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Pan-dimensional surfboard shawl photo 1

Pan-dimensional Surfboard

Everyone imagines being able to time travel but since we don’t have a clever blue box, what can we do? We can build our own pan-dimensional surfboard and ride the waves of the time vortex! Don’t have a handy nuclear power plant to fuel your surfboard or the alien tech to build one in the first place? Why not knit your own version. You may not be able to travel in time, but you will look fabulous in the present.

Pan-dimensional surfboard shawl photo 2

This asymmetric crescent is knit sideways using two contrasting colors in a series of alternating lace and texture patterns connected by slipped stitch stripes. The shawl is finished with a knitted-on edging. You will never get bored with this project. The pattern is suitable for the adventurous knitter to intermediate knitter. Skills required: basic stitches, simple lace, two color stripes, knitted-on edging.

Pan-dimensional surfboard photo 3

Spring and summer are perfect times for shawl knitting. Whether you are at a sporting event, a barbecue, or lounging at the beach, you are going to want to have a knitting project with you. The only thing that can make summer knitting better is a chance to win fabulous prizes. Yes, you heard it right. Prizes!

Dawn of Fairy Tale Knits and I are hosting a pan-dimensional, galaxy-hopping summer knit-along for Pan-dimensional Surfboard shawl. Here is what you can expect. You Whovians out there will realize that Pan-dimensional Surfboard pattern derives its name from the Boom Town episode of Doctor Who. Every stitch pattern in the shawl and every one of Dawn’s colors has a Doctor Who story to tell.

Pan-dimensional surfboard photo 4

Each week I will explain the inspiration for a section of the KAL, Dawn will share about the inspiration of one of the Who-themed colorways, and I will suggest a Doctor Who episode that ties in with that section in some way for a watch-along for those who are interested. So we can spend our time doing what we do best, knitting and enjoying the company of other Doctor Who geeks. And along the way, there will be random prizes awarded. You know you want to join us so hop over to my Ravelry group for the full scoop. It promises to be a fantastic summer!

Use coupon code PDS-KAL for a 20% discount on the pattern between now and 30 June 2019.
$5.95

Southern Exposure shawl

Southern Exposure

This design began with Countess Ablaze’s lemons to lemonade story about the distorted idea some businesses have about the value of unpaid “exposure,” bless their hearts. When I saw that she was inviting dyers and designers to create with her iconic If I Want Exposure, I’ll Get My Tits Out colorway, all to benefit charity, I couldn’t resist the challenge. My contribution is Southern Exposure.

In the south, there are two basic temperatures – indoors and outdoors – and those two are never compatible. If it is hot outdoors (which is most of the time), it’s positively frigid indoors. If it is chilly outdoors, it’s sweltering indoors. To survive the extremes, we southerners dress in lots and lots of layers. Southern Exposure is the perfect shawl to protect your bits from unwanted exposure of frosty winter days or zealous air conditioning. And the vibrant color is sure to brighten even the bleakest day.

The yarn I choose was Baad Mom Yarns Sporty Mom in If I Want Exposure, I’ll Get My Tits Out (And You’ll Get a Laugh). I loved working with Melanie on this project. She went above and beyond to get my yarn to me in tome to knit a sample for the design (which was no small feat since the deadline was quite tight). Her yarns are always so rich and saturated and the Sporty Mom base is sproingy and squishy and I am pretty sure I am in love.

I mentioned earlier that this is part of a charity challenge. The charity I choose if Girls Who Code (girlswhocode.com), an organization whose goal is to bridge the gender gap in technology. They offer classes on coding, host coding clubs, and organize summer immersion camps. I know first hand how difficult it is to work in a male dominated field; the harassment you endure, the unfair pay scale, and the generally hostile working environment for a woman in a “man’s” field. I plan to donate a minimum of $1 of every pattern sale from now until June 30, 2019 (1 full year of the pattern’s life) to Girls Who Code as well as volunteer my time with the local club.

I designed this pattern with busy yarn in mind.  You will love how the simple stitches allows that gorgeous skein of yarn (you know the one that you can’t seem to find the perfect pattern for) to really shine. You will love that this pattern is so adjustable. It works for any yarn weight and yarn length. The pattern includes tips for working with every yarn weight from lace weight to super bulky. You will also find it easy to adjust the depth to your body and preference. You can make the shawl as deep or as shallow as you like. Customizing couldn’t be any easier.

Are you an adventurous beginning knitter? You will like the simple shaping and large portions of garter stitch. You can use the simple 4-row lace repeat to learn basic lace knitting or chart reading (both written and charted instructions are included for the edging). It is a fun way to build your skills.  Are you a more advanced knitter? This is a perfect project of TV or travel knitting.  The pattern is easy to memorize so you will find yourself zipping along with the faster than you think. I finished the sample in about 3 days. You will need to following skills for knitting this pattern: basic knit and purl, slip stitches, simple increases (knit front and back) and decreases (k2tog), and a double yarn over (yo2x). In the coming weeks, I will post a tutorial on working with that double yarn over.

You can get the pattern as a pdf download on Ravelry.  Don’t forget to log into your Ravelry account so the pattern will be automatically added to your library.

 

$4.95  ($1 of which will be donated to Girls Who Code)

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The pattern will be available on Love Knitting later this week. I will also have print copies available. The print price is $4.95 plus $2.75 shipping so if you would like a copy, contact me.

Annotating your Stitchmastery Charts

Sometimes when designing, you want to separate design elements by a large block of repeated stitches. Unfortunately, that means that you need to count boxes in the grid to know where the next design element begins. This is where annotating your knitting chart comes in handy. This tutorial will help you use this great Stitchmastery tool to your advantage.

What are annotations?

