30 Sep 2013

Market Bag Knit-along #8 - The BYOB Market Bag


So we come to the last of this series of blogposts on working the BYOB Market Bag and the new pattern is ready! Full details are on my website and the pattern can also be downloaded from Craftsy or Ravelry.

Doesn't this look different from the original BYOB 2.0 pattern? Here's where we started with the BYOB 2.0 bags:


These are striped bags worked with a deep base, a relatively narrow central section and grip handles to hold in your hand or carry over your arm. And now here is the new BYOB Market Bag - a very stylish shoulder bag worked in a single colour:


I think you'll agree - it almost looks like a different bag. So perhaps this will inspire you to try other variations to make a unique bag for yourself.

You could work a version of the BYOB 2.0 bag in the Med or Lrg size for a brilliant beach bag, or the XS size would make great little gift bags for your next party, for example worked in orange for your next Halloween "Trick or Treating". Or you could colour-code your BYOB Market Bags so you always use the same colour for different produce!


If you delve into the deep history in this blog you'll find other variations I have suggested for these bags including the version above which uses a Fibonacci sequence for the stripes. 


See the post dated 12 Aug 2009 "Bags of Bags" for lots of ideas, such as these.

I hope you enjoy the new bag pattern. Let me know if you spot any errors or want to make any further suggestions - always pleased to here from everyone. See you next time.

Happy Knitting!

Moira








. 13/1/16

28 Sep 2013

Market Bag Knit-along #7 - Handles and Finishing


Today, we are going to finish up our BYOB Market Bags and look at handle options - both knitted and purchased. If you would like to go back to the start of this series and review all the sections so far, then please click here for the start of these Tutorial/Knit-along posts and follow the links at the bottom of each posting.

In the last blogpost we were working the central openwork section of the bag and so by now you should have arrived at the top band. If you are working to the same dimensions as I am, then your bag should now measure 30cm/12 ins from the middle of the base to the current round of knitting, and you will have 130 stitches. So, change back to your shorter-length 4.0mm/US #6 ndls and work the following round:

     Rnd 1: [K1, p1] to last 2 sts, knit into the front and then the back of the next stitch (kfb), k1. (131 sts)
     Rnd 2: [P1, k1] to last st, p1.
     Rnd 3: [K1, p1] to last st, k1.
     Rnd 4: As Rnd 2.

Rep these last 2 rnds until the top band measures the length you want it to be. I am going to make my bag 35cm/14 ins long, so the top band will be 5cm/2 ins deep.

Double Handles


Now it is time to add the handles. For this bag, I am going to work two long handles with a button overlap detail on each. If you'd like to do the same, work the following round next. You will need 3 stitch holders as you work this round:

     . Wk 23sts in patt, 
     . BO 19, wk 11 sts and place these onto a stitch holder (SH), 
     . BO 25, wk 11 sts and place these onto a 2nd SH,
     . BO 19, wk 11 sts and place these onto a 3rd SH,
     . then BO 24 sts. Do not cut your yarn.

You will now be at the point marked by the red arrow in the diagram below, ready to work the first handle: 


     Working over these first 11 sts:

     Row 1 (RS): Wk 11 sts in patt.
     Row 2: Sl1, wk to last st, sl 1.
     Row 3: K1, k2tog, wk 5, SSK, k1. (9 sts)
     Row 4: As Row 2.
     Row 5: K1, wk to last st, k1.
     Row 6: As Row 2.
     Rep Rows 5-6 until handle is length required (see below).

This shapes the base of the handle smoothly from the top of the bag, giving it a small "shoulder", and the edges have a neat selvedge stitch. See back to the post on selvedges for more info on this.

Length of Handles


Handle length is a very personal thing. Some people like very long handles so that their bags hang at hip-height, others much shorter. Measure an ideal bag that you currently own and see what works for you. 

The longer the knitted handle though, the more it can stretch, so you might need to back your handle with cloth or a woven tape if you find that is an issue. 

