Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Perfecting the perpendicular pickup -- just the video, ma'am

I uploaded my latest video to YouTube, and I requested that YouTube create a machine-transcribed caption file for it. Wow, pretty amusing. As in all machine transcriptions, it was pretty weird. Could have something to do with my mumbling, maybe.
Anyway, I downloaded edited that file and uploaded the real thing. I am all about the closed-captioning. I love me some deaf knitters, and knitters who don't speak English as a first language will probably have better luck understanding the captions than my slurry words.
Does anybody use an on-line service for this? I remember reading something about Google making it easier to caption their videos, but my Google-fu is not working for this.
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Perfecting the Perpendicular Pickup

In a previous post, I described how to join knitted pieces at right angles to each other, in such a way that the join is as neat as possible. The join used the sliding-loop technique devised by Rick Mondragon. In Mondragon's technique you are joining two pieces of knitting with parallel grain. With the perpendicular join, you join the side edge of the piece you are knitting to a row of free loops from another piece of knitting.
In this post, I would like to describe my method of picking up and knitting stitches from a selvedge. In entrelac knitting, half of the connections between squares are made this way.

Picking up and knitting stitches from an existing piece of knitting involves two steps, inserting a needle and pulling through a loop. Where is a good place to insert the needle? Normally, you are told to insert the left needle one stitch in from the edge of the knitting. The reason for that is that the last column of stitches is ill-formed. At least, the edge half-column is. But reaching that far into the knitting creates a bulky join, and moves the ugly column to the wrong side of the knitting. That's OK when there is a public side and a private side, but what about entrelac scarves? Wouldn't it be nice to have a method of picking up stitches that doesn't leave your knitting with an ugly side? 

There is. If you use the loops that are formed by the turning of the knitting as it goes back and forth, you get the neatest possible stitch pick up. However, finding that turning-loop is not easy.

If knitting existed in some Platonic realm, the edge of knitting would look like this, and one would simply slide the left needle along the selvedge and pick up loops to be worked as the first row of the new knitted piece.

Alas, there are physical forces at work in the real world that transform the ideal into the actual. Instead of easily-identified turning loops, one has a chain of knots joined by gappy loops:

Ah, but the turning loops are in there somewhere. You "merely" have to re-form that ugly half-stitch at the selvedge.

Here's a diagram that shows how the Platonic ideal of a selvedge stitch gets transformed into a knot-and-loopy mess:

So, all we have to do is use a needle to reverse the process. Here's a written description of the process... bu you can ignore all that except the diagram and skip to the video...

  1. Look at the knitting. Starting from the top edge of the knitting, there is a series of loops and knots alternating all the way down to the beginning. Orient the knitting so that the right side is facing you, the selvedge edge is parallel to the floor, and the knitting is hanging down from it. The top (last-knitted) edge of the knitting is on your right. The bottom (first-knitted) edge of the knitting is on your left. 
  2. On the selvedge, the loops are being clutched by the knots. With your eyes, follow a loop's yarn down (towards the beginning edge of the knitting) through the knot to where it joins the back (purl side) of the knitting.
  3. Insert the tip of the left needle upward (parallel to the selvedge, from your left to your right, pointing toward the top edge) through the length of yarn between the knot and the rest of the knitting. You'll know you have the correct bit of yarn if you can see the gappy loop decreasing in size as you insert the needle more into the bit of yarn, since you're robbing yarn from the gappy loop to make the little bit of yarn bigger. This piece is the purplish piece of yarn in the diagram below:

  4. With the tip of the needle, scoop the rest of the gappy loop toward the back of the work, while letting the bit of yarn you just poked through fall off the needle, as follows. When you're starting the scoop, you're going to swing the point of the needle toward you and perpendicular to the plane of the knitting. To perform the scoop, you'll be swinging the tip of the needle through the plane of the fabric, pointing to the floor. At the end of the scoop, the needle is pointing away from you and perpendicular to the plane of the knitting.
  5. At the end of the motion, move the needle back to the position of step 3. You should have a loop on the needle in the standard mount position. Knit the loop off the left needle.
  6. Go back to step 2, using the next gappy loop down (toward the beginning of the knitting.)

It's video time:

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Perfecting the Perpendicular Join

The photos below show closeups of two entrelac joins done with the same needles and the same yarn by the same knitter (me).

The first photo shows one common way to join two pieces of knitting in entrelac. The beige piece was knitted first, and the green piece was joined, every two rows, by working a ssk, using the last stitch of a right-to-left green row and a free loop from held beige stitches. For a neater join, the first stitch of the return left-to-right row is slipped, with the yarn in back.

Notice that there is beige showing through the green stitches. This show-through, also called grinning, is pretty inevitable when you are forming a decrease (ssk) with two colors of yarn. 

Notice also, the second column of green stitches (counting left-to-right) looks somewhat distorted. This is a consequence of the slipped stitches pulling at every other stitch in that column and making the left leg of that stitch smaller.

The next picture shows a neater join that I invented. Instead of working together the selvedge stitches of the green piece and held loops from the beige, I pulled a long green loop from each beige stitch and used the loop of yarn to work two rows of green, from left to right and then from right to left.

