Liz Corke Knit Design

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September 30, 2013

This is my absolute favourite cast on for anything that needs to stretch. I’m releasing a pattern for fingerless mitts tomorrow and I wanted to share this cast on with you all. It’s a variation on a long tail cast on, and this is how it works.

Alternating Cast On 1

1. Start by holding the yarn around your thumb and index finger. The ball
end should be round the thumb and the yarn tail round the index finger.

Alternating Cast On 2

2. Take the needle from the back of the hand under the yarn between your thumb and index finger and twist it through 180°.

Alternating Cast On 3

3. Take the needle tip under the yarn on your thumb.

Alternating Cast On 4

4. Next take the needle over, then under the yarn on your index finger.

Alternating Cast On 5

5. Bring the needle back through the thumb loop.

Alternating Cast On 6

6. Drop the yarn from your thumb and tighten the stitch.

Alternating Cast On 7

7. Pick up the yarn with your thumb, but this time it should go round the opposite way.

Alternating Cast On 8

8. Take the needle tip under the yarn on your thumb.

Alternating Cast On 9

9. Next take the needle over, then under the yarn on your index finger.

Alternating Cast On 10

10. Bring the needle back through the thumb loop, then drop the yarn from your thumb and tighten the stitch.

Alternating Cast On 11

Pick up the yarn as in step 2 and work from step 3 to 10 repeating until you have the required number of stitches. The stitches should be arranged neatly in pairs.

Once you’ve knit an inch or two of ribbing, test out how stretchy it is!

June 12, 2013

I’m working on a new pattern just now and I’m really loving how it’s turning out. I’m using a lot of beads too and that reminded me about how I’ve been planning to post my beading tutorial for ages and never got round to it, so here it is!

You will need beads appropriate to the size of your yarn. I really like size 6/0 for fingering weight yarn. It sits nicely on the loop without rattling around. I really like Miyuki 6/0 Seed Beads. There’s loads of colours and they are very regular in size so they all look even in your knitting. You also need (for this method) a small crochet hook. a 0.75mm steel hook works perfectly for 6/0 beads. This tutorial talks about purling because I like putting my beads on purl rows, but it’ll work just as well if you knit first.

Start by purling to the stitch where you will place the bead. Put a bead on your crochet hook.

Start by purling to the stitch where you will place the bead. Put a bead on your crochet hook.

Using the crochet hook, lift up the stitch and lift it off the needle.

Using the crochet hook, lift up the stitch and lift it off the needle.

Slip the bead from the crochet hook over the stitch.

Slip the bead from the crochet hook over the stitch.

Place the stitch back on the right needle.

Place the stitch back on the right hand needle.

Tighten the stitch back up.

Tighten the stitch back up.

Continue knitting the pattern.

Continue knitting the pattern.

If you’ve never tried beading before, give it a go. It’s a great way to glam up a simple pattern!

May 25, 2012

The haar was in this morning when I woke up so everything was quite miserable here, but it’s all burned off now and it’s set to be another gorgeous day. I should probably explain that haar is a type of fog that comes in off the North Sea and seems to be unique to the East coast of Scotland. We live high enough up that we quite often miss the haar and we can look out the window from our sunny house and only see a wall of fog across the road. It can be a little surreal! I’ve linked the wikipedia page up there and the photo is pretty much exactly what happens – gorgeous sun on one side, thick fog on the other! I’ve also seen haar form a ring around a town and driven under it when it floated about 8 feet off the ground. It’s very strange stuff! Anyway, the weather forecast is fantastic for the next few days so I hope we aren’t using up all our summer too early.

On to my FO’s! I have a few for you today, since I don’t want to get too far behind on posting them. A couple have been on  my Year of Progress posts already. As I think I might (perhaps) have mentioned before, I’m really enjoying the Harry Potter House Cup. The first part of Quiddich this term is mini-socks. These are so cute, and really fast and easy to make. I went with a crochet pattern because I think for something like this it’s a lot less fiddly for me. I made one mini sock and one super mini sock with half the number of stitches and rows. They were a lot of fun and they’d be perfect for Christmas decorations.

Next up is a lacy dragonscale face cloth. I loved this pattern although for some reason I just could not get the third repeat right – I had to rip back to the same row three times because I missed three different yarn overs on three different tries! It was irritating to say the least! I have quite a bit of cotton that didn’t work out for a different project last year, but I love how it feels knitted and we need more face cloths in our house so I’m going to be making more – but I’ll probably use a different pattern for the next, it’s more fun that way!

