Knitting & Crocheting

Newbie Knitting | Slip Knot

In order to start knitting you will need to get that first row of stitches onto your needle. There are several different methods of "Casting On" and no matter which one you decide to learn you will need to start with a basic slip knot.

To create a slip knot you start by folding a bit of yarn and twisting it to make a circular shape. Depending on what type of cast on method you are using you will need a different length of yarn tail. Refer to those tutorials for more info.

Then you reach into the circle and grab the tail of yarn that is on the bottom of the twist. In this case the green bit is laying under the orange side... so I grabbed the green yarn.

Pull the yarn up through the original circle. It will create a lasso looking knot.

Slip this knot over the end of your knitting needle.

Tighten by pulling down on the tail of the yarn.

Newbie Knitting | Introduction

As promised, I will be starting my Newbie Knitting classes this week. For those of you who would like to join in, here is a materials list to get you started.

All of the projects designed for the beginner Newbie Knitting series can be completed on 9" long size 8 (5mm) needles. I recommend Clover Bamboo as a good starting needle. They have a nice feel and are not expensive. You also need a yarn needle and some worsted weight yarn (our first project will be using a yellow/gold).

Other supplies you may want to have is a small tote bag (any will work - I often use my reusable grocery store bags) to keep your projects together, a soft dress makers measuring tape, a small pair of blunt end scissors, and a pencil (potentially a small notebook). A crochet hook (size H/8) is also helpful to have on hand when you need to fix mistakes.

Ok... now that you have all your supplies gathered... you are ready to get started. Lesson one, Casting On will be posted tomorrow. Stay tuned!

Fairy's Dollie Blankie

*UPDATE: Fairy got a huge grin when I read her all the lovely comments. It is very encouraging.*

Fairy wanted me to share some of her photos. She has recently finished her  first "bigger" knitting project... a blankie sized to fit one of her lovey dollies. She has been working diligently on this project for the last few months but has taken a real interest in knitting lately... her knitting basket goes with her everywhere these days. It is not uncommon to see her outside knitting or knitting in the back seat of the car. So her progress has moved rapidly lately.

She carefully and frequently checked the blankie's size by holding it up to her dolly, not cutting corners. When she had determined that it was done and I had helped her bind off, she immediately asked to borrow my camera (as hers is currently out of commission). If you ever doubt how children learn to "be" it is so by modeling our behavior as happily apparent in times like these... (there are other times that I would rather not take credit for). So the photos below were taken by Fairy to document her first big knitting project and she told me I should blog about it.

She already has two more project on her needles... another blankie to match for her second dolly and an ambitious scarf.

What IS Ravelry???

I started to answer this question in response to a comment I received yesterday but I thought that it might warrant it's own post. I know I've been linking to a site called Ravelry a lot lately in conjunction with all my knitting projects. But if you are not already a member there, you might be asking yourself, what is Ravelry?

Ravelry is a social networking site dedicated to the yarn arts (knitting, crocheting, spinning). The base features are all free to use (store front pro and some advanced user features do have a cost). Within your profile you maintain a database of all the projects you are currently working on or have completed including notes, pictures and yarn details. The best part of all is that the projects are all linked to the original patterns. This means that you can peruse everyone else's notes and photos to see how a pattern works up in different yarns/sizes. Follow someone else modifications to customize your project. You can also keep records of your yarn stash both store bought or homespun. Just bought a couple skeins of a cool yarn but don't have an exact pattern in mind, search by the yarn and see what projects other members worked up with that yarn. Or run out of a yarn mid-project and need more of the same dye lot, search for it and you might find someone willing to sell it or trade you for it.  In fact you can use the database features to search for just about anything... free, knit, child, sweater, cables... brings up 179 patterns in clothing. Thinking of purchasing a new pattern book (especially when shopping online), look it up and see all the patterns offered before you buy. You can also link to patterns you have wrote or record projects you have improvised. There are also forums that feature groups dedicated to everything from your local yarn shop to fans of a tv show to completing service projects to using a specific technique... which is where the Wee Folk Art Knits group is located. Basically whether you are a new yarn lover or a dedicated fiber artist Ravelry is kinda "the place to be" for yarnies on the web.

In order to check out all the cool features you will have to set up your free account. And just so you know, we do not get anything... at all... by sending you to Ravelry. There is no affiliation... I just LOVE all the features it offers. BTW when I'm hanging out on Ravelry I go by the name WeeFolkMom and my mother (who I generally have to post her knitting pics for her because she is so busy here) goes by the name of KimaraWeeFolkArt. Wee Folk Art Knits is the group forum for Friends and Fans of Wee Folk Art... which is pretty quiet atm since it is new but stop in and say hi.

Tree Garland - How to make an I-Cord

My mom bought a basket full of this yarn (Lorna's Laces Green Line Dk which has been sadly discontinued), with no real project in mind. I've been stealing skeins of it (shhh) here and there to make some Christmas tree garland. It is a simple 4sts I-Cord. The quick rainbow color switches work up beautifully this way and although I have miles to go... I am not growing bored of the color-way.

I-Cord Tutorial aka Christmas Tree Garland (Ravelry link)

Making an I-Cord is very easy. If you can knit at all, you can do it. You need two double pointed needles (alternatively you can use a knitting hoop or spool). I am making my garland on size 8 needles using a DK weight yarn... you can of course play with you needle size and yarn weight.

Cast on 3-6 stitches depending on the weight of your yarn and how thick you would like your cord to be. After playing with it, I chose to work with 4 sts. Knit across, do not turn.

Instead, slide your 4 sts down to the opposite side of the needle, keeping the yarn to the back.

Bring the yarn across the back and knit another row, pulling the first stitch tight to eliminate any gap across the 4 sts.

Continue in this manner (ie sliding after each row without turning) until you reach your desired length. You can either bind off as normal or cut the tail and pull through all 4 sts and tie off.

To make it into Christmas Tree Garland you will need to make several yards of it... well many yards of it if it is a big tree and you want lots of coverage. This is a great way to show off some of your favorite fun or funky yarns and add some wooly goodness to your holiday decor. To help break it up, have a lot of different family members add a few inches which will add to the charm and truly make it a family keepsake.

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