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.

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.


National Craft Month Fridays!

craft monthMarch is National Craft Month, and in celebration of it, I’ll be bringing you a post every Friday for the next four weeks with a project and the skinny on how to make it.

Every project will involve yarn, delving into different ways to play with it. I love to knit, but I also love other crafts, so let’s see what else our fingers can do! Let’s get multi-craftual!

1 row stripesSingle Row Stripes

My November post included a mini-tutorial on working single row stripes and carrying yarns in the round. As with that project, our hands won’t be doing anything but knitting, though the end result will definitely have purls on it. It’s a good lesson in separating the fabric you want to make (product) from the process of making it (circular, in the round, knits, purls, etc).

Our end result is the fabric at right: single row stripes in two colors, nothin’ but knits. So how do we make it?

Grab two colors of yarn, an A and B, and double-ended (read: circular or double-pointed) needles two or three sizes larger than the yarn requires. With A, cast on for the scarf below or for a swatch of 12 to 20 stitches, depending on the yarn weight you’re using and how much you want to practice. I used the long-tail cast-on, but any cast-on will do (see 1 below).

1 row stripes_1

Turn the work, join B and knit 1 row. As you can see in (2), I don’t do anything special to join, just begin using the new yarn. At the end of this row (3), the working yarns for each color should be at opposite ends. Now: we’re alternating colors every row, so where is the working yarn you need to use next? At the other end of the double-ended needle! SLIDE the stitches to the other end where it—the A working yarn—is hanging (4). With A, knit 1 row.

1 row stripes_2

*Now both yarns are at the same end. At this point, you could just pick up the yarn you need to use next and knit. Or you could bring the one you need up and around the discard, then take it to the back to knit. If you are consistent about how you handle the yarns at the edge, the end result will be visually regular, and the eye will just go right over it.

For this scarf, I handled the edge a little differently. When the two yarns are on the same end, hold both together to work the first stitch (7-8) only; after the first stitch, drop the discard (A, in this case) and continue with the needed yarn to the end of the row (9-10). SLIDE the stitches to get to where the yarn needed next is waiting, knit the two strands of the first stitch as one (11), and knit to the end of the row. Turn, repeat from *. Holding the yarns together for the first stitch makes a nice little picot-y bobble-y thing along the side edges that I liked.


Now: what have you actually done here? How come you have alternating ridges of knit and purl stitches, a.k.a. two rows of stockinette alternating with two rows of reverse stockinette, a.k.a. welting? Call one side the RS and the other the WS: sliding every other row means you work on that side twice, then the other side twice. So: knit two rows with RS facing makes stockinette on the RS; turn the work, and knit two rows with WS facing makes reverse stockinette (purls) on the RS. Voilà!

Single-Row Stripes Super-Long Scarf

1 row scarf

4-1/2˝ x 8-1/2 ft [11.5 x 2.54 m]

materials

125 yds each of 2 colors #5 bulky wt yarn
I used Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Bulky, colors M65 Sapphire (A) and M120 Limeade (B)

US 15 [10mm] double-ended needles, either dpns or 24″ circular needles

instructions

With A, cast on 12 sts; turn work. Join B, knit 1 row. Slide stitches to other end of needle where A is hanging. With A, knit. Turn work. Both A & B are on this end.

Row 1: Holding A & B together, knit the first stitch; drop A and continue knitting across row with B.
Row 2: Slide stitches back along cord to other point; with A, knit. Turn work.

Repeat Rows 1 and 2 until A is almost gone and/or about 5 scarf widths of B remain, ending on a Row 1. Turn; with B, bind off.

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November?!? and a circular stripes tutorial

Power Purls interview
Kara Gott Warner’s Power Purls Podcast made its debut this fall. She and I had a wonderfully philosophical and digressive (but eventually returning to topic!) conversation about life and working in the fiber arts industry.

Gosh, can’t believe it’s been over two months since I last posted! Seems like just yesterday I was getting home from STITCHES MidWest, and preparing The Small Man for the start of another school year.

Since then I’ve been to Irving, TX to teach at the first-time-ever STITCHES Texas, worked on a pattern and a couple of articles which you’ll see next year in Creative Knitting Magazine, gotten back into the swing of tech editing, and also worked on some pattern layouts for a client. There were proposals for teaching at TNNA, the wholesale trade show for the needlecraft industry. And the death of my iMac’s hard drive had to be dealt with (once you are used to the THPACE of a 27-inch monitor, it’s hard to go back to a little tiny laptop screen!). Oh, and I was on a podcast. :-)

Busy busy busy.Ig_photo

In the interest of clearing some THPACE around me physically, I’ve been working on turning the stepouts from Colorwork Without the Work into Finished Objects. One of those stepouts is a hat in four-color one-round stripes. I posted a picture of my progress on it to Instagram and on the Beth Whiteside Design Facebook page one day last week.

There wasn’t time to go into detail on carrying this many colors in the round in the video class, so I thought I’d take some time in a blog post to talk about the mechanics.

Let me know if you have questions!