Being a new(ish) knitter, there are plenty of things that I'm still learning. Binding off (or casting off if you prefer) is one of those things. I've learned how to do a traditional bind off - where you knit (or purl) a stitch, then pass one over and drop the stitch off the needle. For some reason though, my bind offs are always loose. I've tried using smaller needles, but I still can't get it just right. It's a challenge because not only are my edges ending up floppy, I can never tell how big my item is going to be when I'm finished.
When I crochet I don't have any of this trouble. I can see just what size my item is going to be, and I know exactly what my finished edge is going to look like. It's comforting. With knitting it's more of a leap of faith! Here's the thing. I really enjoy knitting and I know that with practice I'll improve, but I needed a plan!
If you've been here before, you know that I'm all about trying new things. I figured that maybe a different binding off technique would give me the finish I was looking for. I remembered downloading a free ebook from Knitting Daily that had to have the answer. (If you're not familiar with Knitting Daily I urge you to check them out. The have a bounty of free ebooks available - on all kinds of topics!)
That's where I found the sewn bind off. The book says that it creates a very elastic edge that is ropy in appearance, much like a purl row. Perfect the cowl that I was making as a Christmas present!
On another note, I'd like to thank all of you who participate in my giveaways. I'm blessed to receive review copies from various publishers and they are kind enough to provide me with copies to share with you. Giving books (and other goodies) away is such a great feeling. I love reading your comments and getting to know you through Facebook, your blogs, Etsy shops and all the other ways we connect! I hope that you'll come back and visit again - I've got several amazing new titles that I know you're going to love!
Thanks so much for stopping by and spending a bit of your day with me!
Until next time friends,
Be Blessed and Stitch & Read with Love!
Usually I like to write about good things, you know - projects that have worked out well. Pretty things that I've made or tips that I've figured out to help make things easier for us. I don't often write about - or read about - projects that have gone wrong! In fact, when I was planning my posts this one was supposed to be about a super cute hearts and cables cowl. It still is about the cowl - just not the super cute part... Let me tell you what happened:
I have been knitting for less than a year - I cast on my first swatch last February 21, 2013. (I only know that because of the blog - before I looked I thought it had been a few years!) Anyway, in that time I have done a lot of knitting, and I really like it! Most everything that I've made has come out nicely, and I'm continuing to stretch myself and try new things. So after making a very lovely cowl for my mother-in-law for Christmas I decided to do a little (more) pattern modification.
I guess I was feeling pretty confident. In my mind I could see a Valentine cowl with cables & hearts - that look like X's & O's. For this new project I took the basic size (cast on 100 stitches) and the hearts repeating 4 times around then added the cables, a sewn bind off, and a crocheted trim around the bottom. Unfortunately, things didn't turn out the way I planned. I'm not sure if it's my inexperience or if it's just the nature of knitting, but I'm never really sure exactly what is going to happen when I bind off. Seeing the project off the needles for the first time is always a surprise - and after all that work, the last thing that I want is to be disappointed - which seems to happen most when working in the round.
This cowl is the perfect example of thinking that everything was going along splendidly only to find out that it wasn't! It doesn't look too bad in the picture, but in real life the bottom is a good 2 inches smaller than the top and the top edge rolls down hiding the pretty hearts and cables. I didn't even bother with the bottom trim because I knew it never was going to be what I had hoped!
Take a look at the first cowl. It's the Sweetheart Lacy Cowl by Cheryl Murray from the book 50 knitted gifts for year-round giving. It's beautiful right? I followed the pattern for main body, but changed the top to the sewn bind off. I also decided to crochet the bottom edge instead of knit the edging and then sew it on as the pattern indicated. The main difference between this one and "mine" with the cables is well - the cables. I also only did two repeats of the hearts and included a few more rows between them to space them out a bit.
So what have I learned and what comes next? I've learned that knitting in the round allows you to avoid seaming, but prevents you from getting a good look at the real size of the item. That I need to practice binding off - so that one day my tops and bottoms will be close to the same size. And I've learned that even small changes to a project - like a few extra rows here or there can sometimes end with unexpected results!
I've also learned that I don't run into these kind of challenges when I crochet. If I start with 100 stitches in the round and end with 100 stitches I'm certain that my bottom and top will be the same size. I also don't have to worry about what the project really looks like - because you can see the whole thing.
Does this mean that I'm going to stop knitting? No way! I love knitting and I really do love a challenge! So far I've tried the traditional bind off and the sewn. I know that there are still more out there - and eventually it will all come together! In the mean time - adding crochet edging helps - and so does using a little clear elastic to firm up an unruly top!
Will I keep making changes to the patterns? Of course I will. It's a way to express my creativity and continue to grow as a fiber artist. When I first started crocheting I never would have dreamed of doing something different from what the pattern said - now I use them as a guide. As a framework to help be build and shape new projects.
What will become of the cables and hearts? I think that they look good together and that there is potential. Maybe a scarf? Ribbing is always an option to give stability to the body of the cowl and stop the top from rolling down. And finally I'm thinking that I should just let it rest while I work on something else! We all need a little space one in a while - especially after things go wrong!
Thanks so much for stopping by and spending a bit of your day with me.
Until next time friends,
Be Blessed and Stitch & Read with Love!
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My name is Robin. I am a wife, mother and strong believer in the power of faith. I'm a maker, a crafter and an artist. I love exploring new mediums and sharing my adventures with you.
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