Lastly, I’ve been trying entrelac. This was going to be a needle book, but it turned out a bit too wide and way too floppy. I could line it but I’m not sure how much it would help so I’m going to make a needlebook that matches my knitting needle case with some of the scraps. I turned this on into a glass cosy because it wasn’t big enough to be a blanket square, and turned it in for flying. I love the way it looks, but I can’t really say I enjoyed the process. I hate picking up stitches and my fingers got well and truely stabbed in the process!

Check out Tami’s for more FO Fridays!

May 14, 2012

The weeks seem to be rolling by so fast this year! May is already well underway and it sometimes feels like summer is just around the corner – and then it rains and seems more like winter again. We were at my parents on Saturday and the swallows were starting to fix up their nest. They nest at the front door where we can see them sitting in their nest and see the babies sticking their heads out to be fed which is really cute, and when the swallows come home it’s one of the first signs that summer really is on it’s way.

I’ve been very busy on the knitting front this week. I finished my Nightlock Shawl on Thursday and managed to get it blocked and the ends sewn in in time to show it off to my parents on Saturday. Five hundred stitches in the last few rows were nearly the end of me! It took forever to go back and forth. Every second row started off increasing by four stitches, but as soon as the spikes started there were 22 stitches new stitches in every increase row so it got a lot bigger very quickly towards the end.

I really love the shawl. The length is perfect for wrapping round my shoulders nicely and it’s deep enough to be comfortably warm. The yarn is Knit Picks Pallet and it’s really soft – softer than I expected in fact. It’s really nice and warm and I love the way the colours work together. I had another problem, like my rocketship shawl, where I found a dropped stitch after I’d blocked it, but I managed to pick it up nicely and save it.

I’ve finally tried entrelac. I like the results but I wasn’t that keen on the process. I find picking up stitches really awkward, so it was probably really good practice for me! The yarn I used was the left overs from my Snowbaby hat a while ago. I’m going to turn this into a needle book. I have felt to sew in for the pages and I’ll probably crochet a loop for a button to keep it closed. I’m always losing my needles so hopefully I can be good and put them back in here and keep track of them!

I’ve also made a face cloth. This one has a seed stitch border and the lace pattern is Dragonscale I really liked the pattern, although I had a lot of problems at the end of the third repeat when I kept missing different yarn overs and ended up ripping back at least three times. I really like the cloth and I think it’ll be a great addition to our bathroom, where we definitely need more face cloths.

Since I finished the shawl on Thursday, the face cloth on Saturday and the entrelac last night, I don’t actually have anything else I’ve made progress on. I am about to set to work with my Drops Fabel yarn. I’ve had the yarn since last year sometime. I was going to make it into a Usoa Shawl, but I really prefer the long cresent shawls I’ve been making recently to the triangular ones I’ve made before, so it’s going to become a Bacchus Shawl instead and hopefully I’ll be casting on tonight.

My Year of Projects Lists

To Do/In Progress


Needle Book – Nearly done
Hairpin Lace Blanket – In Progress
Pin Cushion – In Progress
Happy Lavender Scarf – In Progress
Lacey Tunic – Swatched
Bacchus Shawl – Drops Fabel
Momijigari
1 x HPKCHC Homework
Face Cloths – Drops Paris – 88 yrds/574 yrds used!
Calorimetry – Have yarn
Scissor Case

Finished Things

Tote Bag – Finished
Windschief Hat – Finished
Snowbaby Hat – Finished
Skaði Fingerless Gloves – Finished
Lacey Crochet Scarf – Finished
Iris Crocheted Shawl – Finished
Shawl Collared Cowl – Finished
Urban Shells – Finished
Elise Shawl – Finished
Betula  Ring – Finished
Magrathea – Finished
Knit Bunnies x 7 – Finished
Realistic Octopus – Finished
Henslowe – Finished
HPKCHC March – Finished
Garter Ruffles Scarf – Finished
Rocketship Shawl – Finished
Mezquita Shawl – Finished
Nightlock Shawl – Finished
Dragonscale Face Cloth – Finished
Tunisian Wash Cloth – Finished

May 11, 2012

I’m glad it’s finally Friday! I’m really looking forward to putting my feet up and relaxing tonight and after crawling around on the floor to block out my Nighlock shawl, I’ll get to cast on something new, although currently I have no idea what. I finished my Nightlock last night. The last few rows took forever! By the end each row was taking around an hour, but I persevered and I’m glad I got it finished. Now I have a load of ends to weave in and block the points out nicely – since right now they look like awkward ruffles.

