It's teaching and tutorial season, and Tom's been busy editing video clips for us!

 
 

The technique shown in this tutorial is really simple and very effective. I've used this method a few times in my patterns - most recently in my new Campello design and previously in my Swinton and Hadleigh designs in Painted Woolly Toppers for Kids. It creates a wonderful edge along which to rejoin work for multi-directional knitting, and has plenty of uses beyond Hat brims!

 
 

I'll add this video to the Garter Stitch page but I think I'll also start a new page for Picking up Stitches, as we've more videos on that topic to come...

We recorded these latest videos in June sometime, and despite our best efforts light snuck in and bounced off everything, giving it all a yellow cast. We've recently bought a little folding come portable video studio, one that it isn't fabric so it might stand up to some abuse, and I'm looking forward to getting stuck in with that - all that inconsistency with lighting is bothering me so!

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AuthorWoolly Wormhead

It's probably common knowledge by now that I'm not a fan of fairisle or stranded knitting, I know, I know, blasphemy and all. But, well, they're rather 2-dimensional. Nothing wrong with that, but I'm not a surface design sort; I never have been.

What I find with colourwork is that it demands the technique bends to create the colours; that the colours are more important than the construction. The colourwork techniques themselves don't manipulate the fabric per se but instead are are designed to ensure the pattern pieces on the surface fall into place (every knitting technique is a construction technique in the traditional sense a of constructed textiles vs surface design, but not every technique pushes construction beyond the surface). You can add other shaping to a stranded piece with increases/decreases/short rows, but the methods for creating the stranded knitting themselves aren't used to create the form. One exception might be where you deliberately pull the floats tight to create a vertical tuck like effect, although I'm not sure how structurally sound that would be.

Short row colourwork on the other handle demands that the colours bend with the technique.  The technique is the dominant factor. Whilst there may be an intended surface design as a result, it's actually a 3D technique that is put to play and that means that it can be taken beyond the surface. And that's why it caught my interest.

 
an initial swatch for the Elemental Hats

an initial swatch for the Elemental Hats

 

When I first chatted with Carol and subsequently LoveKnitting about this project, my MO was to create short row colour patterns, to do in Hats what had been done in shawls. I'd set myself an engineering challenge. 

There are some amazing short row colourwork patterns out there, and short row colourwork is inherently distinctive. But as with a lot of textiles that are 3D in a fabric manipulation sense (as apposed to a sculptural sense) they're invariably found on flat pieces. It's one challenge to manipulate the fabric enough to make it 3-dimensional in and of itself, it's another thing entirely to then form that fabric into a 3-dimensional item whilst still maintaining it's integrity. 

Short rows do provide us with the means, though. And working through these designs I was able to create the 3D shape - crown and brim, but in particular the crown - by using the colourwork itself. The short rows that create the pattern also create the form. 

To ensure a short piece works it wants to be balanced, which means that it wants to have the same amount of rows for each stitch, otherwise it becomes distorted. Once a balanced fabric is mastered, it can then be carefully and deliberately unbalanced. By omitting rows (or by adding more short rows) at any given point, we can ensure that our fabric has form (in a 3-dimensional sense, not in a "what's it been up to this time?" sense).

 
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The design above is Toph, one of the 5 Elemental Hats. In this shot of the crown you can see how the short row forms, which represent leaves in this case, are used to create the crown. The entire Hat is knit sideways, consists entirely of short rows, without breaking either of the yarns. All of the Elemental Hats are created the same way.

It was quite an engineering challenge to achieve this, and I'm really pleased with the results. I have so many ideas now that I've got this cracked, so many things I want to create!

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AuthorWoolly Wormhead
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I've been meaning to post for ages and let you know that I've been adding lots of new tutorials, and now that pile has grown somewhat!

The landing page is the best place to find them all, but I haven't yet figured out how to make it active by simply clicking on Tutorials in the header (something I loved in SS5 and is sorely missing in SS7). Fear not though, as I'm keeping the page up to date with links to all of the methods.

And there are new pages! I've since added Grafting, Garter Stitch, Short Rows, Slipped Stitches, Cables and probably a few more I've not mentioned before. As there are rather a lot, here's an overview below, and feel free to go and have a rummage through the pages.

German Short Rows
I've only recently started to explore this method, and didn't want to recommend it until I'd learnt how they grafted, how much they differed to the wrap and turn method, and the best situations to use them. Currently I have PDF tutorials for GSR in garter stitch, and for grafting GSR in garter stitch. Further more, I've short video clips for each, too!

