May 30, 2011
KnittingDaily.com
Knitting on the go: Six tips for travel knitting

A note from Kathleen: I have a lot of traveling planned this summer, and on my packing list I always write "knitting." Such a small word on the list, such a large part of my packing process! I always take more than I need. Always. Even if I'm going to a knitting event. Somehow I think there are more hours in the day when I'm on vacation, and that I'll spend those hours knitting.

My friend Amy Palmer, assistant editor of Knitscene magazine, has a bunch of trips planned as well, and she's come up with a list of tips for taking your knitting along with you. I thought you might have some getaways planned, too, so I invited Amy to Knitting Daily to share her useful tips with us.

I'm about to hit the road for a little late spring/early summer traveling and that means packing.
I'll figure out the clothing situation the day before I leave (I always do), but meanwhile I'm a little stressed out over what knitting projects to bring. Raise your hand if you feel me! Yeah, I knew it.

Last summer, my family and I went to London, England, for six days—six busy, jam-packed days. I took three projects—a pair of socks, a hat, a crochet scarf. And you know what? I finished all of them. (Now that I think about it, I had started the socks before leaving.)

So clearly, taking a lot of projects on vacation is nothing new to me. Figuring out which knitting projects are best for traveling, and how to most easily transport them, is always a bit of a challenge though. Here are some tricks for travel knitting that I've picked up along the way.

Pick easy projects.
"Easy" here is a relative term. I'm not suggesting that everyone knit only flat garter stitch or stockinette stitch in the round, but be honest with yourself about your skill level and choose projects that you can knit without having to give a lot of attention. I know I can knit plain stockinette socks with my eyes closed, so they're a good project for me. Projects like Izumi Ouchi's Clipper Mitts or Amy Christoffers' Shelburne Scarf from Knitscene Summer 2011 would be great on-the-go knitting.

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Clipper Mitts by Izumi Ouchi's
Shelburne Scarf by Amy Christoffers


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Pick small-ish projects. As anyone who's ever traveled anywhere and had to cram a bunch of clothes into a carry-on suitcase (paying for luggage is not high on my list of fun vacation things) understands the importance of maximizing space. The smaller the project, the easier it will be to knit while you're traveling. Bonus points if you finish the project, because then you clearly have to buy a new skein of souvenir yarn, right?

For me, this usually means socks or hats, but it doesn't have to. Mittens or scarves are great travel knitting projects, but if we look outside the suitcase, think sleeves. Sleeves can be knit in the round or flat. Amy Christoffers' Vergennes Pullover or Sarah Fama's Mayville Cardigan both have easy sleeve patterns.


 
Vergennes Pullover by Amy Christoffers

Mayville Cardigan by Sarah Fama
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Choose your tools wisely. Socks are my number one project for knitting on the go. I tend to switch back and forth between using double-points and using the Magic-Loop method when I'm staying in town (say, going to knitting group), but for longer travel, I usually opt for Magic-Loop—nothing like making friends with everyone on an airplane as you attempt to chase down a dropped dpn.

Occasionally, I'll bring along the double-points, but in those instances I have to have a dpn work-in-progress holder with me. It keeps my knitting needles tidy, saves me from stabbing myself as I reach into my project bag, and possibly makes me appear a little less threatening to the TSA folks (this last point requires more research). Note: Yes, you can generally take your knitting needles on the plane if your departure point is within the United States, but be sure to check the website of the arrival destination airport, or the governing body of travel within your destination country (it's the TSA in the United States). Knitting needles are typically not allowed when flying out of an airport in the United Kingdom, but I had no problem with my crochet project.

Organize everything.
Take this opportunity to break out all those work-in-progress bags you have, or just grab some gallon-sized Ziploc baggies—whatever you use, make sure it has some sort of closure. The last thing you want is a mess of tangled yarns and needles all jumbled together in one bag. Placing your knitting projects in bags also protects them from getting roughed up in transit.

Keep a notebook handy.
When traveling amongst other people (on a plane, on a train, on a bus, packed in the family minivan), your knitting will inevitably be interrupted. Having your notebook and pen or pencil nearby ensures that you can make a quick note of your stopping point, or jot down any modifications you make on the go.

Most importantly, relax!
Vacations are usually a time to relax and maybe do something you've never done before, but that doesn't mean you have to leave all of your creature comforts at home. Travel knitting has all the benefits of knitting at home with the added bonus of having something familiar and relaxing during what can occasionally be a stressful experience.

Look for fun opportunities to document your knitting during your vacation.
Take a picture of your sock toe covering the pyramid outside the Louvre as a "pyramid cozy." Wrap an in-progress scarf around the statue of Phil Lynott off Grafton Street in Dublin (note to self: go back to Dublin). Or just have someone take a picture of you knitting by the lake or on a park bench!

And take along some knitting magazines, like the summer issue of Knitscene! It's full of fun, summery ideas to keep you busy on your travels.

