Big News + What's Next

The Pacific Coast sweater is finally done and I couldn’t be happier! | withwool.com

This sweater has shown up a lot during the past few months. I used it to test out a more truthful and accurate method of swatching.  When I was feeling overwhelmed by all of my knitting projects, I focused on this sweater to feel like I was making progress. Plus, there were the random WIP updates. In all that, I never shared who I was making this sweater for. Well, I’m not mailing it cross-country, and I’m not giving it away at a baby shower. This little beauty is staying right here with me for my own little one!

The Pacific Coast sweater is finally done and I couldn’t be happier! | withwool.com

Aside from a few fiddly details of my own making, the pattern - Pacific Coast - was a pretty easy knit. I made a few changes, but mostly followed the instructions since I haven’t knit a lot of sweaters of any size. You can check out all of my notes, mods, and more photos here on the sweater’s project page.

The Pacific Coast sweater is finally done and I couldn’t be happier! | withwool.com

Since it’s almost baby time, there’s going to be a few changes around here too. First, this will mostly likely be the last blog post for awhile. Second, I’m not sure when I’ll be back to regular posting or what that schedule will be. I’m just going to play it by ear. There might be a random post here and there over the summer or maybe not. We’ll see. Third, the With Wool Weekly newsletter will also be taking a break and will return eventually.

Happy knitting and happy spinning. I’ll see you on the other side and on Instagram.

A Solution to WIP Overwhelm

Feeling overwhelmed and stuck in your #knitting projects? Try working on them 20 minutes at a time. | withwool.com

Normally, I’m a knitter and spinner that has a lot of projects going at any one time because what I want to work on changes. I’ve got simple projects for autopilot knitting, small projects for travel knitting, and complicated projects for a challenge. The large number of these different project usually doesn’t bother me. Usually. At the moment though I’m feeling rather overwhelmed by them all. There’s the baby sweater that’s also a gauge swatch experiment. There’s the shark that still needs a sweater. There’s unfinished gift knitting leftover from the holidays. There’s a bunch of alpaca singles waiting to be plied. There’s all the knitting patterns that I’m in the middle of designing. And never mind the general day-to-day routine and work and projects that aren’t fiber related. Being stuck in the middle of all these different projects with all their deadlines has been weighing me down. So, last week, I took a break to watch tv, waste time online, and play games. The down time helped me think.

Feeling overwhelmed and stuck in your #knitting projects? Try working on them 20 minutes at a time. | withwool.com

The only way to finish these all these different projects is by focusing on just one of them at a time. Rushing to do bits and pieces on 20 things at the same time is just dragging things out. So I’m picking the baby sweater to work on until it’s done. While I can’t finish it in a night, the sweater is the closest to the finish line of everything. Plus, I didn’t have to tackle a bunch of other to-do’s first in order to get back to knitting.

Still, this grand decision didn’t make it any easier to get going again. Being in “the middle” is a slog. When I need a kick in the butt to get to work, I use the pomodoro technique to help me focus. The technique boils down to 20 minutes of work followed by a short break. And repeat. That’s it. I use an app called Focus Keeper which lets me set the length of my work sessions, breaks, repeats, and tailor lots of other nifty options. I use it when I need to get to work or just don’t want to do something necessary, like cleaning the bathroom.

Feeling overwhelmed and stuck in your #knitting projects? Try working on them 20 minutes at a time. | withwool.com

This time I used the app for my knitting. All I had to do was work on the sweater for 25 minutes. After that, I could stop or keep going. Surprise, surprise - I kept going and finished the decreases on the first sleeve. I’m glad I had the timer to keep me accountable because I would have put the sleeve down halfway through otherwise. Figuring out how to work jogless stripes that happened in the same spot as the decreases while I kept track of rounds and carried the other colors up the sleeve took all of my attention.

Feeling overwhelmed and stuck in your #knitting projects? Try working on them 20 minutes at a time. | withwool.com

I’m pleased with how the sleeve turned out except for this hole where I started knitting again. Picking up a stitch at the beginning and end of the round did nothing. I’m going to sew it up with a yarn tail when I weave in the ends. Do you know any tips or tutorials so this hole doesn’t happen on the second sleeve?

