The Right Way(s) to Yarn Over

My knitting classes have been asking about the correct way to make a yarn over. I’ve shown them the right way to do one between knit stitches but my answer falls somewhat short because there are several ways to yarn over and it all depends on which stitches the yarn over falls between.

I went searching for a good video tutorial and found this one from Purl Soho (see a picture of me at Purl Soho here!) that explains all of the ways to do a yarn over … between two knit stitches, between a knit and a purl stitch, etc.

This is the best video tutorial I’ve seen! But Purl Soho is one of the best yarn shops I’ve seen, too! (If you get a chance to visit, please do!)

It’s excellent, right?

Gone knitting.

Remembering Why I Love Cables

Sirdar Snuggly Double Knitting Patten #1516

Sirdar Snuggly Double Knitting Patten #1516

Perhaps it’s partly my Irish heritage (the part of my heritage that I feel most connected to) or maybe it has no relation at all but I love, love, love cables!

I have two projects on the needles right now that I am enjoying. One is a little cable-knit poncho for my niece in California (I’ll be knitting a matching one for her little sister, too) the other is an infinity scarf/cowl for my daughter. The poncho has a great cable pattern that I am loving. It’s a Sirdar pattern (#1516), using Sirdar Snuggly Double Knitting (DK) yarn and a size US3 and US6 knitting needle. I’m using my Knitter’s Pride interchangeable needles which have great points for this yarn. You can buy them here or here. I love mine!!!

I’m going to spend this post talking about why cables are so simple and look so difficult and show a few pictures so that, if you’re a newbie to knitting and are a little bit afraid of cables, you’ll jump right in … because they’re really so much easier than they appear to be! Be brave! Go for it! Give it a try! (Rah! Rah!)

What my cable pattern looks like~ complicated, right? Wrong!

What my cable pattern looks like~ complicated, right?  …Wrong!

It really does look complicated, doesn’t it? I promise you that it’s really not complicated at all. All you need to do is lift a couple of stitches off the left needle and then knit a couple of stitches and then knit the lifted/slipped stitches. Follow along with me, I’m going to show you what I mean in a step-by-step tutorial.

IMG_5445

Left needle is holding stitches to be worked next … and we’re ready to make a cable!

I’ve knitted (or in this case, purled) over to where the stitches are that will be my cable (they are the knitted stitches, 8 of them between purl bumps).

If you examine the photo carefully, it’s just like it was sitting in your lap. The right hand needle is the one holding stitches that have already been worked. The left hand needle is the stitches that will be worked next. You can see the stitches several rows below where I am now working that have been cabled already. That’s a helpful hint. In  this pattern, the cables are neatly stacked up on top of each other.

It is time to slip two stitches off the left-hand needle and hold them to the front of my work with my cable needle. I am using a cheap aluminum cable needle that I bought at JoAnn’s ages ago. I lose a lot of cable needles so cheap is good for me.

Slip two stitches from the left-hand needle to the cable needle without twisting or as if to purl.

To the left is a picture of the two stitches slipped onto the cable needle and being “held” in front of my work. If not careful, the cable needle will slip out of the stitches whether you hold it or not. But it’s not a crisis. The only time any damage comes to “dropped” stitches is when you pull. If you don’t pull your stitches, you can slip them right back onto the cable needle (or any other needle for that matter).

Now, I’m goinIMG_5450g to knit the next two stitches on the left-hand needle. And hopefully I will not drop the cable needle. And then I will knit the two stitches from the cable needle.

When that is done, I’m half way there.

I still have one more part of the bigger cable to do and that means slipping two stitches to the back of my work in the same manner that I slipped the stitches to the front. I will knit two stitches from the left hand needle and then knit the two stitches that are held on the cable needle in back of my work. Wait! I’m going to show you …

Just a note about cables – Cables are always either left-leaning or right-leaning. When you hold your cable stitches to the front the cable will be left-leaning (I remember that by thinking about left having the “f” in it which stands for front). And in the same vein, the right leaning cables will always be worked from stitches that are held to the back. (I haven’t got a mnemonic for that, but you have the one for the left-leaning so I hope you don’t need one for the right-leaning …. right?)