For FO Friday this week, I have a Tunisian Crochet knit stitch dish cloth I made for the HPKCHC. The challenge was to use one craft – crochet – to make something that looked like it was made by another craft – knitting. I quite enjoyed the process, although I did find it a little awkward. I also did the yarn overs the wrong way round in a couple of places which I’m pretty sure is why I have some mistakes in it. That’s alright though and I’m sure the dishes won’t mind! The yarn is Granstudio Drops Paris, 100% cotton. I really liked working with it. I’ve heard a lot of people have problems working with cotton but this was really nice to work with. I have a lot of this yarn in various colours so I’ll be making quite a few more wash cloths.

Check out Tami’s for more FO Fridays!

May 7, 2012

Have you ever had one of those mornings when nothing would go right? This morning I woke up at 8:11. I’m normally at work by 7:50; I couldn’t find a pair of socks (although I did at least manage two black socks); the cash machine swallowed my husband’s card without even asking for the PIN; hopefully the rest of the day will go better!

I got quite a bit of progress done this week. First up the Mezquita shawl for my friend is finished and ready four months before her birthday. I might block it again before I wrap it up for her, because I think some of the points on one side could do with a little more stretching. The outside section of lace isn’t quite as open as the inside. I really happy with how it’s turned out though. It’s longer than my arms can reach so it should be a great scarf and it’s deep enough to be a shawl in summer.

The Nightlock shawl is coming along nicely. I love how the colours are working up for this one. I’m completely in love with this pattern. It’s really easy. The increases are on one row and the second is just knit all and repeat – a lot! The spikes are starting to appear and I’m pretty close to finishing already. Just a few more rows of silver, then some more stripes and it’s done. I have to say though, that top down shawls that start with 5 stitches and increase to over five hundred are not my favourites – every row just takes that little bit longer so you slow down just as you want to rush to the finish.

I learnt a new technique this week: Tunisian crochet. I enjoyed it although it did feel pretty awkward to begin with and I made a couple of mistakes where I think I did a knitting YO instead of a crochet one. But I’m happy with how it turned out and I’ll be putting it in the kitchen after I’ve woven in the ends and submitted it for HPKCHC homework! The House Cup is pretty good motivation for getting on with those face cloths that have been sitting on the end of my Year of Projects list for ages! The pattern for this one is Tunisian Knit Stitch Washcloth and the instructions are pretty good, although I used a video on youtube just to make it easier.

This week I’m going to try and go through my stash and assign a project to every yarn I have as a way to motivate myself to use up my stash and in preparation for next years Year of Projects list. I like the idea of having something already planned for any of my stashed yarns and hopefully it’ll get me using them up faster.

My Year of Projects Lists

To Do/In Progress


Hairpin Lace Blanket – In Progress
Pin Cushion – In Progress
Happy Lavender Scarf – In Progress
Nightlock – In Progress
Lacey Tunic – Swatched
Usoa Shawl – Drops Fabel
Momijigari
1 x HPKCHC Homework
Face Cloths – Drops Paris – 32 yrds/574 yrds used!
Calorimetry – Have yarn
Needle Book – Trying out entrelac (leftovers of blanket yarn)
Scissor Case

Finished Things

Tote Bag – Finished
Windschief Hat – Finished
Snowbaby Hat – Finished
Skaði Fingerless Gloves – Finished
Lacey Crochet Scarf – Finished
Iris Crocheted Shawl – Finished
Shawl Collared Cowl – Finished
Urban Shells – Finished
Elise Shawl – Finished
Betula  Ring – Finished
Magrathea – Finished
Knit Bunnies x 7 – Finished
Realistic Octopus – Finished
Henslowe – Finished
HPKCHC March – Finished
Garter Ruffles Scarf – Finished
Rocketship Shawl – Finished
Mezquita Shawl – Finished

April 28, 2012

I’ve only been knittinga few months so there’s a few techniques I know and a lot I want to learn still! I make a lot of shawls so I’ve had a good bit of practice with lace, and I’m really happy and quite confident with lace now. I’ve also done a few projects with stranded knitting. Its a technique I really like, but I need to improve on. I made a Snowbaby hat, which I love and actually tensioned really well, but a couple of the other projects I’ve done since I’ve pulled a little too tight, so that’s something I want to work on in the future and I’d also like to try some with more colours.

Photo by Jaydot

One new technique I’d really like to try is entrelac. I’m not sure what attracts me to it, I think it’s partly that it’s just so different to everything else I’ve seen. If I ever finish the blanket I’m supposed to be working on I have plans to make a small needle book from the left overs. It I like how it works out, then I can make something bigger afterwards, but I think a needle book will be a good size to test the technique and maybe that way I’ll actually be able to find a needle when I need to weave in ends!

