Thursday, March 29, 2007

Last week

Exciting, overwhelming, exhausting!
I have seen and heard Stephanie talk before, she is a wonderful writer and speaker. I participated in some of the day’s activities.
I got to 72nd and Central park to be part of the photoshot--but I was 3 layers back, (and unseen!) but you can find me on Yarn Harlots blog --in
her shot of the group milling about includes me, (way to the left, in red pants and a multicolor vest)--looking slimmer than I am-- (dare I say it? I am fat, but I do have a good ass!)--my Grandson Cyrus got a photo, too. He's the cutey in the orange shirt.

After that, a cross park walk with Cyrus and Sonya. Photo taking and duck feeding, and snow smashing. Down town then to MAD, and the Radical Lace and Subversive Knitting exhibit.

It was more modern art that knitting--but then I find that everyday, knitters, everywhere, (as evidenced by blogs) are doing more real, and ephemeral art. The show was filled with “look at me create real art”. --like the dress knit from real dollar bills cut up to make a paper yarn ($8,700 some odd dollars cut up and knit. The dress wasn’t a spectacular work of knitting--stocking knit with some shaping--what was spectacular was that it was knit from $8,700+ worth of paper yarn. But is that art? or audacity?

Friday, is my ‘normal’ knitting day.. But it was anything but normal.
Jennifer was visiting with Lisa (aka Tsock Tsarina) and she came bearing gifts.

Thursday, after the Yarn Harlots talk at FIT, she had an impromptu yarn sale, and by Friday there was just a little bit of the yarn that Lisa has luxuriated in Wednesday. *you can read about it yourself on the Tsock Tsarina's blog

But the thing is, Jennifer is so gifted, that even the last remnants were rich, lovely skeins (albeit, mini skeins) It was easy to find, in the already well picked over collection, lovely almost solids to mate with some incomplete skeins.

So 75Grms of Cherry Tree Hill, paired with some solid blue will create a mostly CTH socks.

And 50 grams of Koigu paired with peach, will create peachy toes and heels (and an edging on the cuff) will make another pair of socks (I have a pair of sock already from this Koigu)

And this rich wine red will marry well with my shades of rose.

The gold and purple (and remaining wine red) will blend create a fair isle band --that when paired with some olive green sock yarn make a colorful fair isle element --and a much more interesting sock than a plain solid green one.

As for knitting well, I have been doing some knitting. There is a hat yet unseen, and one (of several) UFO’s is getting worked on.. (a summer shawl of bamboo silk)
The tricolor linen stitch hat band is 12 or so inches along, slowly, oh so slowly growing.
And any day now, I will finish Decembers socks (cuff and leg done) and start a more interesting pair.
And then there is the knitting machine--that is an other part of last weeks excitement, to photo, learn to use and blog about!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

I am a thief

It’s true. I troll the around, looking for good stuff that I can pick up and make my own.
And the internet has the best stuff!

I need to make the stuff my own, because I have very clearly defined taste, and, I am, not quite abnormal, but…. Well, not quite normal either!

Take sock yarn. I like solids--if not best, close to best. Then self striping. Then single color, intentionally ‘uneven’ dying. --this is frequently labeled “hand dyed” but I recognize it is a specific hand dying technique. I have no doubt, any good hand dyer can, easily achieve full, even saturation of color! These hand dyed yarns have offer the pleasure of solids, with the added interest of shades and highlights of color.

Low down on my favorites are hand painted yarns. I love the colors in these yarns, I love them in the skein. But they just don’t do it for me knit up.
I often don’t like the way the colors spiral around. I HATE the way colors can pool. The high contrast, that is so often a feature of the best hand painted yarn, that is so wonderful in the skein, is often, to me, so so in the knitted product.

I know that not being WOW’d by Koigu or Cherry Tree Hill or other hand painted yarns, makes me unusually (I have a surprising amount of these yarns in my stash in spite of what I have just said, and I have knit and been gifted these yarn, and quite enjoyed them.) It’s just that, in general, they are not my first or even second choice for sock yarn.
So, getting back to being a thief.

