Put It On My Tab

Guess what? It’s the first day of Brown Bag Mystery Knit Along #8! Today dozens of knitters will crack open Clue #1 and embark on a knitting adventure with an unknown destination…and it all begins with a garter stitch tab cast on.

That’s a mouthfull, isn’t it? The garter stitch tab cast on, when you break it down, is pretty much what it sounds like: a group of stitches created using a small strip of garter stitch. It sets up your knitting to grow outward in multiple directions. It’s a simple, tidy, and a fairly common beginning. So whether you’re an MKAL participant or not, it’s a good idea to learn the garter stitch tab cast on today!

FullSizeRender (15)

1. Begin by casting on 3 stitches. You can use any basic cast on method you like for these three- backwards loop, long tail, knitted, etc.

FullSizeRender (17)

2. Knit 6 rows. You should end up with a little strip- this is your “garter stitch tab”. Note the three ridges on the right side.

FullSizeRender (19)

3. Knit across the next row, but DO NOT TURN YOUR WORK. In other words, keep the right side facing you.

4. Rotate your work 90º, so the edge of the strip is facing up. Pick up and knit 3 stitches- one stitch in each ridge. You now have 6 stitches on the needle.

5. Rotate your work 90º again, so the cast on edge is facing up. Pick up and knit 3 stitches- one stitch in each of the cast on stitches. You now have 9 stitches on the needle.

And that’s it! The end result is that you have live stitches coming from 3 sides of your original garter stitch tab- the bottom, the side, and the top. Your knitting can now spread out in three directions from this small and simple beginning.

FullSizeRender (22)

Yes, indeed, this IS a close up of the actual finished Secret Identity MKAL. You get a teeny, tiny sneak peek…hope it doesn’t give too much away!

Good luck out there, Mystery Knitters! And we hope all of you have a great Wednesday.

 

Cast Your Vote Now!

For the last several weeks, colorful knitted squares have been pouring in for our Afghan Block Contest. For those of you who haven’t heard yet, the Afghan Block Contest is part of our upcoming event to benefit Project Linus. We asked local and long distance knitters to create 12″ by 12″ squares using our chosen colors of Simplicity and submit them to The Yarn Patch by May 6th, 2017.

Well goodness, did you all deliver! SO much creativity and love went into these squares, they’re going to come together to make a truly special blanket for Project Linus.

You should ALL be proud of your hard work…but only two knitters can win! It’s time to vote for your favorite squares to decide who will claim our prizes for the local and long distance categories. Below are photographs of each square we received, with their numbers in the caption below. In the comments, tell us the number of your favorite LOCAL KNITTERS’ SQUARE and your favorite LONG DISTANCE KNITTERS’ SQUARE (and don’t forget to tell us which is which!). Or you can visit the shop between now and the day of the event (May 20th, 10 am-2 pm) to vote in person.

LOCAL KNITTERS’ SQUARES (#1-15)

FullSizeRender (13)

1

FullSizeRender (12)

2

FullSizeRender (10)

3

FullSizeRender (11)

4

FullSizeRender (9)

5

FullSizeRender (8)

6

FullSizeRender (7)

7

FullSizeRender (6)

8

FullSizeRender (5)

9

FullSizeRender (4)

10

FullSizeRender (6)

11

FullSizeRender

12

FullSizeRender (1)

13

FullSizeRender (7)

14

FullSizeRender (2)

15

LONG DISTANCE KNITTERS’ SQUARES (#1-2)

FullSizeRender (14)

1

FullSizeRender (15)

2

We’ll count up the votes online and in the shop and announce a winner at the end of our event. Mark you calendars so you don’t miss out!

If you didn’t enter the Afghan Block Contest, you can still support Project Linus! “Blanket Bundles” (including your choice of 6 skeins of Kraemer Perfection and a FREE pattern) will be available through May 20th. Donate yours before the event to receive 15% off your purchase the same day!

To everyone who contribute to our contest: don’t forget, the real winner here will be the child whose hardest days are brightened by the time, skill, and love you’ve given to this cause. Thank you so much for your support!

FullSizeRender (3)

Summer Classes Starting Soon!

