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At the counter, we get asked a lot about how to use stitch markers, so we thought it would be a good idea to do a couple of posts on them. What’s more, Chicane, the chosen pattern for our summer Knit-a-Along, makes clever use of them, so this post counts as a bit of a warm up for that.

Stitch markers come in a variety of types – our online shop has a good selection, though a simple loop of contrasting yarn will work nicely too. They all share one thing: they sit placidly on your needle and tell you where you are in your row or your round. When you know where you are, the whole process becomes more relaxing and enjoyable. What’s not to love about that?

When you’re ready to place a marker, work to the place you want to mark, and choose a marker.

Then just pop it onto your right hand needle (patterns usually call this “place marker” or PM for short)…

…where it’ll just sit there, minding its own business.

Then just work your next stitch, as if the marker weren’t there at all.

When you look back in a few stitches’ time, this is what you’ll see. The marker’s right where you placed it, and the rest of the knitting just goes on around it.

When you come back to where the marker, on the next row or the next round, this is what you see:

Once you’ve worked the stitch right before, you’ll have the marker sitting there on the left hand needle.

Simply slip it from the left hand needle to the right hand (this is what patterns mean by “slip marker” or SM), and continue to work as normal.

Stitch markers mean less counting and less worrying about where you are in the pattern, as well as making it much easier to find mistakes, and that’s why we love them. What’s more, there’s other wily tricks for using them, which will make your Chicane flow more smoothly, so we’ll be talking about more marker magic in the next couple of weeks!

With the start date of our Knit-A-Long getting closer, we’re delighted to feature a guest post today from the designer of Chicane. She’s an incredibly talented designer living in Surrey in England – you can find the rest of her designs at this page, and she has a an active and friendly Ravelry group over at Jimi Knits and Other Bits. So with no more ado, it’s over to her!

I’m a graphic designer by trade and being creative was part of my training. Knitting is just an extension of that, I suppose. However, I’ve been knitting since Christmas 2008 – aged 40! A little late in the game you would say, but what I lacked in experience, I made up for in enthusiasm for the craft and a willingness to take risks. I would never have thought that in less than 2 years I would be designing knitting patterns!

I’ve always wanted to design something to wear that didn’t look “high street”. For me, it always had to have something unique about it – plus it had to be wearable so that I wouldn’t get laughed out of town!

Chicane was my first published sweater. My aim was to design a top that had a unique style, was economical with yarn, flattering to the body and can be custom-fit for the intended wearer. I am a visual knitter, meaning that I knit by eye, so in this case there would be very little reliance on numbers. Being made from the top down and flat, Chicane gives the knitter control and this allows them to make decisions on length and fit – and even construction.

Chicane can be modified in lots of ways:
Lace patterning: swap zigzag lace for something from a stitch dictionary (be mindful of the side decreases – some maths required).
No patterning: plain stockinette in a single colour.
Fastenings: instead of braided ties, try buttons. Work button holes into the top ribbing, or crochet some button loops instead.
No fastenings: sew up the ribbing for the sleeves, leaving a large opening for the neck (boatneck).
Colours: use contrast colour for ribbings, or as stripes.

Enjoy! Jx

Jimenez Joseph • www.jimiknits.com

We gave you some tantalising hints a few weeks ago, but now it’s official and bookable: Emily Wessel of Tin Can Knits is coming to give two workshops at This Is Knit!

Lush1

Both workshops are on the same day, Saturday June 27th. In the morning, she’ll be presenting the Lush Cardigan. It’s worked from the top down, starting with the lace yoke. You’ll learn a nifty provisional cast on before getting started on the lace section, and then you’ll master picking up stitches for the bodice and sleeves. It’s a versatile garment, and you’ll definitely want to make more than one – so it’s handy that the pattern comes in a terrific range of sizes, from newborn all the way to 60″.

Vivid1

Then in the afternoon, Emily will introduce us to the Vivid blanket. This one is versatile too – made in squares and pieced together afterwards, it’s a great baby blanket (though it’s not hard to imagine plenty of other sizes). It will work for any size of yarn, too. You’ll learn the pinhole cast on method, how to read a lace chart, how to knit in the round using the magic loop method (if you want – you can use double-pointed needles if you prefer), how to block your individual lace squares and finally how to seam your pieces together into a blanket with an overhand stitch.

Both workshops last three hours, from 10.00am to 1.00pm for Lush and from 2.00pm to 5.00pm for Vivid, so if you wanted to attend both, there’s plenty of time to relax over lunch in between. Places are certain to be snapped up fast, so book early! You’ll find the booking page for the Lush workshop at this link, and the Vivid workshop can be booked here.

As usual for this sort of event, a waiting list will start as soon as all the places are filled. It’s really worth putting your name down, because once there’s a cancellation and a places becomes available, our very clever booking system will email everyone on the list, and then it’s fastest finger first!

We’re really excited about welcoming Emily to This Is Knit – we’re big fans of Tin Can Knits, and these workshops are going to be enormous fun!

