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Misc The New Textile Thread (or What to Wear and How to make it when TSHTF)
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  1. #41
    Wooden or bamboo double points don't crawl out of your work as badly as others.

  2. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by LC View Post
    Wooden or bamboo double points don't crawl out of your work as badly as others.
    Really? That's good to know, thanks! I've been wanting to use them, but they're rather intimidating. Have seen those new "V" shaped knitting needles on Amazon and have thought about trying those for socks, hats and such. Have you tried them yet? They're pretty pricey, so I don't know if I'll get them. (I haven't knitted socks or a hat yet, so might try using the plain ol' DPNs first, then maybe splurge for the VPNs (LOL!) later...)
    Treat each day as one of limitless potential and promise.

    The challenge in life is for HOPE to overcome that sense of fear. For GOOD to overcome evil.

  3. #43
    Deb, I guess I missed the V ones. If you try them let us know how it goes.

  4. #44
    Knitpicks has a wide variety of straights and circulars. I like their short circulars for hats, cowls and anything that other circulars are too long for. They have them in laminated birch and a variety of colors. I like the sunstruck, but the short ones only come in one color. These are the tips and they have the 16" cables, too. http://www.knitpicks.com/needles/Cas...CShortTip.html

    For straight needles my favorite needles are Brittany. Be sure to check your gauge carefully, it varies with different needles and straight or circular knitting.

  5. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by LC View Post
    Deb, I guess I missed the V ones. If you try them let us know how it goes.
    Sure thing, LC!

    Here's a link to them: Neko Sock Curved Double Pointed Knitting Needle Set (US 6 (4.0 mm))https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...A2FM4U7H4CXNJF
    Treat each day as one of limitless potential and promise.

    The challenge in life is for HOPE to overcome that sense of fear. For GOOD to overcome evil.

  6. #46
    Replacing a vanished post from yesterday. I think I get distracted, and forget to hit Submit. Mods, please deleate if the same pops else where.

    Some new books:

    The Dressmaker's Guide 1840-1865, second edition, revised. Elizabeth Stewart Clark. This woman also has a site, and an active forum, The Sewing Academy at Home. She has very good basics for CW era clothing on her site, but the book does have more valuable information. Her *patterns* rely on dressmakers tape, and scaled down drawings that you can usually draft straight onto the fabric. This is the last era before modern machine techniques took over, so the clothes are still amenable to more primative finger-pressing and hand-sewing-on-your-lap work style. CW bodices can get very fussy, so I would skip those if your equipment, skills, and patience are limited. However, one can get make easy working outfits with split drawers, chemise, petticoats, and full skirts, aprons, and shawls. I work in these sorts of clothes every day - just keep the skirts at least 8" off the ground, and find a comfy firm foundation to go around the middle to support the waist bands (makes a big difference).

    Costume Close-Up Clothing Construction and Pattern 1750-1790, Baumgarten and Watson and Carr. This book has already cleared up some confusion I had with a pattern. Lots of close-up photos, and illustrations. The authors really do make a lot of it easy to understand. 18th Century is a very good era for practical hand sewn clothing that can be passed down, and will wear well if a person changes sizes. Techniques like binding hems help protect against wear and make repairs easier. The tapes used at the waist save huge amounts of time fussing with installing or altering regular waistbands, and this is the last era where women get pockets - generous ones too, so what's not to like? 18th century women's clothing sews up fast (the men had much more tailoring, and this book will help out there too). Social status was indicated more by fabric type and embellishment than basic cut.

    Handwoven Tape Understanding Weaving Early American and Contemporary Tape Susan Faulkner. This book is more relevant and useful than it would seem, for such a humble product. Everything used to be held on by tape (and straight pins). A Colonial Era outfit can utilize yards and yards of it. My only successful weavings have been inkle belts - none of the patterns in this book are complicated, so a beginner can achieve success. The original cast in America used tape looms. Lots of photos and diagrams in this book.

