Archive for the ‘knitting’ Category

Knitting Gauge…….

Here is the handout from the class I teach on knitting gauge. If it is useful to you, please feel free to use it for your personal use as well as share and learn from it!


All About Gauge

What is gauge and why does it matter?
Gauge is the number of stitches and rows in a square inch of knitting. If you are following a pattern it helps determine, along with the number of stitches you cast on, how big or small your finished product will be.

When you don’t get the gauge the pattern calls for with the specified yarn and needle size try:
1. Change the needle size. If you have too few stitches, your stitches are too big and you need to try a smaller needle size to make smaller stitches. If you have too many stitches, your stitches are too small, they need to be bigger so try a larger needle size. The brand and kind (bamboo, stainless steel, exotic woods) of needle can also affect gauge.

2. Change the yarn. If you have too few stitches maybe your yarn is too thick so you could try a thinner yarn. If you have too many stitches, you could try a thicker yarn. Generally, it is preferable to substitute yarns with the same properties as the original yarn. For example if the pattern uses a stretchy wool yarn, substitute another stretchy wool yarn. The fiber properties affect how the item will fit, wear and drape.

3. Change the pattern. If you like the way the knitted fabric feels and drapes with the yarn and the needles you have chosen and you do not want to change them then you can change the pattern gauge. You can recalculate the number of stitches to cast on for your pattern based on the gauge of your fabric. Sometimes you may find that either a size larger or a size smaller in the pattern will give you the finished size you want.

Just because you can get pattern gauge with a substituted yarn, doesn’t mean it will make a nice garment. Gauge is important but so is how the fabric feels!
The gauge and needle size suggested on the yarn label is a place to start. However, since knitting styles vary you may need to use a different needle size to get the suggested gauge.
When measuring a gauge swatch, treat your swatch the way you will treat your finished product. For example, if you are going to wash and dry your item, do that to your swatch before measuring.

Tips on Changing a Pattern
1. Look at the schematic of the pattern in inches, or calculate the number of inches based on the pattern gauge.
2. Multiply the number of inches by your stitches/per inch gauge to get the new number of stitches to cast on.
3. Adjust all shaping to your new gauge.
4. If the new gauge is significantly different than the pattern gauge you may need to account for row gauge. Generally measuring the piece in inches will work out fine.

Reinvention says: To re·in·vent: invent again or anew, especially without knowing that the invention already exists. remake or make over, as in a different form: At 60, he reinvented himself as a volunteer. We have an opportunity to reinvent government. bring back; revive: to reinvent trust and accountability.

“Women’s lives are about redefinition”, excerpt paraphrased from Anna Quindlen’s book,  Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake. How does reinvention differ from redefinition? Maybe they are variations on the same idea or theme. It seems to me like it is about making something old anew.

Are we reinventing or inventing or creating or borrowing ideas from others or just doing what we do when we make things? Here is what I’m working on; I have all of this swirling around in my head, mixing together ideas, colors and techniques that I’ve tried and seen before. It pours out it in all these forms and somehow its related and makes sense.

Designer Interview with Fiberdev

With 2012 right around the corner and plans for the One Skein Club in the works I thought it would be fun to get to know the designer behind the patterns. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Jocelyn Blair, a prolific knitter and designer, over the past couple of years. Here in her own words:

Did you like crafts as a kid? What was your favorite toy?

Yes!  I loved the gadgets. I learned to tat with shuttles.  I adored my little plastic sewing machine.  I made tons of potholders using those loops and I had a Barbie knitting machine (maybe that’s why I like sock machines so much).

How did you get started as a designer?

Well it was mostly an accident, but I suppose it really was a natural transition from knitting other designs.  I was always intrigued at how things came together.  I have quite a collection of stitch pattern books and always want to try some stitch patterns out on socks.  Socks are the most satisfying things to try out stitch patterns.  I love knitting socks!

Do you do other crafts/arts besides knitting?

I can sew, my Mom was a seamstress so I learned that first.  I’ve made some quilts and I’ve done embroidery, I still have a sampler to complete from when I first got married!  I learned to spin and weave after I learned to knit.  And then there’s the sock and flatbed machines.

Are you ever surprised at what you are doing now?

I’m always surprise at what I’m doing!  Especially when I actually finish a project!

Do you have a favorite pattern/design? Why is it your favorite? What is your favorite item to design?

The last one, which was Mesquite Flat, but it’s always the most recent.  My most favorite item to design would probably be socks, but a close second is triangle shawlettes – I want to do more of those!!!

What is your approach to design? What comes first: pattern stitch, idea of an item,…?

A theme.  I find you have to limit your stimulus.  Kinda like having a big box of crayons, if you have too many options it’s harder to settle on something.  For the club I usually wait until I know the yarn, the color and the destination.  For the 2012 club I’ll have to decide the item first and that’s going to depend a lot on the yarn itself. 

