Celebrating Stripes

A Class Anniversary

Some years ago now I worked with one of my favorite editors, Kara Gott Warner, and the folks at Annie’s Craft Store to develop an online class, Colorwork Without the Work. The class covers simple ways to work with color in stripes: basic stripe patterns worked flat and in the round, helix knitting, mosaic knitting (stripes with slipped stitches to make patterns!), and vertical intarsia stripes. As a project-based class, it also includes tutorials on techniques like working from a temporary cast-on, grafting in garter stitch, reading charts, and three-needle join.

Colorful Striped Coasters

This week I’m celebrating the anniversary of the class release with a post on stripes, specifically three-color one-row stripes worked flat, something I didn’t cover in class. Work the swatch coaster and you will also learn how to work the e-loop cast-on and work a sewn bind-off.

Grab three colors of DK or worsted weight cotton and US 5-6 needles, and let’s make some stripes!

Normally when we knit flat we work in pairs of rows: out then back, odd row/even row, RS row then WS row. Working one-row stripes in two colors requires working with double-ended needles and using a special move called the slide. Add a third color, however, and there’s no special needles or moves required. The yarn you need to use next will always be waiting for you on the other side.

Have a read through the coaster instructions, and then scroll to the skills section to get started!

Use this project to stretch your color muscles! Pull out your color wheel and use it to select a color triad. Or choose a key color and its split complementary hues. Or make it a study in light and dark: choose a hue, and a tint and tone.


Colorful Striped Coasters

three-color one-row stripes

4-5 g each worsted weight cotton in 3 colors A, B, C
US 6 needles
tapestry needle, scissors

With A and using e-loop cast-on, cast on 20 sts. Leaving tail of B, join B and knit one row. Leaving tail of C, join C and knit one row.

Row 1: With A, knit.
Row 2: With B,  knit.
Row 3: With C, knit.

Repeat rows 1-3 until piece is square (check by folding one corner of the cast-on edge diagonally up to the needle; if it meets the end stitch then the piece is square), approximately 4 inches from cast-on.

Cut the last yarn used and the one on the far end, leaving 4-6 inch tails. Leaving a tail 3-4 times the width of the piece, cut the yarn for binding off and thread on tapestry needle. Using sewn bind-off, bind off.

Skills

E-Loop Cast-On

The e-loop or loop cast-on is not my favorite cast-on but it is the right one for imitating a one row stripe. Be sure to hold the tail tightly as you cast on the first few stitches as they tend to want to fall off the needle. Use the same caution when you work into those loops on your first real row.

Join B And C

Turn the work as usual at the end of the A cast-on. Leave a tail of B and with B, knit across the row. Turn the work. Leave a tail of C and with C, knit across the row. The working yarns for C and A will be at one end, and B at the other. As you continue working back and forth, use the yarn that is next in the sequence (A, B, C) and which should be waiting for you as you finish the current row.

Switching Yarns

When you get to the end of a row there will always be two yarns at that end, the one you just used and the one you need to use next. To switch to the new yarn, simply drop the one you just used and let it hang where it falls. Pick the new one up and take it to the back to begin knitting or to the front to begin purling.

Binding Off: Sewn Bind-Off

Leaving a tail 3-4 times as long as the piece is wide, cut the yarn you will use for the sewn bind-off and thread it through a tapestry needle. Hold the work in one hand and with the other, *insert the tapestry needle purlwise and right to left through the first two stitches, pull yarn through. Insert the tapestry needle knitwise from left to right through the first stitch, then slip this stitch off the knitting needle. Repeat from * , adjusting tension of the sewn stitches to match the fabric, until all stitches have been slipped off.

Want More Stripes??

Take a stripes class with me at STITCHES Salt Lake!

I’ll be teaching Stripes of the Circular Type on Thursday, October 3, 2019 from 9-noon. You will learn how to carry yarns up the inside, minimize “the jog,” try helix knitting, and make mobius stripes. I’ll also talk about principles of contrast and repetition, and strategies for creating your own stripe patterns. Let’s make stripes in the round! Learn more here.

