Ask SweaterBabe

Help on Chic Cowl Neck Cables

Dear Knitters of the Chic Cabled Cowl Neck,

I've had a few emails where I've confused knitters on how the Cowl of this Cowl Neck is to be knit!  Sorry!  Here is an explanation that I emailed a knitter that helped to clarify the instructions.

It is actually a more complicated looking thing than it really is to knit!  I promise!

You basically have for each Round of the Cowl (assume size XS):

[p6] [Braided Cable A] [p6] [Braided Cable B] [p6] [Braided Cable A] [p6] [Braided Cable B] [p6] [Braided Cable A] [p6] [Braided Cable B]

Now, on EVERY Round, EXCEPT the Cable Twisting Rounds, which are Rounds 5, 11, 17, 23, 29, 35, 41, and 47 (i.e. every 6th Round), you are doing the same thing:

[p6] [k2 (p2, k2) 3 times] [p6] [k2 (p2, k2) 3 times] [p6] [k2 (p2, k2) 3 times] [p6] [k2 (p2, k2) 3 times] [p6] [k2 (p2, k2) 3 times] [p6] [k2 (p2, k2) 3 times]

Notice that for the above, it doesn't matter if it's Cable A or B, the non-cable twisting rounds are all the same "k2, (p2, k2) 3 times".

Now, on Round 5 of the Cowl, the 1st, 3rd, and 5th Cables (the "A" cables) will do the Cable Twist like this:
Round 5 of the Braided Cable [RS – Cable Twist]: *Sl 4 sts onto cable needle and hold in front, k2, p the 2 p sts from cable needle, k the 2 sts from cable needle*, p2, rep from * to * once more.

BUT, the 2nd, 4th, and 6th Cables (the "B" cables) will do the Cable Twist like this:
Round 11 of the Braided Cable [Cable Twist]: K2, p2, sl 4 sts onto cable needle and hold in back, k2, p the 2 p sts from cable needle, k the 2 sts from cable needle, p2, k2.

On Round 11 of the Cowl, the A cables will do this:
Round 11 of the Braided Cable [Cable Twist]: K2, p2, sl 4 sts onto cable needle and hold in back, k2, p the 2 p sts from cable needle, k the 2 sts from cable needle, p2, k2.

While the B cables will do this:
Round 5 of the Braided Cable [RS – Cable Twist]: *Sl 4 sts onto cable needle and hold in front, k2, p the 2 p sts from cable needle, k the 2 sts from cable needle*, p2, rep from * to * once more.

Round 17 of the Cowl will be like Round 5 of the Cowl.

Round 23 of the Cowl will be like Round 11 of the Cowl, etc., etc.

I hope this helps clear up some confusion!  I really designed it this way so it would look really intricate, but not be hard to do.

Let me know if I need to explain more!


Changing Colors in Crochet

Hi Sweaterbabe,

I have read a million tutorials about this and can add a new color without problem. What NOBODY explains is what to do with the old color and how to fasten it off. Please help!!!

Thanks,

-- Melissa

Dear Melissa,

Good question!

It sounds like you are joining the new color by crocheting over it for a bit before changing to it?

If you aren't, then I believe you will have to deal with the tail of the new yarn as well as the tail of the old yarn, i.e. hide them and fasten them off somehow.

Regardless, all yarn tails are usually best taken care of by weaving them in using a yarn tapestry needle after the granny square or project is done.  The other alternative is to crochet over the old strand for several inches to fasten it off (however, this is not a very secure option. It's still best to weave in ALL ends.)

To weave in a yarn tail, thread it into a yarn tapestry needle.  Then, weave the needle into your crochet fabric (in an area of the same color as the yarn tail) so as to hide the needle (and therefore the yarn) so it will not show on the right side of your work.  This can be easy if you have a solid block of sc or other crochet stitches to hide inside.  This will be a bit more challenging if you have a lacy crochet stitch, in which case you need to weave the tapestry needle through the more solid parts of the stitch to try to hide it.

