Spotting the kfb Stitch 101

If you, like me, get distracted while knitting and frequently lose your place, you might appreciate this little hint for working the Totally Triangular Scarf. If you can’t remember if it’s time to work the kfb increase or not, (do I work it on this right side row? or did I just work it on the previous right side row? darn, I can’t remember…) learn how to spot it in your knitting. That way, you will know exactly which row you worked it on and which row needs it next.

The kfb increase leaves a little bar in your knitting each time it is worked. It’s not very visible, particularly in garter stitch (which is why I like to use it in garter stitch), but it can be seen if you look for it. Here’s a photo of my Totally Triangular Scarf in progress. The arrows point to the kfb bars. The kfb increase is worked every four rows.

kfbstitchThe above photo shows the right side of the knitting, ready to work a right side row. We are repeating Rows 3 – 6, but did I just work Row 3 or 5? I can’t remember. As you can see by the arrow, I worked Row 6 with the kfb two rows ago, so that means I must have just worked Row 3 and Row 4 is next. Whew. But look at this next photo. Where am I now?

kfbstitch2I can see that I worked Row 6 with the kfb four rows ago, so Row 6 is up next.

Similarly, when you are working the decreases, you can spot the k2tog stitches by looking closely for two stitches knitted together.

I hope these photos help you to identify where your kfbs are in your knitting. It sure helps me to keep track of where I am in the Totally Triangular pattern!

Michelle

 

 

Friday Follow-Up: Online Knitting Highlights for the Week of July 21st

Here’s what I’ve been watching this week in the online knitting world:

  • Two new surprises were added to Knitty.com’s First Fall 2014 issue: Thisbe – socks by Nancy Green, and Change of Heart – a cowl by Justyna Lorkowska.
  • Sweaters remained popular on Ravelry’s Hot Right Now list with Amy Miller’s Victoria, Thea Colman’s Amaro, and the Purl Bee’s Bamboo Shell.
  • And Knitpicks is having a site-wide sale: 10% off!

Have a great weekend! Michelle

What is Friday Follow-Up? My Friday Follow-Up is a weekly blog feature. Every Friday, I follow-up the online knitting events of the week with my own take on things.

Free Pattern: Totally Triangular Scarf

If you enjoyed the Truly Triangular Scarf, then try your hand at this one. With one small change to the pattern, you get a longer, narrower scarf. In this pattern, the same number of stitches are cast on and bound off. The same amount of yarn is used. Remember to weigh your yarn before you begin and periodically while working the increase section. You will want to start decreasing when half the yarn is used up. This pattern is also great for just one skein of yarn, or however much you have on hand.

Totally Triangular Scarf Knotted

The Totally Triangular Scarf is also a garter stitch scarf and it uses the same increase and decrease stitches – kfb (knit into the front and then the back of the stitch) and k2tog (knit 2 stitches together). The difference is that the increase and then decrease stitches are worked on every second right side row, causing the scarf to increase and then decrease more gradually, creating a longer, leaner triangle. If you like a scarf with long ends to wrap around your shoulders, this is the pattern for you.

Totally Triangular Scarf full view

I have used the same slipped stitch edge on this scarf. To make this edge, the first stitch of every row is slipped knitwise (as if to knit) while holding the yarn at the back of the work (wyib). The last stitch of every row is purled. It helps to work these first and last stitches tightly to maintain a smooth edge.

Totally Triangular Scarf closeup

When a pattern lacks embellishment or complexity, the yarn is what can make it truly beautiful. I have used  Malabrigo Rastita here again. It is a slightly felted merino wool. It is a DK weight yarn. Any sport to worsted weight yarn could work well with this pattern. Gauge isn’t too important.

Materials

  • 1 skein of Malabrigo Rastita (100% merino wool; 310 yd [283 m]/3.53 oz [100 g]). Shown here in Sabiduria.
  • US size 8 [5.0 mm] needles, or size needed to obtain gauge.
  • 1 stitch marker.
  • Blocking materials.

Gauge

  • 17 sts and 26 rows = 4 inches [10 cm] in garter stitch, after blocking.

Stitches Used

  • k – knit
  • p – purl
  • sl – slip the stitch from left to right needle as if to knit, with yarn in back
  • kfb – knit into the front and then the back of the stitch (increase)
  • k2tog – knit 2 stitches together (decrease)

Instructions

Weigh yarn. Half of the yarn will be used for the increase section and the remaining half for the decrease section. Weigh yarn periodically as you work to see how much is left. All slipped sts are slipped knitwise (kwise) with yarn in back (wyib).

Cast on 3 sts.
Setup Row 1 (WS): Sl1, kfb, p1.
Setup Row 2 (RS): Sl1, k1, place marker, kfb, p1.