Yarn Over Twice: Double the Fun!

Knitters can make any project lacy by working with needles much larger than what the yarn at hand calls for. The space in the center of any stitch will be the size of the needle, and the strands of yarn that form the loop will expand and contract as you stretch the fabric. But real lace, the lace we all ooo and aahhhh over, has intentional holes in patterns of openwork moving over the knit fabric, lines of compensating decreases snaking sinuously, crossing geometrically, or hiding surreptitiously among the eyelets. To work real lace you need to know how to make those decreases, and how to work a yarn over. Yarn overs make the lace knitting world go round.

Creative Knitting Summer 2017, Lace Sampler

In this post we’re going to look at double yarn overs—at working two yarn overs in a row. If you have never worked a yarn over, check out this tutorial from last spring. Two of the stitch patterns in the Lace Sampler shawlette I designed back in 2015 (republished in the Spring 2017 issue of Creative Knitting Magazine, shown left) have two yarn overs in a row. Each uses a different way of working into the yarn overs on the following row, and we’ll look at both.


Swatch: Hourglass Lace (mult of 6 sts +8; 8 rows)

The Hourglass Lace pattern is used in the middle of the three Lace Sampler panels. The yarn overs and decreases form offset zig-zags in the shape from which it takes its name. The double yarn overs form the large open space at the bottom of each hexagonal motif.

Swatch: Mira Lace (mult of 8 sts +2; 16 rows)

The Mira Lace pattern is used on the outside panel of the shawlette. The pattern formed by yarn overs and decreases is larger in scale than Hourglass Lace, and more like diamonds than hexagons. The double yarn overs here are also the bottom of the motif.

Swatch It to Learn It

Cast on several repeats of the pattern, plus three selvage stitches each edge to work in garter stitch so the swatch won’t curl at the sides. Begin every row “k3, slip marker” and end every row “slip marker, k3,” with the pattern stitches worked as given below. I’ve placed ring markers so I know where the selvage stitches end and the pattern stitches start. Work a few rows of garter stitch to prevent the bottom from curling before you begin the pattern stitch.

Use the key if you are working from the charts. Note the double yarn over is just two single yarn over boxes next to each other. If you are working from the written instructions, the abbreviation 2yo is used for two yarn overs in a row.

Twice Around The Needle

Two yarn overs in a row, or “double yarn overs,” can be used to elongate stitches, make an extra-large space to work into multiple times, or worked as two separate stitches on the return row to make a large eyelet below. Both our stitch patterns fall into this last category, and as such each must be worked separately on the following wrong side row. As you’ll see below, there are several ways to do so.

To work a double yarn over, simply take the yarn twice around the needle. Make sure both yarn overs stay on the right needle as you work the next stitch or stitches.

Hourglass Lace: K1, P1 Into the Double Yo

I’ve got three on each side, plus 20 in the middle: 2 pattern repeats (12 sts) plus the extra stitches to visually balance the pattern (+8 sts) for a total of 26. Rows 3 and 7 have double yarn overs. Right over each in rows 4 and 7 are the instructions for what to do: knit the first one you come to, and purl the second one. Notice you are taking both needle and working yarn to the opposite side as you work the second yarn over. The video shows what this looks like for both those who hold the yarn in the left hand and those who hold the yarn in the right hand.

Row 1 (RS): K2, *yo, ssk, k2tog, yo, k2; rep from * to end.
Rows 2 and all WS rows: Purl across, working (k1, p1) into each 2yo.
Row 3: K2, *k2tog, 2yo, ssk, k2; rep from * to end.
Row 5: K1, *k2tog, yo, k2, yo, ssk; rep from * to last st, k1.
Row 7: K1, yo, *ssk, k2, k2tog, 2yo; rep from * to last 7 sts, ssk, k2, k2tog, yo, k1.
Row 8: Rep Row 2.
Repeat Rows 1-8 for pattern.

