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Posts Tagged ‘colorworks tips’

This project has been particularly interesting, as I not only had fun knitting Intarsia , Armenian knitting and Fair Isle, but I also was able to combine three different types of yarns in this design.  The border was done in fingering yarn with lace weight wool and silk strands of  free floating chains riding over the top.

The chicks were especially fun to do with a combination of Aloft mohair, added to a ply of fingering yarn.  Their  3D look was accomplished by adding an additional  two strands of the black mohair to the belly and wing area.  Adding these extra strands automatically increased the gauge without changing the stitch count.  I was able to restore the  gauge around the area by filling the void with poly fill stuffing, then running a few strands of lace weight across the back, side to side, and top to bottom.   Taking up the slack with these strands, allowed me to contract the surrounding stitches back to their proper gauge.  The next move after blocking the top was covering the back with nylon net, (great stuff, by the way) and stitching around the expanded portion of the chicks,so that it would remain securely in place.

The  combination of the Mohair and the 3 D affect  made my chicks look like the little “fuzz balls” they really are.     They are the first thing people touch when they pick up the pillow and comment, ” Oh my gosh!  They look so real!”  And so they do.

The details on the legs, feet, and beak were done with duplicate stitches and crocheted chains of one and two plies of the various yarns.   The various shades on the hen are yarns that have been blended, using  of one ply of each color that have been hand spun back together.   Check out my post on blending yarns if you are interested .

So….the most clarifying  statement I can make about this pillow is that I was never bored knitting it.  It definitely was a challenge to my adventurous knitting spirit.

I also loved working with the free floating chains on the frame of the picture.  Of course as I looked at it more closely I realized this free floating chain pattern would look great on the bottom of a tunic, or the cuff area of a sleeve, or……..  Hummm????  Maybe?   …….

I have included a  tutorial describing the entire process with this  pattern.  I even included charts for practicing the process.  This tutorial is also on my “Fun Stuff”page.  It includes a sample swatch chart of the border for you to practice with.  Enjoy!

At present the pattern is available  in my Ravelry  and Etsy stores.

Again, it was an extremely fun knit.

Happy Knitting

KT

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During the process of knitting up my Sebright Hen and Chicks pillow, I have come up with some things that have made the project much easier.   The first thing is my “Knitting Palette.”  It is a 30 stitch sample of the yarns, and blends of yarn that I have chosen to use in the pattern.  By first experimenting with the colors, I was able to begin knitting on the picture, confident that the colors I chose would work.   Below is a photo of the sample that I uploaded to my Serif publishing program.  Once in Serif, I was able to label the colors and save the sample for future reference.

 

I have boxed the various shades with colored borders and written a description on the right.  The bottom section is a mix of Mohair lace weight and fingering yarn.  This blend of the two types of yarn added a bit of reality to my little “fuzz ball” chicks.  It worked great.   I even varied the amount of strands to see what it would do.

 

By adding an extra strand of the Mohair lace weight I was able to create a “relief sculpture” affect to the wing and belly area.   This expanded area is retracted to its proper gauge, by creating a yarn web across the back which is stuffed with a bit pf Polyfill.

And yes,  that’s” Scratch” on the ground, created by making small bobbles of blended yarn.  I got a kick out of making those.  Sorry for the side track – now back to the Yarn Palette.

The top half is the shades of color I chose  for my Sebright hen.  I began with Suede alone, knitted 4 rows.  Next, I blended one ply of Suede with one ply of Brass Heather.  That gave me a slightly darker golden tone.  The next 4 rows were done with Brass Heather alone.   In the blue section I blended Brass Heather and Doe, but this combo didn’t lead to much of a change. (scratch that one).  The next combo gave me a darker shade- yes, Brass Heather and Bison will do it.  All this prep took time, but I didn’t need to guess how it would look .  I worked for me!  by the way, the colors mentioned above are all from Knitpicks.com.

The next aid that really helped me was my MUSIC STAND.  Yep!  There it was, sitting there next to my harp doing nothing (I play mostly from memory anyway) and the light went on in my head, “Wait, you can use that to put your chart on.”  And so I did.  Now it is not sliding off my lap so I have to chase it all over the floor.

Little things mean a lot!!!!!

Just thought I’d share.

