an avid loom knitter sent me a question and we now have a Q&A day.

Our question is this: I have a rectangle and I want to make it a shrug, how do I got about seaming it to make it a shrug?

First, thank you for sending in the question :). Converting a rectangle into a shrug is fairly simple. Fold your rectangle in half--lengthwise. Seam the sides leaving an opening in the center. How big of an opening? Measure from shoulder to shoulder and the opening should be at least that size.

A small graphic on how it should look like: it is not professional by any means but I think it shows the idea.

Shrug2_2For a more tapered look, you may want to create a rectangle with narrower ends, you can start with lets say 30sts and then increase gradually to 50sts, work with the 50sts for the main portion of the back then decrease gradually down to the 30sts. 

Another option is to create the sleeves portion in ribbed stitch (k2, p2) and this will create a snugger fit around the arms.

A shrug lends itself to many possibilities, you can create one long rectangle with lots of cables, or you can create one with eyelets for a lacier effect, or just work it completely in stockinette stitch (knit every row).

Shrug4Shrugs can be tight fitting or loose fitting. Pair a tight fitting shrug with your favorite little black dress, or make one for your little ballerina. Loose fitting shrugs are perfect for a cozy warm cover around the shoulders, perfect to wear with jeans or just with about anything in your wardrobe.

The shrug to the left was created about 3 years ago. Follow this link to see the pattern/quick notes that I wrote on it. It is double knit: created on a knitting board but the pattern idea is the same for single knit.

We hope the above helps in your looming quest to knit shrugs. Thank you for sending your question in.

If you have any loomy questions, send them in, and I will try to address them on the blog next week. Thank you and keep your questions coming!

Comments


Pocket Knitter Tutorial (Video)

Loomyqa_3 Q: How do you use a pocket knitter?

The Pocket Knitter resembles a large plastic comb with extra thick/wide teeth that they call Fins. At first glance, you may think it is just a toy but once you give it a try, you will see that the knitting goes really fast and like a knitting loom it becomes addicting!

Pocketknitter

My favorite part about this gadget: the main stitch is the knit stitch, not the twisted knit stitch (TKS) like on a knitting loom. We can create the knit stitch on a loom but it takes a few extra steps (unless you do the flat stitch which at times can become very tight and difficult to knit) than the TKS but on this gadget the Knit Stitch is as simple as running the yarn from the back fins to the front fins and the back small fins keep the loops from getting too tight, producing a nice easy knit stitch. Definitely a plus in my book! The purl stitch though it is still as difficult as on a knitting loom.

Just like on a knitting loom, on your first knitting try on the PK you will have nice even stitches--no tension problems at all. A beautiful plus!

And here is a bigger plus: kids can do it too! The technique is actually a lot easier than using a knitting loom. It is summer time, if you have kids, run to the near craft store and pick one up and let them knit their own winter scarf.

For the tutorial, you will need the following items:

  • Pocket Knitter and the tool included or any loom knitting pick 
  • Yarn: Preferably a non-trendy yarn, a simply 4 ply yarn will be perfect for the job. I used Caron Simply Soft Quick

The tutorial is in video form below. It is about 10 minutes long and it shows the following:

  • Overview of the Pocket Knitter
  • Cast on
  • Knit Stitch
  • Purl Stitch
  • Bind off
Buy the Tutorial on DVD and view it on your DVD player or at computer. Video is exactly like the one you are viewing here. Price: $15.99 includes shipping within the US.


Loomy Q & A Day

The weekend has been eventful around here--hubby took me out on a date on Saturday. It is rare when him and I go out without the kids, but this Saturday we were able to drop them off at my in-laws house and we went out to dinner--alone! It is such an event for us to have dinner just the two of us...and actually talk. We had a delightful time!

Laceheart

But when we came home things got really interesting (take your mind out of the gutter), our house felt cold--really cold. We try to keep the temperature around 69 degrees but when we checked our thermostat our house was at 56 degrees which makes the temperature in our downstairs living room around 40! I quickly asked him if he paid the gas bill and yep he did, so that wasn't the problem. Neither him nor I changed the thermostat which meant only one thing--our furnace broke! Drats! What a time to break, middle of winter and on a Saturday night.