Mira Lace: P1, P1-tbl Into The Double Yo

As for Hourglass Lace, cast on a few pattern repeats plus three selvage stitches on each side, then work several rows of garter stitch. I’ve got the 3 selvages each side, plus 18 in the middle: 2 pattern repeats (16 sts) plus the extra stitches to visually balance the pattern (+2 sts) for a total of 24. Rows 1 and 9 have double yarn overs. Right over each in rows 2 and 10 are the instructions for what to do: purl the first one you come to, and purl the second one through the back loop (tbl). Notice that again both needle and working yarn move to the opposite side as you work the second yarn over. The video shows what this looks like for both those who hold the yarn in the left hand and those who hold the yarn in the right hand.

Row 1 (RS):K1, *k2, k2tog, 2yo, ssk, k2; rep from * to last st, k1.
Row 2 and all WS rows: Purl across, working (p1, p1-tbl) into each 2yo.
Row 3: K1, *k1, k2tog, yo, k2, yo, ssk, k1; rep from * to last st, k1.
Row 5: K1, *k2tog, k1, yo, k2, yo, k1, ssk; rep from * to last st, k1.
Row 7: K1, *k2tog, yo, k4, yo, ssk; rep from * to last st, k1.
Row 9: K1, *yo, ssk, k4, k2tog, yo; rep from * to last st, k1.
Row 11: K1, *k1, yo, ssk, k2, k2tog, yo, k1; rep from * to last st, k1.
Row 13: K1, *k1, yo, k1, ssk, k2tog, k1, yo, k1; rep from * to last st, k1.
Row 15: K1, *k2, yo, ssk, k2tog, yo, k2; rep from * to last st, k1.
Row 16: Purl across.
Repeat Rows 1-16 for pattern.


Can you think of any other way to work into sequential yarn overs? Try them and see if they work!

Now Make Something!

The pattern for the Lace Sampler can be found in the booklet Plug & Play Cowls as well as in the Spring 2017 issue of Creative Knitting Magazine. The booklet contains instructions for over 50 for stitch patterns and edgings as well as directions on to design your own cowls. And there are five other cowl designs showcasing different cowl construction possibilities.

After the magazine came out I ran a knit-a-long/design-a-long with then-editor Kara Gott Warner. Want to try making your own version of the shawlette? Check out the #KnitWithBeth Lace Sampler post for resources and inspiration.

Finally, I want to share with you one of my favorite tools for visualizing the fabric produced by the k1, p2s of stitch patterns. I’ve written about Stitch Maps before, but JC has added a ton of new features in the last few years, from collections to super-wide cable crossings. I put the group of stitch patterns I used in the design-a-long into a Lace Sampler Collection for you to browse: try changing how many row or stitch repeats are displayed, highlighting sections, and using column guides. Awesome.

Until next time…

Scribble Lace Stripes

Back when I first began working in this crazy wonderful world of things to do with string, one of the recently-published books I just HAD to add to my library was Debbie New’s Unexpected Knitting. The title alone was intriguing—so unexpected. When I saw the cover, I immediately bought the book. It contains chapters on topics such as free-form, swirl, sculptural, cellular automaton, ouroborus, and labyrinth knitting.

And there is something called scribble lace. The name alone intrigued—scribble lace. It conjured images of authors and artists thoroughly absorbed in the rush to get their ideas down on paper. How would a knitter scribble ideas down with yarn?? Fascinating.

Left over fine mohair and Colinette Point Five

Scribble lace is actually a simple technique for placing squiggly thick yarn stripes across a diaphanous background of fine weight yarn. It is worked with needles of the size appropriate for the thick yarn. The hardest part is getting used to working the rows between the squiggles with the fine yarn on those fat needles.

I had quite a lot of short-ish lengths of Colinette Point Five (A) left after finishing the Big Blocks Afghan. While rummaging through the lace yarn section of my stash, I found a good bit of an unknown fine mohair (B) that seemed like it would make the perfect background for the stripes. And the pattern below was born. I hope you enjoy it!

About Scribble Lace

For a firm start and finish, the pattern begins and ends with an A row. For the cast-on, A and B are held together to make a temporary slip knot, then separated to work a long-tail cast-on, thereby making the first A and B rows.

