Road Trip!!!!

This week (Nov 1st), we will be taking a field trip to the Michael’s Arts and Craft Store at 5771 Marine Way in Burnaby. They currently have BC’s largest yarn selection under one roof. We will look, touch and talk about yarn. We’re also working on getting a discount so you that can pick up supplies for the following week’s project, if you like. Please meet outside the store at 2 pm.
*** There will be no Show and Tell this week****

Transit Directions
Take #116 bus from Metrotown and exit at Byrne and Marine.

Map to Michael’s on Marine in Burnaby

Announcing: New group for Beginner/Intermediate Knitters

After looking at the results of our survey, we have decided to add a second group. This will allow more space for each group as well as to focus topics more appropriate to levels. It will also give our newer knitters more instruction time to get their needles flying. Starting November 8th, here is the new schedule on Sunday:
Beginner/Intermediate: 12:00 – 1:30 pm
Intermediate/Advanced: 2:00 – 4:00 pm

You are welcome to attend either group – please be aware that the discussion time will be geared to level appropriate topics.  If you have any questions, please send us an email and we’ll be happy to help you figure out which group will be better for you.

May I have your A-Tension please?

This is the wrap up of the second meeting of Knit1, Take2. Today’s turnout was a little less than our first meeting but it was still great  and a lot was learned as the needles flew. The lesson today was about getting necessary information from the label and figuring out tension.
Reading a Yarn Label
So needle-less to say, it can be a little intimidating when you walk into a yarn store and see all those balls of color and textures. How are you supposed to know what you need or what you should get? Well, just like when you’re grocery shopping, its important to read the label. There’s a lot of useful information on those labels:

  • Yarn Name – the easiest way to get yarn is to call it by its name. If someone says they need a ball of Patons Classic Wool, you can simply walk into your store and ask for it by name or read the label and find it.
  • Fiber Content – with fiber being made with everything from wool to soy and bamboo (it’s true!), it  is important to know what you’re getting. You’ll also find the percentage of each fiber in the yarn listed on the label.
  • Care Instructions – It is important to know how to take care of the knitted garment you’re going to be making. Whether it is for you or a gift for someone, you’ll want to be able to ensure it lasts  by making sure it is cleaned properly. Here is a link to some symbols and what they mean: Care Instructions
  • Yardage – Knowing how much of the particular fiber you’re getting can be invaluable, especially if you’re substituting a different yarn from the original one given in the instructions The yardage is usually displayed in meters and yards. If not, a simple conversion will give you the measurement you need.
  • Dye Lot –  Yarn is produced in very large quantities at a time called a “lot”. Each lot is given a specific number or code for identification because the next time that particular color is produced there may be slight variations in the tint or hue.  By giving the balls a lot number, you can make sure all the yarn you are using came from the same dye process and that the color will be consistent. It is a good practice to get an extra ball when you’re buying yarn for larger projects just in case. Most yarn shops will let you return unused balls as long as the dye lot is still current on their shelves (this is a great motivator to finish your projects in a reasonable amount of time!).
  • Gauge – Knowing what weight the yarn you’re using is probably the most important piece of information on the label as it is necessary to ensure your garment will be the right size. Usually you will see a square grid with numbers on the bottom and side like 16s and 22r. This tells you how many stitches and rows you will get in a 10cm x 10cm (4×4 in) square. 

So why is gauge so important and what exactly is it? Gauge (also called tension) is a way of measuring your work before you knit the entire garment to ensure it will be the intended size. There are three important things to pay attention to when working out your gauge:

