Ask SweaterBabe

3 sc in one stitch?

hi sweaterbabe,

i know this is going to sound dumb but i am trying to teach myself how to crochet. i started an afghan and it says to do 3 sc in a stich and i don't understand after the first sc where to place the hook to start the next on.

do i place it at the bottom where i started first one or up under the two new st that was made by the first sc stich? thank you for helping

-- terry

and from another crocheter:

Ok, so I am just starting and i don't understand how to follow these instructions... 3 dc in next ch How can you work 3 dc in one chain? Could you help me out? Thanks

-- Meghan

Dear Terry and Mehan,

It's easy to work multiple dc's or sc's in a single place, though I guess it seems strange at first!  But it does make for very pretty stitch patterns.

Anyhow, to work a second sc in the same st as the first one, just insert your hook in the exact same space/st as you did for the first sc.  If you can, imagine that the first sc never happened and just put another sc in the same place.

So, more specifically, insert your hook into whereever you'd like to place the sc.  In this case it's just the same place as you put the last sc.  Complete your sc as usual - yo, pull loop through, yo, pull through 2 loops on hook.  Your second sc is complete.

To do a third sc in the same space, insert you hook into that same sp again to position the next sc.  It might be a little tighter because that space is already used, but just use the pointy part of hook's tip to get in there.

The same idea goes for working multiple dc's in the same ch.  First, work the first dc in the chain, then yo (to start a dc) and insert your hook into the same chain (the exact same place you just used for the first dc) and finish the dc.  Repeat to put a 3rd dc in the same chain.

You now have multiple stitches that are gathered at the base because they are coming from the same st or chain, but are fanning out for a pretty stitch effect.

Hope that is clearer now!

-- SweaterBabe  


Neck and Shoulder Shaping.

Dear SweaterBabe,

Love your site - well I'm knitting my first summer top (I'm tired of making hats, scarfs and blankets) and have a question regarding the back. 

I find the "knitting language" to be challenging and I feel that I am doubting and questioning everything about this pattern  - can you help me with this? 

"For the Back - work as given for front except neck.  When work measures 17 3/4" bind off the 20 center sts.  Then bind off at neck edge on every alt row 3 sts once and 2 sts. once.  When work measures 18 1/8" bind off for shoulder shaping 7 sts on every alt row twice."   The begining of the instructions I understand - "work as given for front except neck"  - can you help me with rest?  Thanks again.

-- Confused Knitter

Dear Confused Knitter,

Yes - encountering knitting lingo for the first time can be rather challenging!  Let me break it down and translate it as best as I can for you:

"For the Back - work as given for front except neck."
You're good with this part, great!  Just follow the exact instructions for the back, but don't do the same neck shaping. 

"When work measures 17 3/4" bind off the 20 center sts."
When your knitting measures 17 3/4" from the beginning, you will need to bind off the center 20 sts to begin the front neck shaping.

So, work until your piece measures 17 3/4".  End with a WS row (so your next row is a RS row).

The RS Row: Knit to the center 20 sts, bind off 20 sts, knit to end.  You will now have a left and right shoulder to finish.  You can choose to do them at the same time, or put one set of sts on a holder to continue after the first shoulder is done.  I recommend just doing one shoulder at a time.

"Then bind off at neck edge on every alt row 3 sts once and 2 sts. once."
Let's say you bound off those center 20 sts on Row 100, a RS row.  Now, you will need to bind off sts at the neck edge to continue shaping the neck.

Now, for this next row, you have the WS facing you.  So, you will be working the right shoulder sts (continuing with the same ball of yarn) and you can now slip the remaining sts (for the left shoulder) on a st holder, or leave them on your needle and ignore them until you are finished with the right shoulder.

Now, remember that you can only do the bind off of 3 sts at the beginning of a row.  So, on this next row, you can't do it for the RIGHT shoulder because the neck edge is at the end of the row.  So, you just work the row even (no shaping). 
Row 101 (WS): Work even to end.