Traveling round the Knitting Blogs ring, I saw some lovely yarn--red, red and red, a blaze of colors, a true red, with a deeper blue red, to a deeper still, wine red.
And the blogger,--I didn’t bookmark it, so its lost-- pointed out that she had some pastel yarn, (a solid pastel) that she didn’t like, and she overdyed it with red.

What an idea!
I am not big on hand dying, I suspect I could, with practice, become a skilled artist with color but, I have no driving desire stop knitting and to spend time hand dying--a skill all its own, and one that requires time and practice to be good at. Beside, there are so many skilled artisans already!

But simply overdying a so-so solid, intentionally mottling the color of the dye to make a new color, with interesting areas of high color saturation and some of low color saturation? Well that's an idea I can steal and make my own! That is something I can do!

So some solid blah beige, (Kroy sock yarn) got wound onto a nitty-noddy, (an antique one!) and the skeins went into the dye bath, and then into the microwave, and went from blah beige to rosy rouge!

The technique was simple enough. I presoaked the yarn in a acidulated water (I used sour salt/citric acid to acidulate the water) for about 5 minutes.
This pre soaking in acidulated water helps the yarn soak up color. It insures that if you pour the dye over the wet yarn, the dye will be absorbed almost immediately, where ever you pour, and will result in uneven uptake of color.

For the dye? I used 3 color tabs from an easter egg dye kit. These got dissolved in more acidulated water, which was then poured over the soaking yarn. The result is quite nice--not the candy pink the egg dye would turn an egg--the underlying beige toned down the color. And by just pouring the color on the yarn which had been primed by being in acidulated water, --I got spots of intense color, with softer tones in between.
Here is an undyed skien next to one of the dyed skiens (I dyed 2 of the 3 beige skeins I had)

So thank you, (who every you are!) for your wonderful idea.
And please, reader, feel free to steal this idea from me, and do it better.

NEXT-I will show you some of the wonderful colors I got last week from an extraordinary dyer master --these hand dyed yarns (mostly solid, with subtle gradiation of color) yarns will be used with some of my hand painted sock yarns to settle them down to simpler color schemes.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Before I blogged....

I'll be busy this week, what with house guests, and REPRESENT--I have several days that combine Late nights and early --even for me early-(Up dressed and out of the house before 6 AM!) days--and when I am not out and about, I'll be napping and catching up on my beauty sleep.

I am in cleaning mode (not that I much like it!) and not knitting mode--but I want to be knitting and will get back to it any second now--for sure, I'll have a sock for Thursday's Sock Photo Shot in Central Park--Will you be there?

Before I blogged, I shared images and opinions on various BB's and other knitting pages.
Here is a collection of most of the knit items I have shared on Lion Brand's Customer gallery--starting with the most recent.

The Phyllotaxis Scarf from Knitting Nature, Norah Gaugham

Some socks, my own patterns from Lion Brand Magic Stripe's.

My version of the corkscrew scarf from Scarf Style, edited by Pam Allan in LB wool yarn.

2 skeins of sock yarn, both the same dye lot, but I was more than half way done before i realized the reason I couldn't find a matching starting point was because each ball was put up a different direction-the result? Funky striped socks!

I almost never wear scarves for warmth, but often for style. This ribbon yarn scarf is very pretty.

A local yarn store upgraded its stock and discontinued carrying LB Wool Ease. Lots of colors, and stitch paterns.. and double knit to boot! What a Vest!

Mill ends from a big box store... At first I thought I had 5 skeins of 1 colorway, but look again! 3 skeins of colorway A, 2 of colorway B --plus a bit of ivory for trim. This oversized shawl gets alot of use.

This caplet is a pattern that i have worked and reworked.. It's lovely, I think--in every version.

Why don't you look throught my Photogallery and see if you can find some other examples of the same basic pattern? There are also hats and scarves and other socks that could be included in this collection..