Knitted two from the working needle and two from the cable needle held in front. Now it's time to slip two more stitches and hold them to the back.

Knitted two from the working needle and two from the cable needle held in front. Now it’s time to slip two more stitches and hold them to the back.

Here is my work after having knitted the first four stitches (two from the needle and two from the cable needle held in front.)

Now it’s time to finish the cable.

We are going to slip two stitches from the left-hand needle to the cable needle and hold it to the back of our work. (This will be a right-leaning cable … can you see how the first part of this cable that we just finished is leaning to the left?)

 

 

 

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We have slipped two stitches onto the cable needle and they are being held to the back of our work …

Once the two stitches are on the cable needle and at the back of the work as in the photograph to the right, you can knit the next two stitches from left-hand needle … and then knit the two stitches from the cable needle.

Ta! Da!

You’ve just worked a cable! Woo! Hoo!

 

 

 

 

8-stitch cable with one side leaning right and one side leaning left

8-stitch cable with one side leaning right and one side leaning left

My two fingers are marking the eight stitches that we’ve just manipulated to make this “double” cable. The first side we knitted (on the right in this photo) leans to the left and the second side (on the left in this photo) leans to the right. Can you see this??? Under my fingers are two purl bumps … there are purl stitches on both sides of the cable. Purl stitches make the cable pop!

Simpler still, a 4-stitch cable

Simpler still, a 4-stitch cable that leans to the left and to the right

 

 

 

 

The other cable in this pattern is a simpler four-stitch cable.

The process is the same as far as the knitting goes. This cable leans to the left and then it leans to the right. Yup, you guessed it! When making up this cable, one time you’ll bring your cable needle with its two stitches to the front (left-leaning) and then the next time, you’ll bring it to the back (right-leaning).

Every cable pattern has a number of rows that it takes to make the cable happen consistently (and look just right!) This pattern just happens to have an eight-row repeat and the “difficult” rows are the first and fifth. These are the rows where I use the cable needle and cross or twist my stitches. The other six rows are super simple combinations of knit and purl stitches.

So now you’re ready to cast on some stitches and give cables a try, right? I hope this has helped to make you feel more comfortable with the idea of cables … cast on 22 stitches with any plain-colored light yarn and an appropriately-sized set of needles and give this a try! Here’s your “pattern”…

Cast on 22 stitches

Set up Row (wrong side of knitting): K2, P4, K3, P8, K3, P4, K2

Row 1 (right side of knitting): P2, C4B, P3, C4B, C4F, P3, C4B, P2

(remember: C4B means hold 2 slipped stitches to the back of work, knit 2 from working needle, knit 2 from cable needle and C4F means hold 2 slipped stitches to the front of work, knit 2 from working needle and then knit 2 from cable needle)

Row 2 (and all other even rows): K2, P4, K3, P8, K3, P4, K2

Row 3: P2, K4, P3, K8, P3, K4, K2

Row 5: K2, C4F, P3, C4F, C4B, P3, C4F, K2

Row 7: repeat row 3

Row 8: repeat row 2 (obviously)! This is the end of the 8-row repeat.

Give it a try and let me know how you do!

For now, I’ve gone knitting!

 

 

K1FB Increasing Without Tears …or those pesky little “purl bumps”

This morning I happened across a video for adding a stitch in your knitting without that funny little purl bumpy thing that happens when you knit one into the front and back of the stitch (K1FB). I have gone back to try to find the video but I can’t find it. So, in my own inimitable fashion, I’m going to attempt to show you, dear patient readers, with words and photographs what the video said.

There are many increases to use when you’re knitting. The “quickest and easiest” is K1FB or knit one into the front and back of a stitch. You can use this increase when you see “M1” in a pattern but I’d recommend that you use this as a generic increase rather than a M1 (make one).

When you get to the place where you need to increase, you are going to knit into the front of the stitch (which I’ve already done in the photo below) and then, without dropping the stitch off the left-hand needle, you’re going to knit into the back of the stitch. The photo below shows the stitch that I am adding by knitting into the back … I’m ready to wrap and then slip the stitch off the left-hand needle.