    18th Century Embroidery Techniques, Gail Marsh. This book is meticulously photographed and diagrammed. Wow, intimidating, actually; however, here are a few motifs a more amateur person like myself can reproduce. Which bring us to the final book suited for a person with plainer tastes...

    Homespun and Blue a study of American Crewel Embroidery I borrowed this book from a library about fifteen years ago, and have wanted my own copy ever since. Photos are black and white, but the author is an engaging writer, and shows how the needlework reflected what was going on in America at the time. The motifs are mostly simple and would work well today.
    Last edited by Faroe; 02-05-2018 at 08:33 AM.

  7. #47
    You can make a loom out of anything.

    Referring to the above book on hand woven tape, I was intrigued by the paddle looms described in it. The loom is a small rigid heddle held between the knees, with the with the warp heading away from the weaver tied to something fixed, and the ends at the weaver's side held in the hand. I made one out of a big plastic spool of gift wrap ribbon, with a Burt's Bees chapstick jammed upright into the hole, and a small piece of cardstock taped to that. The cardstock was folded in half in order to cut the row of slits and holes with a pair of scissors - unfold, and you get your *rigid* heddle. I knotted the far end of the warp threads, and closed them in a desk drawer, and then adjusted my chair back for proper tension when the spool of the loom is held between the knees. I wove several inches of tape quickly in some cheap icky fuschia thread I'd never want to use for any actual project.

    It works.

    I'm going to make another cardstock headle with two sets of holes for fancier weaves.

  8. #48
    Another cheap and easy way to make a rigid heddle is plastic canvas. It will last a little longer than card stock, and comes in several sizes (holes per inch). It could also make multiple heddles to increase the thread count without taking up a lot of space.

    Jacki
    McKenziefatwood.com
    JackiGossSpecial-Tees.com

  9. #49
    Quote Originally Posted by Jacki View Post
    Another cheap and easy way to make a rigid heddle is plastic canvas. It will last a little longer than card stock, and comes in several sizes (holes per inch). It could also make multiple heddles to increase the thread count without taking up a lot of space.

    Jacki
    Thanks, Jacki.
    I'll pick up a few sheets next time I'm at WM.

    The new heddle I made was better, but the warp I put on that one was frustrating to keep in consistent tension, and I ended up warping the same pattern onto the Schacht Inkle. I appreciate the inkle much more after those experiments, but I WOULD like to get competent with more primitive tools incase I ever loose that one. We live in such a dry climate the pegs may eventually end up like loose teeth.

  10. #50
    Making a box loom isn't hard, but the finishing takes some elbow grease, and sand paper.

    I use several tri-looms in different shapes. A small 10x10 square is great for dish cloths, and other rags. It is faster to weave the dish cloths than to knit them. A 7 foot triangular loom makes a nice shawl, and can be done in a day. Again, it is faster than knitting.

    The one thing about the tri-looms is they have the least amount of waste. Rigid heddle looms are second as far as waste, and table and floor looms have the most. This may be a consideration if the amount of yarn is limited.

    Jacki
    McKenziefatwood.com
    JackiGossSpecial-Tees.com

  11. #51
    I got housemate and I some really nice "tape looms" from Poland a few years ago, we haven't used them much because they stick and well we've just been busy with other things; but they are not that hard to make.

    For people with better backs, you don't even need a loom just a heddle (which can be made from bone, wood or plastics) and weave with the project attached to a belt on your waist; this can also be used for card weaving (which can be made in a pinch from playing cards though I find them not strong enough for serious work).

    I can only do the "belt trick" these days for short periods of time when doing public demonstrations (usually tied ot a Viking Tend poll) but they are the perfect and really cheap way for some people to get started.

    It is EASIER to learn with a loom of some sort; I took years to learn tablet weaving until my friend in the UK tied me to her floor loom (as if it were an inkle loom) and the added tension that didn't require me to use my back, worked wonderfully and I ended up doing it professionally for a while.

