Kara Babcock

I read, write, code, and knit.

7 Articles Tagged with “knitting”

  1. Sharing the knitting knowledge

    Today I showed someone how to long-tail cast on, and I can’t help but feel like I did a good thing for the world.

    I was working in the evening at the gallery, and had just taken the vacuum cleaner out. Winter is upon us, which means people track salt de-icer from the walkway onto the carpet. Vacuum every day!

    As I came back to the front with the vacuum, I saw a mother sitting there waiting for her child’s art class to finish. She had her knitting needles out and was casting on with some bulky Lion Brand yarn. (I love Lion Brand. It’s so soft, so nice to use.)

    I love talking to knitters in the wild, so I did something unusual for me and struck up a conversation! I asked her what she was knitting (a scarf, with some lacework since she has find a new technique to try). I mentioned that I was a knitter, of course, and we agreed that knitting in front of the TV is about as good as life gets. She also told me that her son, who is probably 11 or 12 years old, knits too, and that she hopes…

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  2. Entrelac is my new favourite thing

    I knit entrelac now. Entrelac is cool.

    You can read the linked Wikipedia article for all the details, but entrelac is basically a knitting technique that involves working a series of rectangles (and triangles) to create a patchwork effect. Instead of knitting across all the stitches on a row, you knit back and forth across a set number of stitches (e.g., groups of 8) over and over. In the process of doing this, you create a slipped stitch edge that you can pick up to create the rectangles on the row above. So as you work one entire "row" or tier of your entrelac project, you get rectangles slanted in one direction and then rectangles slanted in the other direction. Here's what I mean.

    a start to my entrelac project, two tiers completed

    I've been admiring an entrelac stole in the local yarn store for a while. Back when I did my baby sweater class, the proprietor gave me the pattern for the stole, and I finally got around to starting it last month. I love challenging myself with my knitting by trying new techniques, and while I didn't anticipate entrelac would be too difficult, I admit to some trepidation. What I did not expect is how much I…

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  3. Lessons learned from knitting a blanket

    So, recently I blogged about my friend Cassie getting married. I gave Cassie and Chris a knitted blanket for their wedding gift (I just wanted to make sure I wasn’t spoiling this fact before I wrote this blog post!). It’s my first full-size blanket, and I am so impressed with it I’m not even going to attempt false modesty, OK?

    The patchwork blanket, laid out on my couch

    Look at that. Gorgeous.

    Prior to this I knit a baby blanket, which was a much smaller and easier project. Large blankets are more of a challenge—you either need to manage a vast number of stitches on your needles, or you need to knit the blanket in smaller pieces and then sew it together. I went with the latter option. The pattern is from Tin Can Knits by Emily Wessel. It’s a square with a symmetrical, almost floral pattern that you knit in the round from the centre, spiralling outwards. You can knit it as a single colour or with a contrast colour as the border. Despite its intricate appearance, it is dead easy to do (provided you keep track of your stitch count and which row you’re on!).

    I should mention one of my goals with this…

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  4. A knitting update

    Mailing things overseas can be frustrating. Once you package everything up and send it away … you wait. And wait. And wait. And hope that your decision to go cheaper rather than faster doesn’t mean your package is now bobbing around the Atlantic Ocean, or stranded on a shipping pallet in Heathrow airport, soon to be rerouted to New Delhi instead of Norfolk. That’s how I felt when I sent two packages a month apart, and the second one arrived within a few weeks, while the first took months. But at least it was safe!

    In both cases I was dispatching some knitting gifts to friends and former colleagues back in England. I haven’t blogged about my knitting for a bit, so rather than just spam some photos on Twitter, I thought I would share them and talk about them here.

    I knit two scarves for Lesley, who was my department head and therefore had to put up with me quite a bit. The first is more properly a shawl. I love that it’s from a set of patterns called a Trilogy of Four—all the patterns are named after things from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. This pattern…

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  5. Just K1, P1 for 1115 days

    I taught myself continental style last week, mostly on a whim.

    I can say things like this, because I have become fairly proficient at knitting. See, today marks exactly three years since I learned how to knit.

    Learning to knit changed my life. I never saw it coming. And since I started learning, I have never stopped.

    So, why the continental style? I’m working on a second pair of Newfoundland mitts, as a request from a coworker at the Adult Education Centre, and the first step is to do 7 cm of ribbing. Ribbing is not difficult, but the constant shift from knit to purl can be annoying and is one of the things I am still quite slow at; while I was working on this, I happened to come across an article on a knitting blog comparing styles. It claimed that continental, among other things, is faster at ribbing (I know, I know, continental knitters—you think continental is faster at everything). Until now, I’ve always been satisfied with knitting English—but I’m also interested in expanding my knitting skills. Plus, the article made a compelling point in favour of mastering both styles: you can switch between them to…

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  6. First completed pair of socks!

    My first knitted pair of socks

    For over a year now, I have been knitting a pair of socks.

    I chose a sock, cuff-first, as my first foray into circular knitting. The circular knitting itself was not difficult to master. Socks themselves, though, have all sorts of … components that require careful attention to detail. This one had a pattern for the cuff, then another four-row pattern for the leg/top of the foot, and different patterns entirely for the heel flap and gusset. And then there is the most dread moment of any sock knitter’s career: turning the heel!

    Turning the heel on my first sock did not go so well. I’m still not great at recognizing individual stitches, so I had a great deal of trouble picking up stitches. Also, this means that if I’m not carefully keeping track of how many rows I’ve knit (or how many repeats of a pattern) using this nifty app I found for my phone, then I can easily lose my place—it’s hard for me to count individual rows and figure out what I still need to knit. So I thoroughly messed up turning the heel. This, combined with how many holes and other mistakes I’d made during my…

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  7. So I knit now

    So I’m knitting now.

    Katie, a friend I have made among my class of teacher candidates, is an avid knitter. (Her teachables also happen to be the same as mine—math and English—how cool is that?) Eventually our conversations about her knitting culminated in an offer to teach me how to knit. I was not digging for this—the thought had honestly never crossed my mind. I used to do some very basic cross-stitching, but my ability to do things with my hands (aside from typing) has always been minimal. Knitting seemed like a daunting skill to learn.

    So I said yes, of course. I had an ample supply of yarn left over from my cross-stitching days. When Katie returned to Thunder Bay after the Christmas break, we went shopping for a perfect set of needles and searching for a perfect beginning pattern. We eventually decided upon this hat pattern, which has the advantage of being knit flat and being done entirely in knit stitch (no purling). Another professional year friend, Hélène, deterred me from starting with a scarf: as she put it, a scarf is long and boring and repetitive; I needed a beginning project that was easy enough…

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