Sunday, 30 October 2011

Intermediate Knitting #2/3: Increasing and Decreasing Fun

Hi Everyone!

This week was my second Intermediate Knitting Class. Technically it's the third one, but i had to miss the second session. Having covered a number of ways to Cast On in the first session, we have now moved on to learning how to increase and decrease on both knit and purl stitches. It's great to learn the correct techniques and methods since up until now i have been mainly self taught, so i think i have picked up a lot of bad habits and sometimes just guessed at how to do things. Naughty i know!

We were taught to increase or decrease two stitches from the start/end of the row, as this leaves a nice parallel edge to the knitting. I have attempted to take a few pictures to illustrate the techniques here...hopefully they make sense. If this is helpful, or if you would like more pictures, please let me know and i'll see what i can do! (apologies for the very chipped nail varnish!!)

1) Increase on Knit Stitch

 To increase on a knit stitch, we were taught to use the "make" method. You first pick up the "ladder" which connects the previous stitch to the next.

Loop this around the needle to create a stitch, and then knit through the BACK of this loop, as below. Knitting through the front results in a hole, as i found out!

2) Increase on a Purl Stitch

Increasing on a purl stitch starts off the same way as for a knit stitch, by picking up the "ladder" between stitches, and looping it around the needle. Then purl the stitch through the back, as so...

3) Decrease on a Knit Stitch

Decreasing on a knit stitch basically involves knitting two stitches together. By knitting through the back of the stitches at the start of a row, and through the front at the end of the row, this creates a nice "triangular" pattern. Here i am decreasing at the start of a row.

4) Decrease on a Purl Stitch

As for increasing, decreasing on a purl stitch is very simialar to decreasing on a knit stitch. Again it involves knitting two stitches together, but the opposite way round as for knit - at the start of a row purl two together through the front, and at the end of the row purl together through the back.

Hopefully this made some kind of sense! Here is a bit of increasing in action...

This week i also started a new knitting project, a scarf for my boyfriend (he knows as i wanted to check the colours!!). It is basically a simple rib pattern of knit 2, purl 2. Here is a sneak peak!

K xx

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Dabbling in Applique

I am very excited to be able to report a new skill! At the weekend i went on a Fabric Customisation course which was run by Spinsters Emporium in Nottingham (I've probably said it before, but i just love the name!). By popular request we spent most of the session on Applique. Although i have had a vague knowledge of this technique for some time, this was the first time that i have actually tried it - and i must admit, i am now hooked! It is a really effective way to add lovely unique touches to clothes, bags or whatever else takes your fancy.

My applique in progress

I was really surprised how simple applique is to do. Since i was at a class i did not take step by step photographs, but i will try and give you an overview of the method we used...

1) Choose a design which you would like to applique

2) Trace the design onto the paper side of a sheet of bondaweb - fabulous stuff which is basically a double-sided adhesive layer with paper attached to one side.

3) Press the bondaweb to the WRONG side of your chosen applique fabric

4) Cut out the shape and then peel off the paper layer of the bondaweb. At this stage you will be left with a fabric shape with adhesive on one side.

5) Press the applique shape onto your base fabric or garment to attach.

6) Zigzag stitch either by hand or machine around the applique shape to finish

I have a feeling that you may be seeing applique on lots of my makes in future! The possibilities are endless...bags, cushions, clothes, whatever you fancy. It's such a great way to add personal touches to items. I love it!

In other news, i received a belated birthday present from my brother this week...Cath Kidston's new book!

I have been eyeing this up for some time as i am keen to have a go at patchwork and quilting. Tempted as i am to get started on the free project kit right away (bag or cushion, i can't decide!), i really must get started on my Christmas presents...hopefully i will be reporting some progress on these here soon!

K xx

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Intermediate Knitting #1

So you may remember that in my last post i mentioned that i would be starting an Intermediate Knitting Class at my local knitting shop, Knit One. Those of you who read my friend Marie's blog over at A Sewing Odyssey may have noticed that she is attending the beginners knitting course at the same shop, and she did a great summary of her first session which you can see here. I thought it might be nice to share with you some of the things i have learnt so far.