(I really want to expand on the blurb for the IG videos... "Short knitting tutorial video clips - ideal for slow internet connections, limited bandwidth or those who like their info succinct. No music, no talking, no time wasting - just straight to the point." but figured that sounded a little off)

This is one of the videos, to give you an idea. You'll find the rest from the Short Rows page. And naturally grafting GSR is also on the Grafting page.

 
 

I do like this method, it has advantages and disadvantages just like any other method. It's not as invisible in garter stitch, it gives a more pronounced look, which is not necessarily a bad thing. And I don't think it will be as adaptable in 2 sided stitch patterns or blend as easily (the main reason I ran with w&t for Going Straight). It is easier to graft though, which is a huge bonus as grafting w&t can be fiddly. Like most knitting techniques, there isn't a right or wrong method. As long as you understand what your stitches are doing and are happy with the result, it's all good.

Slipped Stitches
I'm enjoying these right now. So simple in their concept yet so effective. And I really like them with garter stitch.

 
 

There's more to follow on this method, and the PDFs can be on the Slipped Stitches page. I'm working on a very special project that involves slipped stitches and grafting and sideways knitting, but I'll talk more about that another time!

Cables
We finally had the chance to shoot some short videos for Cabling Without a Needle, and the first has just gone live. The PDF tutorial was published years ago, but once we started with the IG videos I knew this was one I wanted to cover. The second tutorial is due in a few days.

 
 

There will be overlap between the pages, which is how it should be I think. I like the way I can expand on the methods and topics, rather than have things cramped or layered under pages - it's easy to navigate, and you can get straight to where you want to.

If anyone is concerned that they don't have an IG account but still want to watch the videos - you can! They will play on the page as you view them, within this website, and if you want to click through and read the discussion, clicking on the comment's bubble at the bottom of the frame will open a new window in your browser where you can read the discussion and view at a larger scale. You only need an IG account if you wish to comment or follow along directly.

On the RSI and trapped nerve front, I have more movement and less pain than I had a week ago! Regular exercises, lots of breaks, painkillers, ice packs and more has helped. I am still working (albeit slowly), I have to, and it's great to see improvement. I am a bit bored though, as I really want to dive into things but I'm holding back so as to not make anything worse. Patience was never my virtue, as we know...

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AuthorWoolly Wormhead

I've had a little tidy up of the Tutorial pages. Before I explain about that, here's the latest IG video tutorial that we've filmed!

 

We've been working hard on getting these up to scratch. The crochet provisional cast-on is one of my faves, and was the very first IG video we posted a year or so ago. The links to the old one are still there as I don't believe you can have too many views of the same thing, but I am glad of the cleaner, lighter presentation in this new version.

Recording them has been trickier than we expected, mostly because I want a light and consistent feel to them, and light doesn't always play nicely when you expect it to. Having set up a mini recording studio in the corner of the studio trailer, where natural light is sufficiently blocked out (yup, our biggest issues were over exposure and strong casts) and where we have space for the the tripod and artificial light (courtesy of a few full spectrum LED bulbs) it's finally going smoothly.

 
the latest IG video being edited in Blender, the open source animation software

the latest IG video being edited in Blender, the open source animation software

 

Tom's doing the editing in Blender, which has a pretty sharp learning curve but it's open source with more tutorial videos than you'll ever need available free online, and it's proving to be worth the effort. I'm happy that Tom has more of a role than the occasional model in the biz too, as he's pretty good with the video side of things (filming drone boy that he is) and it'd be a shame not to make the most of that. Accessibility is still my primary concern, especially for folks like ourselves with next-to-nothing internet or expensive data plans, and I plan to continue to offer the 15sec IG videos as a compliment to the PDF tutorials whenever I can.

Now that we're on a roll with this, I figured it was time to break up the Tutorials section further into specific sections for easier navigation. Instead of being grouped by format, they're grouped by technique, which makes far more sense especially given the growing number of tutorials I have now!

Follow the Tutorials section in the drop down menu above and you'll see how I've broken things down. There are a couple of landing pages too that are unlinked should anyone come in from one of the links in my patterns, or via an old link - I've tried to think of everything and everyone!

The only bit I'm not sure about is how to categorise what I've listed as the 'Structural Methods' - techniques that to me are very structural, and quite separate from other covered aspects. Has anyone any suggestions on that? I'm happy to break the page down further but am not keen to have a single tutorial sitting on a page alone unless I know I'm going to be adding more in the near future.

Anyways, I hope this is all helpful and adds to the value of this site! Quite a bank of techniques and tutorials are building, and I'm pretty excited to be working on more, both as PDFs and 15sec IG videos.

Posted
AuthorWoolly Wormhead
CategoriesTechniques