I want my handles to be a total of 60cm/24 ins long, and I am going to work them so that they overlap with an attached button detail at one side. So I will make the first side of the handle 40cm/16 ins long plus a small amount for a button tab, and the 2nd side 22.5cm/9 ins long. This will give me 2.5cm/1 in for an overlap to sew the two handles together.

I used some vintage-style buttons, from an original design dated about 1941. You may have something just right in your button box! The ones I used measure 22mm or 7/8 ins wide. You will need 2 buttons in total, 1 for each side.

So for the first part of the handle, work in the pattern as set until it measures 40cm/16 ins when slightly stretched, ending with a WS row. Place a marker at either end of this row, then:

     Row 1 (RS): K1, SSK, wk to last 3 sts, k2tog, k1. (7 sts)
     Row 2: Sl1, k2, p1, k2, sl 1.
     Row 3: K1, SSK, p1, k2tog, k1. (5 sts)
     Row 4: Sl 1, k1, p1, k1, sl 1.
     Row 5: K1, SK2P, k1. [SK2P = Sl 1 st to RH ndl, k2tog, pass slipped st over] (3 sts)
     Row 6: Sl1, p1, sl 1.
     Row 7: SK2P. (1 st)

Cut yarn and pull through the last stitch. Finish off neatly on the WS. This forms a nicely pointed button tab at the end.

Replace the 2nd set of 11 sts onto the ndls, join in a new yarn end and work this strap in the same way. Continue until this measures 20cm/8 ins and then place a marker at either end of the row. Work a further 2.5cm/1 in and BO all sts, leaving a long tail of about 50cm/0.5 yd for finishing the handle.


Position the button tab over the strap just worked, matching the markers. Sew around the button tab, bringing the yarn through all the layers to secure well.

Take the yarn end to the WS and loosely oversew the open edge of the under-handle. Thread the yarn through to where you would like the button to be and secure into position. Finish yarn end off. Then do the same for the 2nd handle on the other side.

Other options: a) Single Handle

f you prefer to have a single handle on your bag, then you can modify the instructions above to work just one handle going from one side to the other. Either leave it plain, or back it with cloth or a woven band for extra strength. 

b) Linen or Rope Handles

Or perhaps you would like to use a purchased handle of some kind. There are many available in the stores, or you could salvage an interesting handle from an old bag.

Alternatively, you could use linen straps or rope handles. Have a look at the Falmer Book Bag and Southampton Book Bag patterns as examples. These are knitted bags using craft-store linen tote liners. I replaced the standard handles with longer straps so that they can be carried on the shoulder. A similar approach could be used with these market bags, attaching the straps to the base and sewing straight through the knitted fabric. 

Or a length of cord or rope in a matching or contrasting colour could be fixed at the base and then woven in and out through the openwork section for a decorative effect. Knot them at the top for an easy and strong set of handles.

Finishing

Sew in all the remaining ends neatly on the inside of your bag making sure to secure them very well and then block into shape. And you're done!

I will post one final blogpost in this series with details of this BYOB Market Bag written up as a separate pattern so that you will have the instructions in one place. Thanks for the messages so far - I am glad you are enjoying making these bags. Make lots and give them to your friends too! The fewer plastic bags we all use the better.

Happy Knitting!

Moira







. 13/1/16

21 Sep 2013

Market Bag Knit-along #6 - The Two-Row SSK


The SSK decrease is a tricky manoeuvre and it often ends up elongated or distorted compared to its companion, the "knit two together". The problem comes down to the way in which the SSK is worked, so I am going to suggest an alternative approach - working the decrease over two rows not just one! 

See if you like this "Two-Row SSK" as we continue our Tutorial/Knit-along for the BYOB Market Bag.

So what is the SSK decrease?


When you decrease two stitches into one, the result either leans to the right or the left.

The 'knit two together / k2tog' decrease goes to the right. This is a simple stitch and very neat to work. You insert your needle into two stitches instead of just one and then knit them together. 

