Friday, 29 May 2015

Italian Sewn Bind off Tutorial (Kitchener or grafted)

     In my last post I started a swatch to demostrate how to do an Italian tubular cast on which I learnt when I first came here. In this tutorial I have continued the swatch and will show you how to do a sewn bind off to match the cast on.

     Once again it was my neighbour who showed me how to work this. An old lady who couldn't  read or write she  made many wonderful things and was capable of reading a piece of knitting as if reading a pattern. I learnt to "reverse engineer" knitting following her example!

     All knitting instructions I have seen in books and online seem to divide the work when doing a sewn bind off, placing stitches on 2 needles. She taught me to bind them off from the same needle they were on while knitting.
     First work two rows of double knitting:
1)* K1, S1 purlwise with yarn in front. Repeat form *to end of row.
2) As row 1.
     Now take a blunt tipped yarn needle. Cut the yarn leaving at least twice the width of the work in length. I usually calculate about 3x the width of the stitches to be bound off.  It is better to have excess yarn than to have to join in the middle of sewing!

The first stitch should be a knit stitch. Slip the needle in the stitch as if slipping purlwise (without twisting it) Slip the stitch onto yarn.

 The next stitch is a purl stitch. Slip the needle into the stitch from the front as if you were going to knit it, Slip onto yarn.
 Now bring the yarn over the top of the work and go into the left loop of the last knit stitch worked bring the needle out of the next knit stitch on the needle slipping it as if to slip purlwise.

Take yarn over the top to the back again and enter into the left leg of the last sewn purl st and go out of the next one on needle as if to knit it.

Keep repeating these movements to the end of the row.

She taught me to say "in and out" You are going inwards on the last stitch worked on that side, and out of the next stitch on needle.Loop over the top and repeated on the other side.

See what a nice neat edge this gives? It is almost identical to the cast on she taught me.

This edge is very elastic. I find it easier to work from the one needle than to divide onto 2 as many tutorials show you. If binding off a lot of stitches there is less risk off dropping them. if you do run out of yarn while sewing, simply make a neat join at the last stitch and continue sewing, don't try to pass knots through the stitches! You can hide the end in the edge quite easily when finished.

I have tried to take a lot of photos to show what I was doing. If you have any questions please let me know and I will try to answer!
     Happy (Italian) Knitting! Lol!

Italian Cast On Tutorial. (Or tubular cast on)

     When I first came to Italy in the seventies I was already a fairly proficient knitter but here I discovered new ways of doing things.
     Apart from the different way of holding the needles which I will talk about in a future post, I also found that my neighbour used a different cast on method which I thought was better for many projects. This cast on gives a tubular cast on which is far stretchier and also pleasing to the eye!

     This way of casting on is excellent when making topdown sweaters or socks where you need an elastic stretchy edge. If knitting in the round I usually start flat and then join on the third row!

This is how she taught me to cast on with some waste yarn.
Let's say that I need a knitted piece with 40sts:

     Cast on half the stitches + one stitch  with waste yarn. For this example I need 40 sts so I cast on 20 + 1sts =  21sts.

With the working yarn  work as follows :
Row 1) *Knit one stitch, Yarn over, (that is bring the yarn to the front and pass back over the needle to the back), repeat from * to last stitch, K1. ( 41sts on needle).

Row 2) *Slip the first stitch purlwise with the yarn in front, Move the yarn to the back of work,  knit the yarn over. Repeat from * until you reach the last stitch, S1 purlwise.

Row 3)* K1, S1 purlwise, repeat from * to last stitch, K1.

Row 4) * S1 purlwise, K1, repeat from * to last st, S1 purlwise.

Now work in K1, P1, rib as usual. (Or change to stitch required)  If, as in this swatch, you have one stitch more than you need purl 2 together at the end to get the correct stitch count.
 At the end of work carefully undo the waste yarn. You have a neat double knitted edge.

In my next post I will continue this swatch to show you how to do a sewn bind off which matches the cast on.

Friday, 22 May 2015

Knitting Songs.

                                      Old Knitting Songs.

A few years ago I had fun searching for knitting songs. It was before I found and joined Ravelry. Today  I was checking files on my old computer and found this file I had made and saved. I thought it would be nice to add them on here. 
If you know any other craft rhymes I would love to add them to this collection! 

Knitting rhymes:

In through the front door,
Once around the back,
Peek through the window,
And off jumps Jack!

Jack goes in,
Put on his scarf,
Comes back out,
And takes it off!

In through the front door,
Run around the back,
Peeking through the window,
And off jumps Jack.

In through the front door,
Around the back.
Out through the window,
And off  jumps Jack.

In through the front door,
Run around the back.
Hop through the window,
Off jumps Jack.

Squeeze down the chimney
Quick ‘round the tree.
Wiggle back up to the rooftop
Presents for me.

Go into the house
Grab your scarf
Take it outside
Before the cat barfs

Put the man on the fence;
Put his hat on;
Twist his leg
And knock him off.

In front of the fence
Catch the goat,
Back we go,
Jump off the boat!

Under the fence, (Knit or purl)
Catch the sheep.
Back we come,
Off we leap!

In through the front door, (Continental knit)
Up over the back,
Peek through the window,
And off jumps Jack!

Purl Rhymes:

In front of the fence,
Catch the goat,
Back we go,
Jump off the boat!

Under the fence
Catch the sheep,
Back we come,
Off we leap!