    Your BEST investment if you want to seriously make tape, chords, belts, even bags/vests etc - is to get a good Inkle Loom; Ashford and Sachet make good ones - you can home make them but the MUST be HARD wood or industrial plastic/PVC .

    Hardwoods are very expensive over here and every so often a helpful person (usually male) will decide to try to make these looms and they almost always ignore me and make them out of pine; they will last for about 5 minutes of one project and then bend.

    When you consider that inkle woven chords or tapes are strong enough to pull cars out of the mud or use for the reigns of horses (or girths for saddles) you can see why.

    The PVC Pipe versions may be ugly but they work (and if you have a source may be made for next to nothing) over here we have found the best way to get hardwood for looms is get this: IKEA chopping boards!

    Ten times cheaper than the hardware shop and can sometimes even be found used....

    OK back to knitting socks and bracing to try to figure out my knitting machine...
    expatriate Californian living in rural Ireland with husband, dogs, horses. garden and many, many cats

  12. #52
    This site has a tour of how to make different types of rugs and talks about different types of frames for weaving. The publications are available on etsy.

    http://www.rugmakershomestead.com/

  13. #53
    Quote Originally Posted by spinner View Post
    This site has a tour of how to make different types of rugs and talks about different types of frames for weaving. The publications are available on etsy.

    http://www.rugmakershomestead.com/
    Good site. While rugs might seem frivolous, in a post SHTF household, they're not. For one thing, wall to wall carpeting is pretty impractical at best if you don't have access to high powered vacuum cleaners, and carpet scrubbers and steamers. If you have small kids or pets, they are steaming Petri dishes of bacteria, virii, fungi, dust mites, and often larger insects and their eggs. As you can tell, I hate them!

    In earlier times, they often had semi- permanent room sized rugs in the "parlor" (which was very rarely entered or used). They'd use a non-electric "carpet sweeper" for routine cleaning, but then once or twice a year, in the massive spring and fall housecleaning, they'd pull all the carpet tacks and haul it outside to best as much dust and dirt out as possible, and air it out to try to remove odors. I remember reading that they'd often clean wool rugs by laying them on clean snow, and using more snow to scrub them. Huge, labor intensive jobs!

    But bare floors in winter aren't comfortable, and as we get older, standing for long periods on tile or hardwood is painful. This is where small area rugs come in. Also, they're vital at entrance doorways to help trap some of the dirt and outside trash that otherwise would get tracked throughout the house.

    Several Amish women weave "rag" rugs on looms for sale. They buy fabric strips, though (probably mill ends, although I've never asked about their sources)... I think most of theirs use polyester knit fabrics on a cotton thread warp. They wear very well, and wash well in a machine.

    Summerthyme

  14. #54
    I like rag rugs. Very homey and cheerful.

    Found some sites on triangle looms, and now I want one! - esp to weave the traditional tartans featured on one loom maker's site. I hadn't known you could weave nice fabrics on them, had only seen some *crafty* loosely woven shawls that I didn't care for out of art yarn. (I am an admitted snob about yarn, and I do not care for nubby, curly, thick-and-thin, brightly jewel toned "art yarn.") I have a tiny square loom that apparently weaves in a similar fashion. I copied it off someone'e old You Tube - they were weaving on some little vintage one. Mine is about four inches square on each side, with trim nails in a scrap 2X6 of pine. I may just pull it out and try some weaves in thicker yarn ( my only projects on it were coasters with some hand spun linen), and see if I would like the fabric. The trim nails are on a narrow set - maybe 1/4". LOVE shawls, and may make make a couple of triangles to work up to a larger version.

    Current project on the Schact inkle (spell?) is nearly done. About a foot left to go, and weave is just a plain stripey with navy blue cotton center, and unbleached linen along both edges. I'll probably use it as the waistband/tie for an apron, eventually. I have a whole jar stuffed with these made over the last couple of years (no fancy pick weaves, I can't ever seem to keep the rows straight), and didn't know what to do with them until reading the above book about tapes.

