The versatile craft of knitting

Fisherman’s Rib Hat with Pom Pom


Yarn Used: Manos Del Uruguay Maxima* in Mixed Berries colorway.
Project details: The hat was knit in the round using the Fisherman’s rib stitch pattern. This project requires some concentration and focus and is certainly not a project to knit while watching TV. It’s best to put lifelines (there’s a short tutorial on lifelines for brioche stitch by Fruity Knitting Podcast Episode 35) every now and then because fixing a mistake in this stitch pattern is quite frustrating and time-consuming. More project detail can be found on my Ravelry project page.

The versatile craft of knitting
The versatile craft of knitting can teach us many things besides the various stitch patterns and techniques. It can be therapeutic, reduce stress, and also sometimes teach us to be more mindful, kind, thankful and calm. And now, according to the article “Girls Knit Their Way to a Math Career“, knitting is being used to teach kids math and science concepts and also to ease their math learning anxiety.

In the past year or so my focus has been more on reducing my yarn stash and less on the benefits of knitting that initially drew me to this craft (read the reformatted entries of my previous blog named Coffee Tea or Knits). While too much yarn and too many WIP’s can be overwhelming and stressful, it’s heartening to know that knitting can teach us many positive things that are just as versatile as the craft.


*There’s an article in the Spring 2017 issue of Interweave Knits about Manos del Uruguay, a non-profit cooperative organization, and its social mission for the rural women in this country.

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Just a knit show and tell post

Hello folks it’s been quite a while since my last post. I’ve been busy and my free time has been divided between knitting, watching knitting video podcasts, and reading knitting blogs. So here’s just a knit show and tell of one of my knitting projects. The stitch pattern and style of this cardigan was inspired by Jared Flood’s Tinder.

My version of Tinder Cardigan

Pattern: I didn’t have a written knitting pattern for this project which has a bottom up construction with a collar and ribbing. I just looked at the picture of the cardigan and knitted my own custom top down raglan sleeve version of it. However, the cardigan does have the waffle stitch pattern and a little bit of the style of the Tinder cardigan by Jared Flood of Brooklyn Tweed.

Yarn used: Lion Brand Wool-Ease in Chestnut Heather colorway.

Knitting experience: I really liked the depth and variety of the colors within this yarn. Here’s a close up of the colorway of the yarn.

It’s very budget friendly and machine washable.  I found this yarn a little rough on my hands while knitting but using hand lotion before knitting helped quite a bit. After washing the yarn is quite soft and warm.

Leave a comment if you’ve also found inspiration for your knitting projects by looking at the knits of different knitwear designers.

Happy Knitting!

2016 and minimalism in the craft of knitting

My 2016 finished knits: I knit six adult sweaters (one of them pictured below). I also knit a few other things including a couple of hats and scarves. Most of my knitting projects were with yarn I already had and featured minimal design elements.

This cardigan was knit double stranded holding one strand of Premier Home Cotton yarn with one strand of Fashion Plus Mill End variegated yarn.

cardi2

My WIPs (work in progress): Four sweaters and a blanket.

This year my knitting was focused more in knitting projects that would reduce the yarn I already had. By knitting double stranded and using stockinette stitch I was able to use twice the amount of yarn for sweaters. I also learnt to knit a seamless sweater with contiguous sleeve although I still prefer knitting sweaters with raglan sleeves . I bought much less yarn this year compared to my purchase of yarn last year. I found that yarn starvation wasn’t the answer to minimalism and zen habits for me but that mindful yarn purchase lead to more satisfaction in my knitting. Read more of Craft Session’s blog series on how to reduce yarn stash. Although this year’s main focus was reducing yarn I already had, I would like to focus more on learning new knitting techniques next year.

Happy knitting fellow knitters.

The ease of knitting double stranded

More than half the year is over and I’m still working on reducing my yarn stash. I’ve limited purchasing new yarn and am knitting with yarn I already have. In an effort to reduce my yarn stash I’ve started knitting double stranded.  Knitting double stranded means you knit with two strands of yarns held together. One can create a variety of versatile knits with unique textures and colors by knitting double stranded. With this technique projects take less time to knit making more time available for other knitting projects.

I knit my first top down contiguous sleeve cardigan using two strands of yarn held together.

Cardigan2

Cardigan1a

The pattern for the contiguous sleeve shaping is from Isabell Kraemer’ s On the beach pattern. I used stockinette stitch for the body of this cardigan and garter stitch for the shawl collar. Yarn used: Premier Cotton Fair in Slate Grey and Loops and Threads Woolike in Black.

I found knitting double stranded straightforward and simple. It adds more depth and visual interest to knits without much effort. So if you have yarn that’s been sitting around for a year or more try knitting double stranded. It’s doesn’t require reading complicated chart patterns or spending hours going through patterns that may or may not be suitable for the yarn. You can even knit with this technique while watching TV or knitting podcasts. With double stranded knitting, you just knit and let the yarn do the rest.