I have posted one or two more projects in the gallery--that I just can't find, or find the links to, and I will continue to post in the Lion Brand Gallery even though I now have a blog.

There are some wonderful projects there, and its an interesting way to learn what is being knit--since there are many knitters who don't blog! I think a customer gallery is a great feature on a company site, and that all yarn companies should emulate it.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Wow, wow, and wow again!

Like Augustine, I often pray for patience. --Only I want it NOW!

I don’t know why, I should remember; all good things come to those who wait..
And today, proof of that has arrived in the mail.

Normally, my mail arrives sometime between 11 am to noon.
But today, I had been alerted by Polargrrlpurls that I should be looking for a package. So I checked my box at 11:30, and again at 1PM and then again at 3PM and finally at 4PM, success!

If I just got the sock we agreed to in the Knitty BB swap, I would have been thrilled. The colors are so bright and spring like (and right now, NY is so winter like!) and they are so beautiful, and they have A PICOT HEM on the cuff! --A beautiful bit of persnickety detail I struggle with and never quite manage--not for cuff down socks that is and feather and fan lace.

I don’t have a single pair of socks in feather and fan. (Why? I don’t know. Never got around to do doing any!)

BUT wait there is more.. (as if the socks alone weren’t enough!) a skein of Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn.. A lovely rosy color, so cheery, not pink, but pinkish red.. (and just last week I post on Katherine blog, that I needed pair of red socks..(just like I need red shoes--I always have at least 1 pair of red shoes around.) I won't be using this to make a pair of red sock like those on her blog, but the yarn will turn into one special pair of socks.

But Jen wasn’t content to leave it at this.. No she also added an exquisite little woven notions purse. It looks like a mate to Lantern tree woven baskets, with a zipper and lining.

As this were more than enough--inside the purse, 4 little beaded stitch markers!

And a lovely note!
I want to put the socks on right now.. But, I am going to hold off, and were them next week --when I’ll be meeting knittyheads from all over at REPRESENT. Then I’ll be able to show them off to EVERYONE!

I am, a large woman, but I have this unexpected ability to raise my legs surprisingly elegantly --a persistent remnant of some early training in ballet--9which has left me with a weird skills)--I can’t elegantly bend over, but I can, still, years latter, gracefully lift my leg as it to put it on the bar! So look out--I’ll be looking a bit like --as I have been once compared to--one of the ballet dancing Hippo’s from Fantasia! And everyone can Ooh and Aah at my beautiful new socks as I elegantly raise my leg and bring them into view!

Bread and Better Bread (Irish Soda Bread)

Most of the loaf made and marketed as Irish Soda Bread are nothing like the one I ate when in Ireland (visiting family).

They are dense, sweet and cake like, with eggs and raisins.

A good Irish Soda bread, is like a good Southern Biscut, simple, light, and quick to make, with nothing more than flour, butter, milk and leavening.
But even the best baker faces an impossible task trying to make a bread in the US that taste the same as one made in Ireland.

First, most US Flour is Hard Red Wheat--a variety not usually grown or used in Europe--and while all wheat is wheat, (just as all apples are apples) there is a different flavor and texture to the flour. Next is the milk... again, milk is milk.. only it isn't. The same goes double for the butter! Milk and milk fat is very influenced by what the cows feed on, as well as the species of cow.

Still it is possible to make a good soda bread.
The first recipe is one that is the more common --white bread with raisins.

The second recipe, Brown Bread is a more common bread in Ireland. Simple ingredients, no frills, the taste, fresh and light.