And here is the "every alternating row" part - it just means "every other row":
Row 102 (RS): Bind off 3 sts at beginning, work even to end.  [This is your "3 sts once"]
Row 103: Work even to end.
Row 104: Bind off 2 sts at beginning, work even to end. [This is your "2 sts once"]

Now the neck shaping for the right shoulder is done.  Your next instruction is:
"When work measures 18 1/8" bind off for shoulder shaping 7 sts on every alt row twice."
So, on the remaining right shoulder sts [and now I can see that there should be 14 sts left since your shoulder shaping is to bind off 7 sts twice and 7 x 2 = 14 sts], keep working even until your right shoulder is 18 1/8" from the beginning of your knitting.  Then, on your next WS row, you can begin the shaping [be sure to note the Row number so your left shoulder can match]:
Next WS Row: Bind off 7 sts at beginning, work even to end.
Next Row: Work even to end.
Next WS Row: Bind off 7 sts.  The right shoulder should be done.

OK - so now back to the left shoulder.

Join the yarn to continue with the left shoulder stitches from the row right after you bound off those center 20 sts.  This next row is the WS Row 101 and you are now back to: "Then bind off at neck edge on every alt row 3 sts once and 2 sts. once."
Because of the "every alt row" part, I wouldn't do the bind off 3 sts on this next row, but on Row 103 (remember, you can't do it on Row 102 because the neck edge is at the end of that row).
Row 101 (WS): Work even to end.
Row 102: Work even to end.
Row 103: Bind off 3 sts at the beginning and work even to end.
Row 104: Work even to end.
Row 105: Bind off 2 sts at the beginning and work even to end.

Now, you are left with "When work measures 18 1/8" bind off for shoulder shaping 7 sts on every alt row twice." 
So, for whatever row on the right shoulder you begain shoulder shaping, begin shoulder shaping for the left shoulder on the next row (since you can only bind off 7 at the shoulder when the shoulder is at the beginning of your row).

Whew!  I know it may still confuse, but if you follow along once with your knitting in front of you, it will make sense and future encounters with this type of standard instruction should be far less confusing!

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


Determining how much yarn to order.

Dear SweaterBabe,

I have found some bulky yarn on sale. The yarn skein contains 57.5 yards, needle size is 10-11 and 3.75 sts over 4". My vest pattern that I want to knit is for a needle size 13 and 2.5 sts over 4″. I need 400 yards for my vest.

My question is there a mathematical formula that I can use to determine how much yarn to order. Scared that I will not order enough and since this yarn is online I cannot knit a swatch.

-- Connie

Dear Connie,

You actually can easily detemine how much yarn to order since all you need is the yardage.

Your vest requires 400 yards and the sale yarn comes in 57.5 yard balls.  Therefore, 400 / 57.5 = 7 balls.  I might order 8 just to be safe.

However, what I'm wondering is if your question means that you will be doing any changes to the pattern.  A pattern that has a gauge of 2.5 sts = 1" (I think you meant 1", not 4") seems like a Super Bulky yarn vs. the sale yarn, which is Bulky yarn with a gauge of 4 sts = 1" (I think you meant 1", not 4" here as well).  I would actually be concerned that the yarn you are substituting may not be thick enough.

The only way to really test it will be to order it, do the gauge swatch, and measure it.

Best of luck and I hope I've answered your question!

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


How many stitches to cast on for a scarf?

Hi SweaterBabe,

I was wondering if you could tell me, how many stiches shall i cast on when i’m doing a scarf. I want to do a average scarf but i don’t know how many stiches to cast on.

Many Thanks Toni x Age 13 x

Dear Toni,

Good question.  And the answer is - it totally depends!

What needle size are you using?   What yarn weight are you using?  What stitch pattern are you using? 

And the real question is, what knitting gauge are you getting?

More on all this in a minute. 

If you are just a beginner doing the Garter Stitch and trying to figure out how many stitches to cast on for a simple scarf, then here are some easier/quicker suggestions....