Happy Knitting

KT

 

 

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I have a friend who is wild, and I mean “wild” about her chickens.  Having decided some time ago to design her a special pillow, I finally came to the conclusion that only a “chicken” would do.  Now, she isn’t into the average chickens, she prefers the exotic, and unusual, so enter the Golden Sebright Hen and Chicks.

This new design not only gives me a chance to do the many techniques of color knitting, but also gives me an opportunity to use various kinds of yarns for special affects.  The chicks are really little fuzz balls, so Mohair will give them a more realistic look.  The spotted area you see in the design is actually going to be a blend of black Mohair and one ply of beige grey fingering yarn.  I will also be using White Mohair on the chests.

The border was another matter altogether.  I wanted a lacy grid in the design you see, but cabling the black fingering yarn over the bronze, was much to bulky looking.  What to do?  I began to think “lace.”    I pulled out my lace silk and wool cone, and went to work, using white in the background, I worked “floating” chain loops between the stitches to form the design I drew on the pattern.  Here is the result.

This gave me the affect I wanted.  So I am now waiting for the Black lace yarn to be delivered, so I can get started.  Meanwhile, I will be knitting up swatches of the various shades and combination shades that I will be using in the main design, and recording them in my color chart for later use.

If you might be interested in learning how to knit these free floating chains, take a look at the “Wandering Chains” tutorial on my “Fun Stuff” page, or you can use this Floating chains tutorial.  I will be add to the info as I work on this project and develop the pattern for sale.

Just thought I would share –

Knit-tweaker

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Unable to purchase all the necessary shades I needed to knit up the Wood Duck pillow for my grandson, I decided to make up my own by blending two single strands of colors together.   In the illustration below, the areas where I have used the blended yarns are marked with circles of various colors.

The red circle indicates the Steel grey/ Iris heather mix.

 

The next combination  in the green circle, is a teal/dark green mix.

 

The blue circle marks the side of the body.  In this section I chose to blend the Suede color with gold.  This combination allowed me to transition to the single gold color without a definite line.

All this is to say that you don’t have to settle for the color combinations that are out there.  You can blend your own.

HOW ?

1.  Select you colors.  Peel off the amount you normally use in your colorwork ( I use about an arm’s length).

2  Separate the plies.

3.  Tie one end of the two strands together.

4.  Lay the joined end of the two strands in the palm of your left hand.

5.  Lick or moisten the palm of your right hand and rub the two strands together vigorously for about 30 seconds-

inotherwords, “spit splice” the strands together.

6. Wet your right palm again, now push down on the combined strand and roll it away from you about 5-6 time.  This sets the twist.

7.  Move the blended strand to the left, so you can work the same process in the next section of yarn to your right.  Be sure to repeat the same number of rolls when setting the twist.  Continue this process to the end of the strand.

Your finished strand should look something like this-

The above strand is a combination of “Pumice Heather ” and “Iris Heather.”

*  If you find an area that didn’t get twisted enough, just wet you palm and work a few more rolls at that point.

Next time you can’t find the color you need, you might try this out.  It’s fun to see what color combos you can come up with.  When I need larger amounts, I use a drop spindle to re-spin the two strands together.

Have fun- KT

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Yesterday, I received my order from Knitpicks.   The box contained all the yarns I had recently ordered for the next two pillow tops I have planned.

 

As you can imagine from my previous posts on ” Needle Point  Knitting,”  I have drawers of Palette colors at my disposal.   So here I sit with still more to stuff in the corners.   But…. this time I am going to be smarter than before.  I have decided to catalog all my colors.  Why?  Using Pattern Maker to create my pillow top charts, requires that I choose  DMC colors for my palette; therefore, I need to be able to cross reference the colors available to me in the selection of Knitpicks “Palette” fingering yarns.    With that in mind, I took the time to make my life easier by taking care of the issue TODAY.

To get started, I picked up a couple of pieces of card stock, grab the scissors, and some school glue.  Next, I pasted some index cards on the surface, one for each category of the main colors, such as browns, reds, greens, etc.

As you can see from the photo, I  wrote the name of the color on the left, and pasted a double strand of yarn to the right of it.  The next step was matching it to the DMC chart, and writing down the number of the corresponding color.