We had one of my BIL's come and over and look at the furnace, apparently, the furnace has a button--and the button is faulty, a not very expensive fix, crossing fingers that he is right! Anyways, our romantic date ended up with 4 people in a queen size bed--hubby at one end, Wonderboy, Little Benny and me at the other end, all of us trying to keep warm. Perfect! :)

Picture above: A lace heart pattern for us loomies. I will be posting the free pattern for it this coming weekend (or sooner if I get the chance to sit down and write it). The lace works best with fine gauge knitting looms. Although I made a small section (the size of a dishcloth), I can see it being used in a scarf, a long scarf with many lace hearts! I will try to post the pattern for needles too, but I am sure there are some better needle knit patterns than what I can write up.

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Loomyqa_2

Our Loomy Q & A day is here, today's questions have to do with length of scarves and working with two strands of yarn at the same time.

Question 1: I am making scarves for my family but I don't know how long to make them, can you help me or guide me to a website that has the recommended lengths?

Answer: I haven't come accross a website that has recommended lengths of scarves (if any of you know of a website, please let me know), but I recall reading some place to make the scarves as long as the person is tall. Thus for a small child of 5 or 6 years of age, I would probably make it about 36 inches, or the average height for that age group.

Question 2: I am working with 2 strands of yarn at the same time, but the yarns keep getting tangled around each other. How do I prevent them from tangling? 

Answer: The easiest way to keep them from tangling is to put the skeins of yarn in a separate container or a bag. I like the big Clorox wipe bottles to put skeins of yarns, they have a nice opening at the top and they are tall enough to fit a regular skein of yarn. Once the yarns are in separate containers, set the containers one on your right side and the other on your left, keeping them separated like this should stop them from tangling too much.

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Thank you for sending your questions in, without you this column would not be possible, if you have any, feel free to email me or drop me a note in the comments section (below).

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Loomy Q & A Day

Loomyqaday_1

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.

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Question 1: I read everywhere to knit a swatch before starting my project. What is a swatch and how do I knit one.

Swatch

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.

Closeup_1

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.

Intarsiafront_1 Intarsiaback 

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.

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Thank you for sending in your questions, please keep them coming, til next weekend,

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Loomy Q & A

Loomyqa_1 

After a weekend away, we are back to our regular Loomy Q & A. 

Question 1: I have a pattern that calls for a slipped peg. How do you slip a stitch [peg] on a knitting loom?

To slip a stitch on a knitting loom, you simply skip the peg with yarn behind work (back of peg).

When you slip a stitch, you are elongating the stitch below--pulling it up one row up. When you slip the first stitch at the beginning of a row, you create a crochet-like edge.

When you slip a stitch within the row, such as when you are knitting the heel stitch: *sl1, k1; repeat from *, you elongate the stitch from below. It creates a nice thick fabric.

You can also use slipped stitches to create defined corners in a bag as is the case with the satchel.

Hope this helps out with the pattern you are trying out.

On to our next question:

Question 2: Can a knitting board be used to make a hat?

Yes, a knitting board can be used to knit a hat. If you want it to be double knit, you will probably need to create it flat and seam the side to close it as a tube. Unless you have a circular knitting board in which case you can just knit a tube by knitting all around the circular knitting board. However, if you have a regular knitting board such as the purple knifty knitter or any of the long looms, you will need to knit it flat and seam it along the side.

That's all for our Loomy Q & A day, remember send me your question(s) and I will post the answer(s) next weekend.

For now, loom on!

Isela


Loomy Q & A Day: Colourwork on the Knitting loom

In our Loomy Question and Answer Day we are going to tackle the question of adding color to your loom knits.

Question: How do I add horizontal stripes to my loom knitted items? How do I work fair isle patterns?

Colorwork

(Picture caption: samplers to find the perfect motif for the Knitty Gritty show)

This topic right now comes close to my heart as it is part of my presentation for the Knitty Gritty show on knitting looms and to face reality, I know so little about it compared to some of the great needle knitters out there that I have acquired a small library of books with this topic. Some of them come with only charts, others come with informational and historical background.

If you are in search of books in this topic, I recommend the following:

1000 Great Knitting Motifs--great for loom knitters as everything is charted and you do not need to make any "translation".

