TKGA Master Hand Knitter 1 – Swatch 6

Week: 9

Currently Working On: Swatch # 6

Progress:

This week was back to increases with the third mirrored increase swatch in the set.  This time it was the lifted increase, also known as the raised increase.  I haven’t used this increase before so I had to spend a little more time looking it up and watching the technique.

The lifted increase can be mirrored with both a right and left slanting version.  Both versions have you working the stitch on the needle and the stitch below it.  The right slanting version has you knitting the stitch below the first stitch on the left needle and then that original stitch on the left needle.  The left slanting version has you knitting two stitches below the first stitch on the right needle.  You knit two below because you’ve already knit  the stitch on the left needle causing the stitch below to now be two stitches below.

The stitch below is also picked up different.  Both have you picking up the closest strand and moving to the front of the left needle but the closest strand is different when you’re lifting the stitch before or after you knit the stitch on the needle.  Also, the left leaning has you knitting through the back of the lifted stitch.  I still find the instructions for this increase the most confusing.

One tip I read is that if you’re stretching your stitch too much to knit the stitch directly without first lifting the stitch onto the left needle.  I’m not sure if that is what I was doing wrong but the left leaning doesn’t look quite right to me. I’ll have to compare it to other’s samples later.

References:

Hiatt, June Hemmons, The Principles of Knitting, Simon and Schuster, 1988.

Raised Increase: Chapter 11, pg 208-210.

Stenersen, Theresa Vinson, “Techniques With Theresa.” http://www.knitty.com. Winter 2009. Web. 16 Sept 2012. <http://www.knitty.com/ISSUEwinter09/FEATwin09TT.php>

“A very nearly invisible increase.” TECHknitting. 5 May 2007. Web. 16 Sept 2012. <http://techknitting.blogspot.com/2007/05/very-nearly-invisible-increase.html>

TKGA Master Hand Knitter 1 – Swatch 5

Week: 7

Currently Working On: Swatch # 5

Progress:

This week’s swatch uses the make 1 increase.  The biggest frustration I’ve had is that a lot of knitting patterns will say “make 1” but you never know if it’s asking for the actual make 1 increase or just which ever increase you prefer to add one stitch.  I’ve been very annoyed by this ever since I started knitting.  If I see a “M1” in a pattern I roll my eyes and see if I can find a similar pattern elsewhere.  If you’re going to write a pattern I want to know what increase you want or I want you to specifically say that I need to choose the increase.  M1 is just too ambiguous and unless I really like the pattern not worth the effort of deciphering.

The make 1 increase itself is sometimes called a stranded increase and has three variations: open, right leaning, and left leaning. All three types are worked with the strand in between two stitches.  The increase will appear in the middle of these two stitches. M1R and M1L are how I’ve often seen the right leaning and left leaning increases abbreviated (and I’m very happy to see in a pattern as they are specific).

Both the open and left leaning increases pick up the strand with the left needle coming from the front and through the back.  That leaves the stitch correctly oriented on the left needle and ready to knit.  An open increase will knit as normal but a left leaning increase will knit through the back loop.

A right leaning increase will use the left needle to pick up the strand from the back through the front.  The stitch will be twisted on the left needle.  The stitch is now knitted as normal.  What you notice for both right and left leaning increases is that at some point the stitch is twisted. The stitch is twisted either in how it is picked up or how it is knitted.  The twist results in making the hole that naturally occurs with the increase less visible and causes the stitch to lean in one direction.

The open M1 is not twisted in either how the strand is picked up or in how it is knit.  This is why the hole is larger and there is no slant to the increase.

When I took Barry Klein’s class at Stitches last month he talked about these increases.  One of the most common mistakes people make is that they use the right needle to pick up the strand and then transfer it to the left needle to knit.  This can cause mistakes and suddenly you’ll have an increase with a larger hole than expected.  The best way to do these increases is to always use the left needle to pick up that strand since that is the needle you will be knitting from anyway.

References:

Hiatt, June Hemmons, The Principles of Knitting, Simon and Schuster, 1988.

Make One Increase: Chapter 11, pg 211.

Klein, Barry. Class Lecture.  Perfect the Fit.  Stitches Midwest, Schaumburg, IL. 10 Aug 2012.

TKGA Master Hand Knitter 1 – Swatch 4

Week: 6

Currently Working On: Swatch # 4

Progress:

I thought it was time to get back to knitting so I knitted swatch 4 this week.  It was pretty easy as it used the same technique, the bar increase, that I used for the ribbing increases in my previous swatches.  There really wasn’t much to do besides knit the swatch.  The only thing to take into consideration was what stitch to knit the increase into.  The swatch requires a 3 stitch selvage on both the right and left edges which means the increase is done on different stitches on each side.