So the technique is very familiar and you don't have to prepare the stitches before working them. Here's a video showing how to work the k2tog. 

However, when you come to work the 'Slip Slip Knit / SSK' decrease this is not the case. If you are at the right point in your BYOB Market Bag and have finished the lower band, then you can try this as you read about it. Change to the larger-sized needles (I used 5.5mm/US #9 size) and start the first line of the openwork pattern:

Rnd 1: *K2tog, yo, k1, yo, SSK; rep from * to end of rnd.

So, insert your needle into the first two sts and knit them just as if they were one stitch.

Then, bring your yarn to the front under the needle and back over the top ready to work the next stitch. This will insert a 'Yarn-Over / yo' and make a lacy hole at this point. Knit the next stitch and then make another yarn over as before.


Now insert the needle into the next stitch as though you are going to knit it but just slip it from the left-hand (LH) needle to the right. Do the same again with the next stitch. Pass these two stitches back to the LH needle. 

Insert your knitting needle into the back of these two sts and knit them together through the back loops (k2tog tbl). This is the SSK decrease - you slip one stitch, slip another, then k2tog tbl.

You can probably see that you can streamline that a bit and not have to actually pass the stitches back to the LH needle to complete the second part of the working, but even so it is a lot of moving of stitches before you get to actually knit them together. Here's a video showing how you usually work the SSK. 

Work around the whole round trying to get this decrease as neat as possible. 

Two-Row SSK

The key part about the slipping of the stitches knitwise is to change the way that they are sitting on the needle - ie to change the 'mount' of the stitch. Before knitting them together, we need to make them sit facing backwards. However, you can prepare for this on the row below. Try this:


Next rnd: *Knit 3 sts by bringing the yarn under the needle in the usual way, then knit 2 sts bringing the yarn over the needle; rep from * to end of rnd.

So that's [k3 under, k2 over] all the way around. You will see that in each group of 5 stitches you now have three stitches that face to the L (coloured green in these two diagrams) and 2 stitches that face to the R (coloured blue).


It is a little tricky to get your hands to work the knit stitch the reverse way at first, but persevere and soon it will be smooth and quick. You probably even remember doing this when you were first learning to knit and discovered that your stitches weren't always facing the right way! 

Then your next row will be:

Next rnd: *K2tog, yo, k1, yo, k2tog tbl; rep from * to end of rnd.

Much simpler and neater. The stitches do not need to be separately manipulated, the k2tog and the k2tog tbl are both quick to work, and the stitches are not pulled or distorted out of shape. 

And you can use this technique wherever you encounter an SSK decrease. Just note all the SSK's in your pattern chart and highlight the two stitches in the row below. Work them 'backwards' to get them mounted facing to the right and then your SSK will be neat and easy on the subsequent row.

Eastern Uncrossed Knitting

Some of you may by now have realized that you have seen this wrapping technique before. In fact, it is thought that stitches were always worked this way when knitting was first invented! It even has a name in knitting, as this method is called "Eastern Uncrossed Knitting".

So, in the instructions below, I am going to designate this stitch as the "Eastern Uncrossed Knit stitch' or 'EU-k' for short. We will work 3 regular knit stitches and then 2 of these EU-knit stitches as we work around the bag.

Openwork panel

So, give this a try. This tutorial / knit-along was supposed to be a simplified version of the BYOB 2.0 bag and if you find this is too much of an advanced technique to master right now, then just work the regular pattern. So going on from the round you have just worked:

     Regular pattern:
     Rnd 1: K to end of rnd.
     Rnd 2: *K2tog, yo, k1, yo, SSK; rep from * to end of rnd.
     Rep these 2 rnds until panel is length you require.

But if you fancy giving this 'Two-Row SSK' technique a try, then work:

     Two-Row SSK pattern:
     Rnd 1: [K3, EU-k2] to end of rnd.
     Rnd 2: *K2tog, yo, k1, yo, k2tog tbl; rep from * to end of rnd.
     Rep these 2 rnds until panel is length you require.