-- If you don't mind winging it, take a scarf that you like and measure it's width (scarves are often 7-10" wide).  Cast on some stitches on your needle - like 30 sts.  Stretch/spread them out a little on your needle and see how many of those stitches get you the the same width of the sample scarf.  If you cast on too many, take those cast on stitches off the needle and undo them. If you cast on too few, just cast on how many more it looks like you need to meet the width of the sample scarf. This will give you a scarf width that is close enough.

-- Then, after knitting a few rows, you can check and see how the width is coming out.  If you aren't happy with it, start over and cast on more or less stitches to adjust.

If you wish to be more precise about the whole thing... then here is long answer:

-- The main thing you need to do is determine your gauge with the needles, yarn, and stitch that you will use for the scarf. 

To do this, knit a 4x4 or so swatch.  You'll be guessing how many stitches will get you 4" or more, so just cast on what looks like enough.  OR, go by the gauge stated on the yarn label and base it on that.  For example, if the yarn label says this yarn gets an average of 4 sts = 1" on size 8 needles, then assuming you are using size 8 needles (or larger), cast on 16 or more stitches.

After you have knit what looks like a square, bind off.

To be really precise, you should then block the swatch using whatever method you will be blocking your scarf.

Lay the swatch down flat on a table and measure across the stitches.  See how many stitches can measure exactly 4". If you end up counting partial stitches, then try for 3" and see if you can get "whole" stitches.

Once you have determined your stitch gauge, you can use it to calculate how many stitches are needed to create any width.

For example, if you are measuring 16 sts = 4", then you easily calculate how many sts to cast on for a 8" wide scarf: 16 / 4 = 4 sts to each inch.  Times 8" = 32 sts.  Cast on 32 sts.

The row gauge can also be determined by measuring your swatch.  This is optional for a scarf since you can just knit until the scarf is long enough for your liking.
Hope I've answered your question!  Sorry for the long answer, gauge is one of those topics that can be so important when knitting projects need to come out the right size (sweaters especially).  So, it's good practice to learn how to use it for simpler project first.

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


Increasing multiple stitches at the end of a row.

Dear Sweaterbabe,

I am working on a pattern for a baby undershirt and it calls for some drastic increasing. I can manage the part that says increase one stich at each end six times. But how do you increase 3 stiches at each end for two rows and then increase 5 stiches at each end for two rows??

-- J

Dear J,

To increase multiple stitches at the end of a row, you really need to "cast on" those stitches.  Is this increasing part to add the arms to the undershirt and you are working the undershirt from the bottom up?  That's my best guess.

To increase 3 sts at the end of a row, you can use the single strand cast-on method to add 3 sts.  First, wrap the yarn around your left thumb as shown:

Casting On Photo

Then, use your right needle tip to pick up the strand in FRONT of your left thumb from the BOTTOM up:

Cast On Step 5 Pihoto

 Here is the strand getting picked up:

Cast On Step 6 Photo

Remove your left thumb from the loop and let it form on your right needle.  You've just increased the 1st of the 3 sts.  Repeat from the first photo 2 times for 3 sts.  [Note: It looks like you added 2 sts here, but these photos were from a project that illustrated another technique as well.)

Cast On Step 7 Photo

Alternately, you can increase 3 by using a "knit on" cast on method.  For instance, if you just turned your work, knit the first stitch, but place this completed stitch on your left needle (just by slipping it back on - inserting your left needle tip into the stitch front to back).  You've just increased 1 stitch.  Knit this new stitch again and place the just completed stitch on your left needle.  Now you've increased 2 stitches.  Repeat again for 3 stitches.  Turn.

Knit your 3 new stitches and complete the row, then turn your work and add on the 3 for your other end using the same method to get your "increase 3 sts at each end."

Hope that explains it!

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


Changing Colors and Weaving in Loose Ends

Dear SweaterBabe,

I am sooooo frustrated with adding a different color to crochet item. I try and try to do the loop thru stitch before-- but ALWAYS they are the 1st ones to com apart when i wash the item. N E advice to help??

