Monday, July 21, 2014

The Best Loose Cast Off I've Found is:



Coming soon!



The best loose cast off I've found is the Icelandic Cast Off  from Cap Sease's book Cast On, Bind off.

BTW: Here in Canada we often use the term cast off instead of bind off.

I recently used this technique on a triangle scarf which is edged in rib. When I compared to several other cast offs this one allowed the rib to spread the most at the bottom edge. This is a perfect example of why I like to have many techniques in my skill set tool box. Most projects that end in rib would not benefit from a loose cast off but in the case of this top down triangle it worked beautifully! The pattern will be published soon.
 
Cast off with the Icelandic Cast Off as follows:



* with yarn held at back, insert tip of right needle into first stitch on left needle purlwise and catch the right side of the second stitch. Pull second stitch through first stitch and knit it, slipping both stitches off the needle. Slip the stitch on right needle purlwise to left needle. Repeat from * until all stitches have been cast off. Break yarn and pull tail through final loop to secure.



For a video tutorial of the Icelandic Cast Off go here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XSl13_gHlT0

Friday, July 18, 2014

An Interview with...Maria Magnusson (Olsson)

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/pergola-cardigan


Once a week I post interviews with interesting people about their insights on their experience of working in the Knitting industry.  I’ve noticed that every one of these individuals makes their living in a slightly different manner bringing their own unique presence to the knitting world.

You can find Maria here and here on Ravelry. 


Where do you find inspiration?

I find inspiration in Scandinavian traditional knitwear as well as in vintage clothing. I love looking at old sewing patterns and knitted garments from the 40's-50's. I also find a lot of inspiration looking at what people are wearing. I almost follow people on the street with pretty sweaters, trying to figure out how it's made and what lace pattern it is and so on. For constructional inspiration I often look at sewing patterns. Pinterest is a great source for inspiration and I recommend it to everyone! 

What is your favourite knitting technique? 

Everything seamless. I love to design something where you do not need to bind off or sew a lot. I don’t want to use any techniques that might scare people off. 

How did you determine your size range? 

It depends from pattern to pattern and it depends on if it’s for a submission. If it’s a very fitted garment i often use a more sizes compared to a not so fitted garment. 

Do you look at other designers' work or are you afraid that you will be influenced by their designs? 

Oh yes I do! I learn a lot about constructions from other designers and I think it’s important to get new input from others and especially for me who is not a native English speaker, it’s very educational to study the language and expressions. 


How do you feel about the so called controversy of "dumbing down" patterns for knitters? 

I always try to write to make everyone understand. I guess that I am both influenced by the American writing style and from my day job where I write technical reports where it’s necessary to be clear and no room for confusion. Scandinavian way of writing is the opposite where the pattern often is written on one page, no pictures and the knitter must know all techniques beforehand. 

How many sample/test knitters do you have working for you or do you do it all yourself? 

I often arrange test knits for about 10-12 knitters. Often two knitters in each size. I like to have it knitted before I push the publish button because I want to see what it looks like in all sizes on all bodies. Sometimes I use sample knitters. When I have too much to do and short deadlines, but I usually prefer to have one sample knitted in my own size for myself. 

Did you do a formal business plan? 

No, not really. My goal was to be able to sponsor my own hobby and everything above that is a bonus. My business has developed more the past year but it’s still not time to quit my day job. 

Do you have a mentor? 

I don’t have an official mentor but I have a lot of people around me who I feel more than welcome to ask about anything. There are so many wonderful people in the knitting community! 


Do you have a business model that you have emulated? 

No.

What impact has the Internet had on your business? 

Everything. Without the Internet and without Ravelry I wouldn’t have designed a single pattern and I would definitely not have been able to sell any. I do all of my marketing online and most of my sales. 

Do you use a tech editor? 

Yes I do. She is brilliant! She have taught me so much about how to write a pattern and layout and she have a wonderful British language which I adore. 

How do you maintain your life/work balance? 