    I've got a sock half-knitted that I need to get back to, but experimenting with the little nail loom may take precedence for later today.

  15. #55
    Turns out traditional tartan is apparently woven as a twill. Someday, I'll have to get a *real* loom. Curmudgeon66 has some videos where he weaves beautiful twill blankets. Wove a piece on the tiny square loom, and reminded myself of why I don't like it much, but a large triangle loom might give more satisfying results.

    Anyway, back to a project I can finish: the knee-high socks, 14 inches of leg above the heel. I have the heel turned, and am most of the way through the decrease gussets. Was hoping to get away with two skeins (110 yards each, Upton Yarns, fingering wt., knitted on size 0, 5" long Chiagoo bamboo needles) per sock, but it will be close. At $10 plus per skein, these will be $40 socks, just in materials. The money doesn't matter much now, but the figure is useful to know going forward. Pattern is out of Nancy Bush's Folk Knitting in Estonia, Anv's Stockings, p. 67. I am knitting them longer, in dark grey, and ignoring the "clocks." Pattern is pretty straight forward, if you already sort of know what you are doing.

    Heel turns and the instep gussets are always magical to me - I just blindly and slavishly follow the directions, and the shape develops. Must have been a genius who figured that out...either that, or I am simply somewhat stupid about it. Could be.

  16. #56
    (previous post lost in space - I hate this new computer.)

    Finished sock. The pattern called for hat-style swirly round decreases. Since the toe end of the foot is not a dome, I decreased on the sides, and kitchnered the last 15 sts of each side together. My first time with success at kitchner (tried to post the link for the clear tutorial, but again, no go with this computer), and looks correct, although the tension could have been firmer.

    Fits me perfectly. I'll add some ribbing around the back of the ankle when I make a pair for the BF. He has skinnier legs.

    In the future, I'd like to make these on finer needles, and finer yarn (if not sacrificing strength), and more stitches, even if they take twice as long to do. Fortunately, the current version does fit well into the narrow lace-up boot that I always wear out.

  17. #57
    In general, unless it is part of a texture or colored pattern; you can use just about any heal and any toe on any sock pattern; I just discovered after years of hating the Kitchener stitch ones, that they actually do a good job of avoiding "way to pointed toes" when knitting on small needles.

    I have also learned that using two larger and round needles is the secret to letting me knit socks on tiny (0,1,2) needles, I used to either only make larger needle "over-socks" or just not knit socks in Winter; but using the two needle technique I not only get two socks when I'm done, my hands don't cramp up or worse when knitting them.

    I haven't tried Magic Loop, but since this is working for me last month I invested in 2 pairs each of 0's, 1's, 1 1/2's and 2's - I found the 1 1/2 is perfect for me because I knit loosely; that's a gage you don't see much in the US and only sometimes in Europe (2.5mm); 2 is often too lose for me in fine yarns and regular 0 needles would break or bend on me.

    The socks take longer but they fit better, especially if I do the older 50 percent heal, instead of the 2/3'rd stitches heal I use on heavier yarns.

    So if your hands get all knotted up (arthritis) when trying to knit fine gauge socks or mittens; try the two circular needs (I use 24 inches) and see if that helps; it also helps them travel better - there are youtube videos on how to make this work.

    I still have double points and use them sometimes to get started and/or if I'm doing complex colorwork and knitting the socks or mittens individually (I don't want to have 6 or 8 balls of yarn hanging off two socks trying to do Fairisle.
    expatriate Californian living in rural Ireland with husband, dogs, horses. garden and many, many cats

  18. #58
    Thanks Melodi.

