Liz Corke Knit Design

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January 17, 2012

I was around May last year when I first started to play with yarn. I had just started using Google Reader, and one of the few things (those were the days!) on it was Craft. One day they posted  up this article, of a floral coaster. I thought it was gorgeous, and set about finding out more about crochet, and started with amigurumi. You can see more about how I started off my yarny journey here. I really enjoy crochet. I just can’t stick to one thing! Looking around on Ravelry I slowly got pulled in to the world of yarn, and got more adventurous with my crochet and did everything that caught my eye.
Looking around for a while, I found the knooking group. I thought this sounded really intreging and eventually decided to give it a go. If you haven’t heard of knooking before, basically, it’s knitting with a crochet hook.. You have a cord attached to your hook, which acts as your second needle, and you use your hook essentially as a needle, doing knit and purl stitches. You can make literally any knitting pattern this way, and it’s an awesome tool, especially for working in the round.
Now I’ve started knitting – properly with two needles – and I have to say, I feel a little bit guilty, because although I started out with crochet, then flirted with knooking, I think knitting is actually my favourite yarn craft, and I feel like I’m cheating on crochet! It’s not just my love for garter stitch (so soft, squishy and warm) or how soft the fabric is, or the neat little holes which make such amazing patterns in lace, all of that I can get with knooking – and knooking at least uses a hook, so that’s a bit more like crochet, even if you are making knitted fabric. It’s the way both of your hands work together, and the way your needles click I think that I love best. Really I think it reminds me of my Granny, and it feels very comfortable and “homey”.
In reality though, without crochet grabbing my attention, and knooking teaching me the basics, I don’t think I’d have got to the stage of knitting, which is quite special in it’s own right. Crochet was a gentle way to work, which helped me get used to holding yarn in one hand, my hook in the other, and get used to the idea of an even tension and gauge. Knooking  took it a step further, giving me a simple way to learn knit and purl stitches (again, since I did once learn to knit – badly –  as a teenager), and get used to the different movements, with a familiar tool. Knooking always gave me a safety line across the last row I had don, so dropping stitches was less of an issue – and if I did drop a stitch and have to pick it up again, I had my hook ready for it. The hook is really what makes it easier – all you have to do is catch the yarn in it and pull it back through the loop. You don’t have to slide it round the needle and off, and I think that’s what really made a difference. It made the learning process simpler.
Last week I got my first set of knitting needles. I went for circular needles, as you can use them for flat and round knitting, and I think they’re much easier to wield than long needles. I got a set of Knit Pro Nova Metal needles. I really love the Knit Pro interchangeable crochet hooks I have, and they came with a set of cords that fit my Nova Interchangeables too. I love these needles so much already, and it hasn’t even been a week yet! I love how smooth they are, the way they fit in my hand and the way they click together. While I still like and enjoy crochet, I’ve noticed more and more knitting patterns getting into my favourites and on to my Year of Projects list, and I think in the future knitting will be my favourite yarn craft.

