Makers’ Minute – How to ‘Click’ Your Addi Interchangeable Needle

Katie demonstrates how to assemble the addi® Click Interchangeable needles. Watch it closely and see how addi® Click differs from the competition with their locking system!

Purchase an addi® Click Set here!

Transcription

Hi. I’m Katie and this is your Makers’ Minute.

Have you received an Addi Interchangeable Kit? Or you’re not quite sure how to use them? I’m gonna show you how to properly work our locking mechanism so that you can knit with confidence.

When it comes time to connect the pieces, insert the plug of the cord into the tip of the needle. The tip of the needle will settle in to the groove on this cord. You know you’re in the right place when you can no longer turn like this, and settles into position, like this. You’ll notice when you press firmly there’s a spring inside the needle.

To lock in the cord, press firmly and twist the tip away from you. Once it’s a-fixed, play around of it to make sure it’s in the right place. When it comes time to remove the cord from the tip, press firmly again and twist the tip towards you.

Again, to assemble the cord, insert the two pieces together, twist until it cannot twist anymore, press firmly, and twist the needle away from you. Play with it to make sure everything is locked properly. To remove, press firmly again, and twist the tip towards you.

Stop screwing around. It clicks, with Addi. Thanks for watching, and join me next week on the Makers’ Minute.

Fridays with Franklin: Adventure of the Warp with Two Brains, Part One

fwf-logo-v11

For an introduction to what goes on in this column, click here.

Today, we start a new adventure!

Brains 1.1

In weaving!

Brains 1.2

If you hadn’t missed the staff meeting you would have known that.

Brains 1.3

We’re going to use a rigid heddle loom. If you’ve not yet encountered a rigid heddle loom, click back to The Adventure of the Scarf that Ate the World for a simple, brief description of how they work.

A biggish rigid heddle like my fifteen-inch Schacht Cricket doesn’t limit you to scarves; but I have scarves in mind because it’s spring, and for so many of us who do a lot of handwork, the return of spring means one thing: planning our winter holiday gift-giving. I’m thinking scarves. Lots of scarves. Scarves all around.

Scarves make fantastic gifts, so long as your friends have necks. A knitted scarf is a beautiful, bouncy, cuddly thing. It can also take a long time to finish, even if it’s perfectly plain. For a guy like me, who will never set a speed record, promising more than one person a knitted holiday scarf inevitably leads to an ugly moment in which I hurl delirious invective at the little chocolate elf who pops out of the Advent calendar on December 20.

That is no way to treat chocolate.

Warp Once, Weave Twice–Or More

When speed is of essence, weaving is almost always* going to beat the daylights out of knitting. If I’m to turn out multiple scarves, speed is key.

It’s true that before you can weave you first must warp–we talked about that here. But when you want to weave multiple similar somethings–dish towels, placemats, or (ding ding ding) scarves­–more often than not you’ll warp only once.

All you do is wind on enough length to accommodate your multiples, or at least as many as your loom can handle. Then weave the first item, leave a bit of space, weave the second item, leave a bit of space…and onward in this manner until you come to the end of the warp.

Brilliant.

And while you might think multiple projects on one warp would mean a series of identical projects­–nope. Depending upon what sort of warp and weft you choose, you’ll find a variety of options for making each different from the next.

This is extremely useful if you have friends with highly different tastes, and I do.

The Yarn

I’m going to need two scarves off this warp, and here’s the yarn I plan to use.

Brains 1.4

This is Zitron Trekking XXL, and I chose it for a few different reasons:

  • It’s strong enough to use as a warp–meaning it can withstand firm tension and abrasion without falling to pieces.

Brains 1.5

  • I’ve used it for socks and I really like those socks.
  • It’s machine-washable. Neither friend is going to hand-wash anything. Believe me, I’ve tried to teach them. They won’t budge.
  • It’s finer weight (fingering) than the yarns I’ve woven with previously, and I’m excited to try a fabric that will be light and decorative.
  • The high wool content means the appearance and hand are pretty close to that of pure wool, which suits the scarves I have in mind.
  • I love these two colorways. Though they read as primarily solid, each has tweedy flecks of the other in it, plus flecks of other happy colors sprinkled around as well.

Brains 1.6

The Friends

Now, about the recipients. In the interest of protecting their privacy, I’ve been asked not to give you their actual names and likenesses. But like so (and I mean SO) many of my friends, they closely resemble in many ways characters from George Cukor’s immortal film The Women, released in 1939.

Brains 1.7

The Women © 1939 Warner Bros. All rights reserved.

It has an enormous, glittering cast of 130–all women. Even the animals in the film are female. No men appear, though they’re almost the only thing talked about. Do not attempt to apply the Bechdel Test to this film; your lab will blow up.