Irish Soda Bread

2 cups of flour
½ tsp baking soda
1 ½ tsps of baking powder
1 stick solid shortening (or margarine or butter)
2/3 cup of cold buttermilk
1 egg
1 tablespoon sugar
½ cup of raisins or currents or 2 tablespoons of caraway seed
Preheat oven to 375°

Mix baking soda into flour, cut in butter till it is looks like coarse meal
Toss in raisins /caraway seed, and sugar, mix in.
Beat in egg and add milk
Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix well.
Roll in ball, and place on large, well greased baking sheet.
Cut cross into top
Bake 35 to 40 minutes or till done

Better Irish Soda Bread--Brown Bread
1 ½ cups of whole wheat flour
½ cup of rolled oats (or 1/3 cup of oat flour)
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 stick cold butter (salted butter) cut into chunks
*1 cup of cold buttermilk
1 tablespoon of honey (warm honey to help it dissolve it the cold milk)
(Plus some extra oats for baking sheet)

Preheat oven to 475°
Take rolled oats, and process them in a blender (¼ of a cup at time) or in a food processor to make oat flour.
Mix dry ingredients, (flours, soda) then cut in butter till it butter is size of small peas
(do not over cut in butter!--lumpy butter bits make light, flavorful bread)
Add liquid ingredients, and mix just until till flour is moistened.
(*Whole wheat flour is ‘dryer’ than white flour, and can absorb, usually, more liquid
Start with a scant cup of buttermilk and add more if needed-up to about 1 cup.
Knead just enough to get dough hold together.
Roll in ball, and place on *large baking sheet.
*Either grease the sheet, of better, place some crumbled rolled oat on sheet. (crumble them with your hand.
Cut cross into top
Put in oven and immediately reduce heat to 375°
Bake 35 to 40 minutes or till done
Best served warm, with butter and or honey.
Recipe can be doubled to make 2 loaves. (and it usually is!)

Meanwhile here is a wee lad, unhappy with being forced to model a tam 0'shanter.
(that I border on being the worst photographer, doesn't help the matter!)

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Binding or Casting Off

While there are any number of ways to Cast on, there are, to my knowledge, many fewer ways to bind or cast off.

Standard Bind Off
This is the most common bind off:
K1 *K1, pass first knit stitch over just knit stitch, K1. Repeat from * till there are no more titches to knit, cut or break yarn, pass tail of yarn through last knit stitch loop and pull closed.

Variation include binding off in pattern--instead of knitting each stitch, work stitch as it appears (knit or purl as case may be--such as bind off in ribbing.)
And the 3 needle bind off --with a three needle bind off, 2 pieces of knitting are held parallel, (right sides face, or wrong sides facing--depending on desired finished effect) in the left hand. 3 needle bind off only works when both pieces of knitting have an equal number of stitches.
To bind off using the 3 needle bind off method, make a stitch by working the first stitch from front piece and the first stitch of back piece of knitting together. *Make the next stitch the same way, and then pass the first stitch over the second, (as in standard knitting)

Note: There tricks and persnickety details to make the last stitch bound off look nicer--Both for flat knitting and when binding off in the round.

Russian Bind Off
* P2tog tbl, return the resulting stitch to left needle --stretching the stitch (loosening tension) on it as you do so. Repeat from *, till there are no more stitches to knit, cut or break yarn, pass tail of yarn through last knit stitch loop and pull closed.

Crochet Bind Off
Both the Standard and Russian bind offs can be done using a crochet hook in the right hand instead of a knitting needle. A crochet hook 1 or 2 sizes larger than the corresponding knitting needle helps keep the bind off loose and stretchy, with out looking sloppy.

In addition, a crocheted cast off is often used for lace bind offs. Especially in the case where a number (3 to 7 or even more) of stitches are worked together, (KX tog) and then the yarn is used to create a crochet chain stitch between the grouped stitches. This leaves an attractive picot like edge.

These three bind offs, and variations, all result in a ‘chain stitch’ on the bound off edge.

Tubular or Grafted Bind Off
Particularly suited for 1 X 1 ribbing, a tubular bind off is identical in appearance to a tubular cast on.
To enhance the appearance, work 2 or more rows of simple double knitting before grafting.
Simple double knitting is normal worked over an even number of stitches:
* K1, bring yarn forward (as if to purl), slip 1, bring the yarn back (as if to knit) repeat from * (pattern is worked the same on all rows.)
When worked on odd number of stitches, end with a K1, and on row 2, start with a slip stitch and end with a slip stitch.

