Kara Gott Warner is the editor of Creative Knitting magazine. She's also a mom and a lover of anything having to do with two crazy sticks and some fabulous yarn. On this blog, Kara will share tips, tutorials, book reviews, contests and in-depth designer interviews, all dedicated to the craft of knitting.
Everybody loves a good sale, especially one where items like knitting patterns and books with all products discounted up to60% off! The Annie’s Spring Cleaning Clearance is going on right now. There are 700+ products on SALE!
If you want to get a jump-start on some quick-knit gift making, take a look at some of my top picks. You can purchase these now at a discounted price, but remember that quantities are limited and when they are gone, they are gone!
As my special treat to you, we’re giving a way a free copy of the Stitch Sampler Slippers, featured in the Summer issue of Creative Knitting magazine. I’ll be guiding you along with way in a three-part video series, where I’ll demonstrate three different stitch patterns that you can choose from to make these adorable slippers.
Stitch Sampler Slippers, designed by Laurie Gonyea and featured in the Summer 2013 issue of Creative Knitting magazine.
In this informative video, designer and Creative Knitting Newsletter editor Tabetha Hedrick provides some quick tips on ways to use stitch markers as “life lines” in your lace and openwork knitting so you can focus on fun instead frustration!
If you haven’t had a chance to check out the Creative Knitting Newsletter, you can read the current edition here, which includes Tabetha’s insightful interview with Jill Wright, designer of “Selene,” which is featured on cover of Easy, Everyday Openwork & Lace.
Creative Knitting Special Interest Issue: Easy Everyday Openwork & Lace.
Close up of lace stitch pattern on Selene.
What’s even more exciting, now you have a chance to win the yarn featured in this project. Hop on over to the Creative Knitting Facebook page to enter here for your chance to win!
1 Grand Prize: Winner’s choice of either:
9 balls of Panda Silk (winner’s color choice) + #3 needles
8 balls of Mini Mochi (winner’s color choice) + #15 needles
2 Runner-Up Prizes:
2 balls of either Panda Silk or Mini Mochi
*Winners will be picked at random by Crystal Palace Yarns and will be notified by email directly from Crystal Palace Yarns.
When I first thought of writing this post, my initial inclination was to save this for another topic, but then I came to the conclusion– “why not write this as a Quick-Knit Tip?” I’m not really going to talk about knitting, but it involves yarn, it’s quick and it is a tip. So here goes…
As I was winding a gorgeous yarn from my stash into a nice pull-skein, (or at least trying to) all of a sudden a knot appeared out of nowhere. What an odd phenomenon that knots and tangles occur out of nowhere! How on earth could some simple little strands become an entangled mess?
As I was trying to make heads or tails of where to begin salvaging this lovely skein, I was fully aware of my impatience and frustration. I then began to sweat mildly while I was trying to fix the crazy tangles. I was ready to end it. You know– cut the yarn and be done with it, but I just didn’t have it in me. How could I possibly cut into this exquisite yarn? So, I decided to take a breath, and attend to this twisted maze.
To my surprise, I started to enjoying the process, and began marveling at how the yarn managed to intertwine upon itself. Just a few minutes later, it was set free and wound up into a tidy pull-skein ready to knit my next project!
A perfect little pull-skein. I can’t wait to knit!
So what a “happy accident” this was. I was able to not only save this yarn from an untimely death, but I also cultivated a little patience in the process. I then found myself letting go and began to notice how beautiful the light streaming into my window was. For the most part, the day was dreary and overcast, but all of a sudden, the sun made an appearance and shed some light and inspiration into my little craft room. I had to quickly seize the moment. Carpe diem!
Behold the beauty of a simple strand of yarn.
Instead of jumping right into knitting, I felt compelled to play with the yarn. I let go like a child at play. Being spontaneous like this doesn’t happen to often in my world, because my brain is constantly looping with “should do’s” every minute of the day, but this moment was so spontaneous and liberating.
Quick-Knit Tip: Don’t feel like knitting? Create some yarn art!
Quick-Knit Tip: Print your photos, frame and display them in your craft space.
Letting go felt so good…even if just for a moment. Give it a try today!
Want to see more tips like this? Contact me at: editor@CreativeKnittingMagazine.com, or leave a comment on this post.