The screenplay was written by two women (Anita Loos and Jane Murfin) after a play by another woman (Claire Boothe Luce), yet manages to be breathtakingly sexist.

That said, it is a hoot. A scream. A gooey masterful camp fruitcake of sobby soggy romantic drama, knock-down slapstick, acid wit, and style. I have watched it so many times that even when the sound is off, I know exactly what is being said. Don’t believe it? TRY ME.

Brains 1.8

We are primarily interested in the costumes, which were by the legendary Adrian–not a woman, but a genius at telegraphing a woman’s inner life through hats, gloves, and dresses. Also, making her look taller. (Norma Shearer was five foot one.)

Friend One: Mary

Now, in terms of style, Friend One is a perfect match to the heroine, Mrs. Stephen (Mary) Haynes.

Brains 1.9

The Women © 1939 Warner Bros. All rights reserved.

Mary was played by Norma Shearer, who began in silent films and continued to reign in the sound era as the Queen of MGM, grabbing plummy, starring roles from Juliet Capulet to Marie Antoinette and never once letting a near-complete lack of acting talent stand in her way.**

Mary’s style reflects her personality. She’s honest (one of the few truly honest characters out of the 130), loyal, strong, and prefers the quiet, simple, horsey life in her Connecticut country house to the enervating social whirl of Park Avenue.

Unsurprisingly, her clothes tend to the tailored.

Brains 1.10

The Women © 1939 Warner Bros. All rights reserved.

Brains 1.11

The Women © 1939 Warner Bros. All rights reserved.

Brains 1.12

The Women © 1939 Warner Bros. All rights reserved.

They’re not mousy or frumpy–she’s very chic, even in a cardigan–

Brains 1.13

The Women © 1939 Warner Bros. All rights reserved.

but they have simple lines, quiet details, and classic fabrics. Even her dressing gown, though it has chiffon bell sleeves, has echoes of a men’s camp shirt.

Brains 1.14

The Women © 1939 Warner Bros. All rights reserved.

Mary is disgustingly rich, yes; but her clothes tell you that if you take away the horses and the country estate and the Park Avenue apartment and the maid and the cook and the impulse trips to Bermuda she’s just the same as you or I, picking up light bulbs from Target.

Friend One–from now on, we’ll call her Mary–needs a scarf that goes with a wardrobe like that, and I think I know just the thing. A timeless fabric, no fussy trims, rugged enough for the country but amenable to the occasional city foray.

Friend Two: Sylvia

Friend Two is closer in style to Mary’s cousin, Mrs. Howard (Sylvia) Fowler, played by the legendary Rosalind Russell.

Brains 1.15

The Women © 1939 Warner Bros. All rights reserved.

Happily, Friend Two’s resemblance to Sylvia ends with her sense of style, because Sylvia is horrible. HORRIBLE. Gossip is the air the Sylvia breathes. It’s also in pretty much every breath she exhales. She’s a liar, a coward, and a bully.

Brains 1.16

The Women © 1939 Warner Bros. All rights reserved.

She’ll abandon a friend, even her own cousin, at the first sign of trouble–even if she did her best to fan the flames.

The only thing you can admire about Sylvia is that she knits.

Brains 1.17

The Women © 1939 Warner Bros. All rights reserved.

Sylvia’s dress sense is as theatrical as you can get without buying your clothes from the Cirque du Soleil garage sale. I think Adrian meant to reveal her as a woman consumed with appearances and dying for attention.

Her wardrobe isn’t terribly avant garde, except perhaps for this three-eyed homage to Elsa Schiaparelli,

Brains 1.18

The Women © 1939 Warner Bros. All rights reserved.

but it’s impossible to ignore. Most of the pieces she wears play with scale (making things bigger or taller) or texture (making things fuller or fluffier).

Brains 1.19

The Women © 1939 Warner Bros. All rights reserved.

Brains 1.20

The Women © 1939 Warner Bros. All rights reserved.

Brains 1.21

The Women © 1939 Warner Bros. All rights reserved.

Friend Two also loves to wear things that push boundaries and get noticed. She joyfully uses her body as the framework for an art project that’s created new every morning. Her closetseses (that’s not a typo–she has too many to express with “closets”) are her paintbox, and she paints with a surrealist’s brush.

This is going to be the greater challenge, because my own taste is closer to Mary’s. My wardrobe looks like it was last rejuvenated in 1922. I like sock garters. I have been known to put on a necktie just for fun. I think creative black tie is fine…for other people.

But I want to try, and I’m going to do them both on one warp. A gift for a friend should make that friend’s heart beat faster, even if it has the same effect on your stomach.

If you’ll please stop by in two weeks, I’ll be excited to show you what happens next.