Down through the bunny hole
Around the big tree,
Up pops the bunny,
And off goes she!

Spring up from your slumber
We’ll dance round the tree
Wiggle back up to the rooftop
Presents for me!

Finger knitting:

Into the lake
Pull out the snake.

Crochet Rhymes:

Catch the fish and pull him through (chain)

Hook and pull through
Hook again baby and
Pull through two. (Double St)

Niddy-Noddy Song:

Niddy-noddy, niddy-noddy, two heads and one body.
'Tis one, tain't one, t'will be one soon.
'Tis two, tain't two, t'will be two soon.
'Tis three, tain't three, t'will be three soon.


Lace Makers Prayer:

Guide my hands with speed and grace,
To weave the intricacies of this lace.
Let the bobbins weave with ease
To create a pattern that will please.
Let there be Love in its creation
And give it Artistry in its inspiration.
May special care keep the threads from breaking
And give me Energy for its making.
Allow this lace to bring joy and pleasure
And give to others a lifelong treasure.

I do hope others can add to this list! 

Monday, 18 May 2015

DIY Spinning Wheel!

     Well my spinning adventure may actually take place! After looking for wheels everywhere and anywhere and finding that they cost a fortune and a half; DH obstinately decide to make me one. Although I found a plan online for him, obviously he didn't use it and is ploughing on making it how he says! I'll show a couple of photos of how it is going so far!

Getting started!

Genius at work!

A few pieces done.

Starting to look more like it!

Shaping the metal parts.

It will soon be done. Working on the other pieces!

Pretend yarn! Just used a drop spindle on some I had washed. 

     I still need to wash my wool. Don't hold your breath though! First I needed the plastic bowls, then there was the usual May invasion of little red spiders everywhere. Yesterday was windy and today it has poured down!
I will update as soon as possible!

Friday, 15 May 2015

The best laid plans of mice and men do often go awry!

   Or a tale of dolls, wind and missing internet connections! 

 Yesterday morning I took the twins and Felicity out for a photo-shoot for my latest patterns. Such a shame that it was too windy to take better photos but we managed anyway.

     The twins started a fast calabrian tarentella which attracted the attention of passers-by:                “Che Belle!  They look just as if they are really dancing!  Look at the Pacchianelle! “ were some of the comments  I overheard!

     This design is based on the costume my DD used to wear when she sang and danced in the local folk group.

Really nervous before her first event!

Practising before they go on stage.

Nice memories!

     Returning to the topic of my dolls. Felicity also atracted her share of attention in her beautiful new shawl. Elegant as always even in the wind.

 Look at that old olive tree she is leaning against!

  I had fun making her ring and her shawl pin although I am not very good at making jewellery.

 I wonder if the people here think I am crazy for taking photos of dolls? Probably. The American Girl Dolls are sure not part of the local Calabrian culture!
      DH doesn't worry about people watching. He gives suggestions on how to place them which I punctually completely ignore!

     Now that testing is finished and all the details are checked I have finally published these. Funny how it always leaves an empty feeling, However that will soon be filled by another project!

     As so often happens as I went to publish the patterns the internet connection went off maybe because of the wind, so I had to wait for it to return. Hence the title of this post! Fortunately I had already added the Folk dance costume pattern. The shawl pattern was all written and ready to post and even though I hadn't saved it the system on ravelry automatically did it for me! This morning I was able to publish it. 

      The joys of living in Soveria Simeri!  We make lame jokes that on every windy day the line goes off, unfortunately that is so often the truth! The internet and phone connections frequently go off. What is worse is that the electricity does as well and in the summer water is off for hours. A water storage tank is essential here. No doubt I will be adding further tales of woe in the future!
     Bye for now! 

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Oh to be in England...or rather in Scotland!

     My DB just sent me this photo taken from the train window "somewhere" in Scotland!. Just look at those cute houses and then those magnificent clouds! Beautiful view to me on a sultry hot day here in the south of Italy.

     We have had clouds too today but they were sullen clouds, not sure whether to turn into a few reluctant drops of rain or not! No fresh rainy feeling at all! Just a hint of summer heat arriving too fast!

      On my way to town today I saw  a different landscape. Brilliant colours shining in the sun . The flowers! All the spring flowers are in full bloom. Wild flowers everywhere. Of course unlike my DB I didn't have a camera handy to capture it! I must learn to take one with me for such moments!
      I can still hear the bees buzzing now, busy among the flowers working so they can prepare their store of honey for the winter! Never too harsh a winter here for them!

     All too soon the fields will become a drab uniform brown colour as the relentless summer sun takes it toll!  In the village shutters at the windows will be closed tight to keep out the midday heat and the rhythm of life will seem to slow, almost to a standstill! Old men will sit and talk under the shade of the trees in the village piazza.

      We will have to make the most of these few days before the heat sets in. Housewives are busy flinging windows wide open to let sunshine in and sweep the winter shadows away. It is time when winter clothes are put away and summer ones emerge.People have gone from wearing winter woolies  to summer clothes!  The "cambia-stagione"  Blankets are washed and stored away. Light linen or cotton bedspreads are brought out. Really soon even the Calabrians will be going to the beach!

    Even though spring cleaning takes its toll  consuming free time, I have still been busy with my knitting. Never enough time for all the things I would like to create! I need more hours in a day!

     I will leave you with a photo of a little plant that has bloomed! First year ever!