Try to run the needle and yarn through the fabric for at least a few inches to really secure the yarn tail.  This is more important if the yarn is at all slipperly (like a silk blend) of if the finished project will be subject to a lot of wear and tear.  You really want to weave in enough to prevent the tail from worming itself out and then maybe causing a hole in your finished project.

Additionally, I like to weave the yarn in an inch or so in one direction, then another inch or so in a different direction.  This will help prevent ends from working themselves out.

If you are working on a farily solid crochet fabric (like all sc fabric), then crocheting over the old yarn tail may be a good option.  It just means to hold the old yarn in back of your work and work your next stitches as normal, but also around the old yarn.  The old yarn will basically be encased inside these new stitches.

This is a good method only if the stitches really are close together and the hidden yarn color won't show through the stitches.

I think I might have over-answered you, but hopefully I've given you a complete answer!

-- SweaterBabe

If you have a knitting or crochet question for SweaterBabe, please email it to advice@sweaterbabe.com.  (Please do NOT post it as a comment here.) 

Sorry, but due to the large volume of questions, not all questions can be answered, but many are selected and answered here on the Blog and in the SweaterBabe.com newsletters.  Thanks!


Sc in ring

Dear SweaterBabe,

I'm attempting to crochet snowflakes and every one of them begins with ch6, join with slip st to form a ring, then ch1, (sc in ring, ch5) 6 times.

I understand what this means, except for the part about single crochet in ring. Does it mean I go around the ring again with sc? It doesn't look like all the pictures, so I don't know what to do! Any help would be greatly appreciated!

-- Confused Crocheter

Dear Confused Crocheter,

"(sc in ring, ch 5) 6 times" means to do what you see in the parentheses 6 times. 

"sc in ring" means to work a sc into the ch6 ring that you just formed by chaining 6, then joining with a sl st to form a ring.  To do so, insert your hook in the ring formed by the ch 6, then yo, pull through a loop, yo, pull through both loops on your hook.  You have completed a sc in the ring.

Working "in ring" is just working your crochet stitch into a big space instead of on top of another crochet stitch.

Since you will do this 6 times, you will end up with 6 sc all worked into the same ch-6 ring that you created at the very beginning.  This will make up your first ROUND for the snowflake.

Sorry if I didn't answer this in time for the holidays!  I hope working in a ring makes sense now.

-- SweaterBabe

If you have a knitting or crochet question for SweaterBabe, please email it to advice@sweaterbabe.com.  (Please do NOT post it as a comment here.) 

Sorry, but due to the large volume of questions, not all questions can be answered, but many are selected and answered here on the Blog and in the SweaterBabe.com newsletters.  Thanks!


Using Stitch Markers

Dear Sweaterbabe,

I am a new knitter.

I have read somewhere that markers can be carried up as one knits. I wonder if this means that as one knits, the markers can be knitted into stitches of the next row (thus carrying them up) instead of manually removing them and then placing them into the relevant stitches of the next row which is what I am doing now. I find this very tedious and slow especially in a complicated pattern and I would have to count the stitches often while placing these markers.

Your help is very much appreciated. Thank you.

Best regards, New Knitter

Dear New Knitter,

Maintaining the placement of stitch markers as you knit should be easier than you've been experiencing.

Anytime you are working your pattern and come across a stitch marker, you should be able to just slip the marker from your left needle tip to your right needle tip (like you slip a stitch).  This should keep your marker in the same place from row to row.

I hope this makes sense.  Please let me know if there is more to your question!

Best,

SweaterBabe

If you have a knitting or crochet question for SweaterBabe, please email it to advice@sweaterbabe.com.  (Please do NOT post it as a comment here.) 

Sorry, but due to the large volume of questions, not all questions can be answered, but many are selected and answered here on the Blog and in the SweaterBabe.com newsletters.  Thanks!


K2tog vs. Skp

Dear SweaterBabe,

I, too, am knitting my first cardigan.

I believe I understand the reverse shaping with one pestering question: When I make the left front (have already knitted the right front) and I need to decrease stitches: where I had decreased for the Right Front using the pattern instructions K2Tog. , will I now use the SSK decrease method since I am on the opposite side?