Sewn (aka EZ’s sewn/back stitch bind off)
A sewn bind off is the closest in appearance to Long Tail cast on. It’s done by sewing a a form of a back or double stitch--Aka 2 forward, 1 back (drop one off) through each stitch.
After working last row, cut yarn, leaving a tail at least 3 times longer than edge to be bound off.
Thread tail onto tapestry needle
Pass tapestry needle through Stitch 1 and Stitch 2 on needle. Repeat once. Then let first stitch drop off needle. *Pass tapestry needle through new ‘stitch 1 and stitch 2’, and let stitch 1 drop off needle.

Drawstring Bind Off
Cut yarn, leaving a tail of 6 or more inches
Thread tail onto tapestry needle and starting at stitch 1, pass tapestry needle through every stitch. Repeat once. Then working slowly and gently pull drawstring tight, (knot) and weave in tail.

Picot Bind Off
An other variation of the standard Bind off.
Bind of a number of stitches (2 to 5), turn work, and using a knit cast on, cast on a number of stitches. Turn work again, bind off the just cast on stitches, and a number more. It looks best when numbers are paired and consistent --bind off 3, *cast on 3, bind off 3 just cast on, and 3 more.(6 bound off) repeat from *.

A nice detail is to make sure the picots are centered --even if you have to do 1 or 2 more (or fewer) plain bind off stitches at the beginning and end of the row.

All bind off methods run the risk of being tighter than the rows of knitting that proceed.
If you have trouble keeping your bind off loose and stretchy, try using a right hand needle (for Standard, Russian or crocheted bind off) that is 2 or 3 sizes larger than the needle used for the knitting.

Edging (as bind off)
Many laces are not bound off at all (in the conventional sense) but are finished by knitting on edging. The outer edge of the lace forms the ‘bound off edge’, on the inner edge, the last stitch of the edging pattern is a K(or P)2 tog, that eliminates the ‘live stitch”.

The simplest edging is I-cord.
--Finish last row of knitting, cast on 3 (use simple, knit or cable cast on) then pick up a single DPN (usually 1 to 2 sizes larger than size use to knit the piece), and *K 2, then K2tog. Return these stitches to main needle and repeat from * until all stitches have been bound off, and only 3 I-cord stitches remain. Bind these three stitches off (standard bind off or your choice.)
The list of edging (besides I-cord) that can be used, fills books.
(see Nicky Epstien’s Knitting On the Edge and Knitting Over the Edge for several hundred examples of edgings.)

Is an option for finishing knitting with out having a bound off edge
“Life stitches”--from a provisional cast on, can be grafted to the last row of knitting.
The last row of knitting can also be grafted to a bound off edge (half grafting) or to a conventional cast on, such as Long tail.

Many of the web pages, blog and, especially the books listed in the Cast on Reference list include directions for these bind offs.

Go Back to Part 1

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Go Back to Part 4

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Links and References

A short and incomplete guide to learning cast on’s.

Simple Long Tail Cast On, done with 2 balls of Yarn
--each a different color.

Web pages with tutorials for cast on’s-these pages have several links to video’s demonstrating more than one cast on--
DYI cast on tips
Knitting Help

Blogs with tutorials:

This blog has an alphabetical index to topics--including directions for several cast ons.

Anther blog with cast on directions

Blogs with directions for a specific cast on:

2 color braid cast on 1 and 2
Eyelet cast on--Emily Ocker
Eyelet slip knot cast on
Eyelet loop cast on link
Channel Island cast on 1 and 2
Tubular cast on--Provisional method or this one
Tubular Italian or kitcheners
Tubular cast on, YO method
Figure 8/Turkish cast ons 1 2 3

You Tube/video tutorials
Long tail
More videos here.
My (as of 4/08) You Tube collection.
Knit cast on
Another version of long tail
This person says they are doing a cable cast on, but they are doing a variation of long tail
The Magic Cast on, (Judy Becker's cast on) similar to a Turkish or figure 8, but improved.