May is right around the corner, and we’re looking forward to long days, beautiful weekends, and maybe even a vacation or two.  A knitter can get a lot done in these relaxing summer months- so it’s the perfect time to take on a new technique, dive into a different project, or just get out and make friends with your fellow crafters. We’re here to help with a lineup of fun and fresh classes during May and June!

3-to-2 Tee – Friday, May 12 & 26, 9:30-11:30

FullSizeRender (3)

We’ll master gauge and measurements, explore bias construction, and let our imaginations run wild with this comfy and summer-friendly garment. Choose any yarn (yes, ANY yarn!) and customize all the details; this will be your new favorite tee!

Need A Baby Cardigan? – Thursday, June 22 & 29, 10:00-11:30

FullSizeRender (2)

Baby garments are delightful projects- they’re cute, quick, and they don’t break the bank! Cabin Fever’s Need A Baby Cardigan? is a treasure trove of easy, creative options. We’ll start with a basic pattern and explore possibilities with gauge, sizing, stitch patterns, and more along the way. But be warned- these wee cardis are addicting!

Buttonhole Bonanza – Saturday, June 24, 10:00-12:00

FullSizeRender

Have you ever bowed out of a project to avoid a buttonhole? These little fellows don’t have to be a pitfall. In this class you’ll practice different styles of buttonholes, and discuss when and why to use them. You’ll be a holey pro in no time!

Irresistable I-Cord – Tuesday, May 23, 10:00-11:30

FullSizeRender (1)

We’ve been talking a lot about I-Cord lately. If you’re curious, now’s your chance to learn more. Try out three different methods of creating I-Cords and discover their many uses!

You can learn more about these classes and register online at http://www.yarnpatch.com/Classes. We hope to see you there!

 

 

 

Psst…

Remember a couple of weeks ago when I said that we were waiting on my favorite new spring yarn to come in?

IT’S HERE.

FullSizeRender

Organic Cotton by Great Adirondack Yarn Co. is (as the name implies) a 100% organic cotton yarn made in the USA. It’s a DK weight with the slightest hint of texture- ideal  for summer tees and light cover-ups. At 315 yards per ball, Organic Cotton will go the distance- and at $12.95 it’s so reasonably priced you can indulge even in the most ambitious projects.

FullSizeRender (1)

And have I mentioned the gorgeous handpainted colorways? This yarn is SO vibrant. From sherbet-esque pastels to juicy berry hues, all the colors are fresh and clear. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to see these knitted up! 

I think what really gets me about this Organic Cotton, though, is its beautiful hand. It’s smooth but not slippery, with a downy softness that promises comfort and drape. It’s not really possible to take a photograph of softness, so to get the point across I have collected a few images that remind me of touching this yarn:

Image Sources, clockwise from top left: 

foodgawker.comthescienceexplorer.comwww.chasingsaturdays.com, and previewchicago.com

Are you itching to feel it now? Good! Come visit Organic Cotton soon; it’s high time for spring and summer knits!

Get a Head Start on Stunning Stitches!

Have you ever had a hopeless crush on a designer?

A following-them-on-social-media, knitting-everything-they-publish, name-dropping-at-every-opportunity crush that gradually took over your Ravelry queue AND your stash in real life?

Well, ours is Jen Lucas.

After nearly a decade of knitting experience, Jen left her job testing municipal wastewater to become a full-time knitting designer in 2014 (good call, Jen.) You may have seen her work on Ravelry (where her patterns are extrememly popular), in your favorite knitting magazines, or on the cover of her many successful knitting books including the Sock-Yarn Shawls series and others.

Of course, you may also have heard Jen’s name here at The Yarn Patch. It’s no secret that we’re big fans of Jen’s designs- we’ve chosen them for sample knits, featured them in our very first fashion show, and now we’re so excited about Jen’s newest book that we’re taking orders in advance!

FullSizeRender (1)

In Stunning Stitches, Jen Lucas explores the beautiful potential of seven distinctive stitch patterns from simple knits-and-purls to luxurious cables and lace. Each of these captivating stitch patterns is translated into three unique accessories that show off their beauty and versatility- for a total of 21 gorgeous shawls, cowls, and more! Stunning Stitches is an excellent study for knitters of all skill levels, and as always Jen’s designs promise to be a treat to knit and to wear!