Photo by Trisdot

Something else I’d like to try is double knitting.  I think it looks really interesting although I don’t really have an idea for learning this one. Maybe I should make House bookmarks to celebrate the new House Cup term starting or The Prettiest Hot Pad Ever (TPHPE) looks like it could be a lot of fun, and this Swing Flowers scarf is stunning. This is definitely something I want to try out soon!

I’m going to put all of these techniques and more on to my Year of Projects list for year two or try them out sooner if they fit my homework for the Harry Potter House Cup. Yesterday’s blog week posts were awesome! I think it was my favourite day so far. I’m looking forward to seeing everyone’s posts today and leaning about new techniques.

April 19, 2012

Panorama_Shawl
I love alliteration, so I’m pretty pleased with todays title! The Rocketship shawl is blocked and it was already pretty much dry when I got up this morning. I asked my husband to get a photo of it for me (he’s much taller and had more chance of fitting it all in in one go) but he couldn’t get it non-blurry so instead he took lots of photos and made it into a panorama for me! I’m really pleased with how it’s turned out. It’s really long, I’ve never needed four blocking mats before but I like the length of it.

There’s one tiny problem with it. The pink pin that’s floating around in the middle of the border is holding on to a stitch I dropped a long way back! I’m going to have to rescue it and sew it in when I get home. I can pick up three or four rows to close up the hole that’s appeared, and then I think I’ll have to use a spare bit of yarn to sew it in at the back. Wish me luck, hopefully it’ll work out well. I really happy right now that the bobble didn’t fall out, rescuing that would have been a real challenge!

My parents were over on Skye last week having a holiday and my dad found this awesome book for me. In the end he had to buy two copies because after showing it to my mum, he had to get it for her as well! I’ve always loved celtic art and knotwork, and this book is packed with tips, guides and even templates. It starts off with how to draw knotwork and borders, and how to add stylaised animals into them. Next up is calligraphy and illuminated lettering, and then my faourite part, the jewellery section. Mostly it shows you how to make knotted and woven hewellery with cord, but I’m tempted to give it a go with wire too. Then it goes on to papercraft – decorated boxes and cards and finishes up with glass painting! All in all it’s a pretty comprehensive collection of crafts and techniques and I’m really looking forward to getting started with some of the projects.

Next week is Knitting and Crochet Blog Week, and I’m really looking forward too it! I need to be super organised next week, though to get through it all. I’ll have to make sure I get my Year of Projects update out on Sunday for a change – Sunday is also the open day at the park where my parents live and we’re going down to help like usual so it’ll be a very busy day for me! Monday is Colour Lovers – I know what I’m doing for this one, because I was thinking of making a post about it when I heard the topics! Tuesday is the photo contest, so fingers crossed for nice weather for me so I can get my photo done at the weekend – I have a great idea for this one. Wednesday is about Knitting or Crochet Heros and although this one was a little challenging I think I know what I’m going to write about for it. Thursday is a Knitter For All Seasons, which shouldn’t be too hard although for some reason my mind is blank. Friday is the real challenge – to do something different, like a wordless post, a video blog or sketch – I’m really looking forward to seeing what everyone comes up with for this one and hoping I get struck with inspiration soon! Saturday and Sunday are Improving Your Skill Set and Crafting Balance which I have plans for. So if you haven’t already, check out Eskimmi’s blog for more details and think about joining us. It’s going to be a lot of fun, and there’s always a chance of winning a prize!

February 20, 2012

Another week has been and gone already, and I imagine this week will pass even faster for me! I have three days at work, then a four day trip to London, which I’ve already mentioned quite a few times, and I’m really excited about! We’re going to see a few shows – Les Misérables on Thursday which I’ve wanted to see ever since I learnt to play the music on the piano about ten (or more!) years ago, Friday is Blood Brothers, and Saturday is Mousetrap – Agatha Christies play. I’m not sure what else we’re going to do, there’ll be two of us on Thursday and Friday, and on Saturday another friend is joining us. The two girls I’m going with were my bridesmaids, and we don’t see each other too much these days, since I’m in Aberdeen and they are near Leeds, so I’m really excited about the trip.

I’m taking the train down and back which is a 7 hour trip each way, so I’ve cast on a couple of projects, and I’ll be getting a new book and an audiobook for the trip. And that brings me to what I’ve been knitting this week! First up is my finshed Magrathea. I really love this shawl! It’s so warm with the wool cotton mix and the yarn is so soft. It feels fantastic. The pattern was good and easy to follow, although I did occasionally have problems with missing yarn overs. Blocking didn’t go 100% as I intended. Most of it went well, but the second half of the border hasn’t held the points I tried to put in, so I think I’ll try reblocking the border tonight, and hopefully it’ll come out nicely second time. I’m planning to take Magrathea down to London with me, so I want to give it plenty of time to dry out before I go.