     Key: EU-k2 = Knit 2 sts using Eastern Uncrossed wrap, as detailed above.

I usually recite the mantra: "k3 under, k2 over" to remind myself which way to wrap the yarn! See which method you like better and which gives you the best result. 

Length of panel

Continue working this central openwork panel until the bag measures the length you want it to be minus the height for the top band. I am going to work a 5cm/2 ins Seed Stitch band at the top, and I want the whole bag to be 35cm/14 ins from the middle of the base to the top. So I will continue in the Openwork Lace pattern until I get to the 30cm/12 ins mark and then start the upper Seed Stitch band.

See you next time for handle choices and finishing your bag.

Happy Knitting!

Moira






. 13/1/16

15 Sep 2013

Market Bag Knit-along #5 - Picking up stitches


So we come to the 5th blogpost in this tutorial/knit-along series, working a slightly simplified version of the BYOB 2.0 - Bring Your Own Bag! pattern. And if you're new to the Blog: "Welcome!" Please find the first post in the series here, then follow the links forward. 


Today, we are going to pick up the stitches around the base of our bags so that we can start working the sides. 

In the diagram above, we are currently at #1. The last WS row of the base has been worked, and a long-ish circular needle is ready to commence the pick-up. 

How many stitches to pick up? 

So the first thing we need to do is to calculate the number of stitches for the body of the bag. I want my bag to be 36cm/14.5 ins wide, ie 72cm/29 ins circumference. At my gauge of 18 sts:10cm/4 ins this is 130.5 sts, say 131 to give me an odd number of sts. 

Calculate what you will need for your bag based on your own stitch pattern choice and gauge. And remember the old adage: "Your first piece of knitting is a large tension square!" 

I suppose we more typically say 'gauge swatch' these days rather than 'tension square', but the idea is the same. The gauge of your main piece of knitting can often vary considerably from your original small sample, so remeasure just to make sure you end up with the right size and be ready to make any necessary changes. Better a small amount of work here than ending up with a bag which doesn't suit you.

Setting the new Start of Row position 

Work in Seed Stitch or your current pattern until you get to the last 2 sts of the row, knit into the front and then the back of the next stitch (kfb), then knit the last stitch. Now you're at #2 on the diagram. 

This gives us an even number of stitches at the top edge. If you are using my numbers, you will now have 42 sts on the needle. 

Now fold the base in half and place a pin or safety pin at the half-way point of the first short side (#3 on the diag). This will be the start of all subsequent rows in the bag. 

Our trusty friend the crochet hook again...


I like to use a crochet hook to pick up stitches, as I find it gives a neater finish. Just make sure to use a hook that has a thin solid shaft, not one that has a handle on it!

Insert the tip of the crochet hook into the space under the first selvedge stitch and draw a thread through, then continue to do the same until you get to your pin-mark. Place a marker for the start of the row and then continue to pick up stitches down the side, picking up one stitch for each selvedge stitch.

Count how many stitches you picked up as you will want to have the same number on the other side. I picked up 22 sts, and arranged these with 12 sts before the start of row marker and 10 sts afterwards, as I want to work with even numbers.

Slip these onto your knitting needle, making sure that the stitches are not twisted. 

Unzipping the Provisional Cast-On

Now pick up a spare needle and return to the Provisional Cast-On at the bottom. Open up the waste yarn (WY) chain and pull this gently until the yarn end comes free (#4 on the diagram above, and previous post here.) Loop this yarn end over the needle and secure it behind with another safety pin. This is the first stitch.

Gently pull the provisional cast-on chain again and capture the first loop as it becomes detached from the WY. Work across in this way, one stitch at a time, until you have captured all the stitches on your spare needle. 

The next part of the pattern can be a little tight to work, so use the "Half Magic Loop" method to draw out a small section of circular needle cord just behind where you are working to make this easier. Then follow the remaining instructions for the "Transition Row" in the pattern:

          . K3, kfb, then k to last 4 Prov CO sts, kfb, k3.
          . Pick up and k22 sts along 2nd short side. 
               (or the number that you picked up on the 1st side.)
          . [K1, p1] to end of rnd (129 sts).