The bar increase has the “bar” portion created from KFB on the left side of the stitch.  For the right edge of the swatch the increase can be done on the last selvage stitch as the third stitch will have the normal stitch to the right of the bar.  On the left side the increase has to be done before the selvage stitches, in this case on the 4th stitch.  Otherwise the bar would be in the middle of the left edge selvage stitches.

References:

Hiatt, June Hemmons, The Principles of Knitting, Simon and Schuster, 1988.

Bar Increase: Chapter 11, pgs 207-208

Stanley, Montse, Reader’s Digest Knitter’s Handbook, Reader’s Digest, 1986.

Bar Increase: pgs 110-113

TKGA Master Hand Knitter 1 – Gauge

Week: 5

Currently Working On: Swatch # 1-3 Questions

Progress:

I was quite lazy this past week as evident by my late post.  However, I did start going back to answer the questions for the first three swatches I’ve already knit.  This week I focused on gauge. Gauge, and more specifically the gauge swatch, is known as a sort of bad word to some knitters.  It’s a pain.  Prepping for a pattern can be excruciating when all you want to do is jump in and knit.  Unfortunately as I have read several times this week:

There is nothing more important to the fit of any garment you knit than an accurate stitch gauge

From my reading I found there are five variables that determine gauge: your hands, needles, knitting method, yarn, and pattern.  My experience has shown me that the easiest variable to change is the needles and then the yarn.  Changing to a new needle size is a very easy and quick way to adjust your gauge.  If you gauge is too tight, meaning you have more stitches than the gauge called for, you can try a size or two bigger needle.  If your gauge is too loose, meaning you have less stitches than the gauge called for, you can try a size or two smaller needle.

If you still can’t get quite the right gauge it’s entirely possible that trying a different needle type as well as size can get you to the proper gauge.  A knitters gauge will be different on circular needles, dpns, and straight needles.  You can also try different needle materials such as bamboo or metal to get different gauges.

Personally I tend to go straight for altering the pattern to fit my gauge whenever possible but I’m one of the rare people who enjoy the math of pattern alterations.  I’ve always looked at patterns as more of a template than anything.  Gauge can be a very powerful thing.  When I wanted to make the Esme hat for an 18″ doll I wasn’t in the mood to recalculate the entire pattern so I simply changed the gauge with different needles and yarn.  It still took some math and wasn’t quite perfect but it was a 5 minute alteration for me.

The last thing I want to mention is that there are two measurements and I find them equally important; these are the stitch gauge and the row gauge.  In the right circumstances both are easy to adjust but in the wrong circumstances both are almost impossible to adjust for.  Stitch gauge equals width while row gauge equals length.  In stockinette removing/adding a stitch or an entire row is easy.  However, once stitch patterns, cabling, fair isle, etc come into play both gauge measures become crucial. Can you imagine removing the row of a snowflake fair isle pattern to get the proper length?  I don’t think you would have a very pretty snowflake after that.

References:

Schwan, Binka, “On Your Way To The Masters  – Gauge.” Cast On Magazine, February – April 2009 p. 64-65.

Hiatt, June Hemmons, The Principles of Knitting, Simon and Schuster, 1988.

Gauge: ch. 23 pgs 455-457

TKGA Master Hand Knitter 1 – Shameful Post #1

Week: 4

Currently Working On: None

Progress:

Well this is my first shameful post for not working on the MHK1 program this week.  I’m not feeling all that bad about it because it was a super busy week.  Plus the Stitches classes I took did offer some tips and such I’m sure I’ll need at some point for this program. For example:

  • To avoid holes in your make one increases always pick up the strand with your right needle
  • Don’t pull your selvage (first/last) stitch tight when you see a big loop; it just makes the edges worse and more uneven

References:

Klein, Barry. Class Lecture.  Perfect the Fit.  Stitches Midwest, Schaumburg, IL. 10 Aug 2012.

Pascale, Judy. Class Lecture.  Accessorize with Beaded Belts. Stitches Midwest, Schaumburg, IL. 11 Aug 2012.

Bortner, Gwen. Class Lecture.  Entrelac Basics. Stitches Midwest, Schaumburg, IL. 11 Aug 2012.

Whiteside, Beth. Class Lecture.  Stranded Color: Just Beyond the Basics. Stitches Midwest, Schaumburg, IL. 12 Aug 2012.