Two very generous ladies sent me knitting-related gifts this past week. Leanne sent Baby Knits for Beginners by Debbie Bliss and Maria sent two balls of yarn - one a cotton and one a mohair and nylon blend. Thanks Leanne and Maria, I appreciate your generosity very much.
So that leads me nicely onto today's knitting post. I've had a few people email lately asking about how to keep their edges tidy. As you know, I don't claim any knitting prowess but I do know about nice edges, so here are my tips for knitting that way.
We'll start with casting on. Start with a slip knot and leave a tail.
Next, do your cast on as normal making sure it is not too tight. A tight cast on doesn't give you a neat edge, it just makes the edge too tight and often you'll have loops coming out of it when you knit your second row. Knit the tail in with the first few stitches, making sure it knits through at least three stitches - that is enough to anchor it. If you have problems casting on not too tight, use needles two sizes larger, then change back in your second row. When you finish your project, snip off that tiny piece of yarn if there is some poking out.
Now do your second row - this is what makes the neat edge. Knit into the back of the stitches. By that I mean that the stitch is almost a knit stitch but instead of doing the normal knit stitch, going under the stitch from the left, you go behind the needle coming into the loop from the right with your needle pointing to the left, and do your knit stitch there instead. See photo above for the stitch you should do, see photo below for the normal knit stitch. Look at the position of the yarn. It seems complicated but it's not and once you get the hang of it, it's easy.
Do the entire row knitting into the back of the stitch.
The photo above shows the row when it's finished. You get a slight bump where you've knitted the tail in but that almost disappears when you keep knitting. When you do that second row of knitting into the back of the stitch, go back to your normal pattern.
Now, the sides - this is really simple. Start every row by slipping the stitch from one needle to the other without stitching it, as if you're going to do a knit stitch, and keep your yarn tightish. After that first slip stitch do whatever your pattern tells you to.
On the other side, end every row with a purl stitch. And that's it. You'll get these edges that look plaited/braided instead of the bumpy edges you usually get with normal knitting.
I'm knitting several bits and pieces at the moment and I'm hoping to get Hanno's jumper finished soon. Yes, it's the one I started last year. I just have the front to finish and then it's done. I'm also working on this pink and natural scarf I started a couple of weeks ago. It's made with a beautiful organic cotton that is lovely to knit with.
In the next day or two, I'm starting on a little hat for "Peanut", Shane and Sarndra's soon to be born baby boy. I'll be using the cotton above - it's an organic Japanese cotton. Both these cottons are from the wonderful Eco Yarns. If you're looking for good quality yarn, check out Vivian's website.
And finally, if you're looking for an excellent socks tutorial with understandable photos and instructions, here it is.
I'd love to know what knitting you're working on and if, like me, you do a few projects at once. And for all the crocheters out there, I hope you'll help me when I start crocheting soon. I'm just waiting for a book to arrive and I intend to do a couple of projects. I have been taught to crochet by my sister and my late friend Bernadette, but I always feel a bit lopsided working with only one needle. I intend to get over that and progress on from my usual one crochet row and I'll need all the help I can get.