Working the sides

I have increased 3 sts in the working above, but I still need 2 more to get to my total of 131 sts. See how your figures are working out and plan how many more stitches you need at this point. For my bag, I will work the following row next:

Row 1: Wk 22 sts, kfb, wk a further 20 sts, kfb then cont in patt to end of rnd. (131 sts.)

And off we go! 

And then we're all set. So continue in your pattern until the lower band is the depth you want it to be. For my market bag I want to have a long central openwork section to give a nicely flexible bag able to accommodate awkwardly shaped vegetables at the farmers' market. So I have worked a slightly shorter Seed Stitch band as compared to the original BYOB 2.0 pattern. 

If you'd like to do the same, work 5cm/2 ins in Seed Stitch, or the stitch of your choice. On the last row, work to the last 2 sts and then knit these 2 sts together so that you now have 130 sts. If you are working with other numbers, just make sure that you have a multiple of 5 stitches going into the openwork panel. 

You can switch to shorter length circular needles a short way into this band and then your knitting will go faster. 

When we come back next time we will work the central openwork pattern. I'll also give you some hints on an SSK stitch method that will help work this decrease both more quickly and more neatly than the usual instructions. 

See you next time for this "Two Row SSK"!

Happy Knitting!

Moira


Previous Blogpost in the series: Market Bag Knit-along #4 - Stitches and Selvedges





. 13/1/16

9 Sep 2013

Market Bag Knit-along #4 - Stitches and Selvedges


We have now reached the point in the Market Bag Tutorial/Knit-along where we can actually start knitting our bag, a single-coloured variation of the BYOB 2.0 - Bring Your Own Bag Pattern. 

And please, see the link at the bottom if you have missed any of the 3 preceding blog-posts in this series which dealt with pre-washing your yarn, gauge, and Provisional Cast-On choices.

Stitch Patterns

The Base and lower section of the BYOB 2.0 pattern features Seed Stitch, which is an easy-to-work pattern giving a firm finish and attractive texture. I have to say I love this stitch. It's one my favourite "Zen" stitch patterns, where it is possible to totally immerse myself in an audiobook or watch a movie while productively knitting away. 


However, you can choose any stitch pattern that you like as long as it is fairly firm. It is surprising how different you can make something look with only a small change such as this!

Have a look through some stitch guides at your local library or on-line and see if you'd like to use a different stitch pattern. The photo above shows Double Moss Stitch would be a good alternative, for example - but you decide what you'd like to select for your bag.

You will need to work a tension swatch in the pattern of your choice and also make sure that you have the right number of repeats across the row. For our Seed Stitch base we are going to cast on 41 sts (see below). However, if your pattern has a repeat of "4 sts + 2", for example, then you could work: 38 sts + 2 Selvedge sts, total 40 sts.

Selvedges 


Selvedge Stitches [also spelt: Selvage] are worked at each side of the knitting to give a neat edge. In this project we are going to pick stitches up along this edge when we start on the main body of the bag. 

The instructions in the BYOB 2.0 pattern use the "English Selvedge" which is to knit the first and last stitch on all Right Side rows, and then slip them on all Wrong Side rows. The slipped stitches are worked without twisting (ie slip as if to purl). 

This gives a neat series of slightly-elongated knit stitches on the edge of the fabric. When you are ready to pick up the stitches along this edge, it is easy to insert the knitting needle into the spaces between as the selvedge stitches are only worked on every-other-row. 

How many stitches? 

In the BYOB 2.0 pattern the base is shaped into an oval. However, for this Tutorial/Knit-along, we are going to simplify things and just work a plain rectangular base. 

So we are going to start with 41 sts, as in the pattern, but then not increase in the centre. This will make a slightly smaller sized base overall, but I think this will be good for a market bag. The larger base is good for a shopping bag that will be placed on a check-out counter, but for the market bag the slightly smaller size should work well. 