I've knitted two stitches and am knitting into the front and back of the third stitch. I've already knitted into the front and now I'm knitting into the back.

I’ve knitted two stitches and am knitting into the front and back of the third stitch. I’ve already knitted into the front and now I’m knitting into the back.

OK, so, I’ve wrapped the yarn around the working needle and slipped the stitch off the left-hand needle and this is what it looks like. There are my three “old” stitches and my “new” or “added’ or “increased” stitch. (Remember the first stitch is the the one to the right in the photo. The added stitch is the left-most stitch, the stitch just worked.)

Three stitches is now FOUR! But can you see the "purl bump" on the fourth stitch (the left-most)?

Three stitches is now FOUR! But can you see the “purl bump” on the fourth stitch (the left-most)?

So, we’ve accomplished our goal which was to increase one stitch. That stitch, however, isn’t invisible because of the little purl-like bump that is sitting in front of it. There’s nothing you can really do about it. And most times when you increase using the K1FB method, you’ll be increasing close to the side of a garment and those stitches will be swallowed up in a seam and will be virtually invisible after seaming.

BUT there is a way to make the stitches less visible and this is how you do it!

The first step is to knit into the front of the stitch but (again) don’t slip the stitch off the left-hand needle. (This is the exact same as the K1FB that I illustrated above.)

IMG_4271

When you get to the stitch where you want to increase, knit into the front of the stitch.

The second half of the stitch needs to be reoriented so that the stitches don’t wrap around the front of the work. So, you’ll slip the next stitch knitwise by inserting the tip of the right needle from left to right (just like you were knitting the stitch) and slip the stitch from the left-hand to the right-hand needle.

IMG_4273

Next, insert your working (right-hand) needle into the front leg of the next stitch to be worked on the left-hand needle knitwise.

I know it sounds confusing, but I am at a disadvantage not being able to film myself in a video here! It forces me to find the right words to explain the process clearly and that’s good for both of us!

Next you’re going to slip the stitch back onto the left-hand needle to finish the process. Insert the tip of your left-hand needle purlwise into the stitch you just slipped to the right needle. Slip the stitch back to the left-hand needle.

IMG_4274

Slip the stitch purlwise back to the left-hand needle … you’re almost there!

All you’ve done is slipped the second part of the stitch increase from the left to the right knitwise (as if to knit) and then back from the right to the left purlwise (as if to purl). This has reoriented the legs of the stitch so that when you (next!) knit it, the stitch isn’t wrapped with yarn (and it doesn’t look as much like a purl bump.)

IMG_4275

This is how your reoriented stitch looks … and now you are going to knit it.

Go ahead, knit the stitch and slip it off the left-hand needle. There! You have increased one stitch.

If you look at the next photo now, you’ll see that there is a “normal” K1FB increase and a K1FB increase where I’ve changed the orientation of the increased stitch.

IMG_4276

Reading from right to left: K2, K1FB (the old way where it looks as if the fourth stitch has a purl bump), K1, K1FB (the new way with changing the orientation of the increased stitch.)

See! No purl bump thingy! Now I’ll purl back across the stitches and you can see the fabric again …

IMG_4279

Again, reading from right to left you’ll see three knit stitches, one knit stitch with the “purl bump” below it and another two knit stitches and a new stitch from our reoriented K1FB.

There you have it! Two ways to increase in your knitting with K1FB (knit one front and back).

The first increase in stitch #3 (read from right to left) was the “old” knit one into the front and back of the third stitch which creates a fourth stitch with a “purl bump”. This is an excellent way to increase! Super quick and easy, just a bit visible in some circumstances.

The second increase in stitch #7 is done similarly but with a little twist of the second half of the increase where we reoriented or changed the orientation of the stitch before knitting it. This creates an added stitch without a wrap or “purl bump”. It’s pretty cool, isn’t it?

Learning to read your stitches is essential to your success as a knitter. I’m getting more skilled at it every time I take on a new project and teaching has helped me tremendously. This photograph, however, is such a clear one … and I get all excited.