Many of these sites will lead you others..
And Googling cast on will lead you more, too, as will searching YouTube!

An incomplete list of Knitting Reference books with directions to cast on’s:

How to Knit, Debbie Bliss
Trafalgar Square Publishing
Thumb (alternate style of Long Tail) Cable Cast On

The Ultimate Knitting Guide, Kate Buller
Martingdale & Company
Cable, Longtail, Thumb tubular cast on’s

The Big Book of Knitting, Kateria Buss
Sterling Publishing
Long tail, Doubled long tail, Provisional, Tubular (Italian/Kitchener)

The Knit Stitch, Sally Melville
(simple, crochet, and long tail cast on)

The Encyclopedia of Knitting, Lesley Stanfield & Melody Griffiths
Running Press
Simple, Cable, Thumb

The Knitter Book of Finishing Techniques, Nancy Wiseman
Martingdale & Company
Long Tail, Knitted, Cable, Picot, Provisional, Crochet, Tubular

Other books --
The Reader’s Digest Guide to Knitting, The Vogue Guide to Knitting

The list could go on for pages and pages--and there are, I am sure, Books, Blogs and even Cast On Styles I do not yet know. These references are just a start.

Finally, you can take classes with experienced knitters.

For those in NY/LI area, I will be teaching a Class --Great Beginnings--at the Villiage Knitter in mid April. In this class I will be teaching a number of cast ons, and students will create a cast on sampler of their own.
(it might not be posted yet on their web page, but it is scheduled.)

Go Back to Part 1

Go Back to Part 2

Go Back to Part 3

Go Forward to Part 5 (Bind offs)

Friday, March 09, 2007

My favorite and most often used cast on’s

Most often, I use long tail or a variation of long tail.

One disadvantage with long tail is knowing how long a tail to make--too short, and you have to start over, too long, and its just cumbersome and in the way.

There are several rules of thumb for gauging how long a tail to start with these include;
---Allow 1 inch (or 1/2 inch--which is it?) for each stitch
--Wrap yarn around needle 10 times, measure, this measurement is equal to 10 stitches
--Use this measurement to figure out required yardage.
--Cast on 10 stitches, measure, use this measurement, equal to 10 stitches to guesstimate.
--Use 3.5 times cast on length (i.e., if you are cast on 20 inches, tail should be 20 X 3.5 or about 70 inches of tail to start)

I use the last method, it generally works. For long cast on’s, (over 150 stitches) I use the 2 ball of yarn method--that is:
I use one ball of yarn for ‘thumb‘ and another ball of yarn for index finger. When I have finished casting on, I cut the ‘thumb‘ yarn.
It is an extra tail to weave in, but I think its worth it The tail is always the right size!
A nice variation of this, is to a use different colors of yarn for the Tail. this adds a bit of interest, and is one of the simplest variations of long tail!

Another long tail cast I like is the Norwegian (aka German, German twist cast on) this cast on requires 4 times the length for the tail (i.e., if casting on 20 inches, tail needs to be 4 X 20 or 80 inches long, The twist in the cast on makes the edge stretchier, and making the twist requires a bit more yarn to start.

I like 2 color and knit and purl long tail cast on, too.
Here, are Knit and Purl Long tail, 2 color Braided, and 2 color simple.
The 2 color braided is especially attractive, when combined, as it is here, with a braided fair isle band.

So, while I use long tail about 50% of the time, I only use a simple long tail about 10%!