First, let me show you a simple Stitchmastery chart where the lace elements are separated by a background of stockinette stitch. As you can see, you will have to do a bit of counting to know where to begin the next lace element. (click on the photos to zoom)

But with annotations added, you can tell at a glance how many knit stitches there are between these lace elements.

How do you add annotations to a chart?

So, how do you add these cute little numbers? First, click on the Diagram tab at the top left of the Stitchmastery pane.

Then, select Edit Diagram Properties from the drop down menu.

This will take you to the main Diagram editing pane.

From this pane, you can adjust the most of the customizable elements of Stitchmastery. In this case, we want to adjust annotations so we will click the arrow next to “More on annotations.”

In the annotations menu, you will be able to customize the appearance of the annotations. You can select how often they appear, the horizontal and vertical position in the chart,  and the amount of buffer space around the text. You can also select the repeated stitch to annotate.

Stitchmastery even allows you to customize the font style and color to fit your brand.

Are there other uses for annotations?

Even if you don’t leave the annotations in the final version of the chart, they are handy for working out math for the increases, decreases, and transition sections in your design. Simply turn the annotations on when you start charting, use them to get all of the elements of your design placed just where you want them. Then go back to the Edit Diagram menu to turn the annotations off.  Notice how easy it is to check the stitch counts in each row. This is a very simple chart so the annotations aren’t really necessary but I am sure you can see how useful this could be in complex lace or cables. It is even handy with colorwork.

I hope you find annotations a handy tool with your designing. If you have found another way to use them that I haven’t covered here, leave me a comment or email me so I can add that to a future tutorial.

You can find out more about Stitchmastery software on their website.

Supplies gathered for garter tab cast-on

Seamless Garter Tab Cast-on (Without Tears)

One of the things I do regularly is scroll through knitting groups on social media to see what techniques or pattern wording knitters are struggling with. I then use this information to make my own patterns better and suggest things to help you make yours better too. Something I hear a lot of people whining about is the garter tab cast-on. Some people utterly despise this rather innocuous cast on. Why all the hate? I decided to investigate.

The Problem

The complaints about garter tab cast-on come down to two main issues – the crochet provisional cast-on and picking up stitches along a cast-on edge. The grumbling about a provisional cast-on centers around the technique. First, it requires you to find a crochet hook, then to remember how to use a crochet hook to do a knitting cast-on (since it isn’t a technique most knitters use regularly), and then to remember which end of the cast-on to use for unzipping (because who wants to spend time picking out scrap yarn on stitch at a time). The grousing about the second method is that it leaves a seam or a ridge on one side of the work that rather spoils the uniformity of the edge. And to be honest, picking up stitches along a cast-on edge is fiddly at best.

The Theory

So, I set about finding a way to do a garter tab cast-on that didn’t involve picking up stitches on a cast-on edge OR finding a crochet hook. Being an avid sock knitter, I wondered if the provisional cast-ons used for beginning toe-up socks could be applied. Turkish, Figure Eight, and Judy’s Magic Cast-ons are all create beautifully seamless, so I couldn’t see why it wouldn’t work. Armed with a double pointed needle (dpn), a circular needle, and my yarn, I set out to test the theory.

Before you tell me that finding a dpn is just as much trouble as finding a crochet hook, the following technique will work with any type of spare knitting needle, a cable needle, a tapestry needle, or if you don’t have one of those a bamboo skewer, a pencil, a toothpick, or an orange stick from your manicure kit will work if that’s all you have available. It will only have to hold a few stitches until you can knit the first row.

The Technique

To begin, hold the dpn and one end of the circular needle side by side. Then, cast on the required number of stitches using your favorite toe-up sock cast on. In the sample, I cast on five stitches using the Turkish cast-on method. I choose Turkish because it is the fastest (just wrap the yarn around the needle) but if you like Judy’s Magic or Figure Eight cast-on better, either one of those will work equally well.

Turkish cast on

Next, slide the circular needle so half the cast-on stitches are resting on the cord and the other half are on the needle ready to knit.

Slide half the stitches to the circular needle cord.

Using the circular needle as the working needle, knit the first half of the cast-on stitches (I knit 5 stitches). If you were knitting a sock, you would now rotate the work and knit the other half of the stitches but instead, you will leave those stitches on the cord and ignore them for a bit.

Knit the first half of the cast-on stitches

Turn your work, because you will be working flat for a bit, and knit the 5 stitches you just knit, leaving the other half of the cast-on held on the cord for now.

Knitting the garter tab (leaving the second half of the cast-on held on the cord.

Continue working flat until you have knit the number of rows required by the pattern (usually twice the number of stitches that you will pick up along the edge). Here I have knit 30 rows because I plan to pick up 15 stitches along the garter edge. You now have a long strip of knitting with half of the live stitches on the needle and half of the live stitches resting on the needle cord.

Garter tab complete

Now, rotate your work 90-degrees clockwise and pick up one stitch for each garter ridge on the edge of the piece. In my example, I picked up 10 stitches.

Picking up stitches along the edge of the garter tab.

Now, you are back around to the stitches held on the cord.

Back to the stitches held on the cord.

Slide those stitches onto the left needle.

Slide second half of cast-on stitches onto the needle.

Now, knit the stitches that formed the other half of your provisional cast on.

Completed garter tab cast-on.

Boom! You have finished your garter tab cast-on without having to pick up cast-on stitches or find a crochet hook. This approach produces a seamless tab that is completely reversible.

You may commence your regular shawl knitting now.

 

 

Measuring knitting gauge.

Round and Round – Unit Conversion and Its Impact on Knitting Gauge

Not long ago, I stumbled upon a discussion of unit conversion in knitting patterns.  There was some concern that converting units from imperial to metric units introduced error in a pattern. It was even suggested that each unit should be calculated separately to prevent error. But I started checking the math and discovered that sometimes simpler is better.

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