What is your biggest challenge?

Once I have the item then I try to find a pattern stitch – that’s the hardest part I think.  For socks it’s a matter of working the stitch into the sock.  The same is true for non-sock patterns as well.  But some things will be more important than others .  Repeatability is very important for socks both in row count and stitch count.  For cowls,  scarves and shawls you have to figure in the shape and which way the pattern will repeat.

What is next for you and your work?

Handwerks 2012 One Skein Yarn Travel Club!

Do you have any advice for new designers?

Go for it.  You’ll be amazed at what you can come up with.  It really helps you become a better knitter and observer of all things.

Where can we find more of your designs and hear about what you do?

Ravelry is the best place to find all my designs.  My RavID isfiberdevyou can also get to my blog from my profile.

Sock time!

I’m so excited to be a part of the new Fall 2011 Knitcircus issue. Not only is this issue packed full of great articles and gorgeous photographs but the patterns are show stoppers too! I can’t decide which to do first, continue reading “How to Design a Lace Cowl”, the essay on “Bad Attitude” (great advice here!) or the interview with Jared Flood…….or start baking the “Candy Apple Scones” while casting on with my favorite sock yarn!

Candace Eisner Strick designed these lovelies in So-Soft Sock, Peach Blush for this issue:

Honeysuckle Project

If you were at Sock Summit then you already know about the new charity to raise awareness for breast cancer, The Honeysuckle Project, knitting for a cure.

What you might not know is the single sock , Montara, on the edge of the table in the middle looks like this:

and the yarn looks like this:

Patterns and yarn are available directly from The Honeysuckle Project. Individual patterns may also be available from the designers who participated in this initial launch.  I’ll be offering Montara through Ravelry and with a portion of the proceeds being donated to breast cancer research.


I’ve been trying to think of how to describe Barb Brown‘s new book since I received it a couple of days ago. I had a lot of fun dyeing a couple of custom colors (sumac, chamomile, mulberries and berry bramble) for Barb about a year ago. Now as  I keep looking through it, I keep finding new things that I like about it. I sat down earlier today to write about it, but had trouble finding just the right words that sounded sincere and not cliché. Its wonderful, lovely, nice, great, interesting, gorgeous patterns, looks fun to knit, current styling, wearable, …… then I had to get up and go get a latte because that always helps!

Coffee is kicking in better description : easy to follow clear charts, straightforward format, bonus section with information about sizing socks, adapting knee-highs to shorter versions, as well as great tips on custom fitting……and gorgeous yarns! 

Better yet get a copy and page through it.

Knitting Knee-Highs, Sock Styles from Classic to Contemporary by Barb Brown. Read more about it at

Stashbusting time

I’m cleaning up … always seems to be an ongoing project around here. It’s the end of the year and I have to do a physical inventory of my business yarns as well as an accounting of what I bought from myself for personal use. It’s a BIG project!

I’m pretty good about keeping the business yarn separate from the personal stuff but …. sometimes the two piles get pretty close together and there is some skein jumping that goes on. Gotta get that all under control today! ( or at least by Jan 1)

I went through a pile of papers sorting out teaching notes, patterns, stitch ideas and project notes as well as a few random receipts. Here is my cowls class notes as a freebie for all of you trying to tame your sock yarn stash. 

Sock Yarn Stashbuster Cowls  look in the patterns section of my website for the download link.

Here’s Fall—

Here is my favorite kind of Fall colors: new Sock Plus 8

Favorite scarf stitches

I’m working on a list for the LYS of stitch patterns for simple but nice scarves. Some of my favorites- Fisherman’s rib, Moss Stitch, Gulls and Garter from Vogue Knitting Stitchionary Vol One,  Garter Stitch Checks and Double Seed Stich from the 365 Stitches a Day Calender, and Lacey Rib from my free Lacey Rib scarf pattern.  Here is the sampler – still a wip (!) – Its a fun way to test out stitches and make a nice scarf at the same time.


Hunter Hammersen just released a new sock pattern using Handwerks Sock Plus 8. Its offered at

Not only is it free but there is a contest for a free skein of yarn to go with the pattern. Follow the link and read the blog to find out all the details.

I always get so excited when I see my yarns knit up. I love them in the dye pot and skeined up but it’s particularily thrilling to see what someone’s creative mind and nimble fingers can knit with them! Hunter’s sock patterns are lovely. They are so knitable and wearable.  I’m anxious to get started on my own pair of Gramery……..Thanks Hunter!

Off to knit-

P.S. – This is perfect timing  since new stock of Sock Plus 8 is on its way in larger 120 gram skeins.

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