The Simple Elegance of the Garter Stitch

Lately, I’ve rediscovered the simple elegance of the garter stitch. The garter stitch is a textured pattern that uses the knit stitch on both sides for flat knitting or knit stitch on one round followed by a purl stitch on the second round for circular knitting. It’s reversible and the edges don’t curl up making it a simple yet versatile stitch pattern. Garter stitch is usually the first stitch pattern we learn as a beginning knitter and then move on to more complex stitch patterns. . As we learn other more complex knit stitch patterns, we end up using the garter stitch pattern mostly for borders and edges of our knits. Yet one can create many beautiful and versatile knits when the garter stitch is combined with lace, shorts rows, or different yarn color variations. Several examples of knits with garter stitch patterns can be found on Ravelry.

Here is my version of the simple and elegant Purl Soho’s Dovetail Scarf pattern. I modified the pattern using a different yarn and a picot bind off. More project detail on this knitting project can be found here. For this project I used yarn left over from a previous sweater project.

Garter Stitch Scarf

So whether you are a beginning or an expert knitter, I invite you to rediscover the simple elegance of the garter stitch. I have and will be using this simple and elegant stitch pattern more this year to create a number of new knits.

Benefits of doing the twist with knit stitches

Knitted Hat with left and right twist stitches

I knit this hat using the Sitka Spruce Hat pattern by Tin Can Knits. Many thanks to Tin Can Knits for doing the 12 Days of Christmas pattern downloads. It’s a special treat for hobby knitters on a budget like me.  Yarn used: Caron’s Simply Soft in Vanilla. In keeping with my theme of minimalism in the craft of knitting I used yarn which I had purchased a few years ago.

sitka2sitka1

Left and Right twist stitches (LT and RT) are mini cable stitch patterns. These twist stitches add texture to a variety of knits and because they involve 2 or less stitches for the pattern no cable needle is required.

Benefits of doing twist stitches:

In “Why Crafting Is Great For Your Brain: A Neuroscientist Explains” several health benefits of crafting with a friend are mentioned. The versatile craft of knitting has several health benefits too (1). I found knitting with twist stitches helped most with mindfulness and focus.  So how do the benefits mentioned apply when one is knitting alone and doing the twist stitches? I’ve listed the benefits* on the left and my comments on the right.

  • Mindfulness – Yes, this was an exercise in mindfulness. You can’t watch TV while you knit or think of other things when you are doing the twist stitch round. All you can do is keep repeating 2LT, 2RT, etc. The minute your mind wanders you end up making a mistake. The knit rounds were a break where the mind could relax and think of other things.
  • Focusing attention and thoughts on a task – Definitely
  • Mental challenge and problem solving – Since I was following a pattern, the challenge was more to knit the twist stitch patterns without making mistakes.
  • Development of hand-eye coordination, spatial awareness and fine motor dexterity – Yes, to hand-eye coordination but I have to say that doing the twist stitches did cause hand fatigue for me. Even for a small project such as a hat I had to take breaks and could only do a certain number of rounds in one sitting.
  • Teaches patience and perseverance –  Yes doing the twist stitches does teach patience because this is my second hat. The first hat I messed up and instead of tinking (knitting backwards) and redoing the rounds I decided to start over with a new yarn. To help with not having to frog my knitting again I put a couple of lifelines and counted each knit round to make sure I had the same number of stitches.
  • Facilitates memory formation and retrieval – A chart was included in the pattern for reference but for each twist round memorizing the pattern repeats helped in my knitting speed
  • Social connection – This was a solitary activity for me but I am connected to the online knit community.
  • Learning and teaching – Learning – yes. Teaching – I don’t think so unless sharing my knitting experience counts as teaching?
  • Encouraging active creativity – Not so much since I was following a pattern.
  • Gives a sense of pride and achievement – I guess I can now say I know how to do twist stitches.

I found that there were some health benefits to doing the twist with knit stitches. Is that your experience too my fellow knitters?


*The list (in italics) taken from the article “Why Crafting Is Great For Your Brain: A Neuroscientist Explains” has been rearranged here according to relevance to knitting twist stitches

1. The Truth About Knitting and Crochet….They are Good for You!

 

Minimalism in the craft of knitting

Hello folks my theme this year is to feature minimalism in the craft of knitting. Minimalism is the use of the fewest and barest essentials or elements, as in the arts, literature, or design to create maximum effect.  Some knitwear designers (Jane Richmond, Tin Can Knits etc.) have used the art of minimal design elements to create a number of beautiful knits. Minimalism combined with Zen habits has also been applied to manage knitting projects and yarn (1). Knitting is recreational and therapeutic for me but it can easily become overwhelming with too many WIP’s (work in progress) and an increasing yarn stash (2). The benefits of applying minimalism to manage yarn and knitting projects include increased productivity, reduced clutter and decreased stress. It is for these benefits that I want to feature minimalism in the craft of knitting this year. Specifically my goal is to knit as much as possible with yarn I already have and also to feature minimal design elements in my knitting projects.

So folks will you share your theme for knitting this year?


1. Let it Go: Zen and the Art of Crafty Minimalism
2. On Knitting, Yarn Stashing and Consumerism