April 29, 2007

Free Knitting Magazine

INKnitters magazine has posted a free knitting magazine issue online.

INKnitters is a print knitting magazine available in the United States and Canada. It offers "cutting-edge techniques, finishing, design, and the latest news".

The free issue, published in the Summer of 2001 and their first issue, contains over 80 pages of patterns and articles.

The free knitting patterns that are available include Trendsetter Fizz by Kennita Tully, a cardigan/jacket knit with novelty yarn, Knit One, Crochet Too Truffles and A Taste of Glitz by Gloria Tracy, a v-neck cardigan, Tahki Sable by Charlotte Morris, a v-neck vest, Red Heart Soft by Diane Piwko, a child's dress and several other free knitting patterns.

The free knitting articles include:
  • Decreasing Your Options: Choosing the proper decrease method by Dee Neer
  • Why Bind Off? : Unique finishing methods using open loops and a short-row primer. by Diane Piwko
  • Spreadsheets for Knitters: A Simple Charting Procedure by Margaret Hall.

All the article and patterns are available in PDF format for easy printing and to keep the layout of the original printed magazine pages intact.

Get your copy of the free knititng magazine at INKnitters

April 27, 2007

Knitty.com Spring Bonus Patterns

Knitty.com has released more free knitting patterns to go with the Spring 2007 issue.

The bonus knitting patterns avilable are:
  • Arietta by Barbara Gregory - lovely cardigan using a color mosaic pattern.
  • Vanillas Spice by Susan Todhunter - v-neck cardigan with knitted-in button bands and easily attached top-down sleeves
  • Victoria by Kelly Griffith - knitted umbrellas made from plastic garbage bags (you really need to check this one out!)
Also, there is a sneek peek of a pattern from Stefanie Japel's Fitted Knits - Cropped Cardigan with Leaf Ties

April 21, 2007

Converting Flat Knitting To Circular Knitting

The other day I reviewed the book Very Easy Circular Knits by Betty Barnden. In the review I said it was frustrating trying to convert a flat pattern to one knitted in the round. Betty doesn't cover how to do this, but I have a method that I use.

When converting flat knitting to circular knitting it is important to remember that the pattern is written to accommodate sewing a seam. So usually an extra stitch or two is added to the front and the back.

First, I determine how many stitches I need to cast on. This is usually done by adding the number of stitches needed for both the front and the back (which is typically double the front or back number) minus two stitches.

Taking the extra stitches out is especially important when using a stitch pattern that is knitted in multiples of stitches. If the extra stitches aren't removed then the stitch pattern will be off.

Take for example a pattern that states:
K4, *P3, K3* until end of row, P3

The extra K at the beginning needs to be eliminated so that the pattern is knit in the round with K3P3

After I cast on the stitches I've calculated that I need, I knit in the round until I get to the armhole shaping. Then I put half the stitches on a stitch holder. I consider these stitches the front.

I then knit the back, shaping the arms and the neck according to the pattern. I then do the same for the front.

I also knit the sleeves according to the directions. Then all I have to do is seam the armholes and the shoulder seams. Much better then having to seam the sides too!

You can knit the sleeves in the round to avoid seams there as well but at the cap you need to knit back and forth.

Now if you want to do the whole sweater in the round without any seaming then you might try a top-down raglan. There is a great top-down raglan pattern generator at Knitting Fool.

I've knitted a sweater using one generated from this site. The nice thing about top-down sweaters is that you can try on the sweater as you go and not guess if it will be long enough!

April 19, 2007

Finishing Techniques For Hand Knitters

Finishing Techniques for Hand Knitters by Sharon Brant shows how to get professional looking knitted sweaters, cardigans and jackets.

Sharon Brant in her book, Finishing Techniques for Hand Knitters: Give Your Knitting that Professional Look, covers knitting techniques to help take your knitting from looking homemade to handmade, a true item of quality.

She does this by first covering those things you need to do before you even get started knitting like selecting yarn, knitting a gauge swatch, and taking correct measurements. She even tells you how to calculate the amount of yarn you need for a project so that you don't run short before you complete it.

Then Sharon covers the basics you need to know for creating a great looking garment. She shows a couple of cast on methods and shows how to get even knitting. She also discusses shaping by using increasing, decreasing, and short rows.

The garment assembly chapter is probably the most important chapter in the book. If you don't get this right, all your knitting efforts are wasted. So Sharon covers techniques on sewing in yarn ends, blocking, adding pockets, grafting, picking up stitches, and adding bands to a cardigan.