-- Donna from Iowa

Dear Donna,

As a knitting and crochet instructor, I always make sure I cover the topic of weaving in loose ends as the proper way to finish all knit and crochet items.  Unfortunately, so many knitters and crocheters are completely unaware of this finishing technique or were never really taught the right way to do it!  It's too bad, because doing it right can make all the difference in how long your projects will last (especially if they are to be washed frequently).

So, to answer your specific question, you are correct in changing to the new color by using the new color for the final "yarn over and pull through" of your last stitch.  However, I highly recommend that you leave a 6-8" tail of BOTH the new and old color.  These 6-8" tails will be the loose ends that will hang from your work until you are ready for finishing.  Then, they will be "woven" in at finishing to complete the project.

You can also tie the new and old colors together in a loose knot if you prefer (keep it loose so that you can undo the know when you are ready for finishing).  Otherwise, just leave them loose and any stitches next to the joining that need to be tightened can be tightened when the loose ends get woven in.

How do you weave in the loose ends?  Thread each of the 6-8" tails into a yarn/tapestry needle (a sewing needle that is made for yarn) and "weave" the needle into your knitted or crocheted fabric with the goal of hiding your needle (so that the loose strand will get hidden in your work).  For instance, if your loose end is at the edge or your work, begin poking your tapestry needle into your work starting at the edge and working in or along the edge (depends on where it can best be hidden).  As you poke your needle in the fabric, if you see large parts of your needle through your work, you should pull the needle out and try again. 

The goal here is to really bury the yarn inside the fabric.  For crochet fabrics, this is a bit easier due to the thickness of crochet.  I often hide loose ends in the insides of a row of single crochet, or along the base of a row of double crochet stitches.  For knitting, I often split the yarn and hide the loose end that way. 

I recommend weaving in the loose end for about 2" in one direction, then changing directions and weaving in the loose end another 2".  This sounds like a lot, but I believe it's necessary to ensure that that loose end will never worm itself out enough to cause anything to unravel.  This is especially important if the yarn is a slipperly silk or rayon blend.

Be sure to hide each loose end in its same color area.  And if you are hiding loose ends near a seam, just hide the end in the inside of the seam.

Hope that answers your questions!

-- SweaterBabe

Do you have a knitting or crochet question for SweaterBabe?  Email it to advice@sweaterbabe.com.  Please do not post it as a comment here.  Unfortunately, not all questions can be answered due to the large volume of questions, but many are chosen and answered here on the Blog and through the SweaterBabe.com newsletters. Thanks!


How do I increase X sts evenly spaced? For knitting and crochet instructions.

Dear SweaterBabe,

I know I am in over my head, but I can never seem to understand some patterns.

This is for an afghan.

Cast on 219 sts. work seed st for 2 (I am guessing this is 2 rows.)

Next row; work 7 seed sts over next 205 sts, increasing 21 evenly spaced;(where did the 205 sts come from I thought we were working with 219 sts?)work 7 seed sts--240 sts.

Help !! I thought myself to knit and for some reason I really have a hard time with some patterns, what am I missing?

--Brenda Morton

Dear Brenda,

I'm wondering if your pattern is just missing a LOT of punctuation!

Here is my best guess to what it is saying:

Cast on 219 sts.  work seed st for 2
I think it might mean 2" OR 2 Rows.  Is there no photo to go with the afghan?  You should be able to see if there is a 2" seed stitch border at the beginning or what just looks like 2 rows.

Next row; work 7 seed sts over next 205 sts, increasing 21 evenly spaced;(where did the 205 sts come from I thought we were working with 219 sts?)work 7 seed sts--240 sts.
This reads to me: Work seed st over next 7 sts, then increase 21 sts evenly across the next 205 sts, work seed st over the remaining 7 sts. 