December 19, 2011

Well this weekend has been busy! I finished my notebooks and origami boxes (which I’ll be sharing tomorrow) and I finished my Snowbaby hat! I loved working on the hat! The colourwork was a lot of fun. I was holding both colours of yarn in my left hand, which I guess is continental style? Because I knook (knit with a hook) instead of actually knitting, I tend to hold things as I do when I crochet – hook in my right hand, working yarn, and my work in my left – I should probably get my husband to take a photo sometime.
Once I got into the rhythm of reaching over for the brown and under for the cream, I stopped twisting my yarn up together, and got along pretty fast. The pattern was really easy to memorise, and was quite sad when it was over! I loved doing the colourwork, and I think I’m going to have to look for more patterns that use it! I’m also quite proud of the back of the work – I managed to keep the tension on my floats nicely without being too tight. I even took a photo of it to show you! It was minus five this morning when I wore my hat out for the first time and it was lovely and cosy! The cashmerino is gorgeous and soft, and I love it. I used a russian join again when I joined my second ball of the brown, and I wove in the ends of the cream while I was knitting too, so when I got the the end I only had two ends to sew in, which was also great, and I will definitely be using both techniques in future!
I’m also very hard at work on my knit bunnies. I finished a third (giant) one on Friday. I’d love to have a photo of the seven together before I give them away so I need to finish them by this Friday. I’ve finished another square that’s ready to be bunnyfied and I’m halfway through a second square. I’m going to finish the other two and a half squares, then put all my bunnies together at once.
I’m also starting to plan what I’m going to work on over Christmas, and making sure I have what I need. My Stash Addict yarn has been tempting me for weeks, so as soon as I’m finished my bunnies I want to start my Magrathea. I’ve ordered the 3mm Knit Pro Symphonie Interchangeable Crochet hook that didn’t come with the set I bought, and that I need for Magrathea. I hope it’ll come very soon, in plenty of time for Christmas. I also ordered some yarn for my Guenvieve cardigan, because I think a long holiday is a good time to start work on something that big! It’s worked flat, but in one piece, so seaming it together shouldn’t be too bad, but I do have to measure and alter the pattern to fit. Luckily though instructions are given at each step for how to fit it. I just have to follow the instructions properly. I also want to do more work on my Realta Blanket, Polo neck Bag, and my Recuerdos de Infancia shawl, so I’ll have plenty to do!
I won’t be doing my YoP update on Sunday this week, for obvious reasons! But I’ll probably have it up on Wednesday. Have a great time everyone!
The Revised List

Scarves and Shawls


Other Things

December 16, 2011

I have managed to finish my knit bunny! This one is a little bit of a giant! I couldn’t remember how many stitches to cast on – I thought it was twenty, but when I’d done them, it looked a little small, so I cast on twenty five. I should have stuck with twenty, he towers over his friends! I love that he’s a different colour to the other two, and I can see the next colour change coming up soon. I want to make another four of these next week, but I’m having a blitz on my hat this weekend, and hopefully getting it finished off too, as well as finishing covering the notebooks, which will be Christmas gifts with the bunnies and candle holders, and getting all the other Christmas presents wrapped!
It’s going to be a busy weekend for me! Check out what everyone else has been up to on Tami’s!

December 1, 2011

Is that it’s so easy to fit into my life! I love all sorts of crafts and I’ve done a lot of different ones in my life. Most recently I’ve done cross stitch and jewellery making in a lot of different styles. I also like paper crafts, and I’ve spent a lot of time making bird toys too. But the thing that sets knooking and crochet apart from all the rest is how easy it is to fit in around the other things I do! I can pick it up and put it down at a moments notice and it’s incredibly portable! It fits into a bag. I can carry it around the house with me, and I can take it in the car. All I need to take with me is yarn, crochet/knooking hooks, stitch markers and the pattern, which is usually on my phone. It’s probably the most portable craft I’ve ever hear of, and it doesn’t weigh much either! And after all the enjoyment of crafting with your yarn, you can then wear it, and take it with you everywhere. It amazes me how much potential there is in a ball of yarn. It could turn into anything at all, with just a little help from two sticks or a hook!
In February, I’m going to London with two of my best friends. We’re meeting at the train station and I have a seven hour journey. I’m choosing to look at this as “seven hours of yarn time” and I wonder what I’ll be working on then. I may need to add a small project or two to my Year of Projects list, especially for the trip!