We’ve preordered a limited number of Stunning Stitches, so if like us you just can’t wait to get your hands on these irresistable patterns visit us in the shop or give us a call to reserve your copy soon. Meanwhile, you can check out past Jen Lucas favorites from The Yarn Patch. Enjoy!

FullSizeRender (3)

Danielle uses a cleverly dyed yarn and a simple but unusual stitche pattern for a cute and easy project.

FullSizeRender (2)

Milton pairs an old-fashioned cables and lace stitch pattern with a modern assymterical shape- and these miniskein packs make planning your project easy.

FullSizeRender (4)

Saffron is a truly show-stopping shawl that combines circular and square shaping techniques for a unique piece that really shows off these gradient kits!

Marker Mania

Obsession Alert: we LOVE stitch markers.

There are the obvious reasons: stitch markers reduce the need for constant counting (ugh), they offer visual cues at easily overlooked key points (you’re beginning a new round! increase here! change stitch patterns!), and generlly make life easier for knitters during simple or daunting projects.

But markers aren’t simply another humble tool in your knitting bag- they can be fabulous bling for your knitting AND yourself! And that’s where our marker mania begins- drooling over thousands of varieties of stitch markers from fancy to funky. They’re so charming, using them is like receiving a little treat with every row. Before you know it, you’ll have quite a collection. You’ll be exchanging markers with other knitters as mementoes. You’ll find yourself longing to show them off…even when they’re not on your needles.

FullSizeRender (3)

Wool & Wire is here to help. Jewelry artist (and presumably knitter) Sallee Anne of California has created these pure silver-dipped pendants embellished with freshwater pearls and faceted crystals to display all your favorite markers. Each pendant comes with a long silver chain and one elegant charmed marker. Mix and match other markers from your own collection to adapt your accessory every day, and always have markers on hand for your knitting emergencies (you know they’re going to happen.)

These graceful pendants do double duty as a useful tool and a gorgeous accessory, and they make memorable gifts for any knitter. But then, of course, you’ll need some special markers to decorate your pendant. Which will you choose?

FullSizeRender

Floops are one of our most recent additions to our stitch marker collection. These elastic loops are incredibly functional; the tear-drop shape sits on your needle just like a stitch, and the flexible material moves comfortably just like your knitting. They’re never in the way, easy to use, and fun to look at. Floops come in three sizes and a variety of colors!

FullSizeRender (5)

These vintage brass Letter Markers from Never Not Knitting have a cool industrial look, and they’re clever as well as cute: each set includes two letter K’s (for knit), two P’s (purl), two I’s (increase) and two D’s (decrease), so you never have to wonder what your marker means. They’re attached to pear shaped pins that allow you to reposition your markers as needed while you work.

FullSizeRender (1)

These handcrafted markers from Knitifacts feature beautiful glass beads with surprising detail in the design. The closed metal rings won’t snag on fibers or catch on your needles, and the weighty charms hang comfortably out of the way. These are our last few designs- snatch up these treasures now!

FullSizeRender (2)

Pure. Luxury. That’s what you get with these exquisite handmade markers from Debra’s Garden. Each individual marker features faceted crystals and glossy stones for a marker that’s a treat to see and to use. Debra’s Garden markers are now on sale at $7.47/set!

Now here’s Dame Maggie Smith, connoisseur of class, to remind you why you NEED stitch markers…and Maggie Smith would never settle for anything less than the best, so why should you?

markers

 

Cast On’s: When and Why

You’re probaby familiar with the saying, “The beginning is the most important part of the work.” While there are many important steps to any knitting project, the first step- casting on- is certainly one of them!

Your cast-on does more than just create stitches. It can create smooth, uneven, stretchy, tight, removeable, and even double-sided or circular beginning. There are as many different ways to cast on as there are knitters- and there’s a special use for each. Let’s look at a few of the most common, how they’re done, and when to use them.

Long Tail Cast On

Personally, my go-to cast on is the long tail method. It’s extremely versatile, not to mention fast and relatively easy. It creates a straight edge with a comfortable amount of give. Unless your pattern calls for a specific cast-method for a special reason, the long-tail cast on is your best bet.