In the first session we went right back to basics and learnt three different types of casting on - apparently there are over 30 different ways to cast on in total! The aim of this course is to go over the basics pretty speedily, and then to cover the "correct" ways to do things such as sew up a garment like a cardigan. Also there will hopefully be a chance to cover some techniques suggested by members of the group - amongst my suggestions were learning how to follow patterns properly and also how to knit with multiple coloured ball in one garment. So fingers crossed we get round to covering those!

We practiced three types of casting on and then for homework we were set the task to knit one square in stocking stitch using each of the three methods. Here are my homework squares and a brief explanation of each method. If anyone is interested in more detail, or step by step pictures of any or all of the methods, please let me know and I'll see what i can do! Hopefully you can get some idea of the effect of each cast on from the pictures.

1) Thumb Method

This is the method that i usually use. In brief, you use your thumb to create the loops for the stitches. This is useful for garments that need to have a bit of stretch in them, for example hats or baby clothes.

2) Cable Method

This is the method that my Mum and my Nana use. It involves creating the stitches on the needle in a similar way to how you would do a knit stitch. This cast on is good for clothing and items where you are not looking for any stretch. I think this is the one that gives the neatest finish.

3) Lace Method

The lace cast on creates very loose stitches, and is good for - you guessed it - knitting lace-like wools or ones with a very loose stitch. You create the stitches in a very similar way to the cable method, however you work through the front of the stitch only. I personally did not like this method once as it was very fiddly and in my opinion does not give a very neat finish.

I found the Thumb method and the Cable method equally simple to be honest, and will probably use a combination of the two in future depending on what i am knitting. I would be very interested to hear which methods the knitters amongst you tend to use!

In other news, i am excited to report that i will be taking part in the Crafty Christmas Club this year! Basically this is a blog where crafters can blog about their Christmas gifts and share inspiration without spoiling the surprises to friends and family who may read their usual blog. Pop over and have a look....unless you are expecting a Christmas present from me this year, in which case i ask you to step away and wait for the surprise :)

K xx

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Sewing Room Progress and Yet More Fabric Aquisitions....

So the big move has taken place, and all my stuff (far more than the poor boyfriend ever thought it was possible for one person to own!) has been moved across Leicester to my new abode! It has been a long process of packing and unpacking, and although we are nowhere near finished, progress have definitely been made. So now that the worst is over, my thoughts have, of course, turned to sorting out the sewing room! I am lucky enough to have a designated space to sew in, and although it officially doubles as the spare room, the official name in "our" house (!!!) is The Sewing Room. After a trip to Ikea on Friday to pick up some storage solutions (it's got to be done!) i set to work on sorting it out.

Here is a before picture:

Sorry for the slightly poor photographs today by the way, my camera has been located but sadly not my charger, so i had to resort to using my phone camera. It does the job, but the lighting is not right. Here is another picture, after a few hours of organising...

 Much better! It is by no means fully sorted yet, as there is still some more furniture to go in the room yet, and hopefully some shelves at some point, but it is certainly looking a lot more like a usable space. Which is good news as i have many Sewing Plans for the next few months!

On Saturday i took some time out of unpacking and sorting out to go fabric shopping with the lovely Marie. It was great to have a second opinion, and we found plenty of fabrics which would perfectly suit our favourite patterns! So what did i buy? Have a look...

Fabric for my Colette Crepe Dress - complete with contrast sash
A funky Pendrell Blouse perhaps?

Super cute fabric destined, perhaps, for Christmas quilts for
some little people i know

Lovely maroon lace, maybe for a top?

When i was in Ikea i also found myself in their Textiles department - something i don't remember noticing last time i was there, but those were in my pre-sewing days! Most of the fabric were heavy upholstery-types, but i did find some muslin-like fabric prices at a bargainous £1.62 per metre! So i snapped up the rest of the roll...about 6 and a half metres in total. That should keep me going for a bit!

Lots of bargainous muslin!
 I am also starting an Intermediate Knitting Course tomorrow at my local wool shop Knit One. I am excited to learn some new knitting skills to help me tackle even more complex patterns, and of course to meet some fellow knitters! Watch this space to see how i get on :)

K xx


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