If you would like a larger or smaller base for your bag, then you will need to adjust the number of stitches to cast on. Compare the size we are working to the bags you looked at last time and work out if you need to make any changes.

... And so to the bag 

Although the base is worked flat, it is a good idea to use circular needles at this point as they will be needed once we start working up the side. Also, I suggest that you start with needles at least 80cm/32 ins long as we will need the extra length when we come to picking up the stitches (more on this next time). 

So, using the Provisional Cast-On method of your choice and Waste Yarn: 

CO 41 sts using 4.0mm/US #6 circ ndls, 80cm/32 ins long. **

Row 1 (RS): Join in MC yarn and k to end of row. 
Row 2: Sl 1, [k1, p1] to last 2 sts, k1, Sl 1.
Row 3: K2, p1, [k1, p1] to last 2 sts, k2.
Row 4: As Row 2.

Rep Rows 3-4 until wk meas 15cm/6 ins.

** NB: Adjust the number of stitches to be cast on and the needle size to suit your swatch and calculations. See the Knit-along #2 post for more information on this.

See you again once you have your base knitted!

Happy Knitting!

Moira







. 13/1/16

6 Sep 2013

Market Bag Knit-along #3 - Provisional Cast Ons


So, following on from the last blogpost, we have our yarns washed, dried and prepared and we have a good big sample for a gauge swatch, so now let's turn our attention to how we will be casting on for our BYOB Market Bag.

Why use a Provisional Cast-On?

In the BYOB 2.0 - Bring Your Own Bag! pattern, I have suggested that you start with a Provisional Cast-On. This is an excellent way to start a piece of knitting with an edge which can be undone later. You will then have "live" stitches which can be picked up later on and worked in the opposite direction. 

This technique is useful in many situations, such as working a scarf from the middle out so that both ends have the pattern worked in the same direction. Or you could use this method to start the rib at the bottom of a child's sweater. When you need to make the item a little longer, you can easily remove the rib and add a little more fabric.

Here are some of the many ways that you can work a Provisional Cast-On.

a) The Crochet Provisional Cast-On


My favourite Provisional Cast-On is worked with a crochet hook! This is a variation of a technique also known as the Japanese Cast-On. The provisional version uses two yarns, a Waste Yarn at the beginning and then the Main Yarn following on from there.

So, start with a length of smooth, contrast-coloured Waste Yarn (WY), shown here in green, and crochet a few chains. Bring your knitting needle into position and hold it in your left hand on top of the yarn. 

Tension this yarn end with your left hand, then using the crochet hook, hook the thread over the top of the needle to form the next crochet chain. Flip the thread under the knitting needle again and repeat to make the next chain. 

You will see that you are forming a series of WY stitches directly onto the needle and there is a neat chained edge along the bottom. Cast on all the stitches you need, then work a few more chains away from the needle. Pull the last loop a little larger and tighten it so it will not come free while you work. 

Now bring in your Main Yarn and knit the first row, then continue in your chosen pattern starting with a WS row. 

Here's an excellent video from Lucy Neatby showing this method. She starts with a slip-knot whereas I prefer working a few chains to start off with, but otherwise the methods are the same.

Later, you can return to the crochet WY chain and pull it out from the knitting, capturing the loops one by one as they "pop" off the chain.  

b) The Two-step Crochet Provisional Cast-On


This is actually the same as in (a) but is worked in two stages. Firstly, loosely crochet a chain with the WY, allowing one chain per stitch to be cast on plus a few extra at each end. Now look at the back of the crochet chain you have just worked. You will see that while the front is a lovely flat set of "V" shapes, the other side has a bump at the back of each stitch. 

Pass the tip of your knitting needle into the space behind one of these bumps, as in the blue arrows in the diagram above, then draw the main yarn through to form the first stitch. Continue picking up stitches directly into the crochet chain until you have the number required. Then start your chosen pattern with a WS row.