I see my day job as work and designing as my life. I don’t have kids and I have a very supportive husband who lets me sit down working on patterns and knit most of the evenings. I don’t know for how long I will be able to work like that but it works now. 

http://www.ravelry.com/projects/MariaOlssonKnits/surry-hills

How do you deal with criticism? 

It depends but I hardly ever get any critical emails but sometimes people sound harsh when they point out something. When a pattern is new I am almost afraid of opening my inbox to check my emails but when it has cooled down the emails are mostly about support and not complaining about inevitable mistakes. I love being able to ”talk” to the people who knit from my patterns. I get so many wonderful emails that I forget about the other ones. 

How long did it take for you to be able to support yourself? 

It depends on how you see it. I can support my hobby and more and that is all I need. I still need my day job to afford other things and maybe to spend a couple of hours along with others. I like what I do for a living. I am a day time designer too but then I design hard steel stuff. 

What advice would you give someone who wants to pursue a career in knitting? 

Make sure that you know how much time you want to spend on your business and if you are really able to make a living out of it. Start small and give it time.


http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/magnolia-tee

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Monday, July 14, 2014

More Tips For Better Button Bands Part 4


http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/the-anne-meredith-cardigan


There are a few more types of bands that I'd like to review. These forms are being used less frequently, however I feel that knowing as many techniques as possible allows knitters to have more choices.

Double Bands

To use stocking stitch as a double band, pick up and knit the stitches out to the desired depth, work a turning row of purl stitches and then knit either the same number of rows or one more or one less row to fold under and sew in place. It is best to determine the number of rows required on the underside, while working on the garment as the inner section can be knit in a different colour or lighter weight yarn to reduce bulk. Buttonholes need to be worked on both layers and they must line up. To work on inner curved edges, stitches need to be decreased on the outside of the band and then decreased on the inside of the band. Corners will need mitres. This could be a good option for hiding edges when working with multi-yarn projects.

Bias Bands

This type of band works like bias tape does in dressmaking. It wraps around edges to finish them and is sewn into place.It also can work to cover yarn ends. Bias bands are created by decreasing stitches on one side of the band an increasing on the other side.

Separate Bands (Join as You Knit)
Worked vertically, this type of band is joined by knitting the last stitch with a loop or stitch from the edge of the main knitting. Loops can be picked up in advance on a long circular needle or one at a time as they are required. For many knitters the better method is to use a separate strand of yarn and pickup a row of stitches in the same manner as explained in the picked up bands section. Keeping track of required ratios is easier if all of the pickups are done in advance. The ratio will correspond to the row gauge of the band stitch This band can start at the bottom edge of the knitting or be worked on stitches that were held in reserve on a holder after the bottom band was completed.

Separate Bands (Sewn On)

Work a band vertically in a non-curling stitch. Sew the band on, stretching it slightly. Consider leaving spaces in the seam to create buttonholes or work the preferred style of buttonhole in the band. The band should be steam blocked before sewing in the ends to be sure that the results are satisfactory.

Extra tip: experiment with slipping the first stitch on the edge of the garment and on the band edge that will be seamed together. 

Friday, July 11, 2014

An interview with...Anne Carroll Gilmour

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/aotearoa-tai-huri-huri-hat

 
 
Once a week I post interviews with interesting people about their insights on their experience of working in the Knitting industry.  I’ve noticed that every one of these individuals makes their living in a slightly different manner bringing their own unique presence to the knitting world.

You can find Anne here and here on Ravelry. 
 
 
Where do you find inspiration?
 
It is everywhere I look, of course nature is a big influence and I live in stunningly beautiful surroundings but I have also been inspired by the way shadows fall, architecture, visual art, science and so much more, once I designed a series of knits that were inspired by a vintage barbed wire collection from a cowboy museum in Wyoming. If your eyes are wide open to possibility, inspiration is all around you.
 
What is your favourite knitting technique?
 
That's a toughie, I really love texture (Cables, knotwork, Gansey type knit/purl relief etc.) but I also love color, especially in classic Fair Isle style stranded knitting. Lace is a big fave too so it's hard to choose just one that tops the list..
 
