About Woolly Wits

I am a hand-knitting designer and teacher. See and purchase my published designs on Ravelry.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Mad For Plaid: Slip Stitch

Plaid knitting in a combination of techniques
from Vogue Knitting Winter 2014/2015
design by Theresa Schabes
One of my most popular classes is Mad for Plaid, where we cover several of the different techniques used by knitters to create the look of a woven plaid fabric.  Generally, the methods by which to create a knitted plaid are:

  • Slip Stitch
  • Fair Isle/Stranded Knitting
  • Intarsia
    • one-stranded
    • two-stranded
  • Embellishment
    • crochet chain
    • duplicate stitch/Swiss darning
  • knit-weave
  • Plus combinations and a few odd-ball techniques

In class we are sometimes too busy knitting to view my slideshow covering examples of all the techniques, so I want to share it here.  As well, I'll share my unsolicited opinions of the merits and drawbacks of each.
Fade to Gray by E.J. Slayton 
from Knitter's Magazine #93

Let's start with slip stitch plaids.  Just as with regular slip stitch patterns, the plaid is created by regularly moving stitches from one needle to the other without knitting them.  This is not a commonly used technique to achieve plaid for reasons I'll expand upon, but here are a few examples.  


Plaid Halter by Gryphon Corpus
from Interweave Knits, Summer 2008
Checked Cowl by Julie Weisenberger
Pattern available from cocoknits
Dhurrie by Lisa Richardson
from Rowan Magazine #54
The advantages to slip stitch plaid knitting are that they are usually a strong graphic pattern, especially when strongly contrasting colors are used.  They are also a relatively simple pattern work, since you never have more than one color in a row.  

The biggest disadvantage to slip stitch plaids is that they are limited in scale.  In the first two examples, the slipped stitches create the vertical lines of the plaid.  If the plaid were larger, the floats would necessarily be longer.  And, the longer the float, the more likely that the yarn will catch and snag as the garment is worn.  The pattern can be scaled up by increasing the weight of the yarn used, such as in Dhurrie which is worked in an Aran yarn.  However, in the photo you can see the puffiness of the plain tan boxes in contrast to the denser fabric of the mixed brown-and-tan slip stitch plaid boxes.

Within their limitations, I do like slip stitch plaids for smaller scale projects, such as accessories and kidswear.  My first slip stitch plaid design is soon-to-be-published.  (I'll keep you updated.)

Up next is stranded plaid knitting.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Cast On Comparison Challenge

In preparation for teaching at the Madison Knitters Guild Knit-In next March, the organizers asked me for photos for my classes.  I realized that not only did I not have a photo for my Cast On Conundrum class, but I have no idea how to illustrate it.  Eventually I came up with the idea of lining up several different cast ons, and the photo above is the result.

OK, experienced knitters:  how many of these cast on techniques can you identify?

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

From top to bottom, the answers are: 
German twisted, aka old Norwegian sock
long tail
e-wrap, aka backwards loop

How did you do?

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Pick Your Perfect Sweater Pattern Notes

Last night I had a great time giving my 'Pick Your Perfect Pattern' program to the Milwaukee Knitting Guild.  Fabulous ladies (plus one gentleman), insightful questions and free yarn.  What more could you possibly ask for?  

My next perfect pattern:
Ardyth from cocoknits
In order for the knitters to continue working through the program, I let them know that my notes for the program are on this blog - but now are easier to find.  Under the 'Labels' header on the right-hand column, click on 'pattern selection'.  The notes appear under three posts:  the guides for identifying design lines which will make you look longer and leaner, hints to address specific body issues, and how to snoop shop.

I hope this helps make your next sweater project 'practically perfect in every way'.

P.S.  The guild will be offering free yarn for the next few meeting as they help an older knitter clean out her stash.  I see this as an excellent reason for knitters in southeastern Wisconsin to join - NOW!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

You Know You Have A Knitting Problem When . . . #213

. . . when you know you should be finishing your lovely Woodfords cardigan in Madeline Tosh Merino Light, but you are soooo sick of it,
and so you won't allow yourself to cast on another project (although you really, really want to start Ardyth in beautiful gray Shibui Baby Alpaca), so instead you work on small charity knitting projects
and soon you are building a mountain of them . . .