Capturing the Provisional Cast-On stitches later is the same as in (a).

c) False-start Provisional Cast-On


This is a method used by machine knitters but can also be used for hand-knitting too. In machine knitting it is usually called the Waste Yarn / Ravel Cord Cast-On

Start by casting on the number of stitches that you need using any regular cast-on and some spare yarn. This will be unravelled later and can be used again. Work in stocking stitch for a few rows, ending with a RS row. Then change to a smooth, contrast-coloured WY and work 1 more row (shown in red above). Bring in the Main Yarn and knit one row, then continue in your chosen pattern starting with a WS row.

Later, pull out the smooth yarn (the Ravel Cord), one stitch at a time, and capture the Provisional Cast-On loops. This is a little slower method, both to start and to unravel, but is very easy and gives a neat result. 

d) Two-Tail Provisional Cast-On


This is a variation of the Two-Tail Cast-On or Thumb Cast-On that most knitters know. In fact, many knitters only ever cast on in this way, as it is so versatile. 

In this provisional version you will be using two strands of yarn, a WY end and a Main Yarn end. Take both yarns together and make a slip knot. Place this onto the needle and loop the WY around your thumb. If you are an English / American style knitter, throw the Main Yarn around the needle in the usual way to form the stitch. If you are a Continental style knitter, then tension the Main Yarn on your index finger and pick this first stitch. Continue casting on until you have the number of stitches required, not counting the slip knot, then drop the WY.

Next Row (WS): Commence your stitch pattern and work until you reach the slip knot, then drop this off the end of the needle. 

Now you can continue on working in your chosen pattern. When you want to capture the provisional cast on stitches, undo the slip knot, gently tease the WY out and capture the live loops. Continue unpicking the WY across the row, trimming this on occasions so that you don't have to pull too much yarn through each stitch. 

This is a good provisional cast on and does not come undone suddenly (as can happen with the Crochet Provisional Cast-On!) but it does take longer to capture the stitches at the end. 

You can use this idea of using two yarns instead of one to make a provisional variation of many different cast ons. Have a look in your favourite knitting book and see how easy it would be to work this variation in an Italian or German Cast-On [Ref 1].

JMCO / Judy's Magic Cast-On

Judy Becker published a new provisional cast-on in 2006 [Ref 2] which developed some of the ideas from the cast-ons above. It has proved extremely popular and has become known simply as Judy's Magic Cast-On, or just JMCO for short. This produces an excellent cast-on for toe-up socks, bags and other items where an invisible cast-on is required. 

It is easiest to work using a circular needle since the back needle tip can be pulled out of the way after the cast-on, slipping the stitches onto the needle cord behind. Then it is easy to work the first round of stitches. 

Descriptions or drawings of the technique can appear a little confused. However, there are many videos of the JMCO, so look at these to see how this might be a good technique to use in your next project. I like this video by Ann Kingstone as she explains the technique excellently. 

A Note on Capturing the Stitches at the end 

Many of the Provisional Cast-On methods produce an end stitch which is easy to lose when you come to capture your stitches. In the Crochet Provisional Cast-On, for example, your very first "stitch" is actually the yarn end hanging at the end of the 1st row. Loop this around your pick-up needle as you start and pin it into place behind to form the stitch. Then your stitch count will be right. If you forget to do this you will find you are one stitch short! 

This has to do with that old Maths question of "how many spaces are there between 6 lamp-posts?" [Answer = 5!] Isn't it fun delving back into the dim recesses of the brain to remember old Maths lessons! 

Have fun exploring these many different ways of casting on provisionally and finding which one suits you best. In the next blogpost in this series, we'll make a start on knitting our bags.

Happy Knitting!

Moira


References:
1.  Montse Stanley, "The Handknitter's Handbook", pub by David and Charles 1993, 
     Pg 67-82, ISBN: 0-7153-0081-4

2. Judy Becker: "Magic Cast-On for toe-up socks", Knitty, Spring 2006,

3.  Ann Kingstone's Video of Judy's Magic Cast-On: 







. 13/1/16

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