Increase Section:
Row 3 (WS): Sl1, k to marker, slip marker, k1, p1.
Row 4 (RS): Sl1, k1, slip marker, knit to last st, p1.
Row 5: Sl1, k to marker, slip marker, k1, p1.
Row 6: Sl1, k1, slip marker, kfb, knit to last st, p1.
Repeat Rows 3 – 6 until half of yarn has been used. Weigh yarn periodically to check.

Decrease Section:
Row 7 (WS): Sl1, k to marker, slip marker, k1, p1.
Row 8 (RS): Sl1, k1, slip marker, knit to last st, p1.
Row 9: Sl1, k to marker, slip marker, k1, p1.
Row 10: Sl1, k1, slip marker, k2tog, knit to last st, p1.
Repeat Rows 7 – 10 until 4 sts remain.

Next Row (WS): Sl1, k1, remove marker, k1, p1.
Next Row (RS): Sl1, k2tog, p1.

Finishing

Bind off the remaining 3 sts. Weave in all ends. Wash and block to desired measurements.

This photo shows how the Truly Triangular Scarf (the red scarf) and the Totally Triangular Scarf (purple scarf) compare. One increases and decreases quickly and the other more gradually. Which shape do you prefer?

scarves compared

 

The Truly Triangular Scarf pattern can be found here: Free Pattern: Truly Triangular Scarf.

A helpful tutorial that shows how to spot the kfb stitch in your knitting can be found here: Spotting the kfb Stitch 101.

Free Pattern: Truly Triangular Scarf

The sideways shawl, or scarf is a popular knitting pattern. It starts with only a handful of cast-on stitches, increases to the middle, and decreases back down to the same number of stitches that were cast on. So, if you don’t enjoy casting on or binding off loads of stitches or have a hard time binding off loosely enough to match the cast-on, then the sideways scarf is a great pattern.

Truly Triangular Scarf
Another benefit to this type of pattern is that you can use however much yarn you want or have available. Weigh your yarn before starting on a small kitchen scale. Then weigh the remaining yarn periodically while you work the increase section and when half the yarn is left, begin decreasing. This is the perfect way to use up some stash yarn! Plus, it’s a great pattern for one skein of yarn.

The Truly Triangular Scarf is a simple garter stitch sideways triangular scarf. The increase stitch used is kfb (knit into the front and back of the stitch) which is a great choice for garter stitch as it is nearly invisible. The decrease stitch used is the k2tog (knit 2 stitches together), also nearly invisible in garter stitch. The increase and then decrease stitches are worked on every right side row, causing the scarf to increase and then decrease quite sharply, creating a true triangle shape.

Truly Triangular Scarf full view

This pattern has a slipped stitch edge on every side of the triangle. I love using this edge stitch, especially on a garter stitch shawl or scarf. It makes a lovely neat and clean edge. To make this edge, the first stitch of every row is slipped knitwise (as if to knit) while holding the yarn at the back of the work (wyib). The last stitch of every row is purled. It helps to work these first and last stitches tightly to maintain a smooth edge.

Truly Triangular Scarf closeup

When a pattern lacks embellishment or complexity, the yarn is what can make it truly beautiful. The yarn used here is Malabrigo Rastita. It is a slightly felted merino wool. It is a DK weight yarn. Any sport to worsted weight yarn could work well with this pattern. Gauge isn’t too important.

Materials

  • 1 skein of Malabrigo Rastita (100% merino wool; 310 yd [283 m]/3.53 oz [100 g]). Shown here in Cereza.
  • US size 8 [5.0 mm] needles, or size needed to obtain gauge.
  • 1 stitch marker.
  • Blocking materials.

Gauge

  • 17 sts and 26 rows = 4 inches [10 cm] in garter stitch, after blocking.

Stitches Used

  • k – knit
  • p – purl
  • sl – slip the stitch from left to right needle as if to knit, with yarn in back
  • kfb – knit into the front and then the back of the stitch (increase)
  • k2tog – knit 2 stitches together (decrease)

Instructions

Weigh yarn. Half of the yarn will be used for the increase section and the remaining half for the decrease section. Weigh yarn periodically as you work to see how much is left. All slipped sts are slipped knitwise (kwise) with yarn in back (wyib).

Cast on 3 sts.
Setup Row 1 (WS): Sl1, kfb, p1.
Setup Row 2 (RS): Sl1, k1, place marker, kfb, p1.

Increase Section:
Row 3 (WS): Sl1, k to marker, slip marker, k1, p1.
Row 4 (RS): Sl1, k1, slip marker, kfb, knit to last st, p1.
Repeat Rows 3 and 4 until half of yarn has been used. Weigh yarn periodically to check.