The pattern doesn’t specify. Can you help me? Thanks !

-- Karen E. in Gaylord

Dear Karen,

Yes - if you are wanting to "mirror" the effect you have on the Right Front side, you would do an SSK instead of the K2tog.

The K2tog slants right (when you are looking at the Knit side, i.e. the Right side of your work), whereas the SSK decrease will slant left.

This will give you a nice symmetric look to your shaping.

Sometimes it is not specified in the instructions which specific method of decreasing to use if the decreasing is happening along the edges and will be hidden inside the side seams.  Other times, it is omitted so the knitter can decide what their preferred method is.  I personally try to be explicit in all of my SweaterBabe.com patterns, but the standards are different for different pattern writers and publications.

Hope that answers it!

Happy knitting!

-- SweaterBabe

If you have a knitting or crochet question for SweaterBabe, please email it to advice@sweaterbabe.com.  (Please do NOT post it as a comment here.) 

Sorry, but due to the large volume of questions, not all questions can be answered, but many are selected and answered here on the Blog and in the SweaterBabe.com newsletters.  Thanks!


“End last rep” - what does it mean?

Dear SweaterBabe, 

Greetings... Uggg....I am stuck and do not know what to do. My pattern reads; Row 2: * K1, yo, k3, sl1, k2tog, psso, k3, yo, rep from * across (I understand this part), end last rep k1 (this is what I I am stuck on, I do not understand....I end my last yo, but then I am able to k1, yo, and then k2). I would greatly appreciate the help on what to do. Thank you for your time,

-- Patricia

Dear Patricia,

When it says "end last rep k1", it should mean "end last rep with k1 instead of k3, yo".  It should always be the very last part of the instruction that is different just for the last rep.  (Assuming a well-written, standard pattern!)

That being the case, I'm afraid you might have worked your row incorrectly or have the wrong number of sts if you are getting to the end of your row and still have enough to do k1, yo, k2, instead of just k1. 

I would suggest double checking the number of sts you have and making sure you are doing the "K1, yo, k3, sl1, k2tog, psso, k3, yo, rep from * across" correctly.

If neither of those suggestions fix your problem, then I would wonder if the pattern is just not well written...

My only other interpretation is that you are able to do a complete rep from *, then you still have one st leftover, which you can do your k1 with.  If this is the correct interpretation, then I believe it should have been written "end k1", instead of "end last rep k1".

Hope it works out!

-- SweaterBabe 


Confusing Crochet Instructions.

Dear Sweaterbabe,

I am fairly new to crochet. I have done several afghans, and recently bought a book of smaller projects. Crochet and Knit Simply Plushious.

The smaller projects seem to hit more confusing instructions for me however. In working Cropped top from the link, I hit this line which is simply not making sense to me.

Shape Right Neck-

Next Row(WS) Ch 3, sk first sc, dc in next sc, {work cable} 8 times, place marker in next st turn leaving rem sts unworked - (34) sts

Neck Decrease Row: ch 1, sc3tog (neck edge), sc in each rem st across; turn - 32 sts.

Next Row: ch 1, sc in each st across; turn.

Next Row: Ch 3, dc in next sc, [work cable] 8 times, dc in each of last 2 dc; turn.

(Here is the part which is confusing me dreadfully) Work 3 rows even in established pat. Rep Neck Decrease row twice more - 28 sts
(Does this just mean repeat from the neck decrease row 2 more times? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

-- Jessica

Dear Jessica,

Without seeing the stitch pattern... I am guessing thar you need to work 3 rows even (no decreasing) first.  I'm not clear whether these 3 rows are 2 sc rows, then a dc row?  I'd have to look at the photo or pattern to tell.  It should be clear from what you've been doing...

THEN, just the Neck Derease row 2 times.  Just that row, not the rows that are after it.  This is the interpretation if I take the instruction very straight-forwardly, which is what most well-written patterns expect you to do!