I’ve also been working away at Henslowe. I have ripped everything out once, because I realised I’d missed a yarn over back at the start. The yarn over’s are really important as you pick them up to make the border, so making sure I don’t miss any is important, and I’d hate to get to the end of the body, then realise the second row had a missing loop! The yarn is gorgeous. I love the way the colours are working up together, and with no pooling too. It feels really nice – soft but springy, although I imagine blocking will rduce the springyness a little.

I also cast on a couple of new projects, and come to the realisation I really need a second pair of 5mm needle tips! The first is the garter ruffles scarf. I’m making this one with Debbie Bliss Andes, which was the second yarn gift from my husband for Christmas! It feels gorgeous and I’m really looking forward to wearing this one. The pattern is pretty simple, it has a short repeat with short rows and an increase, so it should be perfect for the train. I wanted to make sure I was happy with the projects I’m taking with me, so I cast them on early. The second is a scarf with Patons Smoothie DK. I had planned to do Branching Out with this yarn, but I was having trouble getting the cast on right. It needs to be loose because you increase quite a lot of stitches at the start of the lace repeat, before decreasing again, but I kept casting on too tight and it wouldn’t stretch nicely. So instead I’m making Cream of Spinich. I really like this pattern. it’s got a nice simple repeat, and I love the texture of the passed over stitches. No photos of this one I’m afraid, I started it after I’d done the photo’s of the others.

Last but definitely not least is my crochet hairpin lace blanket. I finished another strip on Friday and got it all joined up. I like how it’s going so far, but I’m about to have my first real colour change. I think the colours will look ok together but only time will tell. The next colour is Sunshine. I’ve decided the blanket will probably find a home on our sofa, but I’m still going to make it big enough for a double bed, because that will give me more options later on – I wouldn’t want to end up wishing I’d made it bigger a year or two down the line!

The Revised List

Scarves and Shawls

Amigurumi

Other Things

February 13, 2012

Here we are at another Monday, and another whole week till the weekend! It was sort of light on my way to work this morning, so it’s starting to feel like spring is actually on the way at last! I’m looking forward to warmer days soon. I’ve been pretty busy this week. We’ve got a new TV – a flat screen at last, instead of our old huge bulky one – so we rearranged the living room to give us more space now we can have the TV wall mounted. It’s opened the room out a lot and makes it feel a lot bigger.

This weekend the Hairpin lace has fallen behind a little, because I’ve got swept away with Magrathea! Magrathea is nearly done! I used around two and a half skiens of yarn to make the body, which was 17 repeats long. Then I joined the fourth skien right befor starting the lace border. I didn’t want to have to join a new skien during the lace, so I thought this way would be best – which didn’t work out because I found a large ugly knot and had to cut it out, but I managed to get the join in the middle of one of the diamonds, so it shouldn’t show too badly. I’ve only got a few more rows left to go, so hopefully it’ll be done by the end of the week and I’ll get it blocked.
The blanket has been going along fine, although it was very ignored yesterday, after I’d started working on the border of my scarf! I have the colours all planned out, so I know which strips I’m doing when. The third strip is underway and I quite like the colours so far, although the pink is very hard to photograph well! The true test will come after this strip, when I move into other colours, and start to get a feel for how the colours will look together. I chose this colour scheme by putting all of the colours into a colour wheel, then taking every third colour , round and round in circles. I have 19 colours, so using every third number let it go round nicely, moving the pattern over one colour every time I went round.

The most exciting thing about being nearly done with Magrathea, is that I can start thinking about what to cast on next! I’m off to London a week on Thursday. I’m going there and back by train, which is a seven hour journey each way! That’s 14 hours of knitting time, with no distractions! I’m going to treat myself to a new audio book for the trip, and I’ll work on a Garter Ruffles Scarf on the trip! I’ll be making it with the Debbie Bliss Andes yarn my husband gave me for Christmas – it’s replacing the two options I had in my list before, because it’ll make better use of the yarn. It should be uncomplicated enough not to give me any problems – important when I don’t know if I’ll be able to get internet access on the train – but the short rows will hopefully keep it interesting. As for the next week or so, I should be good and work on my Childhood Memories shawl, but it’s another crochet piece, and I’d really like to have some knitting on the go, along with the blanket which is crochet. I’ve also been longing to do something with my Stash Addict yarn for ages! the blues and greys are gorgeous, and some of my favourite colours. So, I’m going to give in to temptation and cast on for Henslowe.

The Revised List

Scarves and Shawls

Amigurumi

Other Things