Sunday, September 4, 2016


Can I ask you a silly, stupid, simple question?

Asking questions is a good thing.  If you don't know how to do something the only way to find out how is to ask.

When my children were small I remember someone telling me that at about 5 years old a child will ask you what seems like 100 questions a day.
We get a lot of interesting questions at the shop. 

Here are some, with the answers:

What is DK?

DK or double knitting is a thickness of yarn that when knit with the correct needles will give you 22 stitches to 10 centimeters. (That is where it is designed to be at its best for wear and texture and drape). You don't have to knit it double or do anything different it's just the name.  Just like fingering, sport, Aran, worsted, chunky!  

Circular needles? Does that mean you can only use them to work around? 

Until someone come ups with a better term, circular needles are designed to help you work your knitting into a tube. They really are just 2 needles joined by a flexible cord. You can work back and forth to create very wide flat pieces.  Knit to the end of your row, then switch the needles into opposite hands and start back in the other direction.  This keeps the weight of the knitted fabric off your hands and into your lap.

The pattern calls for a 29 inch needle mine is 32 inches can I use it?  

As long as the needle diameter is the same, a 4 mm for example, a 32 inch is only 3 inches longer than the pattern calls for. Unless you are making something that is less than 32 inches around then it would work fine.  If you are making a blanket then the 32 will just give you more room for your work.

I have been knitting a lot now my neck, arm, shoulder, hands or elbow hurts?

Even a simple task like knitting or crochet can create repetitive strain injuries! Be mindful of your posture and give yourself time to recover.

What is Blocking?

Blocking is setting the shape of the garment.  Not everything requires blocking.  Natural fibres respond to blocking beautifully as it remembers that shape, acrylics and other man made fibres not so much. 

Lace shawls and garments require blocking to help define the fabric and smooth out the stitches.
Blocking garments before sewing together makes seaming easier.  It also gives you the opportunity to check your work.  Measuring each piece to the sizes given in your pattern. 

To block a wool garment:  Soak for at least 10 minutes in cool/warm water with a little SOAK or Eucalan.  (No rinsing required)  Drain the water and gently squeeze out as much moisture as you can.  Find your thickest towel, lay your damp project on it and gently roll it up.  At this point I usually stand on the roll (take your socks off first) and let the towel absorb the moisture.  Find a nice flat surface.  (Those play mats for kids that link together like puzzle pieces work perfectly) Pin into shape.  Sometime you have to smoosh the garment slightly smaller as some fibres grow when wet, but will dry to the original shape if pushed into it. 

Blocking a lace shawl requires the same prep but you can watch your creation evolve when you pull the garment open and allow the stitches to lock together.  (don't get over ambitious you don't want to break the fibers.)

For acrylics and blends you could get away just rolling the pieces in a damp towel and then once they have absorbed some of the moisture smooth the pieces into shape and pin if needed.

I do wash anything that has been dragged around for a while, especially baby garments.  Wash using the directions on the label (I always wash on Delicate and cold for all hand knit items!)  Lay flat to dry or in the case of super wash wool tumble on low heat for a few minutes.  Dryers are horrible places for fabrics, the heat and the friction will cause added wear to your garments.  When you think of how the previous generations could keep baby clothes looking so new is that everything was hand washed and dried on the line. 

The oddest question I have been asked: 

How do I make the scarf not so long?

Really, I did not laugh (out loud) but if you don't know or understand then you don't.  So please ask questions all the time.  (I can answer most about knitting anything else not so much!)

See you Soon!

No comments: