The Daily Skein

All the craft that’s fit to make.

Purling tbl March 25, 2009

Filed under: knitting tutorials — Cailyn @ 1:41 pm
Tags: , , ,

I thought I had made an awesome discovery about short row heels.  Turns out I haven’t.  Or maybe I have, but I can’t duplicate the results, so in the end it’s the same thing.  Very disappointing, since I spent the last two hours trying to unvent my own “mistake” and failing miserably.  So instead of an awesome short row heel tutorial, I’m going to put up something certainly less interesting and probably less useful.


Purling through the back loop is a lost skill, I think.  Rarely, if ever, does a pattern request that you purl through the back loop.  The only ones I’ve found, really, have been twisted stitch patterns that are worked flat, like the heel flap of my Socks (circa 2008,) where the twisted purl stitch on the wrong side shows as a twisted knit stitch on the right side.  Purling through the back loop is also useful for the occasional unintended twisted purl stitch, like the ones I always get when I have to rip out and then put ribbing back on my needles.  Instead of having to move the stitch to untwist it, I can just purl it through the back loop.  It’s a small time-saver, but I like it.


Go behind the stitch with the right needle and insert the needle into the stitch from the back.


Wrap the yarn as usual and pull through the stitch.



Easy as pie!  Mmm, pie…


Purling through the back loop January 27, 2009

Filed under: knitting tutorials,Tutorials — Cailyn @ 10:07 pm
Tags: , ,

Purling through the back loop (p tbl) is not something that’s done very often, but it’s a handy skill to have.  It can also be confusing to figure out without pictures.  Purling through the back loop after a cable turn can help avoid holes.  If you’ve accidentally twisted a purl stitch, it’s an easy way to correct it.  Or, if you’re like me, you mostly run into twisted purl stitches when you’ve had to rip back and no matter how many times you’ve put stitches back on the needles, they’re always twisted.



Insert the right needle into the back loop of the purl stitch from the back to the front.

100_4072    100_4077


Wrap yarn around needle as usual and pull through the stitch.



Recently, I’ve been using p tbl in my ribbing.  I wrap my yarn around the bottom of the right hand needle (instead of around the top as in the picture) which twists the resulting stitch.  On the next row, I purl the stitch through the back loop to correct the twist, still wrapping my yarn in the opposite direction.  Personally, I think that doing that has improved the look of my k1p1 ribbing considerably.  I should probably take some pictures of the two ribbings, but I’ve been a little under the weather lately and so I am lazy. 


I got the yarn for my Fireflake hat in blue and white, although I’m not sure I’ll have time to knit it before winter is gone.  Yarn for my sweater/cardigan should be here soon too!  I’m really excited about that.  Can’t wait to get started!


Counting Trick December 19, 2008

Filed under: knitting tutorials,Tutorials — Cailyn @ 10:33 am
Tags: ,

This post was supposed to be up yesterday.  I had it almost finished, put my laptop to sleep, and went to bed myself Tuesday night.  Now, this strategy has worked very well in the past.  I wake up, proofread over breakfast, and post.  This time, the rough draft was gone when I woke up.  The darn laptop had restarted overnight and I have to start all over again.  And since yesterday involved more cleaning than a circus after-party (??) I didn’t get a chance to rewrite it.  So here it is.  Finally.


I hate counting rows in knitting.  Well, not quite as much as I used to, since now I can actually do it if I have to.  But I still strongly dislike it.  I have a number of row counters and always keep a post-it note handy to make hash marks in order to keep track of rows.  I imagine this is not uncommon.  But both of those solutions involve putting down one or both needles to count a row.  And I hate to have to do that if I’m working on a small project.  And why should I carry around a row counter when I only need it once or twice and the rest of the pattern I’m fine?


Well, if you’re like me and hate counting rows even though you can do it and you only need to count a few rows at a time, I have found a solution.  It’s not a life-changing epiphany or anything, but I think it’s rather clever.  And it doesn’t even involve putting the needles down.  Unless you drop something.


Say your pattern calls for you to knit five rows (or rounds.)