The Art of Fair Isle Knitting--superb book: historical and informational, plus some patterns, and some charts.

Traditional Fair Isle Knitting--my first book that I got on this subject and I highly recommend it. Easy to read, great history background, charts.

In the video below, I demonstrate horizontal stripes, and working a simple stranded color pattern. Sorry for the background noise, the kids were playing :).

Enjoy, and as always, tips and questions are always welcomed.

Isela

Tip 1: When working your stranded color patterns, remember the following: consistency/yarn dominance

Background color--Over (reach over the foreground color to get this yarn)

Foreground color--Under (reach under the background color to get the foreground color yarn.

Keep this consistency throughout your pattern, if you don't, your motif won't be as defined.

Experiment before embarking with your project, try by exchanging which yarn is coming from above and which one from under--knit a complete chart repeat and see the difference.

Tip 2: Do not travel too far with your yarn, keep it to less than 1". If you travel to long, the knitted item will have overly long floats (Floats: the strand of yarn that travels behind the work). If traveling for more than 1 inch (or 3 stitches), weave the yarns around each other.

Tip 3: Block: items worked with stranded colour knitting look their best after blocking.

Tip 4: General tip when working with 2 different colors: keep a ball of yarn at each side of you. By keeping them separated the odds of the yarns tangling are less.

Tip 5: If possible, try to obtain a small gauge or even fine gauge knitting loom to try out your fair isle knits--your stitches will look more defined and the entire motif will look more crisp.

The samples swatches in the video were knitted on a fine gauge knitting loom and the hat was knitted on a regular gauge with 2 strands of worsted weight yarn. The three items were knitted with the Knit Stitch.


Loomy Q & A: Seaming Techniques Videos

*Edited* It appears that the videos had music in them making it difficult to listen to my lovely voice (hahaha!), I have taken the music off. Thank you for letting me know about the music ;).

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I was supposed to tackle this question last weekend, but instead, I spent all Saturday babysitting three little kiddos, plus my two, in total 5, 4 of them still in diapers...eeek!  My apologies for being late with the answers delivery.

Our Loomy Question:

I am new to loom knitting and I need help with joining panels. How do I join panels together?

Joining panels is part of the finishing process--and although you may think that once you finished knitting the item that the hard work is done, do not take the seaming process lightly. Joining the panels together is a very important step and I recommend devoting a bit of time to it.

If you do not have a book on finishing techniques, I recommend the only book that was recommended by superb knitter/mentor/friend Mim, "The Knitter's Book of Finishing Techniques", this book will teach you everything you need to know about finishing your garment. You can find it at Michael's too (go get your 50% coupon).

Thank you for sending your Loomy Questions in, keep those looms going!

Comments, Questions, Constructive Criticism always welcome :)


To begin, I will demonstrate how to join two panels with the mattress stitch seam. It produces an invisible seam on the right side--which makes it ideal for many garments.

Mattress Stitch Video

Another important seaming technique is the one where you join two garter stitch edges together. When joining panels, such as blankets, you will encounter that the panels have a garter stitch edge and using the mattress stitch will leave a seam on the wrong side, in this case, use the Garter Stitch Seam.

Garter Stitch Seam Video

The above two videos demonstrate how to join two panels row to row, but how about joining panels that you have to match stitches to rows as when setting a sleeve? or Stitches to stitches as when joining shoulder panels?

Joining Sleeves to Armhole Opening

Joining panels at the shoulder: Shoulder Seaming


Loomy Q&A

Question #1 has to do with creating flat panels: The question reads:

I can't seem to get started on flat single-sided knitting on a board or round loom. *Is* there a way to make a truly flat piece (non-curling) that is single-sided? Or do I have to resign myself to a knitting board and double-sided knitting?If one *can* make a single-sided flat piece, I would like to make a simple scarf. I need to know how to cast on, how to do the stitches, and how to cast off.

You can definitely create a flat panel that does not curl on a single sided rake/round loom. To prevent the curling, I recommend knitting a garter stitch edge at each side of the item as well as at the beginning and end of the item.

Flatpanel_1

We will break this section into small parts: casting on for a flat panel, knitting on the flat panel, and removal of the flat panel.