*Exceptions would be forms of weaving requiring intense, frequent manipulation of the warp or weft threads; but that’s another adventure for another day. Maybe.

**Shearer did marry the studio boss, Irving Thalberg. It might have helped her a tiny bit. Just throwin’ it out there. That does not make me a Sylvia! Shut up.

Tools and Materials Appearing in This Issue

Zitron Trekking (75% New Wool, 25% Nylon; 3.5 oz/100g per 459 yds/420m). Colors: 210 (Buff) and 240 (Red).

Schacht Cricket Rigid Heddle Loom (15 inch) by Schacht Spindle Company

The Women (1939). For information on sources, visit the official IMDB page . Yes, there was a remake in 2008, but please don’t ever bring that up in front of me again.

About Franklin Habit

Designer, teacher, author and illustrator Franklin Habit is the author of It Itches: A Stash of Knitting Cartoons (Interweave Press, 2008). His newest book, I Dream of Yarn: A Knit and Crochet Coloring Book was brought out by Soho Publishing in May 2016 and is in its second printing.

He travels constantly to teach knitters at shops and guilds across the country and internationally; and has been a popular member of the faculties of such festivals as Vogue Knitting Live!, STITCHES Events, the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, Squam Arts Workshops, the Taos Wool Festival, Sock Summit, and the Madrona Fiber Arts Winter Retreat.

Franklin’s varied experience in the fiber world includes contributions of writing and design to Vogue KnittingYarn Market News, Interweave KnitsInterweave CrochetPieceWorkTwist Collective; and a regular columns and cartoons for Mason-Dixon Knitting, PLY Magazine, Lion Brand Yarns, and Skacel Collection/Makers’ Mercantile. Many of his independently published designs are available via Ravelry.com.

He is the longtime proprietor of The Panopticon, one of the most popular knitting blogs on the Internet (presently on hiatus).

Franklin lives in Chicago, Illinois, cohabiting shamelessly with 15,000 books, a Schacht spinning wheel, four looms, and a colony of yarn that multiplies whenever his back is turned.

Follow Franklin online via Twitter (@franklinhabit), Instagram (@franklin.habit), his Web site (franklinhabit.com) or his Facebook page.

Makers’ Minute – Decoding Yarn Labels

In this Makers’ Minute, Katie explains how to read the tricky bits of information on yarn labels.

Click here to purchase Das Paar yarn.

Click here to download a copy of the Fabric Care Symbols.

Transcription

Hi. I’m Katie, and this is your Makers’ Minute.

Today we’ll be discussing labels and how to read them.

What does this square of information mean exactly? It’s all about gauge. Here we see if we use a 4-6 size needle, and cast on approximately 20-22 stitches, and knit for 26-32 rows, that should give us a 4×4 inch or 10×10 centimeters square.

If we look at this Das Par label by Schoppel, we can see some interesting things that aren’t always found on yarns that are in just one language.

At the top we see that it’s 420 meters equalling to 100 grams. On the second half of the tag, we see the fiber content, first in German language, then in the English language. Nestled in the middle section are some yardage suggestions.

If you were to make a ladies size sweater small, you may need approximately 450 grams. Or if you wanted to make a pair of socks, you would just need one skein equaling to 100 grams.

On the last line we see that, if you have 42 rows and 30 stitches, that should equal a 10×10 centimeters square. Following that are the wash and care symbols, the suggested needle size between a 2 and 3 millimeter, the color number, and the lot number.

This helpful reference tool on wash and care instructions can be found at the link below. I always recommend keeping at least one label so that you know which color and which dye lot your project’s made out of, just in case you need more.

If the project’s a gift, I like to include this so that the recipient knows just exactly how to take care of the project. I hope you learned a lot in this Makers’ Minute and I’ll see you next time!

Makers’ Minute – Knit Mitts

In this Makers’ Minute, Katie introduces you to the Knit Mitts!

Knit Mitts are made from 52% hemp, 45% organic cotton, and 3% lycra, and use only the scraps from Texture, so they are sustainable and keep waste out of landfills.

Knit Mitts are named for their use for knitting, but as the back of the package suggests, you can use them to keep yourself warm and your fingers free for picking flowers, crafting, crocheting, typing in a cold office, writing a love note, etc – how cute! They are a size S/M, and they stretch so they tend to fit most.

Get yourself a pair of Knit Mitts!

Transcription

I’m Katie and this is your Makers’ Minute.

Today, we discuss Knit Mitts. The Knit Mitts are made from 100% scrap fabric, so there’s no waste. Ever. Sustainably made with love right here in the US.

They’re made from hemp, organic cotton and lycra so they’re super soft. They’re also really easy to clean. Wash in cold water and tumble dry low. The back of the packaging includes 50 ways on how you can wear these fingerless mitts.