When not in use, the A yarn is carried up the side edge. While working Rows 1-6, when A and B are on the same end, work as follows:

When you reach Row 7, both yarns will be at the same end. Leave B hanging, and knit across with A. Row 8 is worked with B. To get to where B is, slide the stitches to the other end of your double-ended needle: voila, you are ready to work the next row, alternating knit and purl stitches.

Why is Row 8 worked in a 1×1 rib pattern? To put the tops of the A loops on both sides of the fabric, alternating across the row. Repeat rows 1-8 until your scarf is long enough (or you are close to running out of yarn, like me!). Work the final row with A, working in rib pattern as you bind off.

As you work with the finer weight yarn, be careful to separate stitches on the left needle. They have a tendency to bunch up and you may think there is one when there is two. I’ve also had them jump in front/behind each other, appearing out of order. Spread the stitches out as they move up on your needle end.

As for combining yarn colors: there are many pleasing combinations! Choose colors to make foreground or background stand out, use similar hues for both A and B, or choose high-contrast brights. Once you get the hang of scribbling, experiment with more or fewer rows between “scribble stripes.” Try varying the relative weight of the yarns used (always use the needle size recommended for the thicker yarn, or even a size larger!). Have fun scribbling!

Scribbling Square Stripes Scarf

Materials

  • 65 yds #6 (super bulky) wt thick and thin yarn (e.g. Colinette Point Five or Malabrigo Gruesa), A
  • 230 yds #2-4 (fine to worsted) wt kid mohair/silk blend (e.g. Rowan Kidsilk Haze, Crystal PalaceKid Merino, Malabrigo Lace), B
  • US 15 [10 mm] circular or long double-pointed needle

Instructions

Holding A and B together, tie a temporary slip knot and put on needle. With A over thumb and B around index finger and using long-tail cast-on, cast on 24 sts, not counting slip knot. At end of first Row 1 below , untie slip knot.

Rows 1-6 with B and carrying A up the side it is on , knit.
Row 7 drop B; with A, knit; drop A.
Row 8 slide stitches to other end of circular needle where B waits, with B [k1, p1] 12 times.

Repeat rows 1-8 to desired scarf length, ending on a Row 6 row. Cut B; with A, work in [k1, p1] patt as you bind off. Fasten off last st.

Weave ends. Stretch scarf to “block” and open up lace. Cut and attach fringe if desired; sample has 9 lengths folded and attached to each end.


TNNA Summer 2018: Cleveland

Did you ever wonder how your local yarn store owner finds the latest and greatest products for her store? Sets up trunk shows of the latest patterns from a designer or yarn company? Knows which national instructors are available to teach workshops in the store? The National Needlearts Association (TNNA) is the organization through which many local yarn and  needlework store owners connect with wholesalers, designers, and teachers. Twice a year (January and June) it holds a conference open to needle arts professionals in which they can discover new products, take business and craft skill classes, and network with others in the industry. I’ve been to most of them in the last few years, and this year was no exception. I spent most of the last six weeks preparing to go, attending, and following up. Here’s a little bit about what I saw and did (click on the photo grid to see them full size!).

Cleveland Rocks

I’ve been to Ohio before, but never to Cleveland. The sum total of what I knew was from watching The Drew Carey Show. Right off the bat at the airport I learned that Cleveland was ALSO the home of Duck Tape (check out a little history of duct tape), and the place where Superman was created, though of course not born (that being on Krypton, as we all know). The show was held downtown at the Huntington Convention Center, spitting distance from Lake Erie and walking distance to some charming and fun neighborhoods. It was a great place to “have to go” for work, and is now on the list of places I wouldn’t mind spending a few extra days exploring.

The Show Floor

In front of the event registration desk is an area where vendors can set up displays showcasing their newest offerings. Sometimes the products are used to entice you to the vendor’s booth. In others it is the creativity of the display that makes you want to know more!

The Yarn Guys
Jeffrey and Dennis, aka The Yarn Guys. See that wall of color behind them? They are the exclusive distributor in the US and Canada of Rauma, fine quality Norwegian wool.