IMG_1074

  1. The Long Tail Cast On is so called because you’re going to need a long tail- the more stitches, the longer. To estimate the length, remember this: one arm’s length will cast on about 30 stitches- more if you’re using small needles, less if you’re using big ones. Always estimate high! You don’t want to run out of tail halfway through a big cast on (ask me how I know). Make a slip knot at the top of your long tail and place it on the needle, pulling it snug but not too tight.

IMG_1078

2. Hold the needle in your right and hold both strands of yarn (the tail and the working yarn) in your left hand. The tail should be wrapped around your thumb and the working yarn around your index finger to create two distinct loops; your other fingers can hold the bottom of both strands to put a little tension on them. Hint: if you’re having trouble finding this position, make a “gun” with your left hand.

3. Now move the tip of the needle in your right hand as follows:

  • Under the front leg of the loop on your thumb, from below
  • Around the top leg of the loop on your index, from front to back
  • Back through the loop on your thumb, from above to below

If you watch carefully, the steps mimic those of a knit stitch- you go into one loop, the yarn wraps around the needle, and you pull the new loop through the old on.

IMG_1094

4. Let go of the yarn and pull gently to tighten the new stitch onto the needle. You’re going for a “happy medium” tension here: loose enough to slide easily back and forth on the needle, but snug enough that it doesn’t fall off.

Repeat until you have the desired number of stitches. With a little practice, this cast-on method can be done in one fluid motion. Beautiful results, fast and easy!

A Long Tail Cast On, front and back.

Knitted and Cable Cast On’s

The knitted cast on and cable cast on are very similar, so we’ll show them together here. Like the long tail method, they’re very simple and versatile. They tend to go a little slower, and you don’t want to get them too tight as they don’t have a lot of give. But they’re a good trick in certain tricky knitting situations- we’ll see an example in a minute!

IMG_1095

  1. To begin a knitted cast on, leave a tail long enough to weave in (6 inches should do it), make a slip knot and place it on the needle. Hold this needle in your left hand and the empty needle in your right.

2. Insert the right hand needle into the stitch as if to knit, yarn over, and pull the new stitch through. DO NOT drop the first stitch off! You’re just knitting into it and leaving it on the needle.

3. Now insert the tip of the LEFT needle into the NEW stitch through the back (it should twist the stitch slightly). Transfer this stitch from the right needle to the left needle. Repeat until you have the correct number of stitches.

IMG_1110

The Cable cast on is just like the knitted cast on, except for where you insert the right hand needle. Instead of going into the first stitch knitwise, you’re going to insert it from front to back BETWEEN the first and second stitch. Then you’ll pull up a new loop and transfer it to the left hand needle just like we showed above.

The knitted cast on and cable cast on can be used almost interchangeably. The knitted cast on (in my experience, at least) is a little faster and stretchier, while the cable cast on is firmer and less holey.

IMG_1119

The difference between a knitted cast on (left) and a cable cast on (right).

Knitted and cable cast on’s aren’t just for the beginning of your projects, either! Because they’re worked into an existing stitch and use only strand of working yarn, they’re a great way to cast on stitches in the middle of a row. You may have experienced this when creating buttonholes or the underarms of top-down sweaters.

To cast on in the middle of a row, simply turn your work and begin either cast on method as described above. When you’ve cast on the required number of stitches, turn your work again and complete the row. Easy!

Provisional Cast On

IMG_1135

Provisional cast on’s are so fascinating- they use a scrap piece of yarn and a crochet hook to create a removeable edge. You can now continue knitting for as long as you like. When you need live stitches on the bottom edge again, you unravel the chain to expose the bottom of the first row. Place these loops on a needle and continue! Provisional cast on’s are commonly used to create seamless loops (infinity scarves are a good example), or when you plan to add a border or join two pieces along this edge.

Provisional cast-on’s are a little more complicated (too complicated to tack onto today’s already long post!), but we’d love to show you in person! Visit us in the store for a quick demonstration.

If you’d like to see some more creative cast on’s, we suggest searching “Judy Becker’s Magic Cast On” or “Emily Ocker’s Circular Cast On” on YouTube. You’ll be amazed what your cast ons can do!

That’s all for today (finally). We wish you many great beginnings!

Previous Older Entries