I thought of a few extra. Be a thug. Sip a mug. Give a hug! Come here you. Beat a rug. Pet a pug! Knit a shrug. Bat away a bug. Pick up a slug. Give your pants a tug. Take a drink from a jug.

Available in cranberry fuchsia, black, pewter and smoke, and Dijon and chestnut.

Is this one too long? Cuff it up!

Produced by texture in Bellingham, WA.

 

Get your knit mitts right now at MakersMercantile.com.

Fridays with Franklin: Adventure in an Old Book, Conclusion

fwf-logo-v11

For the first part of this adventure, click here.

When I finished the collar I realized I was not quite finished with Elvina Corbould’s “Wheat-ear Pattern” from The Lady’s Knitting-Book, Second Series. You know how it goes. You think you’ve got hold of an idea, but really it has got hold of you.

Old Book Conclusion 1

Up In Your Face with Knitted Lace

I am absolutely fascinated by the basic structure of knitted lace fabric and can talk about it for hours, which is one reason people stay away from me at parties.

It’s so simple, yet so infinitely variable. Look closely. You have solid bits

Old Book Conclusion 2

and you have holes.

Old Book Conclusion 3

The holes are most often yarn overs, and a yarn over is more than a design element; it’s also an increase. Yarn over, and your stitch count grows by one.

Unless the eyelets in a lace pattern are being used to shape the knitting, each yarn over is balanced by a corresponding decrease somewhere in the neighborhood.

Old Book Conclusion 4

If this were not so, things could get out of hand very quickly.

Old Book Conclusion 5

As we saw in part one of this adventure, decreases placed well away from their yarn overs can make fun stuff happen within the motif. In the case of the Wheat-ear Pattern, that means rippled rows and scalloped edges.

Old Book Conclusion 6

It follows that if we move the decreases to other parts of the fabric, there will be corresponding changes. And from those changes we can learn more about how lace fabric works, and possibly even derive new lace motifs.

This excites me.

Old Book Conclusion 7

Dream of Wheat

Here’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to start with the original pattern

Old Book Conclusion 8

and leave the yarn overs exactly where they are, but remove all the decreases.

Old Book Conclusion 9

Then we’re going to put the decreases back again–but in different places. And we’ll see what, if anything, happens.

So that we can focus entirely on changes that come from the chart, we’ll be using the same yarn (Hikoo® Simplicity) and the same needles (addi® Click Interchangeables, size US 4/3.5 mm) as in the past two installments.

This is a wonderful way to learn how to design your own motifs. It also makes a terrific party game, if you’re at the sort of party where you’re home all by yourself because nobody wants to be in the room with you when you’re talking about knitted lace.

Variation One

Sharp-eyed readers will have noticed that the lace pattern for Frumentum had diverged from Corbould’s original.

Old Book Conclusion 10

I removed line 9 of the chart, which had no patterning, to maximize the amount of swerve going on in the fabric.

I also replaced Corbould’s left-leaning single decrease–

Slip 1 stitch as if to purl. Knit the following stitch. Pass the slipped stitch over it.

with a modern left-leaning decrease, the slip-slip-knit (ssk). Slip-slip-knit is our gift from the legendary Barbara Walker, who developed it as a more perfect mirror image of the right-leaning knit two together (k2tog) single decrease.

I most often use the variation of slip-slip-knit developed by two other knitting legends, mother-daughter yarn titans Elizabeth Zimmermann and Meg Swansen:

Slip 1 stitch as if to knit. Slip the next stitch as if to purl. Return both stitches to the left needle and knit them together through the back.

These changes are small, and don’t result in a pattern much different from the original. If you weren’t looking for differences you probably wouldn’t notice any.

Old Book Conclusion 11

Variation Two

Now we’re going to shift the decreases in rounds 1–7 so that they’re closer to the yarn overs, but still not adjacent. And for the ducks of it, we’re going to replace the single decreases in the middle of rounds 9-15 with a single line of double decreases right down the center.

Old Book Conclusion 12

Here’s my favorite double decrease. It gives a symmetrical, upright cluster of three stitches rather than the right-leaning bundle you get with knit three together (k3tog). In fine or slippery yarns, it’s also easier to work without dropping stitches.

One at a time, slip 2 stitches from the left to the right needle as if to knit. Knit the next stitch. Slip the first 2 stitches (separately or together) over the knitted stitch.

The result is a fabric in which biased areas now alternate with unbiased–an interesting textural effect.

Old Book Conclusion 13

And the edge is still scalloped, but not quite so deeply.

Old Book Conclusion 14

Variation Three

Can we get rid of the scallop entirely? I think we can. All we need to do is eliminate all early and delayed decreases, like this.