I will tell you that you won’t be able to match them all, but you will be able to match them close enough that when you select the colors to use in PM, what you see will be very close to what you get.

I know this takes a bit of time, but it is well worth it.

 

Happy Knitting – KT

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I just finished another Whitetail Buck pillow.  This one has a knitted cording incorporated into the pillow top, along with the seam allowance to help in sewing it to a cloth back.   I even made my own cording.  It was fun!

The picture below is a “snip-it” of a section of the cord that frames the pillow.  Here you see it in contrast with the cloth back.   I have to say that there is no comparison to the commercial cording available.  I have tried finding complimentary edging for this use, but have always been disappointed.  The fillers they use are mostly cotton, and seem lumpy at best, not to mention that they take a much longer time to dry.  That is why I decided on this approach-make your own.  In addition, there is no better match in color than the actual yarn you are using in your project.

I will be adding this pattern to the Pattern Catalog page, so feel free to upload it.  The pattern contains 18 pages of detailed charts and instructions.  You can use Intarsia, Armenian Knitting, and sections of Fair Isle in this project.

The Basics

1.  Knit the Basic chart.

2. Identify and secure all loose stitches

3. Weave in the ends

4. Block pillow top on needles (This works great!)

4. Pick up stitches to begin tube for cording

5. Knit tubing

6. Close tubing, and make button hole opening for cording.

7. Knit seam allowance

8.  (opt)  Secure pillow top to woven fabric.

9. Prepare fabric back, and sew to pillow top, make cording.

10. Insert cording.  Stitch pillow close.  Adjust cording.  Close cording opening.

10. Decide on some of the options I have for making the pillow cover removable for washing.

The pattern walks you through all the above issues.  Wow!!  And that ALL???  I’m tired just making the list.  But trust me, it was worth it.  My friend Deb at Tempting Tangles ( see link on side bar) has given it her approval.

 You will also be given instructions on making your own cording out of poly quilt batting, which, of course, makes it lighter, and easier to dry when washed.  This particular pattern is backed with fabric that has been pre-washed, so the entire pillow can be “dunked” in Wool wash, squeezed out, then air dried without much fuss.

My hope that you will try your hand at color knitting.  I also hope you will take a look at my “Painting with Yarn” E-book when it comes off the press.  The book contains all my color knitting experience on this project, along with detailed illustrations and how to’s, or what I call, “Technical Tutoring.”  I hope to have it available for you soon.  Would you believe it, I am already up to 60 pages!

As a side note, I will be uploading a couple of new tutorials on my “Multi-color Knitting Tips” page.  Check them out.

Happy Knitting!

KT

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The most beautiful knitted or crocheted work, is one in which the stitches are all the same size, and that goal is always before me whatever the project I am working on.  I know that I am “knit-picky,” but that’s just the way I am.  I even notice the uneven stitches in the photos in my knitting books, and wonder why they chose to use the picture.  I guess some people just don’t notice it like I do. That said, I thought I would share a tip or two on adjusting the tension in loose stitches without pulling out your knitting.

Adjusting Loose Stitches in Intarsia

I am going to share this technique with four illustrations.  In the first one below, you will see the loose stitch in a green box.  Counting down from the top row(the working row) you will see that the stitch was created in a “knit” row.  That means the right leg of the stitch must be lifted first (see #1).

Once you have taken up the slack, lift the left leg (#2)of the same stitch, taking up the slack as before.  Now, place your thumb on the stitch to prevent the yarn from slipping back.  Next, you will move up to the purl row, and begin by lifting the left leg of the stitch (#3).

Once you have taken the slack out of #3 and #4, move up to the row above and take the slack out of #5, beginning with the right leg.  Take the slack out of 6, as indicated in the illustration.  Don’t forget to place your thumb on the stitch when you are through adjusting it.

In the third illustration, you will see that I have move up again. However, this stitch is off to the left. Does it matter?? NO!!  The procedure is the same.  Because it is a purl row, you will begin by lifting the left leg of the stitch first(7).  Next, lift #8, taking out the slack.

Now that you have your slack yarn pulled up to the row you are working on, you can pull the rest of the extra yarn out by giving your working yarn a tug.