We love projects that take an existing pattern and do something new with it, and it’s even better when they combine knitting and crochet. Here’s a sweet little idea: our easy and adorable Cute as One Button baby cardigan, but with something nestling in a wee pocket.

The apple is the easiest crochet, and we thought you might like the instructions, so here’s how to make one.

You only need scraps of yarn, and pretty much any weight will do, so this is a good way of using up leftovers. Use any size of hook that gives you the apple and leaf you want, though as a guideline a hook a bit smaller than recommended for the yarn weight gives a nice dense fabric.

Apple
Starting with a magic circle, work 3 chain.
Round 1: Work 16 tr into the ring and ss to top of first tr to join.
Round 2: Work into the top of the trebles as follows: 1dc, (2htr), (2tr), (2htr), 1dc, 1dc, (2htr), ss, (2htr), 1dc, 1dc, (2htr), (2tr), (2htr), ss. Fasten off.

Leaf
Work 6 chain. All the stitches of the leaf are worked into one strand only of these chain, first along one side, then along the other.

Working into one strand only of the chain, work along the chain as follows: 1dc, 1 htr, (2dc), 1 htr, 1dc, ss. Without turning, and working into the opposite single strand of the chain, work ss, 1dc, 1htr, (2dc), 1htr, 1dc. Fasten off.

Pocket
Cast on 16 stitches and work 10 rows of stocking stitch (alternate rows of knit and purl), then 4 rows of garter stitch (every row knit). Cast off purlwise.

Abbreviations:
ss slip stitch
ch chain
dc double crochet (US single crochet)
htr half-treble crochet (US half-double crochet)
tr treble crochet (US double crochet)

In both the apple and the leaf, where there’s an instruction written in brackets, like (2tr), work both of the stitches in the same place.

Sew the apple and the leaf to the jacket first, and then sew the pocket over them. And that’s it.

Of course, you can put other things in pockets too, and we’d love to hear your ideas in the comments below if you’d like to share them!

Chicane KAL

We’ve had some bright, fresh days of late and the stretch in evening is bringing thoughts of sweeping away cobwebs and starting new things! So we figured it’s time for a new Knit-a-Long, and that we should go all out and aim for a light and breezy summer garment in anticipation of the long lazy days of summer to come… We can dream anyway, right?

We went on the hunt for the perfect summer pattern, something lightweight and stylish, fun to knit and versatile to wear – and we think “Chicane” fits the bill. Knit in Juniper Moon Zooey, a perfect blend of cotton and linen, Chicane will take you from the beach to the park, from casual coffee to nights out with friends. Choose bold shades or go nautical, make a statement or remain coolly neutral… there’s something here for everyone.

How the KAL works:

  • You will receive 10% off the yarn with the code SKAL15 until start date of 10 April.
  • Specific techniques will be covered by tutorials on this blog, potential modifcations will be discussed and general support (both technical and moral!) will be offered all along the way.
  • We will be scheduling knitting assistance sessions at the shop for any specific technique challenges that come up and we’re always happy to lend a hand during quieter times in store.
  • Virtually round-the-clock help will be on hand via the dedicated thread in our TIK Ravelry group.
  • Everyone who has finished their garment by Sunday 7th of June will be entered in to a prize draw to win another project’s worth of yarn!
  • ____

    Would you like join us? Or do you have any questions? Post a comment below or over on Ravelry and we’ll get back to you asap.

    ____

    Materials Required

    Note: The same quantity of yarn is specified in the pattern for all sizes. If you don’t use all 4 balls then we will be happy to exchange or refund the extra yarn.

    For one solid colour

    4 x Juniper Moon Zooey (10% off with the discount code SKAL15)

    For contrast edged version

    4 x Juniper Moon Zooey in Main Colour and 1 x Juniper Moon Zooey in Contrast Colour

    Needles and Notions

    4.5mm 80cm Circular Needle
    4mm 80cm Circular Needle
    Stitch Markers
    Waste Yarn
    Measuring Tape
    Tapestry Needle

    Ok, we can’t keep this all to ourselves any longer. We’ve got exciting news, and we can’t wait to tell you! Tin Can Knits is coming to This Is Knit, to give not one, but two workshops!

    We’ve featured a lot of her designs here, because they’re simply some of the best patterns we know. There’s the Snowflake jumper above (Maria and Jen made one each), and there’s Bonny, which Jacqui whipped up in no time.

    And back at Christmas, one of our bestselling kits was the Gothic Cowl:

    Thing is, we’re not sure of the date yet, but it’s looking like a weekend date in June, and there’ll be two half day workshops, on different topics. And the best way to find out all the details as soon as we do? Follow us on twitter, where we’re @ThisIsKnit, and keep an eye on this blog. Places will be limited and first-come-first-served, and our booking page will be the place to nab your reservation!