Knit the first row (or round), then place an extra stitch marker after the first stitch on the right side.  Ta da!  Now if you go to cook dinner, you’ll know that you’ve knit one row/round of the five because there’s one stitch between the marker and the tip of the needle.




Knit the second row/round and move the marker to after the second stitch on the right side.  (This step is slightly easier to do in circular knitting, because you come to the marker before you come to the second stitch.  Knitting flat, it’s handy to have a locking marker for easy moving, or just slip the stitches back and forth on the needle.)  Isn’t this simple?  You can see you’ve knit two row/rounds when you stop to keep your dog from swallowing whatever that is.




Knit the third row/round and move the marker to after the third stitch on the right side.  You’ve got the hang of this now, right?  Just keep going on like this, moving the marker with each row, until you don’t need to count anymore.




Genius, right?


Lifted Increases September 13, 2008

Filed under: knitting tutorials,Tutorials — Cailyn @ 6:25 pm
Tags: , ,

I’ve been knitting as fast as I can on the Aran Tam.  Unfortunately, the bottom of the tam is mostly ribbing and stockinette, which tends to bore me (I’m such the process knitter) and I’ve been kind of slow on it.  The interesting stuff is all on the top.  I thought about changing that in my pattern, but I want this to be traditional, and the ones I found online were all plain on the bottom (as far as I could tell.)  Anyway, I only have two more increase rounds then the fun starts!  I’ve also been working on a pair of mystery mittens, but you’ll have to wait for pictures of those.



Not much to gawk at yet; but soon, soon it will be gorgeous!


So, on to the real purpose of this post.  In my quest to make the Arthurian Anklets easier to understand and knit, I’ve taken some pictures for a tutorial on the lifted increases, called LRinc and LLinc in New Pathways for Sock Knitters.  These are different from an M1 increase.  M1 uses the strand of yarn running between stitches, while the lifted increases use the right or left leg of the stitches in the row below.  Unlike an M1, you can use a lifted increase at the beginning or end of a row.  These increases are nearly invisible, although there will be a tiny hole, about the same or smaller than an M1.  I’m not sure if I like lifted increases more or less than M1s, but I believe in knowing as many ways to do an increase (or anything, really) as I can.

I first saw these increases in Knitter’s Arans and Celtics and the way that they were explained confused me to no end.  Once I figured them out, they were really easy, but I wondered why such awful instructions were used.  Hopefully you won’t have that problem. :)  Yarn used is Knit Picks CotLin in Key Lime on size 4 DPNs.


LRinc (Right-Leaning Lifted Increase)


Knit to the point where you need to increase.  See that blue stitch there? (Love Photoshop!)  That is the stitch below the next stitch on the left needle.

100_3687  100_3688

Insert the right needle into the right (closest) leg of that stitch.  Place that loop on the left needle.

100_3690  100_3691

Knit that new loop through the front.  Knit the next stitch on the needle as normal and continue on your way.  The second picture shows what things look like after you’ve knit the new loop but before knitting the next stitch.

  100_3694 - Copy (2) 100_3694 - Copy 

There’ll be a little hole where the increase is, but after a few rows, it’s practically invisible!  But there it is.


LLinc (Left-Leaning Lifted Increase)


Knit to the point where you need to increase.  This time the stitch needed is the second stitch below the stitch just worked on the right needle, shown in orange.  Don’t use the stitch directly below the stitch just worked (blue).  The orange stitch is part of a previous row, just like the stitch used in LRinc; the blue stitch is part of the row you’re currently knitting into, which would make your increases be on different rows and probably look ugly.

100_3675  100_3679  

Insert the right needle into the left (closest) leg of the orange stitch.  Knit into the back of this new loop.  Knit the next stitch on the needle as normal and continue on your way. 

100_3694 - Copy (3) Copy of 100_3694 - Copy  


Ta-da, mirrored increases!  Pretty, huh?