Then she covers knitting buttonholes, adding zippers, and seaming the garment. Each of these areas is covered with clear step-by-step pictures and directions.

She even has a section on taking care of your garments which tells you how to hand wash and machine wash to avoid ruining them.

Other chapters in the book cover alteration to finished garmets which covers making changes to already knitted garments and embellishments which covers adding beads, fringe, sequins and pompoms.

The last chapter is a chapter of patterns that include a lace-edged pullover, a basic sweater, a lined jacket, a cardigan, a drawstring bag, and a cardigan with a zipper. Each use several of the techniques covered in the book.

Finishing Techniques for Hand Knitters by Sharon Brant is a good choice for your knitting library. It covers the important techniques needed to make you garments look great!

April 17, 2007

Very Easy Circular Knits

Very Easy Circular Knits by Betty Barnden takes the mystery out of knitting in the round.

Betty Barnden shows with clear pictures and easy-to-follow directions how to knit with circular needles in her book Very Easy Circular Knits: Simple techniques and step-by-step projects for the well-rounded knitter.

It seems that most standard knitting patterns are written to accommodate knitting flat pieces and then seaming them together. For example, a sweater is often constructed by knitting the front and back separately and then seaming them together along with the sleeves.

For those of us that hate seaming and want to limit its use in our knitting as much as possible, it can be frustrating having to convert patterns to one for knitting in the round. Also, some techniques and stitch patterns are knitted differently in circular knitting vs. flat knitting.

Well, Betty takes the mystery (and frustration) out of circular knitting. Not only does the book show you how to cast on and knit in the round. It also offers tips and step-by-step instructions for knitting all types of items including bags, gloves, mittens, socks, and sweaters.

She also offers advise on knitting stitch patterns differently. In flat knitting stockinette is knitted on one side of the fabric and purled on the other side. However, when knitting in the round, you only have to knit. Betty shows you this and also how to knit other stitch patterns such as garter, reverse stockinette, ribbing, seed stitch and more.

There is also a great chapter on color work techniques in circular knitting. Betty shows how to do Fairisle in easy to understand language with great, informative photos.

The projects are arranged in order of techniques discussed in the book that go from basic to more challenging. The final pattern is a sweater pattern that can be knit for all members of the family.

I like a few of the patterns in the book including the sock pattern, glove pattern, drawstring purse pattern, and toy collection which has a kitten puppet, teddy bear puppet, mouse, and snake.

The sock pattern is especially nice because it takes you through turning the heel and knitting the instep row by row.

So if you are looking for an introduction to circular knitting but have been intimated by the thought of knitting in the round, Very Easy Circular Knits by Betty Barnden may help get you past these fears. It has great looking photos and graphics. Plus the step-by-step instructions are great!

April 08, 2007

National NeedleArts Association Survey

The National NeedleArts Association is asking for input about needle art, including knitting and crochet, experiences.

In an effort to help needle arts shops, product makers, and associations The National NeedleArts Association (TNNA) is conducting the American Needlearts Survey 2007. They say:

"Your survey responses will...

**** Help shops and product suppliers enhance your enjoyment of the needle
**** Help The National NeedleArts Association promote the needle arts to
kids and adults
**** Raise money for cancer victim support and needle arts mentoring
**** Make good use of your thoughts and time

The survey asks about your experiences with whichever needle art you enjoy:
crocheting, cross-stitch, embroidery, knitting or needlepoint. We'd like to
know what inspires you, your activities, the sorts of projects you like to
do, your early experiences, where you make needle arts purchases, and what
you'd like to see needle arts shops do better. We want to hear from
beginners and experts!"

TNNA will donate $1 for each of the first 800 online surveys to Living
Beyond Breast Cancer or the Helping Hands Foundation Needlearts Mentoring

Goto to American Needlearts Survey 2007 and fill out the 10-minute survey there.

April 06, 2007

Knitting Stamps

The US Postage Service will offer a set of knitting stamps called Holiday Knits later this year.

Holiday Knits is a set of 4 stamps by Nancy Stah that depict the winter images of a Reindeer, a Christmas Tree, a Snow Man, and a Bear. All the stamps are in illustrated as knitted items in stockinette.

The stamps will be printed with the new postage rate of 41 cents after May 14th and be available at post offices across the US later this year.

These knitting stamps will be perfect for all those holiday packages shipped with knitted gifts during the holidays!