Now that spring is in the air, it’s nice to start thinking about creating knitted garments and accessories that are light-weight. Cumbersome knits, even those made with DK- weight yarns with dense stitches just don’t cut it when the weather begins to warm up.
Garments created using openwork and simple lace techniques can easily be achieved. All you need is an open mind and these 4 things:
Set of size U.S. #13 knitting needles
Set of size U.S. #10 knitting needles
Worsted or DK-weight yarn
Lace or fingering-weight yarn
Now, let’s play around with the simple garter stitch pattern shown in the photo below. I did nothing fancy here except every six rows I changed yarn and needle size. Here’s how I did it:
Cast on the desired number of stitches using the size #13 needle and worsted or DK-weight yarn.
Step 1: With #13 needle, knit 6 rows with worsted or DK-weight yarn.
Step 2: Change to lace or fingering weight yarn and size #10 needle. Knit 6 rows.
Repeat steps 1-2 for pattern.
If you want to explore more of what lace an openwork has to offer, you may be interested in the Creative Knitting Special Interest Issue: Easy, Everyday Openwork & Lace which includes 43 ways to enhance and grow your lace and openwork knowledge.
Also…check back here soon because I’ll be posting a tutorial video by designer and Creative Knitting Newsletter editor Tabetha Hedrick. In this video, Tabetha will show you ways to create the look of openwork–effortlessly. You don’t want to miss her video!
If this is the first time you’ve heard of Patty Lyons, Lion Brand Studio’s Studio Director, then you are in for a treat! I’ll admit, this was one of the most efficient Q&A interviews I’ve done to date, because from the moment Patty and I began our discussion she was off and running! I was immediately impressed with her initiative, and when I expressed this, she laughingly recalled how a previous interviewer stated the experience as all “A and no Q.”
Listening to Patty describe her day, or share details about a new class she’s teaching, it’s clear that she’s truly passionate. It reflects in everything she does–the Studio experience, her teaching style and her personality. Patty’s big picture mentality shines through brightly as she happily choreographs every detail of her vision. Thanks to Patty, there certainly was no dead silence or awkward moments during our interview. We hit things off instantly and I felt a definite connection.
Let’s get started with the “A,”with a little bit of “Q!”
KGW:So when did you first learn how to knit?
PL: I first learned from my grandmother at a young age. She was a combination knitter and was told she was knitting “wrong.” I dabbled, but then put it on the burner for a while. I didn’t really become and obsessive everyday knitter until 2000. I used to be a stage manager on Broadway. Many hair and wardrobe people knit backstage and they would pull out projects from their aprons. This idea was so attractive to me, so I began taking classes, and became a certified knitting instructor.
KGW:What was the turning point that made you want to turn knitting into a full-time career?
PL: In 2005, I started teaching in the “green room,” which is where actors would wait before going on set. On the road with Jersey Boys in 2006, I came to a turning point. It was at this time that I decided that I didn’t love theater as much as knitting.
I first thought of purchasing a shop in New York City, managed a local yarn store for a year, but then 2008, I came to Lion Brand. Owner, David Blumenthal “wooed” me. He enticed me to join the company, and share his dream of wanting to open a Studio that would serve as a branding site and wanted someone to create it from the ground floor. It was too good an opportunity to turn down, so I went for it. David told me: “Do what you do” and let me run with it. His vision for the Lion Brand Studio was to be like the “Apple Store” of yarn. I saw something beyond just a store. I envisioned an event and education space too.
Front window of the Lion Brand Studio, New York City.
Window installation from Winter 2012.
We started with one class and one event. Then, this morphed into just under 200 courses in knitting crochet, machine knitting, wet felting, yarn dying, etc., with eight staff teachers and three class rooms often running at the same time. Teachers come from all over the world, offering classes by Ysolda, Nicky Epstein and Lily Chin to name just a few.
Lion Brand Studio showroom.
KGW: How does your own style and view on life fit into your way of knitting?
