Corn Rows

This week has been very busy!  I have been trying to get ready to go away on holiday.  So I have a pattern with the tech editor and test knitters.  Hopefully there won’t be any problems with it so I can release it next month.

I have written 3 blog posts and scheduled them to be published over the next two weeks.  And I am just about to send a newsletter out.

But what I am most excited about is the release of my new pattern this week.  It is Corn Rows Cabled Boot Toppers and it matches the Corn Rows Cabled Headband that I released at the end of last year.

Corn Rows Boot toppers

Corn Rows Cable Headband

Corn Rows Cable Headband

I hope you like it!

How do you like yours?

Recently a friend started to learn how to knit and was more than a little confused by the vast array of yarns and needles available.  It reminded me of how I felt when I was a beginner.  Which yarn went with which sized needles?  Does it make any difference if I use a bigger/smaller needle than the one recommended on the yarn band?  Why are they made in all kinds of different materials?

So I started to search through my books and realised I have some pretty good info just sitting on my living room bookshelf.  Pages and pages about types of yarn, variations of needle size and type.  Measuring tension, notions and embellishments.

Lets start with needles.  Everyone who has been a knitter or crocheter for a while has a favourite type of needles or hooks.  I would recommend all beginners to try out as many different kinds as they can.  The material they are made from can make a dramatic difference to the fabric that you produce.

Metal, plastic, bamboo or ebony/rosewood are all common materials used in the manufacture of knitting needles and crochet hooks.

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Metal needles – these are usually very slippy and not recommended for beginners.  It is easy to lose a stitch when working on metal.  They are great for fibres like mohair and wool that tends to stick.  They are also great if you tend to knit too tightly.  You will find you naturally loosen your tension when working with metal.

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Bamboo needles – these are very lightweight and flexible.  If you have a lot of stitches or a heavy fabric you may find your needles bending.  They are great for more slippery yarns such as silk, cotton and bamboo.  They are often recommended for beginners as they will slow the flow of your knitting down.  Also recommended if you suffer with arthritis in your hands.

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Plastic needles – these have a surface which falls somewhere between metal and bamboo.  They keep a steady temperature as you use them and are not too slippery or sticky so are great with most types of yarn.  Great for beginners and arthritis suffers.  But beware needles smaller than 4mm have a tendency to snap!

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Ebony/rosewood needles – these feel luxurious in your hands but are usually the most expensive on the market.  They have a smooth surface, almost waxy and will become smoother with use.  They keep a nice temperature too.  They will help you keep an even tension and don’t bend like bamboo.

I started off using bamboo.  As a beginner I liked the way the stitches flowed off the needles at a nice steady pace.  I had used metal when I was much younger and my nan was teaching me.  I had a tendency to lose a lot of stitches as when I slipped one off the needle, the stitch behind would follow, often without me noticing for a while!

A couple of years ago my husband bought me a set of KnitPro symphonie needles.  I have never looked at another needle since.  They are quite costly, but I think they are well worth the money. I have since received gifts of their double pointed and interchangeable needles.  I even have a few of their crochet hooks too!

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Which kind of needles and hooks do you prefer?

Frog it!

How do you feel about frogging your work?  As I have progressed with my knitting skills over the years it is something I have come to learn to live with.

For years I would avoid frogging like the plague.  I would live with mistakes that I knew were there or I would fudge the stitch count to try and make it work.  But over the last few years I have come to realise that if that jumper has a mistake in it I will know about it.  It will bug me.  And I won’t wear it as a consequence.

Sometimes there is a mistake which I just cannot stop looking at.  Like this jumper.

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Can you see it?  I tried to wear it a few times but eventually decided to re-use the yarn rather than keep it in the cupboard unloved.

Sometimes it is because the fit is just all wrong.  I made this vest and it was far too big.  Again I knew I would never wear it so frogging was my only option.

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This cardigan was frogged because I just could not get the collar to go right.  I always thought I would come back to it later, but I have never found the time.

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The latest victim of frogging has been my Sage jumper by Marie Wallin.  I started it in the large size and have since lost a lot of weight.  Coupled with the fact that I had made a glaring error in the snowflakes I decided to pull it all out and make it in a smaller size.

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Despite the fact I hadn’t got very far with it, this was one of the hardest things to frog for the sheer effort that had gone into the colour work.  But better to start again than to plod on through to end up with something that I wouldn’t be happy to wear anyway.

As I have been designing my own patterns I have had to do a lot of frogging.  Sometimes the yarn doesn’t behave how you would expect it to.  Sometimes the maths isn’t quite right and you end up with too many or too few stitches.  And sometimes the pattern just doesn’t look right.

What have you recently had to frog and how did you feel about it?