Feeling overwhelmed and stuck in your #knitting projects? Try working on them 20 minutes at a time. | withwool.com

Oh, I picked up some buttons too! I found these cute little wood hearts at my local yarn shop. They’re a cute match, and I’m glad they’re the right size since I had to guess if they'd fit.

There’s still a good chunk of knitting to do on the sleeves before I can get to washing and blocking this baby. And I’m going to keep using the timer because it’s helping me get through the slog. Maybe it’ll become a daily goal of one 25 minute session until the sweater is done and buttoned. If you’re stuck in the middle like I am, give the pomodoro technique a try. Even 5 or 10 minutes will get you closer to the finish line and out from under the overwhelm.

A Gauge Swatch Update and Yarn Chicken

Want to know if you’ve got enough yarn for your #knitting project? Here’s a simple way to find out. | withwool.com

I’ve been working on the Pacific Coast sweater for the past week. The “just one more row” litany has been good motivation to keep knitting. After regularly checking that the stitch counts were correct, I finished the raglan increases and put the sleeves on waste yarn. Now my little WIP is finally starting to look like a cute sweater! And I’m loving the stripes more and more with every row.

Since I’m using this sweater is part of a little swatching experiment, which you can read all about here, here’s an update. The sweater is about 6” from cast on to my current row, and my gauge has remained consistent across the entire length and width. Said gauge still matches up with swatch #3, the un-pinned chunk of stockinette. I was curious if the switch to working fewer body stitches would change my gauge after the constant increasing of the raglan. So far, no.

Want to know if you’ve got enough yarn for your #knitting project? Here’s a simple way to find out. | withwool.com

One thing that has been nagging me though is if I have enough yarn to knit all the stripes. I’ve got plenty of purple, but only one ball each of the green and grey. And I really don’t want to buy more. Before casting on, I made sure I had the required yardage, but I still couldn't help but wonder if I’m playing yarn chicken. So I’m falling back to my tried and true method for estimating yardage.

Want to know if you’ve got enough yarn for your #knitting project? Here’s a simple way to find out. | withwool.com

Step 1: Weigh the yarn ball in grams (the math is a lot easier in metric). I’ve got 35g of light grey.
Step 2: Knit a 4 row stripe and weigh the yarn again. Now I’ve got 32g of grey which means each 4-row stripe uses about 3g of yarn.
Step 3: Now it’s time to make math work for me. I’m knitting 10 more 4-row stripes so I’ll need a total of 30g of green and grey combined to finish the body. I’ve got 70g which leaves plenty of yarn to knit both the body and the sleeves. Definitely not playing yarn chicken and I’m rather pleased about that.

P.S. If you're not working by the stripe, work by the inch or centimeter and with the final length of the project instead. 

This is a simplified version of how I usually calculate and estimate yardage. I’ve written up a tutorial for the more detailed method which you can find here.

Now that I’m not worried about running out of yarn, I can get on with the rest of this sweater and enjoy the knitting. And since this is made with fingering weight yarn, there’s lots of knitting to enjoy.    

 

How To Block A Ribbed Scarf

How to Block a Ribbed Scarf. And what does it mean to block knitting anyway? | withwool.com

I was thrilled to bind off the Melded Scarf, you can get the pattern here, but I knew I wasn’t done. The first few inches I reknit after frogging looked wonky. There were rows that stood out more than the rest. I could tell where I stopped knitting one night and picked it up again the next day. I knew I had to block the scarf to wash it and get it looking and feeling it’s best.

What is blocking?

Blocking is a finishing technique that makes a piece of knitting go from good to great. Blocking evens out stitches and gives the knitting - scarf, shawl, or sweater - it’s final shape. I think many knitters picture complicated lace shawls that have been stretched and pinned to the limit when someone mentions blocking.  But blocking doesn’t equal stretching. It’s wetting, laying out the knitting in the shape you want it to be, and letting the piece dry. 

