Spindle spinning, concealing wraps, baby blanket video, wavy rib st and more!
Welcome all. We’ll start this week’s newsletter with the importance of knitting a swatch to get a good gauge… and a few tips for cheating on that if you want! For the record, I’ll confess to being a swatch hater (or more accurately, I’m just lazy). I do all sorts of strange things to keep from knitting the swatch, and have actually created some great patterns that don’t need a swatch because it sizes as you go. But none of that is to negate the importance of a swatch. Your gauge is what makes your item fit. Period. Without it you are lost.
It’s not so much that I dislike knitting the swatch, as that I don’t know what to do with the little thing once I’m done with it. I can’t stand to throw them away, and then they hang around in my basket forever.
I learned a good tip in one of today’s videos though: keep that swatch through the whole project, and then if you end up needing a bit more yarn at the end, rip out the swatch and use that (I’m always running just a tad short on my castoff and have to pull out a row.)
One other, little mentioned, need of a swatch is consistency. You should stop your work occasionally and make sure you are still knitting the same gauge that you started with. Otherwise you could end up with a strange sag in your item, or even something terrible like sleeves that stretch into impossibly different sizes in their first wash!
- Click here to watch: a great video on knitting a swatch for a circular gauge.
Wrapping and turning is a great way for shaping a garment. I’ve done it on everything from fancy scalloped bind offs to noses on knit bears. We are featuring another video by Cat Bordhi on how to conceal the wraps when you turn.
- Click here for: Wrapping and turning, concealing wraps.
How to Knit a Baby Blanket
Baby blankets are very fun. Mostly because they are usually knit for a baby coming into your life: be it for you, family or friends. But more than that, it is a simple rectangle that can have unlimited variations. Our knitting tips video this week, with Allison Isaacs, covers the basics and the fun of knitting baby blankets.
- Click here for: How to knit a baby blanket
This Week’s Stitch
This week we are featuring the Wavy Rib Stitch, which gives a different twist on the traditional rib pattern. It pulls in nicely for a cuff, and would make great hats and mittens.
- Click here for: Wavy Rib Stitch
Respect the Spindle
I love spindles, and found a book just full of them. Like most of the books I list in the newsletter, this one has the “see inside” feature on Amazon.com. So you can take a good look at the yummy pictures without spending a cent!
Spindles are an often overlooked tool for spinning yarn. Yes, it’s true that spinning wheels can spin faster. But a good spindle, wielded by a good spinner, can whip out a lot of yarn! Spindles more than compensate for being a bit slower by being a million times more accessible. A spindle is lots cheaper than a spinning wheel, and it is small and portable. You can fit it right in your bag and enjoy spinning anywhere.
I highly recommend that all knitters learn to spin on a spindle. It is very easy to graduate from spindle to wheel should you want to go into yarn production, but knowing how to spin opens up all sorts of possibilities for great knitting. On top of that… spun yarn can be very inexpensive. And, last but not least, when you make something with spindle spun yarn you have truly made it “from scratch.”
On yes… and of course I also included a link to buy my how-to book on spindle spinning.
- Click here for: Respect the Spindle
Back to knitting…
And enough for today. It’s back to knitting before it really warms up around here and I am called into the garden!
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