How did you determine your size range?
 
That's something that varies with each design, I try to include as many sizes as the design elements allow, but for some really complex cable designs and charted lace or color work you need to work within set repeats and what reads well and will resolve without a whole lot of hassle or awkward spaces. Sometimes that dictates where sizing can stop & start and limit how wide a range you can include.
 
http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/seaside-cottages-stole
 
 
Do you look at other designers' work or are you afraid that you will be influenced by their designs?
 
I try really hard not to be too influenced by other knitters work, to that end I work in a sort of backward fashion. When I get an idea, it usually presents itself fully formed in my head. I'll do some sketches and swatching first and only then take a look (Ravelry makes this really easy) to make certain there isn't anything too similar already out there. If there is, I'll scrap the idea and come up with something different.
 
How do you feel about the so called controversy of "dumbing down" patterns for knitters?
 
I didn't know there was such a controversy. I write some patterns that are really simple and some that are extremely complex, and others that fall somewhere in between. I always try to make it clear what skill level is necessary for any particular design. Of course there are always knitters that try something that may be a bit more advanced than what they are ready for but that's how we learn and grow, right? (Also a good reason to take a few classes before getting mad at the designer for creating something that might be a little beyond one's current skill level ;-). It happens - but only very rarely thank goodness!
 
How many sample/test knitters do you have working for you or do you do it all yourself?
 
It varies for each design, I usually put out open calls for testers. I don't have what you would call 'regular' test knitters who always do this for me (I WISH!) But I have been fortunate to have really great testers who see my notices in the Wildwest Woolies group on Ravelry and they have done a fabulous job (many thanks to any of you who might see this interview!)
 
Did you do a formal business plan?
 
That's another I WISH, but I am just not that linear. My life as a designer, indeed as a human in general, has been pretty random 'seat of your pants flying' you might say.
 
Do you have a mentor?
 
Probably my biggest influence in the textile world has been a wonderful Scottish gentleman named Norman Kennedy. He was the Master Weaver/Spinner/Dyer at Colonial Williamsburg (a living history community in Virginia) in the late 60s-early 70s when I was growing up there. I hung around quietly and learned so much just watching and listening- he is an incredible knitter too. He's also a great traditional singer and story teller. It's been a real treat to have him as a life-long mentor.
 
http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/enchanting--magical-witch-hat
 
 
Do you have a business model that you have emulated?
 
I would answer this question the same way I answered the business plan question above- maybe you could call it the 'barely controlled chaos' business model?
 
What impact has the Internet had on your business?
 
Pretty huge, it has just made everything a whole lot easier as far as getting my proposals out, getting text and graphics to testers and editors not to mention saving lots of trees! I admit to having a somewhat love/hate relationship with technology but when it's working well I am very grateful for it.
 
Do you use a tech editor?
 
Every chance I get!
 
How do you maintain your life/work balance?
 
Just a sec - gotta get the door . . . er, what was the question?  Oh yeah - that, well, it's a challenge, sometimes it doesn't get maintained at all! I am very lucky to have loved ones that put up with me and a pretty flexible schedule most of the time, and technology helps a great deal here too!
 
http://www.interweavestore.com/knitting-traditions-spring-2014-group
 
 
How do you deal with criticism?
 
I try to take it with grace, fix and improve what I can (but it depends on the nature of the criticism) It's important not to take it too personally and be objective.
 
 
How long did it take for you to be able to support yourself?
 
I'll let you know . . .
 
What advice would you give someone who wants to pursue a career in knitting?
 
I think it's important to really get lots of skill under your belt. I was lucky because I started when I was 8 years old and have been in love with knitting ever since (that's well over 40 years ago but who's counting?) When you are truly comfortable with a wide range of techniques, that's when you can really play and let your imagination run amok. One of the hardest things is just believing in your ideas and seeing them through - then the really tough work starts when you attempt to write them down for other knitters to follow - this is where having a deep skill set is most valuable, at least in my experience. The best advice of all though, is JUST DO IT and HAVE FUN!
 
http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/tantric-puzzle-top