Every natural fiber yarn benefits from blocking. Blocking can drastically change natural fiber yarns. Yarn can “bloom” and get softer. Stitches can grow and stretch. Gauge can definitely change and affect the size of a finished piece.  So always knit a big swatch and block it the way you’d block the finished project.  Blocking will even out stitches worked in synthetic blends like acrylic, but it won’t do much more then that.

There are several different ways to block knitting and different fibers do better with different methods. The Melded Scarf I’m working with is 100% non-superwash wool which reacts well to wet blocking, the method I’m using here. Check the care instructions for your yarn to choose the best method for your project.

Materials:

  • the scarf
  • a no-rinse wash (I use Eucalan. ) 
  • a large flat surface that you can put pins in (foam mats, carpet, or a DIY board
  • a towel
  • a tape measure
  • a ruler
  • a few rustproof pins

Step-by-Step

1. Fill a sink or small tub with cool water and add a capful or two of no-rinse wash. Submerge the scarf and let it soak for about 20 minutes. 

2. Take the scarf out of the water in one big lump. Squeeze out as much water as possible, but don’t wring it, before laying it out on a towel. Roll the scarf up in the towel, and squeeze out even more water. Standing on the scarf burrito works well for me. 

How to Block a Ribbed Scarf. And what does it mean to block knitting anyway? | withwool.com

3. Unroll the towel where you’re going to block. Then lay the scarf out flat, making sure that it’s in a straight line. Also make sure that there aren’t any parts of the ribbing that look more stretched out. 

If, like the Melded Scarf, your scarf has 2 distinct halves, use the tape measure to make sure both halves are the same length. If one half is longer than the other, carefully pull on small sections of the shorter side. Work from the middle to the end. The scarf is vary malleable at this point so you won’t have to do much to gain an extra inch or two. 

How to Block a Ribbed Scarf. And what does it mean to block knitting anyway? | withwool.com

4. Time to break out the ruler. Hold it across the scarf to make sure the width is the same from end to end. For this scarf, that’s about 6”. Where the scarf is narrower, pull out both edges to the width you want. Working an inch or two in from the edge will keep the ribbing from looking more stretched out than the rest of the scarf. 

How-to-block-a-ribbed-scarf-step-5.jpg

5. To get crisp corners at the ends, pull each corner to the shape you want and pin it. 

6. Let it dry, take out the pins, and you’ve got a cosy new scarf.

How to Block a Ribbed Scarf. And what does it mean to block knitting anyway? | withwool.com

Video Tutorial: Carrying Yarn Up The Side Of Your Knitting

 Learn how to work stripes and carry yarn up the side of your knitting with this video tutorial. | withwool.com

With the release of the Melded Scarf pattern, which you can find here, I decided to create a video tutorial of how to carry yarn up the side of your knitting when working short and tall stripes. Why learn how? There won’t be near as many ends to weave in at the end. Plus the yarns neatly twist together and are ready to use when you need them.

If you’d like to learn how to carry yarn up the side from step-by-step photos instead, here’s a link to that tutorial.

Learn how to work stripes and carry yarn up the side of your knitting with this video tutorial. | withwool.com

The Melded Scarf is worked in 1x1 rib with a selvedge stitch on each edge which hides the carried yarn really well. You can see blips of the carried yarn on the taller stripes, but they don’t stand out. Definitely less noticeable and less work than weaving in a bunch of ends. 

Stripes and Carrying Yarn Up The Side

The Mosaic Sisters pattern- a set of colorful mosaic knit kitchen towels, washcloths, and coasters - is here! Meet the sisters and get the pattern.

Check out the other tutorials for the Mosaic Sisters: The Long Tail Cast On and Mosaic Knitting 101


Spend your time knitting, not weaving in ends! Here's the final tutorial celebrating the Mosaic Sisters pattern! Today's tutorial is about how to carry yarns up the side of your work when you're knitting stripes. Doesn't matter if the stripes are narrow, wide, or take up less than a row.