Old Book Conclusion 15

Now every decrease occurs immediately before or after a corresponding yarn over. The result:

Old Book Conclusion 16

Huh. Well, it doesn’t knock my socks off; but it’s certainly different. It might be cool to fill in those blank stretches between the upright motifs with smaller, perhaps floral, motifs.

Variation Four

And if we want to try that, why not give ourselves as many stitches as possible between the upright motifs. How could we do that? Like this.

Old Book Conclusion 17

Now each pair of yarn overs is balanced with a double decrease between.

This gives us something very similar to the previous swatch, though the stitches up the center of each motif now stand up (being bundles of three). That might be a nice textural touch (especially in heavier yarns) or you might hate it.

Old Book Conclusion 18

The lovely thing about designing your own lace variations is that you decide what works or doesn’t.

Variation Five

Let’s get really wild. We’re going almost back to the original chart, but we’re going to make one sneaky change. See it?

Old Book Conclusion 19

Note the row numbers. Until now, the uncharted even rows have all been worked in plain old purl.

Now we’ve eliminated those plain rows completely. We’re going to work only the patterned rows–a technique known to knitters of Shetland lace as “close working.”

To do this, you must work every row in the chart beginning where you see the number–soodd rows are read and worked right to left, and even rows are read and worked left to right.

Also, to keep the fabric in stockinette, we need wrong-side purl versions of our left- and right-leaning decreases. Therefore…

For k2tog, use purl two together (p2tog).

For ssk, do this:

One at a time, slip 2 stitches as if to knit from the left needle to the right needle. Return these 2 stitches to the left needle and then, after making sure the working yarn is on the near side of your work, purl the two slipped stitches through the back.

It sounds a bit awkward, and it is at first; but with some practice it becomes quite simple.

We’ve seen that early and delayed decreases cause bias in the fabric. We’ve seen that the closer they are to one another, the more pronounced the bias. Now, working them on every row, we should being seeing that effect amped up to max volume.

Old Book Conclusion 20

Old Book Conclusion 21

Wowee!

I got so into knitting this version that it would have been well on its way to a finished scarf if I hadn’t forced myself to bind it off and block it so you could see it today.

I could, and probably will, go on…but our next adventure is already under way. In fact, it’s right here on the work table at my elbow, screaming for attention.

See you in two weeks.

Old Book Conclusion 22

Tools and Materials Appearing in This Issue

Hikoo Simplicity (55% Merino Superwash, 28% Acrylic, 17% Nylon, 117 yards per 50 gram hank). Colors: 001 White, 024 Bluebell, 036 Silver Hair, 049 Grass Slipper.

addi® Click interchangeable needles, size US 4/3.5mm.

About Franklin Habit

 

Designer, teacher, author and illustrator Franklin Habit is the author of It Itches: A Stash of Knitting Cartoons (Interweave Press, 2008). His newest book, I Dream of Yarn: A Knit and Crochet Coloring Book was brought out by Soho Publishing in May 2016 and is in its second printing.

He travels constantly to teach knitters at shops and guilds across the country and internationally; and has been a popular member of the faculties of such festivals as Vogue Knitting Live!, STITCHES Events, the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, Squam Arts Workshops, the Taos Wool Festival, Sock Summit, and the Madrona Fiber Arts Winter Retreat.

Franklin’s varied experience in the fiber world includes contributions of writing and design to Vogue KnittingYarn Market News, Interweave KnitsInterweave CrochetPieceWorkTwist Collective; and a regular columns and cartoons for Mason-Dixon Knitting, PLY Magazine, Lion Brand Yarns, and Skacel Collection/Makers’ Mercantile. Many of his independently published designs are available via Ravelry.com.

He is the longtime proprietor of The Panopticon, one of the most popular knitting blogs on the Internet (presently on hiatus).

Franklin lives in Chicago, Illinois, cohabiting shamelessly with 15,000 books, a Schacht spinning wheel, four looms, and a colony of yarn that multiplies whenever his back is turned.

Follow Franklin online via Twitter (@franklinhabit), Instagram (@franklin.habit), his Web site (franklinhabit.com) or his Facebook page.

Makers’ Minute – Gauge!

The dreaded GAUGE talk. Why is it important? What else can those swatches be used for to make it worth your time? A LOT! Join Katie as she “talks” about one of her favorite subjects!

Helpful Gauge Taking Tools:

Addi® Needle Gauge

Addi® Stitch Counting Frame and Needle Gauge

Makers’ Mercantile Measuring Tape

Transcription

Katie Rempe.. Makers’ Minute

Today we’re talking about.. Gauge!

It’s Important.

“Actually.. I always knit on gauge.”

“I never swatch.”

I’ll show you why it’s important. I knit this with a US 6!

Chuck took over with the same needle… What Happened?!

