How to pick up a dropped stitch

Posted by Amy | Posted in Knitting Essentials | Posted on 05-07-2018

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Happily knitting away to your heart’s content……..and there it goes, a dropped stitch. Dun, dun, duuuunn! What to do now, you ask yourself? Do I just hide it away in a cupboard and never knit again? Do not worry, we have just the trick (skillful technique) to help you solve the problem, so that you can continue on your merry way with your knitting. Just grab a stitch marker or small safety pin and catch the dropped stitch to prevent it slipping any further down.

How to pick up a dropped stitch | Black Sheep Wools

In this video Carol Meldrum is demonstrating how to pick up a dropped stitch with a crochet hook.
A crochet hook may seem like a bizzare item to carry in your knitting bag, but we would always recommend having one to hand for instances like this. In our Knitting Starter Kit post, a crochet hook was listed in our list of essential items.

This method of picking up a dropped stitch is for a stocking stitch piece of knitting. If you are knitting a lace or cable pattern then please be aware that using a crochet hook in this way will not work.

Use a crochet hook that is slightly smaller than the needle size you are working with to pull the working loop back through the horizontal strands left after the unravelling.

1) With the right-side facing, slip the live loop onto the crochet hook.
2) Insert the hook from front to back under the next horizontal loop directly above the dropped stitch, than pull the horizontal loop through to the front under the loop on the hook.
3) Repeat step 2 until all the horizontal loop have been worked.
4) 
Then slip the live loop from the crochet hook onto the left-hand needle, and continue to knit as given in the pattern.

How do you tackle a dropped stitch? Do you use a different technique? Please share your ideas in the comments below.

Steeking Fair Isle

Posted by Amy | Posted in Staff Projects | Posted on 15-06-2018

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Let’s talk about steeking! Steeking Fair Isle to be precise. Black Sheep Barbara has been working away on an amazing Fair Isle tank top for her husband in Baa Ram Ewe Titus 4ply. For those who haven’t heard of steeking before Barbara described it beautifully, “It’s like knitting a tube and cutting it to make it into a useable fabric”. The cutting is required to form armholes and the neckline. It is a very clever technique that creates a professional durable finish to a garment, plus no seams, amazing!

Steeking Fair Isle | Black Sheep Wools

Barbara is a team leader in the Craft Barn and an incredibly talented knitter. Well, knitting isn’t her only craft, she loves to do patchwork, embroidery and crochet too. If you visit the Craft Barn do chat to our staff about what they are making too, you will find that we all love having a few projects on the go just like you!

The Fair Isle tank top pattern is a design Barbara found on Ravelry – ‘Machrihanish‘, designed by Fair Isle designer extraordinaire Kate Davies. This Ravelry pattern is available to purchase from the Craft Barn via Ravelry. For her yarn choice Barbara couldn’t resist one of her favourite 4ply yarns, Baa Ram Ewe Titus. Having only ever done a steeked sample previously on a Fair Isle & Steeking workshop with Melanie Boocock (now our in store Rowan Consultant) a couple of years ago, Barbara decided to utilise her skills for a garment. As it is all knitted in the round she found the two handed Fair Isle technique really helpful to use. The beauty of knitting in the round is that there is no purl row when knitting stocking stitch. Barbara brought the tank top in at various stages of the knitting and steeking journey.

Steeking Fair Isle | Black Sheep Wools

Here you can see the reinforced stitches, ready to be cut.

Steeking Fair Isle | Black Sheep Wools

This is the front of the tank top. You can just about see that the armholes are still joined and you can see the reinforced V-neckline.

In this little video snippet you can see the reinforced crocheted edge that won’t be unravel. You can see how Barbara has picked up stitches to knit the ribbed edging. It’s crazy to think you can cut your knitting with scissors and it will stay intact, that is the magic of steeking!

Steeking Fair Isle | Black Sheep Wools

I just had to share a photo of the reverse side, it is so neat and visually pleasing.

Steeking Fair Isle | Black Sheep Wools

Here is Barbara’s husband modelling his new tank top. Isn’t it fabulous!

 

 

How to do Kitchener Stitch

Posted by Amy | Posted in Knitting Essentials | Posted on 07-06-2018

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Kitchener stitch is a simple grafting method used to invisibly join two pieces of knitting together. It is a very clever technique, as you are actually duplicating a row of knitted stitches with a sewing needle and yarn, rather than knitting needles. Now that’s something to get your head around! It is mainly used when sewing together the toe end of socks or where a seamless finish is required on shoulder seams of garments. It isn’t to be confused with mattress stitch, that is for a cast-off piece of knitting. Kitchener stitch is when the stitches are still fresh on your needles, ready to be joined with fellow stitches also on needles across the way to create a seam.