The show floor can be overwhelming. Much like a STITCHES event, there are aisles of booths with wondrous things to see and touch, old friends to reconnect with, and new friends to be made. The best strategy can be to do a pass around the entire floor to get a feel f or where everyone is and make meeting plans for later.

I made my round with my friend and show roommate, Kara Gott Warner of Power Purls Podcast. Power Purls is a “yarn crafting podcast for fiber-loving biz makers.” For those in the industry, it’s a great source of information and inspiration; it’s too easy to get in your own head when working from home by yourself. Kara’s advice can help you work around problems and get past your own inner nay-saying voices (ask me how I know ;). Even if you’re not in the biz of fiber crafting, there are many words of wisdom to apply to the routine of running a life in the 21st century, from learning on the go to being consistent.

superwomen
The superwomen I’m lucky enough to have as friends (l. to r.): Sarah Peasley, Kara Gott Warner, Gwen Bortner

After a nice lunch with The Usual Suspects, I headed back to the show floor solo. I have a design project in mind, and I needed to consult with some of my favorite vendors on their latest yarns. TrendsetterUniversal Yarn, Skacel, Louet, Malabrigo Yarns, Claudia Hand Painted Yarns, Prism YarnsBerroco—the folks at these companies all make wonderful yarns, and are in addition wonderful people. They’ve given me a lot of support, yarn and otherwise, over the years. I always look forward to catching up with them as well as using their yarns when I design.

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Me and the Palisade Tank in the Blue Sky Fibers booth at TNNA. Photo credit: Sarah Peasley :-)

And speaking of designing, let’s talk about the Blue Sky Fibers booth. They were showing new colors for their existing yarn lines and introducing two new yarns, Eco-Cashmere and Woolstok Jumbo. Browse their 2018/19 Lookbook to see the new colors, yarns, and patterns, including a pattern I designed, the Palisade Tank. It’s worked up in Spud & Chloë Fine, a blend of superwash wool and silk available in twenty-three colors. It’s always a kick to see one of my designs published, but this may be the first time I’ve seen one hung up at a wholesale show. Super jazzed!

Education

Leann Pressly presentation
Leann Pressly of Stitchcraft Marketing presenting “Planning and Executing Your Content Marketing Strategy in Five Easy Steps.”`

TNNA offers several professional development opportunities to members, from online webinars to in-person classes at shows to informal networking gatherings. The “Education Theater” was a large area on the show floor set aside for product demos and presentations. Topics ranged from what to look for in a payment processor to needle ergonomics to color and trends. I opted in to Leann Pressly of Stitchcraft Marketing‘s presentation on content marketing. With so many things in a day that compete for time, and some changes coming to my work in the next few months, I wanted to find out if there were faster or more efficient ways to get things done.

She spent quite a bit of time on what are called “user profiles” in software, aka knowing your customer. If your customers are mostly newer crafters, the patterns you design or sell should be written with more detail and explanation in order to help them be successful. If your customers are mostly experienced crafters who quickly grasp instructions, patterns should be written succinctly so the crafter can get on with working their project. After talking about profile, Leann put a nice framework around the process of creating and distributing content. For those looking to really up their game, she let us know about a new online course Stitchcraft Marketing has out called “Magic Wand for Social Media.” Good stuff!

Networking & Beyond

There are opportunities both formal and informal at the show. You run into people in aisles, getting coffee, and the hotel bar. You take breakfast meetings and set up lunches. And you meet new people at cocktail hours on the show floor or at receptions off-site. The Yarn Group held a reception at a local bar close to the convention center, with finger foods on offer and games to play. The magnetic Scrabble board soon displayed the words you’d expect, given the crowd (“fiber” “yarn” “sheep”).

A few snacks and Moscow Mules into the evening, the sound of karaoke filled the air, coming from one of the back rooms. I’m not normally one for singing along but there are just some songs I can’t resist. And this is the one I play over and over (turned up to *11* ;-) whenever a day is particularly difficult or circumstances particularly depressing. I went in, and I sang, with everyone else.

Because no matter what you do, you need to keep believing.

See you next time!

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