100_3694 Copy of 100_3694


Do the Loop de Loop September 2, 2008

Filed under: knitting tutorials,Tutorials — Cailyn @ 7:43 pm

Hope you had a fun holiday.  We went on a nice long hike yesterday, up to a very pretty alpine lake.  It’s at the base of a mountain that we’re planning on hiking to the top of next weekend.  (Gotta get those last big hikes in before the rains come!  Because then those hikes’ll be covered in mud… then snow!)  No pictures, because, well, sometimes it’s nice to just enjoy the scenery with your eyes instead of through a viewfinder.  But man, I’d love to capture the color of that lake in a yarn or fabric… the light brown by the shore, the teal with the sun sparkles, and the dark blue in the center.  Beautiful.


I’ve also been taking some time and getting used to writing and publishing my posts with Live Writer instead of the WordPress writing-thingy.  I’ve tried out a number of other writers and I actually can’t remember all of them now that I’ve uninstalled them.  So far, I’m really liking Live Writer.  It’s got a number of neat features, like a link glossary for pages I link to a lot and it’s really easy to link to old posts.  Anyway, it’s got its own set of problems, too, which I’m trying to work around, like not center aligning when I tell it to.  The biggest problem I’ve run into so far is pictures.  It’s great not to have to upload every single picture by hand, but if I have to edit an old post, Live Writer uploads all the pictures every time I re-publish.  This sometimes leads to problems with image links and other nastiness.


Long story short, please let me know if there are any broken images or links.  And I hope that I’m not messing up anyone’s RSS feed or anything by having to publish posts multiple times to make sure the images are right.


That taken care of, let’s get to the interesting part of the post.  I’m starting to get into a real glove/mitten groove with the air starting to get a little nippy. (My hands are always cold).  A friend of mine a while ago was making the Queen of Diamond Gloves from Knit Picks, which I made 3 pairs of last year. (I think that’s the most times I’ve ever knitted the same pattern, although I did change the cuff for each…) She asked me to explain the Backwards Loop Cast On (BLCO) to her when she got to the part to divide the thumb.  So I demonstrated… Turns out this was how she casts on all her projects, she just didn’t recognize the name!  And I started to wonder if other people were confused about this.


This was the cast on I was taught as a kid.  I remember it was my favorite part of knitting back then; I was crazy fast at it.  It’s a very easy cast on to do, but it’s hell to knit.  Because it’s just a series of loops, the tension gets all off.  As you work a loop, it gets pretty loose, but then the next one is very tight.  It can become almost unworkable in long cast ons.  It’s not stretchy and gives a rather messy edge for large things, like socks, sleeves, and certainly sweaters.  I use the BLCO for casting on over gaps in thumbs/fingers for gloves and that’s about it.  I’ve heard that it’s a great cast on for lace, because it blends in perfectly.


In case you haven’t seen or heard of this cast on before, and you’re working on some gloves (hopefully the Snowflake or Albuquerque gloves, hehe) here’s a picture tutorial for you.  There are lots of ways to do this cast on (video, Knitty, Knitting Daily), this is just the way I learned.  This is different from “looping on;” in BLCO, the stitches are cast on twisted to make them a little more stable (but not much!)

Backwards Loop Cast On


If you’re casting on for a project, make a slip knot about 6″ in from the end of the yarn.  If you’re casting on in the middle of a round for fingers/thumbs/buttonholes, skip the slip knot step.


Wrap the yarn around your thumb (I prefer left thumb) from the backside to the palmside or counterclockwise if you prefer. (I know that first picture has more sts on it than it’s supposed to).  Bring the needle in front/over the yarn coming from your thumb.  This makes a loop where the working yarn goes around your thumb and under the yarn on the needle.

100_3450 100_3452

Insert the needle up through the loop you just made.  Drop the loop off your thumb and tighten gently on the needle.  I suggest keeping it fairly loose.


Repeat as needed.  You don’t have to do this cast on at the base of your thumb, or with your thumb at all; I’ve seen people do it with their index or middle fingers. I personally do this cast on at the tip of my thumb.  Remember that the cast on stitches are twisted; I like to knit them through the front loop on the next row.  I think it tightens things up better.




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