PL: ”If only life were like knitting” because I strongly relate to fixing mistakes. When I encounter a problem, I first search for the diagnosis. I teach knitters to “read” their knitting. Then, decide what is the treatment? What steps need to be taken to fix this? You can’t be a good knitter without dropping some stitches. My opening shtick during Knitting Doctor, offered each Wednesday night goes like this: In a very (pretend) serious way I say: “do you know what happens when we make a mistake?” I then scream: “NOTHING” It’s knitting, we can just fix it. You can control knitting from beginning to end– you can’t do that in life!
KGW: What does a typical day “at the office” look like?
PL: Running a yarn store Studio is not as glamorous as one might think. I’m tied to my computer on most days, but Wednesday is my fun day because I get out of the office to teach Sweater School, then Knitting Doctor in the evening. It’s really the best time to interact with knitters. This mix provides a much-needed solution to break up the week. I also get to “play with yarn.” It’s a win-win!
To take Patty’s online class on Fixing Mistakes, Click here for the “Knitting Doctor.”
Also, Patty’s article “Simple Fixes in Lace” is featured in the new Special Interest Issue of Creative Knitting: Easy, Everyday Openwork & Lace. In this tutorial, Patty shows you how to effortlessly fix a mistake in lace knitting. To get your copy, click here.
Here it is! My third and final installment of a 3-Part Series on Chart Reading. In this short Lunchtime Quick-Knit Tip Video, I will demonstrate a few more rows of the Scroll Lace knitting chart.
In this video, I will show you how to purl two stitches together through the back loops which can be tricky at times, but with a little practice and help from this video, you’ll quickly get the hang of this technique. I’ll also briefly explain how to “read your knitting” so you can understand why purling through the back loops is necessary in this pattern.
If you’re ready to explore all that lace knitting has to offer, you may want to take a look at Creative Knitting’s new Special Interest issue Easy, Everyday Openwork & Lace. This publication offers a systematic approach to lace and openwork, with each chapter opening with a self-guided tutorial. Topics include: fixing mistakes in lace, using stitch markers as “lifelines,” reading charts and blocking techniques specifically geared towards lace and openwork.
I have a confession: I really hate knitting with double-point needles. The problem is that I knit a lot of hats so I need a plan B, which in my case is using a circular needle for the whole process. This is accomplished using the ingenious technique known as Magic Loop. The method was invented by Sara Hauschka and was originally described in a lovely little book by Bev Galeskas. A long circular needle is used to knit small circumference items (as small as four stitches). The extra length of the cable loops out either side like kangaroo ears. Search the Internet and you will find any number of demonstrations about how to use Magic Loop, or buy Bev’s book from Annie’s.
As much as I love Magic Loop, I think there are a few drawbacks to the method. First, it can get tedious and slow pulling all those loops through, and the loops can stretch out your knitting. If you always keep them in the same position you can get a pronounced gap.
I’ve come up with a technique that I call Half Magic Loop. I think it’s a lot faster and it doesn’t stretch out my knitting. I start in the traditional way with loops out both sides and work a few rows, and then I switch to Half Magic Loop. Here’s how: Pull the needle cable so that all the stitches are collected on the left needle and a short loop of the cable. This is similar to knitting with a 16-inch circular needle. Then pull all of the extra cable into a long loop that is on the right side of the knitting.
Begin knitting, and when the stitches are stretched as much as possible on the left loop, reposition the needles. To do so, pull the right needle toward you and then to the right so that the stitches slide off the right loop and onto the left loop. This becomes a quick maneuver and the stitches sort of make a satisfying little pop when they transfer to the left loop. To start knitting again, just position the right needle to knit and a new loop is automatically formed on the right. Sadly, Half Magic Loop only works if you have enough stitches. You’ll find that you need to go back to traditional Magic Loop method when you start decreasing the stitches to shape the crown of a hat. I generally use a 32-inch needle to make a hat and a 24-inch needle for mittens.
A slight tweak to Half Magic Loop also makes it really useful for Fair Isle knitting. If you’re working Fair Isle with longer floats it can be really hard to control the tension of the floats if the new color yarn is pulled across the gap in the knitting made by the loop.
What I do is pull out the right side of the loop as usual, but then find a position in the middle of the stretch of stitches where the new color was last used (the color that will be making the float). I pinch the cable at that position and reposition the right loop there instead.
Now you will find that you can spread out the stitches of the old color across the needle before you start the new color thus making tidy, properly tensioned floats.