Decrease Section:
Row 5 (WS): Sl1, k to marker, slip marker, k1, p1.
Row 6 (RS): Sl1, k1, slip marker, k2tog, knit to last st, p1.
Repeat Rows 5 and 6 until 4 sts remain.

Next Row (WS): Sl1, k1, remove marker, k1, p1.
Next Row (RS): Sl1, k2tog, p1.

Finishing

Bind off the remaining 3 sts. Weave in all ends. Wash and block to desired measurements.

The Truly Triangular Scarf increases and then decreases sharply, creating a true triangle shape. What happens when the increasing and decreasing happen more gradually? Try the Totally Triangular Scarf!

scarves compared

 

Friday Follow-Up: Online Knitting Highlights for the Week of July 14th

Here’s what I’ve been watching this week in the online knitting world:

Have a great weekend! Michelle

What is Friday Follow-Up? My Friday Follow-Up is a weekly blog feature. Every Friday, I follow-up the online knitting events of the week with my own take on things.

A Beautiful Lace Stole – and a knitalong, too!

Just released… the Heavenly Stole knitting pattern. This beautiful and delicate rectangular lace stole is a close cousin to the very popular Heavenly Cowl pattern. The same heavenly stitch is used at each end of the stole, but as the pattern moves toward the middle, it changes to small and then large diamonds creating a beautiful centre diamond panel.

 

This stole is worked flat from two ends and grafted together, closer to one end, with Kitchener Stitch. All wrong side rows are purled. The first four and last four stitches of each right side row create the edge.

Join us in my Ravelry group – Leah Michelle Designs – for a late summer KAL for this pattern. There are free patterns and a skein of yarn to be won. There is more info here. Plus, in celebration of the KAL, the pattern will be available until the end of July for 25% off – use the coupon code Heavenly.

Happy knitting!
Michelle

Friday Follow-Up: Online Knitting Highlights for the Week of July 7th

Here’s what I’ve been watching this week in the online knitting world:

  • Cardigans are hot this week. Julia Trice released Reverie and Alicia Plummer’s Sandshore was mentioned on the front page of Ravelry. Both cardigans moved up the Hot Right Now list on Ravelry this week.
  • Franklin Habit released a beautiful sideways shawl pattern – Vitamarie Shawl. I love sideways shawls!
  • Laura Nelkin offered up a free scarf pattern – Forza Scarf - in anticipation of her upcoming book: Knockout Knits.

newforza2

  • Knit Simple Magazine’s fall issue was delivered to tablets and computers everywhere. The print version is on newstands July 22nd.
  • A new Malabrigo Quickie pattern was posted on the Malabrigo blog this week: Sisterhood by Marina Orry. It’s a cute cable hat worked in Rios.

Copie_de_Copie_de_P1020759_autoadjust-green-r_medium2-1

Have a great weekend! Michelle

What is Friday Follow-Up? My Friday Follow-Up is a weekly blog feature. Every Friday, I follow-up the online knitting events of the week with my own take on things.

Friday Follow-Up: Online Knitting Highlights for the Week of June 30th

The Friday Follow-Up is a new feature on my blog. On Friday, I will follow-up the online knitting events of the week with my own take on things. Here’s what I noticed in the online knitting world this week:

  • Some great tank/sleeveless top patterns were released on Ravelry: Dafne by Julie Hoover, Lateen by Bristol Ivy, and Beekeeper’s Tank by Nicole Montgomery. I love them all!
  • Over on the purlbee.com, another tank pattern: Tulip Tank. This is a fun one with a tulip petal-like wrap effect on the back. Very clever.tulip-tank-top-600-18
  • Joji Locatelli released a new cardigan pattern: Grandpa Cardigan, and it quickly shot to the top of the Hot Right Now list on Ravelry.
  • Two new sock patterns from Rachel Coopey: Anis and Danae. Her socks are so cute.
  • Alicia Plummer and Melissa Schaschwary announced a 50% off summer sale on their patterns. Coupon code is splash and the sale runs until July 5th. I picked up Alicia’s Birchbark sweater pattern!
  • Also on Ravelry a new group emerged: Designed in Canada. It’s a great place to find Canadian designers!
  • The Knitpicks.com summer yarn sale runs until August 4th. Check it out!
  • Oh, and in celebrity news, Katherine Heigl revealed this week that she once considered quitting Hollywood and opening a knitting store. That’s something we can all relate to… well, not the Hollywood part, but the knitting store…. You know what I mean.

Have a great weekend! Michelle

Shawlette Blocking 101

Are you thinking about trying a sideways shawl or shawlette pattern but you’re not sure how to block it? Or, you’ve finished knitting one and you’re convinced that there is no way you can make it look like the finished photo in the pattern? Well, blocking a sideways shawlette is about as easy as knitting one.

