Knitting Advice and Tips

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!


Ease Question on the Talia Shaped Vest pattern

Dear SweaterBabe,

I am having trouble with the gauge and sizing for this project [Talia Shaped Vest]. It seems to me that if I cast on the required stitches for the small size and achieve 16 stitches over 4 inches, than I will have a garment that measures 42" inches around the hips and 35" at the bust. 136/16 x4=42 etc.

The math doesn't seem to work out. Is this just that a 2" ease isn't included in the final measurements? If this is correct than, I would make a size small. If it isn't correct, than I would make the medium. I don't know what to choose.

Thank you for your help,

-- Lynda

Dear Lynda,

The 16 sts = 4" is the correct gauge for the St st portions, but not the same for Garter and the Lace Panels....

So, the finished measurements take into account the different gauges.

The ease is only maybe 0-2" for this vest. It is meant to be fitted.

If you prefer a little space so you can wear a woven shirt under the vest, then you might wish to use the next size (the M). It may also depend on whether you plan to wear the vest open or closed.

Hope that helps!

Best, SweaterBabe

P.S. In the Finished Photo Gallery Category of this Blog, you can see some photos of this vest as it's worn - might help you see how you'd like to wear it!


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 


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 


Knitting Squares

Hey SweaterBabe,

I was just wondering. I'm making squares to make a baby blanket. I cast on 50 stitches and I was wondering, would I need to knit 50 rows to make it an even square, or would I need to knit 100 rows?

-- Brianna

Dear Brianna,

Neither!  Most stitches are not perfectly square, nor are they half as tall as they are wide.

What you are asking is based on your knitting gauge, i.e. how many stitches and rows equal X inches given your knitting tension, the needle size, and the stitch you are using.

For example, a common knitting gauge with medium weight yarn might be 14 sts and 18 rows = 4".  So, to make a 4" square, you would knit 14 sts and 18 rows. 

To make a square with 50 sts, you will have to calculate that 50 sts divided by (14 sts/4") =  approximately 14.25".  To get 14.25" of rows, you need to knit (18 rows/4") x 14.25 = approximately 64 rows.

So, measure your knitting gauge (by making a swatch and then measuring it), then you can calculate exactly how many rows will get you the same length as your 50 stitches.

Best,

SweaterBabe


Multiple of 8 sts plus 2.

Hi SweaterBabe,

Just wondered when a pattern says to chain in multiples of 8 plus 2, how do you decide how many chains to do? Thanks

-- Maya

Dear Maya,

When a pattern says to cast on or chain a multiple of 8 plus 2, it is only explaining how the stitch pattern works.  That lace, cable, or whatever stitch pattern works if you have 8 + 2 chains (or stitches), 16 + 2 chains (or stitches), 24 + 2 chains (or stitches), etc.

Keep looking later in the pattern and it should say chain X, X being the very specific number of chains that are needed to make the project in the pattern.  If not, then I think there must be a typo!

Happy crocheting and knitting!

SweaterBabe


Measuring knitting rows.

Hello Sweaterbabe,

When a pattern says, "Knit until the length is so many inches", do you measure from the stitches on the needle, or only the actual fabric just below?

Thanks, Carolyn  

Dear Carolyn,

I believe it doesn't really matter, as long as you are consistent for the same project.  That being said, I always measure from just under the needle.  That is how I've learned from books and it is easier to do (since what you are measuring is flat).

I don't think it really matters, especially if you aren's using the really bulky needles (sizes 15 or more).  One row won't affect the overall length much in these cases.  But you do want to make sure that whatever row measures that X" for you is the same row you use for the front vs. the back, the left sleeve vs. the right sleeve, etc. 

Also, if you are measuring up to a certain length to bind off, that last row that is on your needles will get "bound off" and often "used up" in the shoulder seam.

AND, a lot of times a pattern will say, work until body measures X", ending on a WS row.  If you end up just having done a RS row when you measure X", then you will have to work an extra row to get to the correct side of your knitting anyhow.

Hope that answers it!  Just be consistent.

Best,

SweaterBabe