When looking at this last photo, I can see the stitches added! Take a good look. The stitches in a each row are all lined up like a v on top of a v. Nice and neat! You can follow the stitches up in the center of the v. Where the increased stitches are added, it’s a little bit squeezed and the pretty symetry

VVVVV

VVVVV

VVVVV

When we increase a stitch, it squishes an extra stitch into the nice neat lines.

vvVvvVV

VVVVV

VVVVV

It’s a good attempt to illustrate with my limited illustration skills. I think. 🙂

Now that you’ve seen my excellent illustration, go back and have a look at the last photograph (I’ve added it below for you). Start at a stitch on the needle and follow the “v” down the rows. See how they line up? And can you see where the increased stitch just kind of pops up out of nowhere? It doesn’t have a nicely stacked column of “v”s to sit on top of … it’s just out there. The first K1FB increase (with the “purl bump” below it) stands out a lot more than it’s “cousin” the second K1FB “with a twist” but similarly, it just kind of gets nestled in between two stitches … each of the stitches has its column of “v”s but the increased stitch is sitting out there without a column. Can you see it now? Isn’t it exciting? You’re reading your knitting!

IMG_4279

Read your knitting!!! Stitches are sitting in a column of “v”s; row sits squarely on the row below it … until you have an increased stitch!

There you have it! How to make a K1FB increase without having that wrapped stitch that looks like a purl bump. I am such a knitting geek!

What else do you want to learn about increases?

Gone knitting!

 

 

How to Knit i-cord

I-cord is not a difficult thing to knit and it can be used for so many projects.

Recently, I knitted i-cord ears for a Tiny Baby Bunnies pattern and you can see pictures of my projects on my blog, here, or on my Ravelry page, here.

I’ve also used them for embellishing knitted garments like my Senorita Lolita dress and on an original cowl that I knitted and is for sale in my 3 B Street shop.

Senorita Lolita (Copyright 2011 Prima Dogma by Queen Bee Knits

Senorita Lolita (Copyright 2011 Prima Dogma by Queen Bee Knits)

 

Butterscotch Cowl Copyright 2013 Queen Bee Knits Original

Butterscotch Cowl
Copyright 2013
Queen Bee Knits Original

 

I-cord is a spiral “tube” of knitting that is constructed by sliding the working piece from one side to the other side of your DPN.

It’s a great handle for knitted (and felted totes), it’s a great embellishment for knitted garments (and can be formed into flowers or stems or just about anything you can imagine!

It’s also very simple to knit!

 

Here is what you need to know to be successful when knitting i-cord!

Cast on the required number of stitches to be used for the i-cord (in this case, I used 6 stitches.)

Cast on # of Stitches

Cast on # of Stitches

Slide your stitches to the right side of the DPN (do NOT turn your needle!)

Slide stitches from cast on position at the left of the needle to the right side

Slide stitches from cast on position at the left of the needle to the right side

Knit all stitches (to knit the first stitch, you’ll bring the working yarn around the back of your needle and give the first stitch or two or three a good tug to pull the yarn so there won’t be a huge gap but don’t worry too much as the next few rounds will help even it out!)

Note that the stitches will be on the left side of the DPN. Do NOT turn your needle.

Knit all stitches

Knit all stitches (sorry, it’s a little blurry, but you get the idea!)

Slide the stitches to the right side of the needle and knit all stitches again.

Repeat sliding the stitches from the right to left of the DPN and knitting all stitches until i-cord is the right length for your project. It is also helpful to give the “tail” a tug or two to get the i-cord to stretch out & down.

After a few rows, you’ll start to see the tube starting to take form.

After a few rows of knitting (9 here)

After a few rows of knitting (9 here)

 

Queen Bee Knitting Tip

Queen Bee
Knitting Tip

 

Knitting Tip – When you’re knitting circularly (in the round) on double-pointed or circular needles, in order to keep your knitting from getting “ladders” where the needles meet, remember to give an extra tug (gently, don’t break your yarn!) on the first and second stitches as you start working on a new needle. This will lessen the chance of ladders happening which are unsightly in your knitted garments. Trust me, I’ve got plenty of experience! 🙂

So, there you go! Practice this a few times and you’ll have a great new trick in your knitting arsenal!

Gone knitting!