Top: Mine = Loose (big); Bottom: Chuck’s Tight (small).

Why does it matter? This swatch is too small. (uses extra yarn).

This swatch is too BIG! (also uses more yarn).

This swatch is just right!

You’ll have enough yarn! Don’t get a tiny top or a giant flop. Never wonder if you’ll run out! Measure carefully.

Stitch and Row! Save your swatch. Do a blocking test. Never be surprised! Do an “I got gauge” dance.

 

See you next week at MakersMercantile.com.

Fridays with Franklin: Adventure in an Old Book, Part Two

fwf-logo-v11For an introduction to this ongoing series, click here.

For the first part of this adventure, click here.

This was my idea: to make Elvina Corbould’s “Wheat-ear Pattern,” published in 1878 in The Lady’s Knitting-Book, Second Series, into a knitted collar. Many of you had the same idea. When Part One of this excursion hit the streets, in came a trickle of messages all saying, “Land sakes, what a lovely collar that would make!”

I felt encouraged, as we could not possibly all be wrong.

I imagined something like this,

Old Book 2.1

and selected two colors of Hikoo Simplicity inspired by watery locales.

Old Book 2.2

Singularly appropriate for a wavy, ripply fabric. The bulk of the knitting would be vivid blue, shot with occasional rounds of dark grey to show off the undulations.

As I (literally) took off on a teaching trip, I cast on with the first ball of Fijian Waters. A few inches and 37,000 feet later,

Old Book 2.3

I was bored to tears.

It wasn’t bad. Just dull. Predictable. Similar to a dozen lacy collars I’d seen before. A few rounds in a different color wasn’t going to change that.

This is adventure? Stripes? Meh. Back to the drawing board.

What about working the collar in bold blocks of color, rather like squares on a chess board–but bigger?

Old Book 2.4

That could work.

The I-Word

Bold, solid blocks of different colors in a single piece of knitting are most often created with a technique known as intarsia.

If you just shivered, I understand. Intarsia awakens strong feelings in the bosom of the knitter. In the latter part of the twentieth century it was employed, notoriously, to create some of the most misbegotten sweaters the world has ever known.

But we must remember that this is not intarsia’s fault. Like any other technique, it can be used for good or ill. The choice is yours.

I haven’t the time or space for a comprehensive discussion, but here is a nutshell account.

In an intarsia fabric, every discrete area of color requires its own supply of yarn. This drawing shows us a hypothetical piece in green and orange.

Old Book 2.5

We are looking at the right side. We begin by knitting across from right to left with the orange yarn. When we reach the point at which a change to green is called for, we twist the old (orange) and new (green) yarns together once to interlock the sections.

This interlocking is repeated every time one color gives way to the next, on both sides of the work. Skip the interlocking and you will end up with a fluttering miasma of unattached scraps of fabric, which makes for a very odd, drafty sweater.

Only one color is ever active at any given time. Unused colors just hang out, waiting for their turn. This is why elaborate intarsia works-in-progress often grow to resemble mating season in a dark stash closet.

There is more to intarsia than this but, frankly, not a whole lot more.

Intarsia creates a single-layered fabric with no floats (strands of unused color), ideal for lace. It was clearly the way to go for the collar, but there was an issue. I wanted to work in the round. Intarsia has traditionally been worked flat–even when used to make argyle socks, often considered the apotheosis of the method.

Here is why.

This drawing is an aerial view of an attempt at circular intarsia, just starting out.

Old Book 2.6

We begin at START HERE and merrily knit our way around, interlocking at the color changes as we go. All is well.

But then we come to Round Two,

Old Book 2.7

and immediately hit a brick wall. We are back at START HERE and need the green yarn. Instead of being where it ought, however, the green is now sitting at the far end of the orange section, utterly ignoring our fevered entreaties to Come Here at Once. If you have cats or teenagers, you know this feeling.

I could have surmounted the problem by working the collar as a flat strip and sewing it closed with a seam. This is, in fact, how argyle socks are traditionally finished. I immediately rejected this idea on the grounds that I did not feel like doing that.

There is a convoluted, long-standing method for working circular intarsia that I also rejected; because I tried it once and hated it so, so much that after six rounds I grew convinced of the pointlessness of human existence and ate an entire chocolate cheesecake in the bathtub while listening to a worn out mix tape of The Smiths given to me by the college boyfriend who broke my heart.

Paging Dr. Anne

This might have meant a radical reconfiguration of the design were it not for a fairly recent innovation in intarsia, conceived by intarsia master Anne Berk.

Anne feels about intarsia the way I feel about shadow knitting–that it’s a good egg, really, and just needs some love and understanding. She tackled the thorny issue of working this stuff in the round without recourse to cheesecake, and compiled the results in this book, Annetarsia Knits: A New Link to Intarsia.