    We’re heading into St Patrick’s Weekend, so we’d like to wish you all, at home and abroad, a terrific time. We’ll be closed on Tuesday March 17th itself, but open as usual right through the weekend!

    Now, we’re being cautious about this, but in the last day or so, it’s feeling a bit like spring. The days are noticeably longer, and there’s flowers appearing, and it’s Daffodil Day at the end of the month.

    And right on cue, this cowl appeared in the shop. As bright as any daffodil, with lots of simple beading, it’s the Jeweled Cowl, a free pattern that’s perfect for pretty laceweight. It’s such a simple pattern: literally a single page of instructions, and made entirely of knit stitches. If you’re looking for an easy project for trying out the terrific beading technique we blogged on Tuesday, there’s no better pattern.

    Our Jeweled Cowl is made in gorgeous Juniper Moon Findley, and took just over half a skein. A 50/50 merino/silk blend, it’s a joy to work with and to wear.

    One for yourself? One as a gift? Either would be perfect.

    Our friends in The Garden helped us out with the daffodils for this post – we really do have the very best neighbours. Their spring flowers, clustered round the grand South William Street door of the Powerscourt Centre, are just lovely. Fancy a glimpse? With pleasure…

    Adding beads to knitting makes for really beautiful finished objects. For instance, just look at WittyKnitty’s wedding shawl above. There’s two distinct ways of doing it – prethreading the beads onto the yarn before you start, as our Party Lace Scarf does, or adding them to individual stitches as you work.

    The second technique means you can dive straight into the knitting. One way of doing it involves a teeny-tiny crochet hook, one both small enough to fit through the bead and large enough to hook the yarn. There’s no doubt this can be fiddly, and there’s always a certain number of beads in a packet with a hole just too small for the hook. So we’re terribly happy to report that there’s another way to bead your stitches, and we’ve got a tutorial for you!

    There’s a type of dental floss on the market called Super Floss. It was previously available in North America only, but now it’s in Ireland too, costing just a couple of euro. Its special feature is that it comes precut into 30cm lengths, and both ends are handily stiffened.

    When you have your strand of floss (and our small packet contains fifty strands), start by threading on one bead. In the picture below, you can see how the stiffened end helps. The floss essentially becomes its own beading needle.

    Tie a quick knot around this first bead with one end of the floss so the beads can’t fall off. From now on, we’ll call this end the knotted end, and the other end the free end. Thread on some more beads from the free end. You don’t have to thread a lot at a time – you can always add some more as you go. Then knit across your row until you reach the stitch you want to place a bead on. You can see the beads waiting their turn in the background of this picture.

    Take up the strand of beaded floss and move the last bead that you threaded – the furthest one from the knotted end – up towards the free end, close to the knitting.

    Poke the free end of the floss through the stitch. The stiffening makes this easy.

    With the bead close to the knitting, take up the free end of the floss…

    …and pass it back up through your bead in the other direction.

    Now you can slip the stitch off the needle (the floss is holding it so it can’t drop)…

    …and move the bead down from the floss onto the stitch.

    Pop the stitch back up onto the left hand needle and pull the floss out gently.

    Then you just work the stitch as usual, and the bead stays firmly put.

    And that’s it. We find it far handier than the crochet hook method, with less risk of catching only part of the yarn and less wastage of beads.

    Dental floss. It’s not just for teeth!

    On Tuesday we mentioned how much delight we get from seeing your finished objects. Well, you can imagine our glee when one of our customers came into the shop with a bag full of these beauties. We thought you’d like to see them too, so we begged her for pictures to show you.

    Above, you can see her Life Cycle Baby Blanket. By now it’s been sent off to fulfil its purpose, keeping a tiny person all snug, so we were lucky to get to see it. The knitting is beautiful, and the combination of Malabrigo Sock in Ochre and Laura Nelkin‘s pattern is perfect – what an heirloom to keep generations of babies cozy.

    Next to appear was a Clarus Shawl, in Coolree Yarns Merino/Silk fingering (the colour’s Ocean Green). It’s another Laura Nelkin pattern, too.

    And finally, we got to admire Catherine’s first lace shawl, Skywalker, and what a début it is.

    By now, you won’t be surprised that Laura Nelkin designed this too – that’s some recommendation for her work! This is also made in Coolree Yarns Merino/Silk, in This Is Knit’s exclusive Inkwell colourway.

    Catherine, thank you so much for letting us feature your gorgeous lace. It’s a real treat, and we can’t wait to see what you make next!

    Here’s a spectacular finished object, knitted by Jaclyn Allen, a good friend of This Is Knit. It’s from Boo Knits’ gorgeous Wintersweet pattern, which comes as no surprise: stunning lace, lots of beading!

    This example is made from Juniper Moon Findley laceweight, and the colour is Hyacinth. At a generous 730 metres a ball, there’s more than enough to knit Wintersweet, which takes just 550.

    Our very favourite thing is seeing the yarn comes back to visit when it’s become your projects. Thank you, Jaclyn!

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