Saturday, 14 November 2009

Neatening the neck

One of the methods of knitting a neckline in Woolly Woodlander patterns involves casting off a few stitches in the middle of a row, to separate the two shoulder bands. This can give an unsatisfactory finish to the neckline, with a strange droopy lopsided effect to one side.

There is a way to neaten the neckline and to create a prettier effect. On the example here the instructions say 'K4, cast off 3, k to end'.

To make my new neckline, cast off also the last of the initial K4 stitches, so that the row reads, 'K3, cast off 4 ...'
Stop at this point and slip the last stitch off the right hand needle back on to the left hand needle, you now have only the first 3 sts on your right hand needle.

Push the point of the right hand needle into the first of the cast off stitches, from the back to the front.
Continue with the pattern instructions but on the first of the decrease rows to the neck edge of the right shoulder which in this example is a wrong-side row, check that you make a p2tog through back of the loops, thus twisting the stitches to give a left-leaning chain effect when viewed from the front (or slip 1,knit 1, pass slipped stitch over if a 'right-side' row). An opposing p2tog (or k2tog) on the second shoulder will complete a neat and attractive neckline.
This method can be used when casting off for any reason in the middle of a row; for a pocket, a sleeve etc. and I use it frequently, even on items of clothing for real people!
Please send me a message from the Contact page on my website if you have any queries.

Friday, 6 November 2009

I begin knitting ...

A few months ago I needed an hobby for a few weeks of enforced rest. What should I do? I considered reading (I didn't need to be THAT still) and writing (but I'd just finished a 2-year career as a freelance journalist and really wanted a change) and so I thought I would return to my long-time activity of knitting.
After several pairs of socks, I needed a new project and decided to knit clothes for some of the members of our Silvanian clan who looked decidedly naked after rather rough handling by youngest grandchildren. I no time at all I had a few dresses and trousers.#
"Oh, good", commented husband. "Now you can start using up the trunk full of wool you inherited from your mother!" But more interestingly, grandchildren loved the new clothes. I sent a selection of 9-year-old Estella in Sussex, and her mother told me that she opened the package, squealed with delight and ran up to her Sylvanian world, not to reappear until suppertime.
I knew I had a winner.
So I started making a range of clothes to fit all the sizes of families, and wrote the knitting instructions. I made each item several times, checking the details and sizes, simplifying the directions until I was happy with the result. I too was delighted with the finished pattern, to be named Rustic, as the style of the clothes was decidedly rural.

"You need a website", I was told, so I set about building one. It took a lot longer than I anticipated as the webbuilder I chose worked in an unusual way and the html it generated was very complex - very different from my first website which I wrote in Notepad some fifteen years ago.

So was born - and is growing each week. Do visit it, please, so that my stats can begin to climb.