  •   Number of stitches and rows – gauge tells you how many stitches and rows you will get in a 10cm  (4in) square. Stitches are larger than rows so you will usually have fewer stitches than rows. Each weight of yarn has a standard number of stitches for that particular gauge – chunky weight yarn for example is usually 16 stitches over 10cm. Here is a link for the weights of yarns and their appropriate gauge: Yarn Weights 
  • Recommended needle size – this is the size of needles the author used to achieve the desired gauge. You may have to adjust the needle size to get the same gauge,but it is far easier to do this than to re-write the pattern! If you are a tight knitter, you should try using a bigger needle and if you are a looser knitter, go down in size. Once you find the needles that give you the desired gauge, simply follow the pattern instructions and your garment will fit like a dream. A least, we hope so 😉
  • The stitch pattern – This is the stitch pattern used to give the gauge. Most tension swatches are done in stocking stitch but each pattern should tell you what they use as it can be different. Sometimes you will even have more than one swatch in the same pattern (this happens quite often when working with cables).
    So before you start making a sweater or any other garment where size is important, you’ll want to find the instructions for your tension swatch. Once you have it, knit the swatch according to the directions and measure it to see where you’re at. Adjust your needles if necessary and re-knit the swatch to make sure you’re on the right track. Most knitters will tell you this is the one lesson they had to learn the hard way, so seriously,  make that swatch!

    Steve’s Tip of the Day: If you want something to do with that swatch when you’re done, you can always knit it onto the inside of the garment in an inconspicuous place. This way, if anything happens to the garment later and you need some extra yarn (e.g to darn a hole), you can remove it and have the original yarn to work with!

    Thanks for reading and we’ll see you next week!
    Yarn over and out,

    Take 2: Technical Tuneup… A-tension!

    Our meeting this week will be at the same time, same channel: Sunday, 2-4 pm, Waves Coffee House on Columbia Street.

    Technical Tuneup: A-tension!
    Steve will lead the discussion this week about how to read the label on yarn as well as touch on tension/guage. Learn how to make a swatch and why it is so important – many people are tempted to skip this step but it can save you hours of work.

    *** Please note that we will NOT be meeting at Waves on November 1st. We will be taking a tactile field trip to talk about yarn basics. Stay posted for more details. ****

    With apologies to our beginners last week, we didn’t have much time to get knitting. After the Tuneup, we will move the beginners into a smaller circle and work on basic stitches. If you have them, please bring 4.5 mm needles and a ball of worsted weight yarn. If you don’t have supplies, come anyways. We will have some available for you to borrow or buy.

    Getting started with Casting On …

    WOW! If we were looking for one word to describe the inaugural meeting of Knit1, Take2, that would have to be it. Considering that a few weeks ago, three knitters were sitting in a cozy room and wondering if this idea would actually fly and then having 23 people at our first meeting, wow may even be an understatement. We are thrilled at the turnout and hope that the interest in this group continues to grow. A big thank you to everyone who attended for your support and ideas.

    This posting is the first of a regular recap of the week’s meeting to benefit those who were unable to attend and to refresh the memories of those who came. Since today was our first meeting, the lesson was appropriately “Casting On”. There are numerous ways to cast on and Steve showed three techniques with a variation of the last one: the e-wrap, knit-on, and twin tail methods.

    The first two methods are commonly learned when first beginning to knit and have two distinct advantages: 1) they are very easy to learn and will get you knitting right away and 2) they both allow you the ability to cast on stitches mid-way through your knitting – allowing you to add stitches for things like sideways knitting. Here are links to those methods:
    and knit cast on

    The twin-tail method of casting on is a little more complicated but once learned, produces a very nice scalloped edge on the bottom. One aspect of the twin-tail cast on is that the stitches appear as knitted stitches on the cast on row. The drawback of this is that if you are knitting in stocking stitch, the first row of your knitting needs to be purled to avoid an obvious ridge at the bottom of your work. This is okay but most patterns are written so that your first row is the right side and usually knitted. Also, if you are working a rib, say K2P2, the ridge will appear on all the knit stitches of the rib. This is where the variation of the cast on comes in. With a slight variation of this cast on, the cast on stitches appear as purl stitches. This allows you to cast on in the pattern you are going to knit in – whether it be stocking stitch, rib, or garter. If you would like to see a detailed description of this method (with diagrams) follow this link:

    twin tail or long tail cast on.

    That’s a wrap for this week but we’ll definitely be back next week with another recap. Please feel free to leave a comment and to follow this blog at the right. Have a great week everybody and keep those needles clicking!

    Yarn over and out!