The 7 sts on either side are for the seed stitch border.  Assuming this is probably close to 2", I actually now believe the first instruction above is to do seed stitch for 2" to get a border that is the same width all around.

To calculate how to increase 21 sts evenly across 205 sts, you need to do some math:
205/21 = 9.76.  So, if you were to increase after every 9th st, that would not be so even since 21 x 9 = 189, which still leaves 205 - 189 = 16 sts to work.  Looks like you need to do something like increase every alternating 9th and 10th stitch to have it be more evenly across.  [Note, at this point, if you are not so concerned about it being SO even, you can do the increase after every 9th st and be done with the math.]  ALSO, when I say "increase after a stitch,", I am assuming the "make 1" increase technique.

If you map that out, it looks like this:
Seed st for 7 sts; [work 9 sts, m1, work 10 sts, m1] 10 times, work 15 sts; seed st for 7 sts.

I would probably take the 15 sts at the one end and the 9 sts at the other end and split it out better...
Seed st for 7 sts; work 12 sts, [m1, work 10 sts, m1, work 9 sts] 10 times, work 3 sts; seed st for 7 sts.

I'm saying "work" because I'm not clear from the pattern if you are still in seed stitch for the 205 sts or in some other stitch pattern!  

Unfortunately, this seems like a poorly written pattern.  I would not be surprised if you encounter more confusing instructions as you keep going.  I HIGHLY recommend that you read through the rest and see if it makes sense.  If it really doesn't, consider finding another pattern!  To me, it's not worth the aggravation to work through a pattern that is just NOT written with clear instructions.

Hope that helps!

Best,

SweaterBabe


Understanding Armhole Shaping Instructions

Dear SweaterBabe,

I am knitting a cardigan and am working on the back piece from the bottom up. I am now starting to shape the armholes on both sides.

The instructions say to "Dec 1 st at the end of the next 3 rows, then on following 3 alternate rows, then on every following 4th row until 95 sts rem." I understand the first 3 row decreases but what does "on following 3 alternate rows, then on every following 4th row" mean?

My interpretations skew all the decreases on one side which is not right. The decreases should be even on both sides. I would appreciate any help you can give.

Thank you. Emily W.

Dear Emily,

First, I actually think there is a typo.  Most patterns will say "Dec 1 st at EACH end of the next 3 rows" so that shaping is happening on both ARMHOLES at the same time.  If that is assumed, does it all work?

Assuming there is that typo, let me explain the rest. 

Let's pretend your first armhole shaping row is Row 100.  This is what the instructions tell me to do:

"Dec 1 st at EACH end of the next 3 rows,...":
Row 100: Dec 1 st at EACH end.
Row 101: Dec 1 st at EACH end.
Row 102: Dec 1 st at EACH end.

"then on following 3 alternate rows,...":
Row 103: No decreasing.
Row 104: Dec 1 st at EACH end.
Row 105: No decreasing.
Row 106: Dec 1 st at EACH end.
Row 107: No decreasing.
Row 108: Dec 1 st at EACH end.

"then on every following 4th row until 95 sts rem.":
Row 109: No decreasing.
Row 110: No decreasing.
Row 111: No decreasing.
Row 112: Dec 1 st at EACH end.
Row 113: No decreasing.
Row 114: No decreasing.
Row 115: No decreasing.
Row 116: Dec 1 st at EACH end.
Row 117: No decreasing.
Row 118: No decreasing.
Row 119: No decreasing.
Row 120: Dec 1 st at EACH end.
... etc. until you have 95 sts left.  So, keep decreasing every 4th row (Row 124, 128, etc.) until you have 95 sts left.

I hope this then makes sense!  I'm pretty sure that the typo is part of the problem...

Best,

SweaterBabe


How to Begin Picking Up Stitches

Hi SweaterBabe,

I have just finished he main body of a baby cardigan and now have to pick up the stitches to make a border. I understand how to pick the stitches up but how do I start? How do I join on the wool in the first place? Thanks for any help.

-- Caroley

Dear Caroley,

To begin picking up stitches, there are 2 ways I can suggest.

You can make a slip knot with the yarn from your ball.  Then, use your knitting needle to pick up the first stitch by pulling the slip knot loop through the fabric.  This is then your first picked up stitch.

OR, you can skip the slip knot.  Just insert your knitting needle where you with the pick up the first stitch, wrap your yarn around the needle tip (as if you were knitting), and pull it through.  You are almost just hanging the yarn from the needle tip and holding it tight enough so the needle tip can get it through your fabric.

With this second method, the yarn will be loose (not anchored in any way).  Just keep picking up stitches and the tail that is left behind where you started is just another loose end that needs to be secured and woven in during the finishing step of the sweater.

Hope that explains it well enough!

Happy knitting.

SweaterBabe


What is Stocking Stitch and How Do You Do Reverse Shaping?

Here are two recent questions emailed to me.  The second one on "reverse shaping" applies to knitting as well as crochet. . .

Dear SweaterBabe,

I recently bought a booklet with patterns. Currently I am knitting mittens and they say to knit 4 inches of stocking stitches. What is a stocking stitch?

-- Francois C.

Dear Francois,

I believe Stocking Stitch is the same as Stockinette Stitch.  So, it is just alternating knitting a row (on the Right side of your work) and purling a row (on the Wrong side of your work).

If you are working in the round, and the Right Side is ALWAYS facing you, then just knit every stitch on every row to get Stockinette Stitch.

-- SweaterBabe

Dear SweaterBabe,

Hello! Please explain reverse shaping! Thanks!

-- JoAnn S

Dear JoAnn,

Yes, the dreaded "reverse shaping!"  When I see this in a pattern, I often cringe, even if just a little (because it means a little extra work for me!).

For example, if you just completed the LEFT FRONT of a cardigan, the instructions for the RIGHT FRONT may just simply say "Work as for LEFT FRONT, reversing all shaping."

Yup, so now what??  Hopefully the shaping is not too complex. . .

First, I would hope (and strongly suggest!) that you keep good notes as you do the LEFT FRONT.  Jot down EXACTLY which row you did the first bind off or decrease for the armhole (for example).  Then, also jot down every row that you do any further decreasing or shaping for the armhole... Do this for any waist, neckline, shoulder, and any other shaping that is done in the pattern.

Then, when you do the RIGHT FRONT, you can easily refer to your notes and see that on Row X, you began shaping the armhole, then on Row Y you decreased some number of stitches at the armhole edge, etc.

To "Reverse Shaping", you just do the same bind offs and decreases (or increases) at the same times, but on the other edge.  For example, the "armhole edge" on the LEFT FRONT is the beginning of the row when you are on the Right Side of your work.  The "armhole edge" on the RIGHT FRONT is at the END of the row when you are on the Right Side of your work. 

So, if the armhole shaping starts with some initial bind off (like bind off 3 sts)... and you did this on Row 50 (a Right Side Row) of your LEFT FRONT... then you would be doing this on Row 51 (A Wrong Side Row) of your RIGHT FRONT. 

Why?  Because this initial bind off is only done at the beginning of a row.  Staggering it by 1 row will not be noticable and this will mimic the "bind off 3 sts at the beg of the next 2 rows" that most likely started the armhole shaping of your BACK piece.

Then, if you did a decrease on every row 3 times, then every other row 3 times to complete the armhole shaping, you can go ahead and do the same now for the RIGHT FRONT, but be sure to do these decreases at the armhole edge, which is now on the opposite edge (of what it was for the LEFT FRONT).

This "reverse shaping" instruction can also appear for shoulder shaping.  Same idea.  Just do the same shaping steps, but do it at the other edge of your work.

Hope that explains it well enough!  The key is really to keep good notes on the shaping as you go.

-- SweaterBabe

Got a knitting or crochet question for SweaterBabe?  Please email it to advice@sweaterbabe.com.  Please do NOT post it here, as I can only answer those emailed to the address above.