Monday, March 09, 2009

Braided cast on & Latvian Braid

A few weeks back, I posted about this  simple hat with a braided cast on, and a Latvian braid trim.

Both are fun techniques to know and use.
This weekend, I made some video’s demonstrating the techniques.

In some ways I am the wrong person to do this--
First off, I knit combo-(and wrap my purls ‘wrong’)
Second—I am not very good at manipulating the 3 strands (made worse when working with a camera between my eyes and my hands!)

But since a picture is worth a thousand words, and Video is better than a 1000 pictures, I submit for your entertainment, 3 videos—
A braid cast on
and Latvian Braid Part 1 and Latvian Braid part 2.

The cast on is relatively simple-- It’s basically a long tail, and with the yarn being twisted as you work—there are several variation on the basic twist.. (clockwise, counter clockwise, and alternating)

I’ve done it in 3 colors --often, and in the video.
But  once, in a fit of insanity, I did it in 5  colors!  

And I’ve done it with 3 strands of 1 color—to have a subtle decorative edge—

But the same process also works with 2, 3, 4, or 5 colors--after 5 colors, the floats get too long. 

When you work this cast on—Work at least 1 row/round (R’s) of knits--before you start with ribbing, or continue on to work a Latvian braid.

The R(‘s) of knits will cause the cast on to roll forward (remember, stocking knit rolls!) and will make the braided cast on edge more prominent. 

I almost always follow up a 3 color braided cast on with some Latvian braid—to me, they are natural go together--peanut butter and jelly of knitting techniques.  

Like the braided cast on, a Latvian braid can be worked with as few as 2 or as many as 5 colors (in you too, suffer from insanity!)

Latvian braid is like fair isle—done wrong!
One characteristic of Fair Isle are smooth, straight floats.
Latvian braid is characterized by twisted floats.

Fair Isle is worked in stocking knit, with the float on the inside. 
Latvian braid is worked in the Purl stitch (reverse stocking knit) with the float on the right side of the work. 
The yarns are twisted (over or under) –and this make the balls tangle and twist too.

For me, 100 or so  stitches (a Hat) are just about as many stitches as I can manage without being too frustrated by the twists. 

The braided cast on--and the Latvian braid –worked tight –is just that-- tight. 
But with a little care, it’s stretchy –and can even be used on the cuff of a sock! 
But why? 

This technique is a fancy one. Use it where you can show it off-- for mittens and hats!

A braided cast on followed by a Latvian braid (2 rounds of purl) then 2 rounds of knit and then another braid (2 more rounds of purl)–create a beautiful edging to any knitting. 

The combination of stocking knit/reverse stocking knit creates a controlled roll--that works just as well as ribbing as an edging.

You can make the pair of braids more interesting by working the second braid in reverse –(work part 2 first, then part 1) 

If you work part 1, then part 2, the braid “points” to the left--<<<<<<< 

But if you work part 2, then Part 1, the braid will point to the right-->>>>>>

And you can switch.. and have the center front of a mitten >>>>>|<<<<<<.


Marcy said...


Carol said...

Helen, I just watched your videos for this. I've never done a Lavian braid but now I'm anxious to try it.

Thanks for taking the time to make & post your videos. They are so informative & helpful!


gayle said...

Latvian braids are a ton of fun - thanks for all the info.
That is one classy looking hat!

Geri said...

Excellent videos, Helen. I'm a visual learner and they really showed me how to do this technique. Thanks!