Kitchener Stitch Grafting Knitting | Black Sheep Wools

Carol Meldrum has kindly helped out with this video for our Knitting Essentials series. Carol is a knitting and crochet designer, who has been teaching workshops at the Craft Barn for many years. Carol will be back this autumn for two days of classes.

Hold both of your knitting needles in your left hand with the points facing in the same direction. Next, thread a sewing up needle with a separate piece of yarn and follow the instructions below. In this example Carol has used a contrasting shade of Rico Baby Classic DK so that it is easier to see what she is doing.

1) Front needle: Insert sewing up needle knit wise into 1st stitch and slip off
2) Front needle: Insert sewing up needle purl wise into next stitch and keep on
3) Back needle: Insert sewing up needle purl wise into next stitch and slip off
4) Back needle: Insert sewing up needle knit wise into next stitch and keep on

Repeat steps 1-4 until all stitches have been worked.
Be careful not to pull the piece of yarn you are sewing up with too tightly as you are going along. You don’t want to spoil your knitting at the final hurdle!

Are there any other knitting techniques or handy tips you would like to see in a video? Email social@blacksheepwools.com with your suggestions.

Knitting in the round

Posted by Amy | Posted in Knitting Essentials | Posted on 04-05-2018

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Knitting in the round – do you use a circular knitting needle or DPN’s (double pointed needles)? Very often a pattern will suggest one or the other but it is personal preference really. Although some projects are too large for DPN’s so a circular needle is required. Then on the flip side working with a teeny tiny number of stitches can only be worked on DPN’s. If you are new to knitting and are bamboozled by the thought of knitting in the round then fear not. Carol Meldrum is back with a helpful series of how to videos covering knitting in the round. Carol is a knitting and crochet designer alongside being a fabulous workshop tutor. She is demonstrating how to knit in the round with double pointed needles and how to knit in the round with a circular needle including the magic loop method.

There are a variety of different types of needles to use for circular knitting. In the photo below there are a selection of the different ones we stock. Find Milward fixed circulars in a variety of lengths, KnitPro Zings DPN’s, KnitPro Symfonie interchangeables

Knitting in the round | Black Sheep Wools

Knitting in the Round – Circular Needle with Magic Loop

 

The magic loop technique, is a method used to knit in the round with a circular needle, when the length of the wire between the needles is longer than the project.
When using the magic loop technique, you should always have half the stitches being worked on the wire of the circular needle, and half on the points of the circular needle. The loop created by the excess wire, helps you knit in the round more easily.

1) Cast on the required amount of stitches on to a circular needle.

2) With the working yarn to the right, slide the stitches down onto the circular needle wire.

3) Find the centre or halfway point of the stitches, bring the needle points together to the right hand side, and pull the wire through between the stitches to the left. Slide both sets of stitches  up on the needle points. The working yarn should be to the back on the upper needle point.

4) Draw the upper needle through the stitches, and lengthen the wire until you have enough flexibility to knit the stitches from the lower needle, and still have excess wire between the stitches on the left hand side.

5) Begin to work across the stitches on the lower needle, insert the upper needle – this is the right-hand needle –  to the first stitch on the lower needle – this is the left-hand needle, and knit the first stitch, pull the yarn tight to close the ‘gap’ between the upper and lower needles.

6) Continue to knit across all the stitches on the lower needle – the first set of stitches have been worked.

7) To work the second half of the stitches, slide all the stitches from the wire, up onto the needle point, so you have both sets of stitches up on the needle points.

8) Then repeat steps 4 to 7 working across each needle in turn to the required length.

TIP – place a marker between the first and last stitch, to help keep track of your rounds.

 

Knitting in the Round – Double Pointed Needles (DPN’s)

 

Double pointed needles have a point at either end, and can be used to work stitches from either end and are used to work in the round. You can work on three working needles and a fourth to transfer stitches or on four working needles and a fifth to transfer depending on the project.

1) Cast on the required amount of stitches onto a double pionted needle ( DPN) – here we have used 30 stitches.

2) Divide the stitches evenly onto three needles as given by pattern – here we have 10 stitches on each needle.

3) With the right-side facing, and the working yarn to the right, slip the first 10 stitches from the right hand point of the needle purl-wise on to a DPN, then slip the last  10 sts from the left hand point of the needle purl-wise onto a DPN.

4) Make sure the cast on is not twisted, hold all the needles in left hand, with the working yarn and stitches to the back (this will be the third needle).

5) Hold the first needle to the front, insert the fourth DPN into the first stitch of the first needle and knit the first stitch, pull the yarn tight to close the ‘gap’ between the first and third needle.

6) Continue to knit across all the stitches on the first, then with the spare needle, knit across all the stitches on the second needle second and repeat for the third needle. The first round is completed.

7) Continue working as set, knitting across each needle in turn to the required length.