Tubular cast on is my next favorite. I know 4 ways to do this:

--3 Needle--Simple cast on to start, with ½ +1 number of stitches,
--Provisional 1 --cast on ½ +1 desired number of stitches, work in stocking knit
--Provisional 2 --cast on ½ +1 desired number of stitches, R1: K1, YO method
--Italian/Kitchener Style--my current/favorites style

All of these cast ons end up looking identical once completed.. It is really just a matter of trying them out, and deciding which method works best for you! I like the Kitchener one best --it is perhaps the hardest to learn, but, it doesn’t require waste yarn, picking up stitches or any other fussiness. The clean rounded edge of tubular cast on is very attractive.
I like eyelets cast on’s too, Emily Ocker, or In the Loop.
(sorry no images!)
I use these 3 cast on’s (long tail/eyelet/tubular) or variations of them, for about 90% of my knitting.

Sometimes I combine a cast on with an edging, like the Latvian twist, or my own double picot.
Here is a simple long tail (in gold) followed by 2 rows of stockingknit in green, followed by a Latvian twist, and dark blue 2 x 2 ribbing.
The newest cast, for me, is the channel island cast on. It is both attractive and very stretchy.

Since I see no need to re-invent the wheel, tomorrow, I’ll post a page of links and list of knitting references to learn casts on, and other cast on tips.
These will include web pages, blogs and books.

Look for the (new 4/08) link to my You Tube video's in side bar too.

Go Forward to Part 4
Go Forward to Part 5 (Bind offs)

Go back toPart 1
Go back to Part 2

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Cast On's-- Part 2

An incomplete list of cast on methods:
(the ones I know!)

Simple (aka script letter e)
Reverse simple.
Twisted simple (alternate simple and reversed simple)
2 color simple

Long tail
Norwegian long tail (aka German twist)
Reverse Long tail
Long tail in ribbing (alternate reverse and regular long tail)
2 ball of yarn Long Tail
Simple 2 color long tail
Braided 2 color long tail (and 3 color, and 4 color, etc)
Twisted 2 color long tail
Doubled tail--long tail

Knit (English)
Purl (reversed English)
Knit and Purl

Reversed cabled (purled)
Zigzag cable (cable and reversed cable)

Tubular--3 needle method
Tubular--provisional cast on method (pick up stitches)
Tubular--provisional cast on method (alternate YO on row 1)

Eyelet -Loop
Eyelet--slip knot
Eyelet--Emily Ocker
Eyelet--Knit Hairpin lace

Channel Island (aka Knotted)
Crocheted provisional
EZ’s provisional
Figure 8
Turkish or Eastern cast on

There are more cast on’s besides these 30, 31, 32, 33, 34 cast on‘s(I keep remembering more!) --some completely different ones, and some, variations of these cast on’s that I don’t know--or didn’t remember!

There are some cast on’s that have many variations--learning long tail is the start to knowing a half dozen variations. There are several ways to do long tail, too!

I use the “sling shot” hold for the yarn, but many use the English method, (sometimes called “thumb”) that achieves the same cast on, but uses a different style of holding yarn and needle.

And Reverse long tail can be done holding yarn in left hand, and reversing the movement/position of needle or it can be done by reversing the hands, --holding yarn in right hand and needle in the left hand! This is true for both the sling shot and thumb versions!

And some variations have several names--Norwegian which is also known as German and/or the German Twisted cast on--just as a plain long tail is also called sling shot or thumb cast on!

Tomorrow--more about my favorite cast on’s, with photo's showing some.

Look for the (new 4/08) link to my You Tube video's in side bar too.

Ahead to:

Part 3 --Favorites
Part 4--Links and references
Part 5 bind off's

Back to:
Part 1 Cast on's

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Cast on’s Part 1

This series has been updated--
Find the newest information on my web page.
I am a cast on fanatic/obsessed.I always want to learn a new way to cast on.
I know 30 or so ways to cast on, but in reality, most of the time, I use 3 or 4 styles, or variation of those styles.

I have made for myself, A Cast On Sampler. This way I can always remind myself about how a cast on looks and how stretchy it is. It is also a useful teaching tool. (
It is also a good way to learn or practice cast on's you are don't know or are unsure about.

A sampler like this is easy to make.. All you need is about 100 yards or wool or a wooly blend, 3 needles, (a pair and spare) and collection of reference books, web page links or other information about cast on’s--(a list is being prepared!)