November 30, 2011

Wednesday means I’m already over halfway through my working week. Only one more early morning before I can have a lie in! I’m using up the last of my holiday for the year by taking every Friday off, so just now I have four days of work, and three days of relaxing, crochet, knooking, jewellery making, origami and notebook decorating leading up to Christmas. After last weekend’s mad rush on tidying and gardening, there aren’t too many chores for this weekend and I plan to make the most of it!
The weather’s taken a sudden turn for the cold this morning to I’m going to have to rush on with my skaði fingerless gloves. If you didn’t see my post on Monday, I’ve changed my yarn and I’m now making them in Debbie Bliss Rialto, which is so squishy and warm I think they’re going to be great. I have one done, but I haven’t done anything on the second since Monday. I’ve just finished the cuff of the second and I’m about to start the increases. They work up pretty quick though, so I should have them done by Friday.
I’ve also cast on something new, which I hadn’t planned to do, But it’s for a good cause. I made my husband get his hair cut at the weekend, and now his ears are getting cold! So the Windschief hat has been bumped up the queue. This one is Debbie Bliss Cashmerino. He picked out his own yarn for the hat, and because he’s super sensitive to wool, and I knew a merino yarn would be great for him. This yarn is so soft, it’s amazing. Knooking with it is so good, that I didn’t mind too much that I had to cast on twice! The first time I’d got half way through the first round when I realised I’d twisted it and had to start again. But it’s underway again now, and I’m loving it so far. Knitting through the back loop is new for me, and I’m looking forward to seeing how it works up once I’ve got more done. Hopefully it’ll knit up quite quick, because the weather’s getting colder.
I also what to get through my current WIP’s (plus the ones that have been a little ignored recently) because I got my Stash Addict yarn and I can’t wait to start using it! Don’t forget to check out Tami’s for more WIPs!

November 18, 2011

Friday at last! I’ve been very good this week, getting into work before eight, meaning I can leave at four. Which is great as it gives me a longer evening (and therefore more yarn time), but it does mean I’ve barely seen daylight all week, and I’m more than ready for my lie in tomorrow! On the recommendation of a friend at work, I’ve found that the key to getting up early in the dark is a light on a timer switch – it makes it that little bit harder to stay a sleep, and gives my will power a nudge! Today I’m showing off (because that’s what FO Fridays are for!) my second Betula Cowl. I really love this pattern, but I didn’t love the first one I made.
I think my problem was that the bulky yarn it was designed for, was bulkier than my bulky yarn! So their guage was set with 6mm needles and looked really nice and tight, but I had to go up to a 8mm hook to get guage, and it was really loose as a result, and it was also a little too big for me. So I decided to make another one, and modify the pattern using the same yarn and a 6mm hook. This one has 6 short rows, instead of 4, every 17ish rows instead of every 23ish. I had a total of 110 rows of garter stitch instead of 106 before turning to the round. I did my M1’s every 5 stiches instead of 4 for a total of 70 stitches instead of 60, then I did 11 rounds of stockinette, instead of 12 and 5 rows of garter stitch instead of 3 to finish off. It’s about an inch smaller around the neck, and really cosy! I love it! The colourway is Autumn and the yarn is Rowan Colourscapes Chunky. And with a complete lack of planning, I had the perfect buttons for it, and it matches my brown winter coat really nicely!
Check out everyone else’s FO’s at Tami’s!

November 16, 2011

It’s Wednesday so that must mean WIP time! Yesterday I showed you all the unfinshed projects I currently have on the go, and last night I was hard at work on my Shawl Collared Cowl. I’m really enjoying working on this one. The yarn is squishy, soft and lovely, the pattern is easy but interesting with the short rows providing variety, and the colours are great, I love seeing what’s coming up next! I’m now six inches into the nine inch stretch, so it won’t be too long before I’m decreasing for the other side of the cowl. The colours in the photo are fairly true, although it might be a little darker really. Hopefully I’ll be able to get on to the decreases by the weekend, but I’m going to be busy for the next few evenings, getting the house tidy enough to meet my mother’s standards, so I’ll just have time to squeeze in some knooking before bed I think.
Check out everyone’s WIPs over on Tami’s!

