Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Purls of Wisdom

I'm taking a sweater construction class at my LYS right now. Even though I am growing to epic proportions right now (or perhaps because I am and I'm dreaming of being skinny again,) I have such an itch to start tackling sweaters for myself. I learned from Pumpkin's dress a while back, though, that it really is worth one's while not to barrel through a project, but instead take the time to get the details and finishing right. So, I'm learning some of those details in my class right now. I already know a lot of the basics, but I want a little help finessing what I do know and making sure I learn the right way to do new things I didn't already know. I should have a cute sweater for one of Pumpkin's dolls once it's all said and done.

So, on to the Purls of Wisdom. The teacher of my class is a walking encyclopedia of knitting knowledge. Just a little time with her has taught me some lovely little helpful things that I would like to list here so that I can keep track of them somewhere (that doesn't involve more paper piling up in my closet)

  • I have trouble with ribbing and SSKs being a bit messy looking. She told me simply to yank my yarn tighter, because all the extra wrapping around of yarn is giving me extra slack that loosens my stitches.
  • If I'm knitting a sweater using bulky yarn, do the seaming with a yarn (in similar color & content of course) that's a smaller weight to avoid bulk along the seams.
  • Block pieces before seaming. This should be intuitive, but I'd never thought of it and it really would make seaming easier, wouldn't it?
  • She likes to block by pinning out the pieces on the ironing board then spritzing them lightly. Easier than handling heavy pieces of just-washed wool.
  • Don't block out the ribbing; smoosh it up.
  • Don't make buttonholes too big; err on the side of small. They'll stretch.
  • Pick up stitches below knots (or anything else you don't want to see); they'll get pushed to the back.
  • weave in ends along a seam, not straight across (they'l come out too easy straight across), switch direction every few stitches.
  • If weaving bulky yarn, you can split it to avoid making more bulk.

Unrelated to sweater class, but still wonderfully useful:

  • If carrying yarn for stripes while working in the round, at the end of a round, wrap yarn around, new color under old.
  • Picot edging: On CO edge, for example, CO 5, BO2, CO 5, BO 2, etc (vary the BO numbers for more or less pronounced bumps, CO for different spacing.) Use knitted cast on (like cable cast on, but kint into previous stitch, ot between.) At the BO edge, BO 5, CO 2, BO 5, CO 2, etc. (again, varying #s as desired to reverse CO edge.)

Good Stuff.

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