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!

July 20, 2012

It’s Friday at last and I’m really looking forward to my lie-in tomorrow! Before we get on to todays FO, I just want to let you know that I tried on my lacey tunic again last week, and it was still a perfect fit! So I don’t have to worry about washing it any more. This weeks FO is a small thing that I’ve been meaning to make for ages – a needle book. My sewing needles always seem to be wondering off somewhere, and I’m sure they’re never where I left them, so hopefully this will help – or I’ll lose it and all my needles together! I’m not going to do a tutorial or anything, but here’s a rough guide to how I made mine.

I had some scraps left over from making my needle case and project bag that were just big enough to turn into my needle book. I cut the fabric to about 7″ by 5″. I put iron on interfacing on each piece of fabric and put the right sides together along with a piece of quite thick sew in interfacing and stitched around three and a bit sides – I wanted to make sure all the corners were sewn nicely. Then I clipped the corners and turned it the rightway round. I tucked the fabric in to the hole nicely and slipped the elastic into the hole, then I stitched around the whole thing again.

At this point I realised that it might have been better to sew the felt pages to the inside piece of fabric before I started puting it together, but it was really too late at that point – I wasn’t undoing everything I’d already done! My felt cutting skills are also a little wobbly so I’ll work on that in future. I stitched the pages in stright through the middle of the fabric, and found a cute button for the front. I’m really happy with how it’s turned out. The interfacing has made it nice and semi-stiff and it should be able to stand up to a good amount of abuse.

Check out what everyone else has been up to over on Tami’s!

March 8, 2012

This post will be very picture heavy! I’ve tried to take photos of every stage. To see any of them bigger just click on the picture. A couple of the photos are a little blurry and I’ll try to take replacement ones later. I hope this will all make sense to everyone but if you have any questions please do ask. The shawl pin is really quick and easy to make and anyone with basic skills should be able to do it. I’ve used a jewellery jig to make my shawl pin but if you don’t have one a block of wood with thin clean nails knocked in should work fine too.

First off you will need some wire – I’ve used copper wire 1.6mm thick. Any metal will probably work for this although you’ll want it thick enough to be sturdy and soft enough to bend easily. A jewellery jig (or block of wood and nails), wire cutters, round nose pliers, a sheet of paper, and some waste yarn. Later you’ll also need a hammer, a board and some clear nail varnish.

The first step is to set out the pins in your jig in the positions you want them. Then loosely wrap the waste yarn around the pins (or nails) making a loop at each end and cut the yarn to that size. Use the yarn to measure the wire and cut it. I would suggest cutting the wire slightly longer than the yarn – having too much wire is much better than too little after all.

Now use your round nose pliers to make a loop in each end. The loops should go in opposite directions – one to the left and the other to the right. Try to keep the loops 180 degrees apart so that the wire lies flat. If it isn’t completely flat try holding one loop flat on a desk and twisting the other loop down on the other side.

This step is only needed if your using a jewellery jig like mine with a lot of spaces to put pins in. Place a piece of paper over the jig and push gently so that the pins stick though it. Pull out all of the pins apart from the top two. Removing the spare pins will make bending the wire easier and the paper lets you see where you should be putting the pins back in. If you’re using a block of wood you’ll only have the holes you need for this project so the paper isn’t necessary.

Now we’re ready to start bending the wire. Place the first loop over the top most pin (or nail) and bend the wire gently around the second pin. There’s no need to pull the wire tight against the pin, nice big loops will work perfectly. After the bend put a new pin in the highest hole then bend the wire around that. Keep repeating this process zig-zagging down to the bottom.

My piece of wire was a little bit long so I just twisted the end up like a spring until it was the right length to fit over the last pin nicely. Then you just need to trim the end to make a single loop. The pin should have a slight curve to it, so that you can easily pass the pin through the two loops. Bend the pin gently until you’re happy with it’s shape.

Straighten out some more of your wire and thread it through the two loops of the shawl pin. This will make the pin part. Cut the wire to a length that you’re happy with. Remember to leave enough wire to bend into another loop like an eyepin. Make sure the loop on the pin won’t fit through the other loops.

Now you should have a nicely shaped shawl pin but the wire will be very flexible and will likely get bent out of shape. We can harden the wire by beating it gently with a hammer. I put one of my foam blocking mats on the floor then put an old craft board on top. The blocking mat will absorb most of the noise (which made my husband much happier!) and the craft board gave me a firm but gentle non-scratchy surface for the pin.

Beating the wire will create little dents in the wire so make sure you only hammer the back of both pieces of your pin. Be gentle with the hammer as with a soft metal like copper a little goes a long way. Too much beating will make the metal brittle so don’t hammer it too much. Just going along the length of the pin once should be enough to make it nice and firm without making it brittle. You should immediately be able to feel the difference in how firm it is.

The final step is to coat the pin in clear nail varnish. It will help to stop tarnishing and also protect from scratches. The best way to do it is to paint one side then leave it to one side until you’re sure it is completely dry. Once both sides have been painted and are thoroughly dry it’s ready to use!

Try adding beads or bending the wire in different shapes and make yourself a whole range of shawl pins!