Old Book 2.8

Her solution is so simple, yet so marvelously effective, that when I read it I grew absolutely furious that I hadn’t thought it up myself. That’s probably for the best, as nobody would want to buy a book called Franklintarsia.

In particular Anne’s way of dealing with the beginning of the rounds, which present special problems, is so perfect it makes me giddy. I couldn’t remember exactly what she does and didn’t have my book handy when the collar began, so I bunted.

My result is below. Anne’s is above. Hers wins, obviously. What with it being perfect and all.

Old Book 2.9

And so the collar was worked in fits and starts on four airplanes and a ship, yet popped off the needle almost before I knew what was happening. So pleasant.

Old Book 2.10

I was half tempted to leave it unblocked, to preserve the rippling…

Old Book 2.11

…but gave it a good soak to settle it down, and laid it out to dry. I pulled the points out to make sure they were all even…

Old Book 2.12

…but didn’t need to pin them.

Old Book 2.13

Old Book 2.14

I am quite pleased.

The Recipe: Frumentum

This collar began with the Wheat-ear pattern, so I’m calling it “Frumentum,” the Latin for “grain.” If you’d like to make one, here’s what to do.

Materials

Two balls each of two colors Hikoo Simplicity. I used Seattle Sky (C1) and Fijian Waters (C2).

A circular needle size US 4/3.5mm, or the size you need to achieve a gauge you like. Maximum cable length will be 24 inches, but shorter will likely be more comfortable. I used my beloved Addi Short Lace Clicks with a 16-inch cable.

A copy of Annetarsia Knits, or instruction in the method through one of Anne’s classes. I can’t present it to you here, alas, but both Anne and her book are readily available everywhere these days.

1 stitch marker

Instructions

Wind all four skeins of Simplicity into balls; you’ll have them all in play at one time once the intarsia begins.

With C1, cast on 136 sts using the method of your choice. Join to work in the round, taking care not to twist. Place marker to indicate beginning of round.

*Knit 1 round, purl 1 round

Repeat from * 1x.

Work the first intarsia passage as follows:

With C1, work 2 repeats of Round 1 of the revised Wheat-ear chart (see below) across the first 34 sts. Join the first ball of C2 and work 2 repeats of Round 1 on the next 34 sts. Follow this with a 2 more repeats in C1, joining the second ball of that color; and then begin 2 more repeats of C2, ditto. You should now be at the beginning of the round, with all four balls of yarn attached to the work.

Work the entire Wheat-ear Pattern chart through Round 16, interlocking sections and rounds using Anne Berk’s circular intarsia method. When the chart is complete, break the working yarns, leaving 8-inch tails.

Work a second full repeat of the chart, alternating the colors of the sections (grey atop blue, and vice versa). When complete, break working yarns.

Work a third repeat of the chart through Round 8 only, once again alternating the colors of the sections.

Old Book 2.15

Work the upper selvedge entirely in C1 as follows, breaking the other working yarns as you reach them:

*Knit 1 round, purl 1 round

Repeat from * 1x.

Bind off in purl.

Break working yarn and weave in ends. Soak and gently block on flat surface, shaping top and bottom points into even scallops. Allow to dry completely before wearing.

For the Next Adventure…

No, wait. Wait. I don’t think I’m quite finished with this yet. See you in two weeks.

Tools and Materials Appearing in This Issue

Hikoo Simplicity (55% Merino Superwash, 28% Acrylic, 17% Nylon, 117 yards per 50 gram hank). Colors: Fijian Waters (Blue) and Seattle Sky (Grey).

addi® Click Interchangeable needles, size US 4/3.5mm.

Annetarsia Knits: A New Link to Intarsia by Anne Berk (Double Vision Press, 2014).

About Franklin Habit

Designer, teacher, author and illustrator Franklin Habit is the author of It Itches: A Stash of Knitting Cartoons (Interweave Press, 2008). His newest book, I Dream of Yarn: A Knit and Crochet Coloring Book was brought out by Soho Publishing in May 2016 and is in its second printing.

He travels constantly to teach knitters at shops and guilds across the country and internationally; and has been a popular member of the faculties of such festivals as Vogue Knitting Live!, STITCHES Events, the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, Squam Arts Workshops, the Taos Wool Festival, Sock Summit, and the Madrona Fiber Arts Winter Retreat.

Franklin’s varied experience in the fiber world includes contributions of writing and design to Vogue KnittingYarn Market News, Interweave KnitsInterweave CrochetPieceWorkTwist Collective; and a regular columns and cartoons for Mason-Dixon Knitting, PLY Magazine, Lion Brand Yarns, and Skacel Collection/Makers’ Mercantile. Many of his independently published designs are available via Ravelry.com.