These shawlettes are so easy. You don’t have to cast on or bind off a lot of stitches. You start with a few stitches at one end, increase to the middle, and decrease back down to a few stitches at the other end. My Sweet Summer Shawl starts and ends with 18 stitches. Lacy Lady Shawlette, with 14. And the best one yet is my Zigzag Diamond Shawl which starts and ends with only 6 stitches. Another great feature is that these types of shawlettes are worked in one piece. The lace edging is knitted along with the garter or stockinette body. It isn’t added on later. Plus, these patterns usually only require one skein of yarn. Perfect for that single skein of luxury fibre or hand-dyed yarn, right?

Often, these shawlettes are knitted in a fingering weight yarn on larger needles. Both my Sweet Summer Shawl and Zigzag Diamond Shawl were designed in SweetGeorgia Cashluxe Fine, a merino/cashmere/nylon blend, and knitted on US size 6, or 4 mm, needles. Using a wool or wool blend yarn and wet blocking it is the key to achieving the shawlette’s finished size and gauge, opening the lace pattern, and making it as light as a feather around your shoulders. We know that wool will conform to any shape you choose when it is wet. And it will stay that way after it dries (until it becomes wet again). So. let’s take a look at how it’s done.

Here is a ‘before’ photo of my Zigzag Diamond Shawl, fresh off the needles:

IMG_7688

Weave in the ends, and then gather this equipment: a bowl (or you can use the sink!), water, some wool wash such as Soak or Eucalan, a towel to remove as much moisture as possible, and blocking tools. I will use pins and blocking boards to block this shawlette.

IMG_7691

Soak the shawlette in cool water and wool wash. Soak it long enough for the fibre to become saturated.

IMG_7694

Remove it from the water and gently squeeze the water out of it. Lay it flat on a towel and roll it in the towel, gently squeezing more moisture out.

IMG_7699

IMG_7700

Now it’s time to start pinning it out on the blocking boards. Piece the boards together into a shape that will accommodate the finished size of the shawlette. You can do this on a tabletop, or the floor. Start by pinning the long edge to the finished length measurement.

IMG_7701

Next, pull the centre point down and pin it to the finished middle point measurement. Pin every third or fourth point, working your way toward each end, in the desired shape.

IMG_7702

Then, pin all of the points in between. You might also need to add more pins now to the straight edge if it is being pulled by the pinned points. Use as many pins as needed to get a straight edge. I use a lot!

IMG_7703

Here is what my shawlette looks like once all of the pins have been placed.

IMG_7706

Oh, and I almost forgot…. There is one more piece of equipment that you might need for this process before you are completely done. If you live with furry friends who love to assist you while blocking, a lint brush becomes a necessary tool!

IMG_7704

That wasn’t so hard was it? Remember that ‘before’ photo? Here it is again, beside the ‘finished’ photo. What a difference blocking makes!

Here are a few links to my favourite blocking articles if you need more info:

“Knit.101: Beginner Basics: Blocking” – http://www.vogueknitting.com/pattern_help/how-to/learn_to_knit/finishing/blocking.aspx

“How to Block Knitting” – http://knitting.about.com/od/learntoknit/a/blocking_knits.htm

“To Block or Not to Block” – http://www.knitty.com/ISSUEwinter02/FEATdiyknitter.html

Michelle

It’s a Spring Shawlette!

Here is a beautiful new pattern just in time for spring. It’s a light and airy shawlette: the Zigzag Diamond Shawlette. It is designed in SweetGeorgia CashLuxe Fine and is shown here in Riptide.

This shawlette is worked in one piece from end to end. The lace edging is knit along with the body of the shawl. Only 6 stitches are cast on to begin and increases are worked throughout the setup and increase sections. Then decreases are worked through the decrease and finishing sections to bring the final number of stitches back to 6. The body of the shawl is stockinette stitch and the zigzag diamond lace pattern is super easy to work.

One skein, or approximately 400 yards, of fingering or sock yarn is all that is needed to make this gorgeous shawlette. The size is adjustable though, depending on how much yarn is used. Weigh your yarn ahead of time, using a small kitchen scale. Half will be used for the setup and increase sections and half will be used for the decrease and finishing sections.  Use more yarn to make a larger shawlette, or less to make a smaller one.

Blocking is important to open the lace pattern and to achieve the finished size. If substituting yarn, choose a fibre that blocks well.

IMG_7706My test knitters have created beautiful shawlettes with Madelinetosh Merino Light, KnitPicks Stroll and Stroll Tonal, Malabrigo Finito, Vice Carnal, and SweetGeorgia CashLuxe Fine in Pumpkin. Check them out!

Michelle