This technique works especially well when knitting an Intarsia design.   You can work across as many stitches as necessary.  Just remember to determine which direction the stitches were created with first, knit or purl.  You can also work across a row to the nearest color change and take up the slack yarn on the back of your work.  I will illustrate that in the E-book I am writing on “Painting with Yarn.”

Happy Knitting – KT

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I finally finished the pillow.  Even though the stain I discussed last post is still there, it looks quite nice now that it is finished.  I put a fabric backing on the pillow, but will be using a knitted back  for the 16 inch version.

Here it is -flaws and all

 

 

I found this lovely washable brush suede at Joanne Fabrics for the back, but before I could do that I had to do some prep work.

First, I select my gold yarn, as it was the closest color to the fabric I had chosen.  Using it, I knitted 4 rows around the pillow, adding one stitch each side of the corner stitches, every row but the last.  After binding off the gold, I steam pressed it out so that it would lay relatively flat.

 

During the steaming process I made sure that my pillow measured 14 3/4 inches square.   Next, I took a square piece of heavy bleached muslin,(slightly larger than my pillow), and beginning  where the two edges of the squares met, began to pin them together using the line created at the beginning of the salvage edge.

When the pinning was done, I chose a gold sewing thread and stitched through the layers.  That stitching line was my guide when I was ready to sew the fabric back on to the knitted front.  I hand stitched the bottom together after inserting the form.  I have to say that this particular pillow form has a lot to be desired, as the corners were not stuffed very well.

For those of you who might wonder, I did try put a cording on it, but it was not as attractive as I thought it might be.  A knit covered cord might work-I will try it next time.  I also decided not to put a zipper or Velcro closure in the fabric back, as all the parts of the pillow are washable in cold water.  I have found the my Tropicana Rose Pillow washes beautifully right on the poly filled pillow form.

 

Just an update – KT

 

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OK!  I finished my Whitetail buck pillow top.  I put in in the wool wash, as I normally do.  Everything looked good.  The colors were sharp, no bleeding,

and then I looked down at the bottom.  Yikes!!!

  What’s this?

There in living color was a lovely yellow stain, just above the scroll.

 

Yes, I was,  well let’s just say MORE than disappointed, I was crushed!   I worked on it with Woolite, which usually takes out anything, but it would not move.   Thinking back, I remembered the day I brought in the wood, then sat down to work on the pillow.  Bad move-I didn’t wash my hands first.  Talk about dumb, dumb and dumber!   I know better, especially when  working with WHITE.

Lesson- WASH YOUR HANDS!!!!

I can feel OK about this project because I experimented with several techniques, so this latest development is one of many lessons learned working out this pattern.

My husband has claimed it as his own, so instead of my original plan to knit a back, I will get a piece of Corduroy to make the back with.  He says he does not care if it has a small stain, he just likes the picture.  So…. it’s his.

I will call this my “signature” pillow- a yellow signature, that is.

So, on to the 16 inch version.  Only this time I’ll try to remember to wash my hands.

Maybe…..?  If I can remember.

 

Happy Knitting – KT

 

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One of the premier lessons in working with color is pre-planning.  Instead of just winging it, I have discovered that a few minutes of thinking through the placement of new colors, saves me lots of stress.   Because I chart all my pictures, it only takes a few minutes to go over the color changes and plan my attack.  My focus is always to eliminate  yarn ends that have to be woven in later, and to reduce as much bulk as possible.  Smooth and flat is the goal.

Below is an example of my thinking process –

Marking up the Chart

First, I look for those spots where I can work my new color in two directions.  The box in teal ( the eye) is a perfect example.

The “V”  indicates where I will make my new stitch by picking up the yarn in the middle of my long strand of white.  I will then have two long tails to work with.  One (A) will be used to go up the right side; and the other (B) will be used to go up the left side of the eye.  The “black” or center of the eye, will be worked with one single strand.  Just by using this method to work the white around the eye, I have eliminated 2 yarns ends that would have had to be woven in when the project was finished.

2.  The box in “yellow” indicates stitches that I have marked to be made later as “overlay stitches.”

3.  If you look closely, you can see two more “V’s” in the antler area.  Yes, I have found a couple of more places to use the double long tails.  I have also indicated the direction that I intend to work those ends.

All this is to say that no matter how you decide to work your color project, you will be much happier with the results if you take a little time to do some planning before you start.

 

Happy Knitting!

KT

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