Wherever you're going, whatever you're doing, have a fun and productive summer of knitting! Hopefully we'll all make a good amount of progress on our travels.

Happy Knitting!

P.S. Want to get Knitscene in your mailbox four times a year? Check out our new Knitscene auto-ship program!

Kathleen Cubley
Kathleen Cubley
is the editor of
Knitting Daily.


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Who says people don’t knit in the summertime? This is a dynamic time of year, characterized by long days, sun-lit activities, and wild color. We travel, we find time to relax, we spend time in air-conditioning and along the rims of volcanoes.
 
Knitting fits so well into summertime—it’s easy to pack; it makes plane and car rides fly by; it fills the idle hours waiting on a picnic blanket for fireworks; it’s the very relaxation we seek.
 
Summer knits don’t need to stand shyly by while fall knitting looms like the year’s main event. In that vein, this issue is brimming with fabulous must-have knits and need-to-know technical info. Every page is inspiring and lively, while the knitting itself is simple and fun. 
 
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June 1, 2011
KnittingDaily.com
A Natural Experiment: Vicki Square’s Universal Scarf (and it's free!)

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The Universal Scarf by Vicki Square. See the free pattern below!  
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Sometimes you read a little something that really sticks with you. I read an essay by Vicki Square in the spring 2010 issue of Interweave Knits, about Vicki's introduction to natural fibers.

I think about that article all the time; since it's stuck with me all these months, I thought I'd share it with you so you could store it in your brain, too!


Inspired by Natural Fibers

by Vicki Square

When I was in elementary school, I lived a few blocks from a lovely dress shop that I would visit with my mother. In the hushed ambiance of this thickly carpeted little shop, I found a peaceful slice of heaven.

The elegant shop owner must have been a knitter of some accomplishment, because stacked against the back wall on a counter the width of the room were boxes of yarn. The clear cellophane windows on the end of each box let me see the yarn inside that I desperately wanted to touch. This woman must have recognized a budding kindred spirit in me, and I did in fact get to push my clean little hands into the wool, mohair, angora, and cashmere.


My initial experiences as a knitter were strong and positive, having begun on a foundation of working with natural fibers. I suspect that is a significant reason for my continued obsession today.

I've never met a natural fiber I didn't like. Wool is king in the manipulation category. Knit it, felt it, mold it into anything your imagination conjures. The types of sheep, the quality of wool fleece, the spin, the weight, the rich colors, all contrive to offer endless opportunities in creativity.


Linen's longevity appeals to my historical self, while the fluid drape and natural luster of this bast fiber appeals to my artistic side.


Silk has been mastered for thousands of years on the Asian continent in production, processing, and in artistic presentation, from the tactile texture of raw silk to the luminescent surface of finely woven brocades.


Volumes are written about the origin and the uses of natural fibers. A knitter's reality condenses it all into how it feels in her hands. Exquisite fibers translate into stunning results. That's really the bottom line.


Try my "scientific" experiment. My scarf design (below) is the constant, and your choices of natural fibers to work with are the variables. Choose alpaca, choose silk, choose bamboo—I used a bulky wool and size 15 needles for one sample, and a much finer silk ribbon for the second. Follow the scarf instructions as printed, with no changes in stitch count, and you will net scarves of varying widths and lengths appropriate to different uses. Use one or two skeins for each scarf, and the needle size recommended on the label. There is no right or wrong, just a delightful experience with each yarn.


Natural fibers feel good in your hands, naturally!

UNIVERSAL SCARF

With yarn and needles of your choosing, CO 18 sts. Note: Edge sts are worked in garter st throughout.
Rows 1 and 3:
K2, [k2, p1] 4 times, k4.
Row 2:
K2, p2 [k1, p2] 4 times,k2.
Row 4:
Knit.
Rep Rows 1-4 until scarf measures desired length, leaving enough yarn to BO and ending with a Row 2. BO all sts loosely in patt.
FINISHING

Weave in ends.

This stitch pattern is non-curling, so blocking is unnecessary. However, you may wish to spritz with water, or lightly steam, to set stitches and ends.


I hope you'll try Vicki's experiment.
I tried it last year, with about 300 yards of a light worsted 100% alpaca, and I loved the result. I used size 7 needles and my scarf was about 4 inches wide. I gave it to my brother for his birthday and he loved it! That's part of the "universality" of this pattern: it works for men, women, kids, and any yarn you want to use!

For more interesting and exciting articles, patterns, and how to knit ideas, get yourself the 2010 Interweave Knits CD Collection set today!

Cheers,

Kathleen Cubley
Kathleen Cubley
is the editor of
Knitting Daily.


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Interweave Knits 2010 Collection CD, Now Available!
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Interweave Knits 2010 Collection CD
Available Now!

