This week, I share more of Gina's Afghan and tell you how business cards can keep things organized. Also, I have a chat with Crafty Hedgehog.
The three stitch patterns in today's chart are loosely connected.
In the first, a simple rope cable is made by crossing 2 stitches over 2 stitches, in the same direction, every 4 rows. This makes a surprisingly robust-looking rope. I like it the way I have it here, but it also looks great alternated with just a 4-stitch column of plain knitting. That particular kind of combination shows up a lot in nautical-style sweaters and vests. If you change the number of rows in-between the crosses, you can dramatically alter the look of this pattern.
The second stitch pattern is sometimes called a twill cable, because the diagonal element in it is similar to the diagonal pattern in twill weaving. I really like it because it is a bit of visual break from many cables, and it is a bit restrained. It is also very, very easy to work and, of course, can be worked over a very wide band of stitches or a narrow one.
The third pattern is just about the smallest, most simple cable stitch that resembles a braid. It is worked over 6 knit stitches instead of 4, and I could have made that transition more smooth or interesting to work, but instead I dove right in. So, as you look across the piece, you can see some places where the second stitch pattern and the third stitch pattern line up very well, and other areas where they feel a little less planned out. I decided not to let it bother me.
If you are following along, you should have run out of yarn at least once by now. This afghan is one case when I sometimes leave yarn tails on the edge of the piece. Before I tell you how a business card or two can help keep things tidy, I need to get into the series of decisions that have to be made about joining in new yarn.
I don't tend to spit splice, but that's mostly because I never remember that I can. In this case, a spit splice wouldn't work, because the yarn I'm using won't felt. Really, this topic could be a podcast all of its own, if for no other reason because we could all get into arguments about if spitting on your work is super gross. If spit grosses you out, you can always use water instead. Eunny Jang did a great spit splice photo tutorial as part of her exhaustive discussion on steeked knitting. I suggest you check it out if you don't already know the ins and outs of spit splicing.
Weaving In Tails As You Go
I have used this technique, although I sometimes find it a bit fiddly. Basically, you treat your yarn tail exactly as you would treat your second color in fair-isle knitting if you had to carry your float for a long way. I think this is, basically, a magic trick. Once again, Eunny Jang has a great video where she explains this technique. You don't have to watch the whole video. The relevant bit is from 2 minutes in to about 4 minutes in.
Tails left out until you finish, wherever they happen to fall
Even though all of the old knitting books caution against this, it's basically what I do most of the time. When I hit the end of a skein of yarn (or a knot in one), I leave myself 4 to 6 inches of a loose tail, then also leave 4 to 6 inches of tail loose on my new yarn as I work the next stitch. Then I pretty much leave them alone, although I sometimes tug on the loose ends to get the tension right on those two stitches.
For quick reference, my hand is about 4" across and 6" long. It may help you to have some idea of those measurements, too, so that you don't have to actually measure your tails.
After I am finished knitting, I go back with a darning needle and work both loose ends to the back of the piece, usually by pulling them through where each end would have continued through the work. Then, I flip the piece over and weave in the ends.
Tails left out on the edge of your piece, and how to tell when it's time
For this project, I'm trying to make myself stop knitting across when I don't have enough yarn to make it across the piece again. I know when I don't have enough when one of three things happens:
1) I run out of yarn 2 stitches from the far edge. Some cursing is involved with this method, because I have to undo (most of) the row.
2) I lay the last of the yarn I have across my strip, three times. If it doesn't go across three times with at least 6 inches to spare, I know it's time to start a new ball of yarn.
3) I wrap the yarn around the needle, loosely, 60 times, since my row is 60 stitches across. If it loops around that many times with a little to spare, it can make it across the row. A drawback to this way of doing it is that bystanders will think you are either a super-fast knitter or a really crazy one.
I am leaving myself long tails on this project so that I can have them later for seaming up. It's a sound idea. But, after I had left 2 of them, the long tails flapping around in my knitting bag started to bother me.
I cast about for some way to handle this. I was at work, so I grabbed a business card, cut it a little, and wrapped my yarn up. A staple keeps things even more secure. It is much easier to show this method than to say it, so I've made a short video showing you how.
My chat this week is with Crafty Hedgehog, who came to my attention when someone else mentioned her knitted, dissected frog on Etsy. To impress her with my professional demeanor, I mention heroin right off the bat. Go me.
The Crafty Hedgehog Etsy Store
Video: Business Card to Yarn Corral - please look for it embedded in this page directly under the player for the podcast.