Then starting with a cast on you know, cast on 20 stitches. Work an inch or so of ribbing--1 X 1, or 2 X 2. Then work 1½ to 2 inches of stocking knit.
End with a wrong side row.

Break yarn, and leave the stitches on a spare needle. Start again, with a new cast on, and once again, cast on 20 stitches, and work an inch or so of ribbing.
Join the two swatches together by holding the new swatch in front of the old, each facing forward. Then knit through both the old and new swatch --similar to how 3 needle bind off is done--only don’t bind off!

Work another 1½ to 2 inches of stocking knit, and then break yarn and start over again, with a third cast on...

Repeat as often as you like--just keep track of which cast on is which!
Soon you’ll have a strip of cast on’s like this:
A sampler like this, lets you examine and compare cast on’s. You can judge for yourself, which is the stretchiest, which is the firmest.; which is the most attractive, which is the least.

Small tie on tags can be used to label the cast on’s, and can be further labeled to remind you where to find instructions for the cast on, and you own opinion of it.

At the same time, you can experiment with selvage stitch patterns between the cast on’s.
Many a new knitter has learned to Slip first (or last) stitch in each row, but there are other selvage edges you can use.

  • Garter for first (or first and second) stitch, in each row.
  • YO then K2tog (or YO, P2tog) --it’s a bit tricky to do a YO as the first stitch, but then that is what a sampler is about--learning new techniques!
  • Or the opposite, K2tog YO (or P2tog, YO) this selvage creates a definite eyelet edging--and is not suitable for anything that needs to be seamed, but it makes a very interesting edging for many thing.
  • A sampler is a good place to practice the simple technique of snug up first/second stitch in each row method--a technique that is very useful for neat edges.

You don’t have to limit yourself to cast on’s--A sampler like this would be useful for edging, hem stitches, or other decorative edges besides the standard one of ribbing. A sampler is really nothing more than a glorified swatch, but it is more interesting to knit!

More about cast on’s tomorrow.

Look for the (new 4/08) link to my You Tube video's in side bar too.

Ahead to:
Part 2--List and link to YouTube page of videos)
Part 3 --Favorites
Part 4--Links and references
Part 5 bind off's

Tuesday, March 06, 2007


Finally, late Thursday night, I finished and bound off the Phyllotaxis scarf.

(Here is my daughter Emily modeling the finish scarf)

I looked back, and realized this scarf took me almost a full month to knit--what with frogging and getting bored by endless rounds and rounds of knitting.

Everytime I knit a scarf, I am reminded why it is I don't like knitting them!

Saturday, March 03, 2007

What sign are you?

Wrong question! Astrology is fun, but to take it serious, or to think you can understand me better by somehow relating my birthday to the percieved positions star were in billions of years ago, just doesn't make any sense to me.

But, if you ask me, "Did you know there is a lunar eclipse tonight?" (tonight is the full moon--and it is visible at moon rise--on the north american eastern seaboard)

Or if you ask me, "Did you see Venus last night?" (Venus has been evening star for all of the month of February, and continues to so in March) then you are mine kind of people. Astronomy is so much more interesting than astrology!

I had fun showing some kids Venus last night --it's so bright it is easily seen at the beginning of twilight, or dusk, or what ever you call that inbetween time, when the sun is so low on the horizon, that you don't know if it has official set, or just being hidden by a ranch house or rise in the road, or some modest height trees that are blocking the view! (in NYC and area, that was 5:45 PM or last night.) At that hour, the moon was already rising in the east (escaping the snares of tree branches, and together, Allanah and I (and said out loud:)

The Moon's the North Wind's cooky.
He bites it, day by day
Until there's but a rim of scraps,
That crumble all away.
The South Wind is a baker.
She kneads clouds in her den,
And bakes a crisp new moon
that ... greedyNorth ... Wind... eats ... again !
by Vachel Lindsay (1879-1931)
and that is my bit of lunacy for the day!