There is no show-through of the other color here. The first column of green stitches is slightly distorted. This is because the ratio of green rows to beige columns (stitches) is forced to be 2:1 instead of the more "natural" 3:2 or 4:3. This makes the green stitches look a little "squashed" since they "want" to be a little taller. It's not bad, though, and really, slipping stitches as in the first photo adds its own kind of distortion. 

The second green stitch column looks a lot better, though. That's another benefit to this method.

Here's a rough diagram of the structure of the join:

Soon, I'll make a video on how to do this join & upload the video to Youtube or Vimeo.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Norwegian purl method video

This video shows the wacky Norwegian Purl method. I like that for the video they used big yarn, big needles and good lighting. I'm going to try this and report back to you all.

Posted via web from Fuzzy Logic

The Knitting Laboratory: Barter for Garter

The list of people for whom I will knit for free looks suspiciously like the list of people for whom I would donate a kidney.

Good post that answers the perennial question "Will you knit me something?"

Posted via web from fuzzyjay's posterous

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Ways to join knitted pieces

Joining a piece already knit to one you are knitting, in parallel or perpendicularly.

Edge of existing pieceEdge of piece being knitWays to make the joinDiagram
SideSideSliding-loop (Rick Mondragon), sewn seam.
SideBottomPicking up stitches from a selvedge.

SideTopPerpendicular grafting, sewn seam, chaining-up1 .

TopSideEntrelac join (ssk or p2tog), sliding loop (me)2 , sewn seam.

TopBottomKnitting from held stitches, grafting.

TopTopGrafting, three-needle bind-off, sewn seam.

Bottom (some techniques require loops be freed from provisional cast-on)SideEntrelac join (ssk or p2tog), sliding-loop (me), sewn seam.

BottomBottomKnitting from freed cast-on loops, grafting, "aligned pickup from cast-on edge"3 .

BottomTopGrafting, sewn seam.


1 This is a new technique I developed, to be described in more detail later. Basically, on the existing piece, you ladder-down the edge stitch column, freeing a loop for every two rows of the existing piece. You then chain up these loops while working together with each loop a free stitch from the current piece.

2 To be described later.

3 See blog entry: "Picking up and knitting from a cast-on edge."
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Sunday, March 14, 2010

Lace knitting charts from 17 and 18 years ago

Anybody interested in test-knitting some lace designs I made? These are patterns I made up and charted about eighteen years ago, but never got around to copy-editing or test-knitting. They are similar to some of Barbara G. Walker's designs in Charted Knitting Designs. They are a tad more symmetrical, since I use twist stitches to balance out the decreases on the other side of the yarnovers.

The patterns are similar to the ones I designed and used in my wall-hanging called Lace Curlicues:

Lace Curlicues

Go ahead and click on the "preview on posterous" icon below if you're interested:
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Monday, March 08, 2010

Charting 'Dayflower'

Dayflower is a really pretty pattern in Barbara Walker's Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns, but it only has written directions. I was looking for a challenge for my charting skills and this one looked like a good one. It took me a while, but I figured it out. Here are some of the steps I used.

Charting 'Dayflower', originally uploaded by fuzzyjay.
I photocopied the picture of the Dayflower pattern from Barbara G. Walker's Treasury, then drew circles over the yarn-overs, then blue lines to join the yarn-overs on the same row. Next, I used red lines to show stitch-columns and decreases, referring to the written pattern. Eventually, through several iterations, I transferred this to graph paper. The trick was to find where to distribute the "no stitch" squares in the graph of the pattern.

Straightening out the lines that represent rows, with no regard to spacing of stitches:
"Dayflower" Diagram

Eventually I got to this point where I could arrange the stitches on a chart. The trick there was to figure out, based on the photo and the previous attempt, how to move the rows back and forth for best alignment of the stitch columns.:
Dayflower Diagram, neatened

Once I had the stitch columns aligned properly vertically, I could do the more-detailed stitch diagram. This one shows the path of the yarn through all the stitches, but not the actual over-and-under crossings of the yarn as the stitches are made. It's a bit sketchy because I only did one half of a repeat, then used Photoshop to flip and copy the repeats, and my Photoshop skills are not the best:


As I've said before, I'd rather figure out 5 ways to diagram a knitting pattern than knit it. I'm all about understanding the architecture...

I am grateful that iLoveButter on Flickr has shared this photo under a Creative Commons license so I can show you the pattern used in a garment (before blocking, which will open up the lace):
Dayflower Camisole
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Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Cabled entrelac Greek Key

Cabled entrelac Greek Key, originally uploaded by fuzzyjay.
How to do a continuous, sinuous cable using entrelac squares. The cable travels across the diagonals of some of the squares.

Previous posts explain the meaning of the arrows and the numerals. The green lines represent the repeat of 18 entrelac squares (15 squares + 6 half-squares [triangles]).

Three repeats are shown. The left repeat has 16.5 squares (12 squares + 9 half-squares) and the right repeat has 19.5 squares (15 squares + 9 half-squares).

All three repeats add up to 3 × 18 squares or 54 squares (42 squares + 24 half-squares, which is why the numberals go up to 66).

Here are some pieces I've knit that include the continous-cable idea in entrelac. Click the picture to go to the Flickr page for the item:

Cabled Entrelac Ball III
60-square cabled entrelac ball
Minimal cabled entrelac cube
Cable Entrelac Hat
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