This is going to be a much used website for me! I detest the “decrease x sts evenly across row” instruction in patterns! With this, the headaches become a thing of the past. Hooray!
In making the Frog Beanie, I learnt something that I think is useful for anybody who knits pictures. It would be very tedious indeed to portray ragged things, like grass, by using the normal Fairisle or intarsia methods. I wanted just that effect on the Frog Beanie though! After a few moments’ thought, I came up with a solution and the result demonstrated that it works. Quite simply: slip stitches! As I knitted the next row of a new colour (blue on the beanie) above the two rows of green (the grass base), I randomly slipped a stitch instead of knitting it! By slipping it purlwise, with the yarn in the back on knit rows/in front on purl rows, an extended green stitch was carried up through the blue. I also applied swapping by moving a stitch onto a cable needle and holding it at the front or back (depends on which will leave the slipped stitch visible on the right side) and then knitting/purling or slipping the second stitch to the right hand needle before knitting/purling or slipping the stitch off the cable needle. That swapping gives a nice angled stitch. The trick is to make sure that the slipped stitch stays visible on the right side and that it doesn’t get twisted! I didn’t need anything too tall so didn’t make much adjustment to the tension of the stitches to be slipped. If you want to raise it by several rows, though, I suggest that you make those stitches somewhat looser than the rest in the row where they’ll originate.
Assuming that the “right side” will be predominantly the knit view of stocking stitch, not the purl, then you’ll find that the distinctive V shape of a knit stitch enhances the effect.
A similar process would undoubtedly work with making other contributions to a picture, such as branches/twigs, vines, and such, especially using swapping as well.
Yesterday, I discovered a great piece of software! Knit Design Studio by Savannah Winds allows charting of knitting designs, with a good range of symbols set up for your use. You can even design cables in it! It’s not only excellent for creating your own charts. I have often come across charts that can rapidly become confusing when accommodating different sizes of garment, with the need to leave out some symbols when working smaller sizes. It’s very simple to transcribe the chart, excluding the unwanted symbols, for the size that you’re working on using this software. The printed chart (and any notes you might add in the instructions page) will make working much simpler.
I’d rate this as one of the best programs for knitters that I’ve seen, and it’s free!
This describes anchoring a short row segment for adding other sections of knitting, for example a beard on a toy pattern. In fact, I’ll use the beard as the example throughout!
Knit up to the row where the top of beard will be placed. Knit up to and including the stitch immediately prior to the stitch where the beard will be placed. Switch to the the beard colour. Knit the number of stitches stated for the top of the beard (note: this could be either the starting row or the cast off/bind off row in the pattern you are working to). Thread a stitch holder through these stitches (retaining the stitches on the needle!) and hold on the right side (RS) of the fabric. When you have completed these stitches, revert to the previous colour and continue working the pattern as written. On completing the piece, e.g. head/head & body, and prior to sewing up, follow the next instructions.
If the pattern works the beard from bottom to top, you will need to invert it! You MUST work from top to bottom. Insert the appropriate size needle into the stitches held on the stitch holder, or slip them from the holder to the needle. Follow the pattern for the beard either as written or in reverse as appropriate. You will finish up with the beard already attached, in the right position. If it refuses to lie flat, it can be secured using the tail of yarn between the main fabric and the beard. Finish the piece off as usual, making sure that the beard’s yarn tails are also woven in to hide them.
You may wish to improve the look in some instances, such as the beard in the example above, by having one or two more stitches of the main fabric, in the grafted piece’s colour, either side of those required to be held on the stitch holder. This process could be used to attach pockets too, but in that case, you would knit the pocket from bottom to top and you would still need to sew the sides of the pocket onto the main fabric. In fact, there may well be other instances where this could be applied.
A final note: It’s much easier to follow this process once the main fabric is no longer held on a needle!
Many of the toys I’ve knitted involve sewing down to the cast on edge, where you are then told to pass the yarn through the cast on stitches to create a drawstring effect. I did this several times and found the results less than pleasing. Now, if the pattern includes this process, I start with a longer yarn tail when casting on. Once I have all the stitches cast on, I thread the yarn onto a darning/tapestry needle and thread it through the stitches before going on to the first row. When that part of the project is completed, I have a drawstring already in place for the cast on stitches edge! You do have to be a little bit more careful doing the first row, avoiding splitting or picking up the threaded yarn, but it works so much better.