The Garter Stitch on a knititng loom consists of the following:

Row 1: Knit

Row 2: Purl

Repeat Row 1 & 2

Section 1: casting on for a flat panel. We will be using 12 pegs on any size loom, for my example, I am using the small blue knifty knitter knitting loom.

I recommend using a cast on that provides a nice tight edge like the one provided by either the Cable Cast on or the Chain Cast on (click on the links to view the file/mini-movie). 

Section 2: Knitting on your flat panel. When knitting on your flat panel, you have a choice of creating a chain like edge at each side by slipping the first stitch of each row. Or you can knit the stitch. The choice is up to you. I like to slip the first stitch, but it is all personal preference.

The instructions below are for a panel of 12 stitches:

Row 1, 3, 5: Knit all 12 stitches

Row 2, 4: Purl all 12 stitches

Row: 6: Knit all 12 stitches

Row 7: Purl 3 stitches, knit 6 stitches, purl 3 stitches

Repeat Row 6 & 7 for the desired length of the item

Repeat Rows 1-5.

The garter stitch edging of the first 3 stitches and last 3 stitches will prevent the item from curling at the sides. The first and last 5 rows will prevent it from curling at the ends

Section 3: Binding off the flat panel. Binding off is the procedure of taking the knitted item off the knitting loom.

View the mini-video below to see all the steps to create a flat panel.


Loomy Q & A Day

As an ol' timer loom knitter, I receive a few questions every now and then. Most of the time, I have had the same problem and I have been able to find a way to fix it, sometimes, I have been unlucky and I wasn't able to find a solution.

I thought it would be a nice thing to have a Loom Knitting Q & A day addressing some of these questions. Every Saturday, I will address one of the questions and possibly try to find a solution.

If you have any questions on loom knitting, be sure to drop me a note in the comments section and I will choose one or two (depending on the complexity of the questions) and address it on the next Saturday post--a week should give me enough time to research and answer (if I don't have it or get all the visuals ready). Consider me your Dear Loomy--you know, instead of Dear Sally, LOL...come and tell me all your troubles--loom knitting troubles that is, and I will try to provide you some advice.

Don't forget: send me your questions :). I need your input to make this Loomy Q&A column to work :).


Today's question is one that I receive constantly. The problem is seen a lot on loom knitted tubes. It happens quite often when someone is just starting to loom knit. As one gets more experience loom knitting, the problem seems to be more in check as one gets a handle on tension.

Q: How do I get rid of that pesky ladder that is formed between the first and last stitch?

A: It is a problem of tension: tension in knitting over (knitting over: lifting the loops off the pegs to form a stitch).

Ladderproblem2

Details:

This ladder usually appears when knitting one of the variations of the e-wrap stitch (single stitch,
double stitch, chunky braid stitch, etc).

The reason why it happens is that you are wrapping your loom all the way around: for example: the single stitch, you wrap the loom twice, then you knit over the bottommost strand off each of the pegs; the chunky braid stitch, you wrap it 4 times, then you lift the bottommost 3 strands and lift them off the peg, leaving only 1 on each of the pegs.

When you knit in this manner, you are lifting loops consecutively from peg after peg. If there is any excess yarn, the excess yarn is passed onto the the next peg, at the end of the round, you have all the excess yarn on the last peg. All this excess yarn stays there because you start a new round: basically, you pick up your yarn and again wrap the entire loom.

Solution: To eliminate the excess yarn: Wrap and knit over one peg at a time. It is more time consuming, but it will elmininate this slack completely. Remember: *wrap the peg, knit it over; repeat from * to the end of round.

For example:
Chunky Braid stitch: you need 4 loops on each peg.
Wrap the loom 3 times all around. On the 4th round, wrap & knit each peg individually.
Single Stitch: You need 2 loops on each peg. Wrap the loom 1 time all around. On the 2nd round, wrap & knit each peg individually.

I have heard of a different method of eliminating this excess yarn: just start knitting over on a different spot on the loom. Although it appears that this method may work, in reality, it doesn't really cure the problem. The slack is simply moved to another part of the hat.

I hope the above helps to fix the ladder problem :).