In Mosaic Knitting 101, I showed that mosaic knitting is just stripes and slipped stitches. Knitting stripes is fun, but weaving in ends for every color change is not. The first few times I knit stripes, I cut the yarn at the beginning and end of every color. Ugh. Thankfully, there’s a way to carry yarn up the side of the piece which means you don’t have to spend as much time weaving in ends as you did knitting. The carried yarns will twist together as you work and tuck themselves in nicely behind the edge stitches.

For Narrow Stripes

Spend your time knitting, not weaving in ends! Here's the final tutorial celebrating the Mosaic Sisters pattern! Today's tutorial is about how to carry yarns up the side of your work when you're knitting stripes. Doesn't matter if the stripes are narrow, wide, or take up less than a row.

If you’re working 2 row stripes there’s only one step to carry your yarns up the side. For the sake of clarity, yellow is Color 1 and white is Color 2. When it’s time to change colors, hold color 1 to the back of the work and start working the next stripe. You can drop Color 1 after you’ve got a few stitches of the new stripe on the needles because the two yarns are now twisted together. 

Is it possible to hold the yarn to the outside of the work instead of along the back? Definitely, but there is one benefit to holding the yarn to the inside. It’s faster because you always know what strand you just used and what strand to grab next. Plus, it easier to keep the yarns from tangling which means you get to spend your time knitting and not untangling yarn. Which ever direction you choose, be consistent and stick with it for the entire project.

For Stripes That Don’t Start At The Edge (And Wide Stripes Too)

Spend your time knitting, not weaving in ends! Here's the final tutorial celebrating the Mosaic Sisters pattern! Today's tutorial is about how to carry yarns up the side of your work when you're knitting stripes. Doesn't matter if the stripes are narrow, wide, or take up less than a row.

So what about when a stripe starts a few stitches in from the edge of work? The Middle Sister of the Mosaic Sisters pattern has a row that starts this way. You’ve got a couple options and neither of them involve cutting the yarn or weaving in more ends. Both choices equally effective, it’s just a matter of what you think looks better. 

Spend your time knitting, not weaving in ends! Here's the final tutorial celebrating the Mosaic Sisters pattern! Today's tutorial is about how to carry yarns up the side of your work when you're knitting stripes. Doesn't matter if the stripes are narrow, wide, or take up less than a row.

Option 1 is treating the stripes above and below the short stripe as one wide stripe. 

Begin by holding Color 1 to the back of the work just like with the narrow stripe. Slip the stitches at the beginning of the row and work the short stripe with Color 2. When you’re finished working the short stripe, twist the two colors together and start working with Color 1 again. Don’t forget to keep a little slack between the edge and the first knit stitches so the edge doesn’t pucker.

Spend your time knitting, not weaving in ends! Here's the final tutorial celebrating the Mosaic Sisters pattern! Today's tutorial is about how to carry yarns up the side of your work when you're knitting stripes. Doesn't matter if the stripes are narrow, wide, or take up less than a row.

Option 2 starts a little differently. When you start the short stripe with Color 2, hold Color 1 (green in this example) to the outside instead of against the back. Finish the short stripe.

Spend your time knitting, not weaving in ends! Here's the final tutorial celebrating the Mosaic Sisters pattern! Today's tutorial is about how to carry yarns up the side of your work when you're knitting stripes. Doesn't matter if the stripes are narrow, wide, or take up less than a row.

Now hold Color 2 to the the outside. When you start the next stripe by bringing up Color 1, it holds Color 2 in place. Go back to twisting yarns to the inside until the next short stripe. 

Spend your time knitting, not weaving in ends! Here's the final tutorial celebrating the Mosaic Sisters pattern! Today's tutorial is about how to carry yarns up the side of your work when you're knitting stripes. Doesn't matter if the stripes are narrow, wide, or take up less than a row.

I know I recommended earlier to twist to the inside, but twisting to the outside on stripes that start away the edge works well in this case. When paired with inside twists, the occasional outside twist prevents longer strands of yarn from being carried up the side and potentially snagging.