He is the longtime proprietor of The Panopticon, one of the most popular knitting blogs on the Internet (presently on hiatus).

Franklin lives in Chicago, Illinois, cohabiting shamelessly with 15,000 books, a Schacht spinning wheel, four looms, and a colony of yarn that multiplies whenever his back is turned.

Follow Franklin online via Twitter (@franklinhabit), Instagram (@franklin.habit), his Web site (franklinhabit.com) or his Facebook page.

 

Makers’ Minute – Lilly Brush

Katie educates us on ‘pills’. Why do they happen? How can you get rid of them? The Lilly Brush is the answer for all your natural fiber pill removal needs!

Buy a Lilly Brush below in Red or Black

Buy Hikoo® Simplinatural Yarn

Download the free ‘Classic Checkered Vest’ pattern, as seen in the video

Transcription

Hi, I’m Katie and this is your Makers’ Minute!

Today we explore the world of pills.

What is it? What causes it? Why it’s not a big deal?

Pills are those little balls that typically happen on areas of high traffic on your body.

This sweater is made out of Simplinatural. Simplinatural is beautiful because it has a halo, it’s super soft and fluffy.

Anything that can be categorized as ‘fluffy’ has potential to pill. But why? When little fluffy fibers meet their friends, and this happens, friction gathers the fibers and the gathered fibers are pills.

It just wants to be with its fiber friends. Don’t worry. Pills are not a big deal. We have lots of things to take care of them including this awesome Lilly Brush.

The Lilly Bursh has a cap for easy travel abilities and is super easy to use on all-natural fibers. Simply brush! It’s also great for removing pet hair, fuzz, and lint.

The Lilly Brush is only meant for your all natural fibers. But why not my synthetic fibers? Synthetics are a whole different story. Because their man-made, they’re really long fiber. And when those are created into pills, they have to be cut-off rather than brushed off.

The Lilly Brush – available in red and black, and available right now at Makers’ Mercantile.

Makers’ Minute – Allen Designs

Katie discusses unique bags, coasters and journals from Allen Designs in this Makers’ Minute!

 

All items in this video may be purchase via the link below:

http://www.makersmercantile.com/bags-and-totes/all…

 

Transcription

 


Hi, I’m Katie Rempe, and on your Makers’ Minute today we’re learning about Michelle Allen Designs. Michelle Allen is located right here in the Pacific North West.

What exactly does Allen Designs have to offer? Let me show you.

Video with a text: Coasters… set of 4

Video with a text: Coin Purse… Stitch Marker Central

Video with a text: Wristlet Bag… Fits your phone!

Video with a text: Small cosmetic Bag… Perfect for larger notions

Video with a text: Large Cosmetic Bag… Did someone say Sock Bag?

Video with a text: Journal… For all your deep dark secrets

Video with a text: Shopping Bags! One for your sweater… and afghan… and new yarn!

Video with a text: Cat Lovers… Your cat will climb in these bags

Video with a text: You’re a Woot… All Things Owls!

All these Michelle Allen Designs can be purchased through MakersMercantile.com

Makers’ Minute – Hikoo® Rub-A-Dub

In this video, Katie talks about Hikoo® Rub-A-Dub and the 6 new colors that are available! It’s a 100% microfiber in a massive 200 gram skein (108 yards). Buy the featured products below! (Shammy Pattern is free with Rub-A-Dub yarn purchase!)

Buy Hikoo® Rub-A-Dub & Shammy Pattern:

http://www.makersmercantile.com/hikoo-rub-a-dub-1.html

http://www.makersmercantile.com/shammy-pattern-by-katie-rempe-for-makers-mercantile.html

Skacel’s Free Hooded Blanket Pattern:

http://www.skacelknitting.com/Rub-a-dub-Squeaky-Clean-Toddlers-Hooded-Towel/

Transcription

Hi, I’m Katie Rempe and this is your Makers’ Minute!

Today we’re talking about Rub-A-Dub!

This yarn won’t worm. It was made in a specialty factory that makes mop heads. So each fiber is sewn in place and won’t come out.

200 gram hank will give you a hundred and eight yards which is enough to make a shammy! This shammy is absorbent, super soft, perfect for your bathro, kitchen. This shammy pattern is a Makers’ Mercantile exclusive and free to you with the purchase of the yarn.

This is also a great yarn for baby. It’s a super chunky yarn so it knits up really quick and skacel has a free pattern for a hooded baby blanket.

With your purchase of the yarn, you also get a free pattern on the label for a washcloth and a wash mitt. The colors we have available are: smurf, astro, piglet, snuffy, kermitt, and snuggles.

All the colors including classic white are all available right now at MakersMercantile.com