TIP – place a marker between the first and last stitch, to help keep track of your rounds.

Yarn used in examples is Scheepjes Softftun.

How to cast off knitting?

Posted by Amy | Posted in Knitting Essentials | Posted on 16-03-2018

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How to cast off knitting can be done in more ways than one. It can vary depending on your project and the stitches you are knitting (is it a purl, is it a knit stitch). Don’t feel bamboozled though, generally you will need a standard two needle cast off to finish off your project beautifully. It is so satisfying to cast off that final stitch, sealing in your stitches to see a neatly cast off piece of knitting. A much needed addition to our collection of Knitting Essentials blog posts, after all if we are going to share how to start knitting, you need to know how to finish it.

We have put together a series of ‘how to cast off knitting’ videos with the help of designer and workshop tutor, Carol Meldrum. Carol is a super tutor who teaches knitting finishing techniques, crochet and many more knitting workshops. It only made sense for her expert knitting hands to share a couple of demonstrations with you all. Carol will cover two needle cast off, how to sort out a baggy cast off stitch, rib cast off and three needle cast off – great for shoulder seams on garments.

How to Cast Off | Black Sheep Wools

Keep up to date with Carol on her Instagram page, she also teaches on knitting holidays around the world. Along with pics of knitting, you will also be treated to some breath-taking scenery.

How to cast off knitting – Standard two needles

 

1) With right side facing, knit the first 2 stitches.

2) Insert left hand needle purl wise in the first stitch on the right hand needle. (One at the bottom)

3) Lift the stitch over the second stitch on the second stitch on the right hand needle and drop off the needle. You will now have 1 stitch on the right hand needle.

4) Knit the next stitch on the left hand needle. You will now have 2 stitches on the right hand needle.

5) Repeat steps 2 to 4 until you have the last 2 stitches on the right hand needle.

6) Fasten off yarn, leaving a 15cm end. Insert the end through the last stitch and pull tight.

Fixing a baggy cast off stitch

 

Sometimes when you cast off the final stitch can look baggy. This is the first stitch from the previous row. Watch the video for this on Instagram.

1) To avoid getting a baggy end stitch, work the standard two needle cast off (steps 1 to 4) until you have 1 stitch on the right hand needle and 1 stitch on the left hand needle.

2) Slip stitch on right hand needle, back onto the left hand needle.

3) Insert right hand needle through the back (tbl) of the first stitch. Keep both stitches on the left hand needle.

4) Then insert right hand needle knit wise through the last stitch on the left hand needle.

5) Place the yarn around the right hand needle as normal and knit the 2 stitches together and slip both off the needle.

How to cast off knitting – Rib stitch

 

Depending on the pattern you are working you may have to cast off in rib. For this example we have used a 2×2 rib of 2 knit stitches, followed by 2 purl stitches.

Cast off using the two needle method in rib as follows:

1) With right side facing, knit the first two stitches.

2) Insert left hand needle purl wise in the first stitch on right hand needle.

3) Lift the first stitch over the second stitch on the right hand needle and drop off the needle. You will now have 1 stitch on the right hand needle.

4) Knit the next stitch on the left hand needle – you will now have 2 stitches on the right hand needle.

5) Repeat steps 2 and 3 once more.

6) Bring yarn forward between the needles and purl the next stitch. You should now have 2 stitched on the right hand needle. Repeat steps 2 and 3 once more – you will now have 1 stitch on the right hand needle.

7) Purl the next stitch on left needle, then repeat steps 2 and 3 again.

8) Continue to cast off in rib as set, following the knit and purl stitches from the row below. Remember to make sure your yarn is in the correct position for knit and purl stitches.

How to cast off knitting – Three needles / Two edges together

 

Three needle cast off is used to join to pieces of knitting together and will give a smooth firm seam. It is ideal for shoulder seams, why not give it a go next time you are finishing a garment?

1) Depending on the project, the cast off can be worked with either the wrong or right side facing. Here we have cast off with the right side facing.

2) You will need three needles for this cast off method.

3) With wrong side together, hold both needles facing in the same direction, in your left hand.

4) Insert the third needle knit wise through the first stitch on the front and back needles, and knit together. You will have 1 stitch on the right hand needle.

5) Repeat step 4 once more, now there should be 2 stitches on the right hand needle.

6) Insert left hand needle purl wise in the first stitch on the right hand needle.

7) Lift the stitch over the second stitch on the right hand needle and drop off the needle. You will now have 1 stitch on the right hand needle.

8) Repeat steps 4 to 7 until 1 stitch remains on right hand needle.

9) Fasten off yarn, leaving a 15cm end. Insert the end through the last stitch and pull tight.

Is there a technique that you would like to see covered on a how to video. Share you suggestions in the comments below.

Yarn used in examples is Scheepjes Softfun.