Top Tip Tuesday – The Magic Loop

This week’s top tip is probably well known amongst seasoned knitters, however I only used it for the first time last week!

I used to buy specific sizes of circular knitting needles for every new project, until I discovered my interchangeable knitting needles.  I now (hopefully) have every length of cable and size of needle I’ll ever need!

Avid readers will know that I’ve just started knitting hats, however my circular needle set only comes with long cables.  This isn’t really an issue if you adopt the magic loop method which allows you to knit a small circumference on much larger cable needles.

It’s simple really:

  1. Using a 40″ cable, cast on the required number of stitches
  2. Fold your cable and point both needles to the right – lay it out in front of you.
  3. Count along half of your cast on stitches, and at the half way point start to pull the cable through these stitches.  This is what creates the ‘magic loop’! You have now created a much smaller circumference to work with.
  4. Join in the round in your usual way.  You’re now ready to carry on knitting in the round!

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This photo shows my hat project in the more advanced stages, and you can see the magic loop on the left hand side.  Each time you finish half a round, simply count out the next half of your stitches, pull the cable through and carry on knitting.  You can use a stitch marker if you like, but I always use the tail of my cast on row as a guide.  Seeing as you’re counting out half the stitches each time you make a loop, it’s easy to tell when you have finished a round, or are only half way through one.

Happy knitting!

Top Tip Tuesday – How to Prevent Laddering when Knitting with DPNs

If you’ve read yesterday’s post then you will know that I recently finished knitting this adorable little baby hat after three attempts at getting the sizing right.  Lesson learned – I will definitely be making swatches from now on!!

2013-09-20 23.57.38[1]However, today’s top tip has nothing to do with gauge or swatches.  Today’s tip hopes to solve another issue I had when knitting this cute hat on double pointed needles – laddering!

No matter how tightly I knitted my first stitch on each needle, I would get a larger gap compared to the other stitches – as I progressed with the hat, this created a ladder effect.

So how did I finally solve this issue?  It’s quite simple really, and I can’t believe I hadn’t thought of it before!  Before knitting the next round, simply move a couple of stitches between needles.  This prevents that first larger stitch from being in the same place each time, and once the hat is finished, you can’t tell which stitches are from the start of a new needle – the tension seems to even itself out.

I’m now feeling much more confident about knitting hats on DPNs and I’m now planning to create a new range for my shop – watch this space!

Don’t forget that you can share your own top tips right here and I will link to your own website – just get in touch!

Top Tip Tuesday – How to Remove a Jade Bangle

This week’s top tip might sound a little silly and last minute…that’s because it is!

I was given a jade bangle a few years ago and it was a struggle to get on.  So much so that when I tried to take it off and couldn’t, I decided I was happy just to wear it all the time.

However, last night I made a bracelet for myself using the beads I had made at my lampworking classes.  The first thing I realised after trying on my new bracelet was that every time I moved, it would rattle off the jade bangle which not only made an annoying jangling sound, but could also damage the beads after a while.  So I figured it was maybe time to have another go at taking off the jade bangle….!

My first attempt involved putting my wrist under cold water, applying lots of handwash and trying to twist and push the bangle off.  This resulted in a lot of pain and left me with some deep indents on my hand.

I gave up after a while and sat with a cup of tea while my hand slowly returned to the right colour and stopped shaking!

That’s when it occurred to me – Vaseline!

So I applied Vaseline liberally to my wrist and hand and after some pushing and twisting, managed to get the bangle over the widest part of my wrist.  I had a few seconds of panic when I thought it was going to get stuck half on/half off my hand but with a bit more force I was able to get it off!

That was over 12 hours ago and my hand still has a couple of red marks and is very sore to touch where the bangle met the most resistance (damn my wide Western hands!!)

So to sum up…

Need to remove a jade bangle that’s on the small side?

1. Run your hand/wrist under the cold tap before patting dry and applying a lot of Vaseline.

2. Sit somewhere soft like on the bed or a carpeted floor in case the bangle flies off.

3. I held my hand facing down the way and used my other hand to push down and twist with a fair amount of force.  Please note that this WAS painful but it was also my second attempt.  Maybe if you use Vaseline first it won’t hurt so much!FernPEndant

PLEASE follow this last step with caution!!  I don’t want to be held responsible for any injuries!!  If you’ve had your bangle on for many years then it could be that your wrist and/or hand have increased in size in that time.  In which case you may have no other option but to break it off, or continuing to put up with it!

Top Tip Tuesday – Get Involved

It was just over a week ago that I resolved to start taking this blogging malarkey more seriously and I’ve really enjoyed posting regularly.

Last week I shared a top tip on how to weave in ends whilst knitting stripes.  This 20130406_100722was something I had only just learned and was glad I could share it with everyone.  However, this week I’m already stumped for a tip!  I’m sure that more will come to me as I try different projects but I wonder if I could start looking further afield for my tips.

I think this would be a great way to get other crafters involved…they could submit their top tip and in return I could link to their shop or website – win win!

So if you have a crafty top tip why not get in touch using the contact page and I will post it whenever I run out of my own tips (which will probably be quite a regular occurrence)!  As a thank you I will obviously credit you for coming up with the tip and link to your own website.

Top Tip Tuesday – Knitting Stripes & Weaving in Ends

I started knitting my first stripy scarf last week in bright and funky pink and yellow acrylic yarn!

I didn’t want to have the hassle of having to cut the yarn every few rows and weave it in whenever I changed colour so I started looking for an alternative method.  Instead of cutting the yarn, you can weave it up the side of the piece of work until you need it again.

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To weave the unused yarn up the edge of the scarf, simply loop it round the working yarn

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One you’ve looped the yarn, start to knit as normal with the working yarn (the yellow yarn in this example)

Once you've knitted the first stitch, give the working yarn, the unused weaved in yarn, and the scarf itself a gentle tug.  This will ensure an even tension.

Once you’ve knitted the first stitch, give the working yarn, the unused weaved in yarn, and the scarf itself a gentle tug. This will ensure an even tension.

Once you get to the end of the row you will have the unused yarn on the left and the working yarn on the right.  Simply knit another row as normal.  Repeat the process when you start the next row.

Once you get to the end of the row you will have the unused yarn on the left and the working yarn on the right. Simply knit another row as normal. Repeat the process when you start the next row.

Here you can see how knit the edges are with the unused yarn being woven up the side.

Here you can see how neat the edges are with the unused yarn being woven up the side.

Not only is this a neat method of knitting stripes, but it’s faster as you don’t need to keep cutting and weaving in ends.  The next colour is there ready to be used whenever you need to switch.

Happy striping!