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Enjoy all four issues of Interweave Knits exactly as they were printed in 2010: Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter editions. Plus, you’ll receive a free digital edition of the special issue Interweave Knits Holiday Gifts 2010! (That's five magazines for only $19.99!)
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The full-color electronic versions of these magazines include easy-to-navigate table of contents, easy-to-print patterns, informative articles, designer profiles, and all the tips and techniques that Interweave Knits is known for.

 

The Interweave Knits 2010 Collection CD features:

  • Yarn reviews of cotton yarns, microfibers, washable wools, and recycled yarns.
  • Artist spotlights and designer profiles on Barbara Walker, Aimee Lee, Nancy Bush, Pam Allen, and more.
  • Tips and techniques for twisted stitches, Kitchener stitch, color transitions, closures such as buttonholes and zippers, and more.

PLUS! The 2010 season showcases over 100 patterns for pullovers, cardigans, home décor, accessories, gift ideas, and more, for all knitting skill levels.

Order your copy of Interweave Knits 2010 Collection CD today!

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June 3, 2011
KnittingDaily.com
Free Pattern! The Farrington Pullover from Knitting Plus

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The Farrington Pullover. The designs were all named after streets or areas in places Lisa has lived. Farrington is her favorite country road in the Piedmont of North Carolina—she drives it to her favorite hiking trails and to the best veggie/berry stand in the area.

 
   
   

When knitting sweaters, I find that the one problem I have over and over again is in the length—I make my sweaters too short! And I'm short myself, so why is this a problem?

It's because I'm a plus-size gal, and I have more padding in the front than in the back. Most of us do, but for plus-sizers, that padding can be many more inches larger than our slimmer compatriots' padding. I've been knitting for years now, so I should really be customizing my sweaters more expertly to alleviate this problem.

In Knitting Plus, author Lisa Shroyer provides a lot of tips, tricks, and in-depth how-to-knit information about customizing patterns to fit our curves.

These tips work for all women, too, not just plus-sized women—we're all shaped differently, with more or less endowments here and there, so we all need to think about our body shapes when knitting.

I looked through Knitting Plus to find ideas for fixing my short-sweater problem, and I found a great insight that I thought you might be interested in, too.

The first one is about the most attractive length for plus-sized folks.

Getting the Right Fit

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If a sweater hem falls at the same point as the waistband of your pants (right), the effect can be unattractive. This highlights a fleshy abdomen and makes the sweater look too small overall. A hem that falls a few inches below the waistband (far right) has a more flattering and refined look.

A longer body length has a slimming effect on plus-size women and can cover awkward areas like a lower belly pooch. If a hemline falls at the midline of your abdomen, it can highlight this wideness instead of drawing the eye onto other areas.

Avoid having your sweater hem fall at the same point as the waistband on your pants-this line usually falls between two rolls of flesh. Both your pants and sweater are sucked into the space, which highlights the contours above and below. If you raise your arms or move around much, your sweater will creep up and expose your belly. For plus-size women, I recommend sweater hems that fall at least a couple of inches below the waistband.

—Lisa Shroyer, from Knitting Plus

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  Isn't this "V-neck" fantastic?
   

So simple—just make the sweater a couple of inches longer. I must admit that sometimes I just want to be DONE, so I quit before I should. I know somewhere in my brain that I should keep going, but I don't. I promise to keep knitting until I get to the right length, not just the length listed in the pattern schematics, which may or may not be the right length for me.

In order to find the right length, I need to measure a sweater that I like the length of, and note that measurement in my notebook. I've done this before but I long ago misplaced the scrap of paper I wrote the measurement on. Sigh.

Anyway, we wanted you to try out Knitting Plus so we're offering a free pattern, the Farrington Pullover, designed by Lisa and featured on the cover of Knitting Plus.

I love the mock V-neck design; it's such a wonderful highlight in a simple sweater.

Download the Farrington Pullover, and get your copy of Knitting Plus for more fantastic patterns and techniques, too!

Cheers,

Kathleen Cubley
Kathleen Cubley
is the editor of
Knitting Daily.

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Learn to make knits that fit with the new essential resource, Knitting Plus!

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Make custom fit pullovers and cardigans with Knitting Plus. An invaluable reference on fit and shape, this book gives you all the know-how to knit sweaters that work with your body shape and your desired style.

 

Let Lisa Shroyer teach you how to create 5 common sweater styles: raglan, set-in sleeve, drop shoulder, seamless yoke, and dolman. In her new book, Knitting Plus, she digs deep into each construction to give you a better understanding of the shaping and sizing for all 5 sweater types.

And, Knitting Plus also includes 15 ready-to-knit patterns by top designers, including Kathy Zimmerman, Lisa R. Myers, Marliana Bird, Lou Schiela, Nancy Shroyer, Katya Wilsher, and Mandy Moore!

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Mastering Fit + Plus-size Style + 15 projects

by Lisa Shroyer
176 pages, 15 projects
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