April 26, 2009

Tutorial: How to Purl English

The purl stitch is just as important as the knit stitch - you can't do one without the other. I know a lot of beginning knitters who get confused and frustrated when it comes to purl stitches - I actually learned how to purl before the knit, and I find it just as easy. Here are the step-by-step instructions on how to make a purl stitch, English style. You'll get the hang of it with a few tries.

 First, take your nicely cast-on work in your left hand and pick up the ball-end yarn with your right hand. Then take the right-hand needle and slip it into the first loop, right to left, bottom to top (Figure A).

April 18, 2009

Tutorial: How to Knit English

I am an English knitter. No, it doesn't mean I have tea with cream and scones when I knit. ;) it just means the way I knit, which uses my right hand to wrap the yarn around the needles, is called the English method. The other popular method is called Continental, which I will cover at another time. Most beginners will find out which they prefer soon after starting their first knitting project. As a personal observation, right-handed people usually knit in English and left-handed people in Continental, but it should be whichever you feel most comfortable with.

 Take your nicely cast-on work in your left hand and pick up the ball-end yarn with your right hand (Figure A).

April 4, 2009

Joy of Yarn-Winding

As you can see, I am now the proud owner of a DIY yarn swift thanks to my very handy husband B. :)

For years, I had been shying away from buying beautiful hanks of yarn because I did not own a ball winder or a swift. I always thought buying balls of yarn would be enough, and that hanks are for "hardcore knitters" who consider knitting as much more than just a hobby. Well, years later, I find myself admiring lovely hanks of yarn and wishing I had a winder and swift to make them into balls. Hmm, does this mean I am slowly becoming a hardcore knitter? :)

I bought a ball winder from KnitPicks at a great price a few weeks ago, and I started doing some research on yarn swifts as well. There's the umbrella (most expensive) style, the ferris-wheel style, the pinwheel style, and a few others. The umbrella style is the best looking, and the kind they usually have at yarn shops - they retail anywhere from $50 (on sale) to $100 (Scandinavian-made, really nice quality wood). I showed them to B and he thought it would be possible to make the pinwheel style for a fraction of the cost, so why not?

We found a really cool tutorial by Craft Diversions, and after 2 weekends I finally have a working swift! I tried it out for the first time this morning and was able to wind up a hank of Cascade 220 wool into 2 balls of yarn. Success!