Category Archives: how to

Charting

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There is an interesting interview today on the Brooklyn Tweed blog with Leila Raabe on her latest design for Wool People 6. I particularly enjoyed the discussion on how she uses Illustrator to create chart mockups during her design process. I’m currently working on a cabled design of my own, and have found that charting the pattern out before knitting it up has been really helpful in visualizing the finished piece. By using charts in my design process I’ve been able to play around with the design by moving different cables around within the overall layout and my idea has morphed into an even better design in the process.

Do you like knitting from charts? Though they seemed intimidating at first, I feel like my understanding of knitting took a huge leap forward once I learned how to read charts. If you don’t know how, I would urge you to take the time to learn.  Links to a few good tutorials are below.

Knitty

Wise Hilda

Webs

 

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The Perils of Knitting While Touring With a Rock Band, or How to Fix a Mis-Crossed Cable

I guess it was bound to happen. I was knitting backstage in Amsterdam and I looked down at my knitting and noticed something funny. For the first time in my knitting life I had mis-crossed a cable.

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My mistake was only a few rows back so I could have ripped back and reknit, but I was feeling kind of adventurous. I remembered the Yarn Harlot’s wonderful post about fixing a mis-crossed cable and decided to give it a go. I poured myself a whiskey drink and then took the cable stitches off the needles.

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I dropped each of the cable stitches down past the point of the mistake.  I momentarily questioned my decision when I looked at the mess I had made, but felt a little bit of hope after I placed the loose stitches back onto a DPN in the correctly crossed order.

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I used a crochet hook, pulling the loose strand back through each of the stitches and placing them on another DPN until I worked my way back up to the top.

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Success!  I celebrated by putting my knitting away and finishing my whiskey drink.

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How To: Plant Cactus Cuttings

cacti3

I’ve been wanting a few cactus plants for my home as they are super low maintenance, which is my kind of houseplant.  It’s pretty easy to replant cactus cuttings, so I thought I’d share my process.

Cactus1

I gathered some cuttings while I was out visiting my parents’ ranch over the holidays.  My mom and dad helped me pick out the different types that you see above.  You will also want some pretty heavy duty gloves to protect from their barbs.

I read online that a cutting needs to develop a “callus” at the cutting site before you replant it, otherwise it is likely to rot.  I left these cuttings out for a week for that purpose.  Then I filled my terra cotta pots halfway with slightly damp soil, and gently placed each cactus cutting into the soil and held it upright as I poured additional soil around the base of the cactus.  I lightly watered the rest of the soil after filling the pot to the rim and there you have it:  rugged greenery for your home.

cactus2

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How To: Make a Pom Pom

Oh the pom pom.  I’m seeing them everywhere these days.  They are such a fun way to embellish knits, crafts and even use in home decor. Here’s a simple way to make your own pom poms.

Materials:

Yarn: I find it best to use yarns with plies that don’t unravel- that way your pom won’t have frayed edges.  Wool is my favorite go-to yarn for making poms.  The yarn pictured is Cascade 220.

Cardboard: for making a reusable pom pom template.

Scissors: a sturdy pair that will cut easily though cardboard.

Glass, or a circular object for tracing circles onto cardboard.  Your circle diameter will be the approximate size of your finished pom.  The finished pom shown is around 3 inches in diameter.

Quarter, or other small circular object for tracing smaller circles onto cardboard.

Pen: for tracing

Step One:

Gather all materials listed above.

step1

Step Two:

Trace two large circles onto cardboard using the glass as a guide.

tracing circles 1

Step Three:

Trace a smaller circle in the center of each larger circle using the quarter as a guide.

tracing circles 2

Step Four:

Cut out the cardboard circles, cutting a 1/2 inch wide wedge opening on one side of each circle.

circles

Step Five:

Holding both cardboard circles together, start wrapping the yarn around the circles.  Make sure to cover all of the cardboard and wrap many layers of yarn; the more yarn you use, the fluffier your pom poms will be.

wrapping 1

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Step Six:

Once finished wrapping, cut the yarn end.  Cut a length of yarn about 10 inches long and set aside for later.

length of yarn

Step Seven:

Place your thumb in the center of the circle to secure yarn and start cutting the edges of the yarn by guiding the scissors between the two pieces of cardboard.

cutting1

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Step Eight:

After cutting about half of the yarn, slide the length of yarn you set aside between the two pieces of cardboard to start securing the cut pieces of yarn.  Make sure not to let any cut pieces get loose.  Continue cutting all of the yarn that is wrapped, and tighten the length of yarn around the center, gathering all cut ends tightly.  Tie in a few knots to secure.

secured

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Step Nine:

Remove the cardboard circles and fluff your pom pom into a circular shape.  Trim any long ends.

trimming

Step Ten:

POM IT UP!

pomitup

What will you pom?

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