November 11, 2011

Today is Friday, which can only mean FO’s all round! It’s also Rememberance day, so spare a though for all the soldiers who have fought and died over the last century.
Today I’m showing off my Betula ring cowl, that I’ve been teasing you with this week! I love it, but it is a bit too big – I went up a hook size or two to try and get gauge, but I’m quite small, so I think I should just have stuck to the 6mm hook after all. Part of me is tempted to redo it with a smaller hook, as it was so fast to make, but I haven’t made up my mind yet. I’ll finish the Shawl Collared Cowl I’m working on, before I make the decision.
This was the first time I’d done a pattern using short rows, and I found it really interesting to learn about them, and figure out the best way to do it with my knook (which I talked about yesterday). It was also interesting to work it flat for the bottom grey to dark grey part, then pick up the stitches along the side and go into working in the round, but I didn’t have any problems with it, and it was fun to do. I love to learn new things, and this pattern gave me plenty to do. I also love buttons, so here’s a close up of the buttons I chose for my cowl.
Don’t forget to check out everyone’s FO’s on Tami’s!

November 10, 2011

This week I’ve been learning new things, which I love! I found a couple of cowl patterns that I wanted to make, both of which used short rows – something I’d only heard of before. So I went off to youtube and found a video for knitting short rows (no link sorry, I’m on the wrong computer) – I don’t think there are any for knooking yet. Then I had to work out how to adapt it for knooking. I think the easiest way to do it is with two cords. On the row before the short row, you work up to where the first short row will end then pull the cord through and swap cord. Finish the row turn then work the first row, when you get to the wrap and turn (I’ve just been doing it for garter stitch which is a bit easier) pull the yarn to the front slide the next stitch to your knook, and pull the yarn to the back again, like for knitting, then slide the stitch on to the first cable. Turn and pull the yarn to the back again, making sure you don’t get tangled, it can be a little awkward. The finish the row like normal. Repeat if you have another short row, or knit across the whole row again. Short rows are great for shaping. One of the patterns I’m working on just now, has short rows forming the collar of the cowl – it looks great and makes it really nice and snug.
My next tip is for the KnitPro Interchangeable hooks I bought. I love these hooks! They’re so smooth and comfortable to use. And I also love the cables that come with them. I find it much easier to get into the stitches with the cable, and my stitches are less likely to get pulled tight like they can on a cord. I also love how easy it is to change my cable. However, I can not knit ribbing with the cables. It took me a while to work out what my problem was – my purl to knit changes were fine, but knit to purl was always loose. I think the problem was that the cable was stretching that change and not letting me get it tight enough. When I was using a cord instead, my ribbing had been fine. I wanted to keep using my knooking hook, so I sellotaped my yarn cord to the end like I did with my crochet hooks. This worked and my ribbing was looking good, but wasn’t completely successfull, because the hook tapers at the end, and every now and then, the cord would pull free of the sellotape, which was pretty annoying. Then I had a brainwave. The end of my knook had a very small screw, what if I could find something that fitted in there and could be screwed together. Lucky for me I had just the thing – I make jewellery and I had some screw fasteners for necklaces and they fit together perfectly! It’s actually better than the cable that comes with the knooks, because the loop on the back of the fastener moves independantly of the screw, so that your necklace doesn’t twist up as you’re using it. So your cord doesn’t twist as you’re using it this way. Just tie your cord securely to your fastening and you’re ready to go. It also makes it really fast and easy to swap your cord now, for short rows or working in the round. Hope that helps someone!

November 4, 2011

It’s nearly the weekend again, which means bonus time for crafting! I’m planning a busy weekend this week. I need to do some tiding and I want to make up the charm bracelets I was talking about earlier this week, as well as getting in plenty of work on my Childhood Memories shawl and working on my knooking projects! This week, my FO is not surprisingly another knit bunny.
The new one is on the left, and last weeks is on the right. His head seems to be a little smaller that the first one, and I think I prefer his ears. I’d like them all to have names before I gove them away, so if you can think of names for seven little knit bunnies, let me know!
Don’t forget to check out Tami’s for more FO Fridays!