Hope that makes sense!  As usual, I always recommend interpreting instructions in the most direct way, not presuming any words were left out first.  Then, follow your gut as to what you see in the photo and what makes the most sense for what you are making.

Sigh!  I prefer patterns that are more explicit about what row you are on and what to do on each specific row number; however, because people have different row gauges (yarn substituting and natural variation in knitting and crochet tensions), and patterns are often written to save space, you can end up with instructions like these that are not so clear.

-- SweaterBabe


Working 2 balls of yarn because of dye lots.

Dear SweaterBabe, 

I recently bought some fine merino wool called Merinos 8 Shadow. It came with this Notice/Suggestion. “. . . . .special dye process that produces gentle shading and subtle variations . . . . . . To alleviate any possible striping, we suggest that you join 2 skeins of yarn and alternate them every 2 rows.” How exactly do I do this?

-- Lorena

Dear Lorena,

For some yarns, there is natural variation eve within dye lots because of the dyeing process.  That's when they recommend that you alternate from 2 balls of yarn throughout so you won't don't end up with a project that has sections that look like different shades of the same yarn.

To alternate yarn every 2 rows, use the same technique you'd use to add a stripe to your project.

For instance, begin knitting or crocheting with ball #1.  Work 2 rows of your project.  Then, join in the 2nd ball at the end or Row 2/beginning of Row 3 and work Rows 3 and 4.  You can join by just picking up the strand from ball #2 and using it to knit or crochet.  It will feel "loose" because you have not knotted it to anything, but just keep using it and you can secure it later when you weave in all your loose ends at finishing time.

After Row 4, you should be on the same edge of your work where you left ball #1 hanging.  Just drop the strand from ball #2 and use the strand from ball #1 to work the next 2 rows.

Repeat this last step, alternating balls #1 and #2 every 2 rows.

This method does assume you are either making a project where the "edges" of your work will end up in a seam, or the little bit of yarn that is carried over the 2 rows on each edge (whichever ball is unused for 2 rows) are not too noticeable.

Hope this answers it!

Of course, if you see no discernable difference in the shadings/colors of the balls of yarn you are using, then don't bother!

Best,

SweaterBabe


Bind off 4 sts at beg of next 2 rows.

Dear SweaterBabe,

Bind off 4 stitches at beg of next 2 rows. Does this mean bind off 2 stitches each side to equal 4? or Does it mean 4 stitches on each side witch will equal a total of 8?  Thank you.

-- Irene

Dear Irene,

YES - it means to bind off 4 sts at the beginning of your next row.

Then, bind of 4 sts at the beginning of your next row.

So, you end up with 4 sts bound off at EACH end for a total of 8.

When in doubt, try to read the instructions as directly as possible.  Each word is deliberate in a well-written pattern.

Hope that answers your question!  It applies to both knitting and crochet patterns, particularly when shaping armholes and shoulders.

-- SweaterBabe 


Crocheting with Boucle Yarn

Dear Sweaterbabe,

I would like to crochet a shawl, but do not want to use the recommended yarn. The yarn I would prefer to use is one of the boucle yarns. Do I have to make any adjustments to account for the knobbiness of this yarn? Please advise. Thank you.

Dear Crocheter,

Hmm... good question.  I generally don't recommend crocheting with a yarn that is too knobby, but if it is just a little and you don't run into problems working with it, then give it a try.

It's best if you can test it out first.  Just do a little swatch in the stitch pattern that will be called for in the pattern.  The issues I have with boucle are:
-- you may not be able to see where to place each stitch because the boucle makes it hard to see distinct stitches
-- the boucle may have big loopy parts in the yarn that cause your crochet hook to get caught and slow you down or create other problems
-- the boucle yarn will product a different gauge because the boucle part will create more fabric where a "normal" yarn would not

This swatch really is your gauge swatch, which you should do just to be sure the yarn will work to your satisfaction.

One note is that if this pattern is one where you will mostly be working stitches into arches or spaces, then the boucle effect might be just fine.  Here is an example of a shawl pattern that works just fine with any kind of yarn because the crocheting is all done in the big spaces.

Best,

SweaterBabe