    Mate to first stocking is almost done - just a few inches at the toe. It will be the last long knee-high sock I make, although I'm happy with them. I joined Ravelry, and found a bunch of leg warmers (free patterns for lovely lacy ones too), and I think those leg warmers paired with short socks would make more sense for me. That way, a sturdy yarn goes into the sock, and a fun delicate yarn and pattern can be used above. Solves some fit headaches, too, since leg warmers are supposed to bunch a little at the ankles, and some of my favorites take the lace motif over the top to the foot of the boot, ending in a scalloped edge a bit like a lacey spat.

    Looking back at the CW and 18th Cent eras, and the common use of items like detachable sleeves and collars, I'm surprised to have never come across any mention of shorter socks with leg warmers paired up to appear as something more like stockings. It would have saved on laundry.

    I'm hoping that this favorably reviewed sock-fit book that is coming will help with the math for the heel and gusset. That seems like it *should* be simple, but I can't get my head around it to confidently determine the number of stitches in the short rows if I want to change the heel, or change the number of stitches in the whole round. Also, once in the weeds with it, I can never figure out w/o directions if the decrease is supposed to be a K2 tog, or a K1, s1, psso. I understand the slant direction, but I still get them wrong trying to figure them out for myself.

    My favorite needles are Chiagoo bamboo dpn's, and I keep multiple sets in size 0 at five inch. I'm more likely to loose one than break it. I learned to knit on Addi-turbo cables, but just don't care for them. Maybe too many long ago bad memories of a gansey attempt that was a bit advanced for me and at a time (still would be) and by that time my eyesight had already gone down hill. (Finally got some *real* glasses, and now, much more is in focus. Doc. said he can't fix everything, however - I have catarax spell?)

    I'll look up the Magic Cable...haven't heard of those before.

  19. #59
    Join Date
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    Green County, Kentucky
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    Faroe, there was a time period when at least some people wore leggings over short socks (if they were wearing socks at all), so it has been done. I think Melodi could tell you more about that.

    Kathleen
    Behold, these are the mere edges of His ways, and how small a whisper we hear of Him.
    Job 26:14

    wickr ID freeholder45

  20. #60
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    Jun 2002
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    Northeast Colorado
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    Just finished weaving a rag rug out of old jeans today. These suckers wear like iron!! I've got two in my bathroom I've been using for the past three years on a daily basis and aside from more fading from washing, have held up very well. The new one will go in the camper as an entry rug for dirty shoes. I even have enough jeans legs to do another one as soon as I get the loom rewarped.
    Do as thou will, lest ye harm none

    @FatTurkeyFarm on twitter

  21. #61
    A friend of mine was selling a rug loom a few years ago, but she wanted $1800 for it. Rag rugs seem like the kind of thing one could easily set up a Navaho/tapestry type loom for - something home-made and inexpensive.

    I have a tub of old all cotton denim that was acquired with rag rugs in mind, but have never got around to making the loom for it. I've also seen peg looms for them on line. Don't know which type works better.

    BrokenArrow, do you just use a rotary cutter and a mat to make the strips? Seems like shears would be hard on the hands after a short while.

  22. #62
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    No fancy rug loom here, I run mine off on a rigid heddle loom. Ive done both ways to cut the strips. I did find the rotary cutter/mat way made my back hurt from bending over for long periods of time. This recent rug I just cut strips as I went with my scissors.
    Do as thou will, lest ye harm none

    @FatTurkeyFarm on twitter

  23. #63
    I am not sure about recent leggings, but going back to the Norse leggings were an important part of daily clothing; though usually they were woven strips of fabric looped back and forth over the leg and held in place with clips - they have been found in both men's and women's grave; we have one surviving tablet woven example the rest are twills. The can be very narrow to rather wide and could be worn over trousers for men and sometimes over undergarments (or socks) for women (not as many female graves have them that have survived.

    This is mostly what I wove for the movie 1066 and when I told them there was no way to supply an "army" in 3 weeks, suggested they go to thrift stores and find old twill coats in natural colors (dye them if they had to, they were color coordinating the armies) and cut them into strips, for a movie that should be fine - anyone doing this for real use (historical or modern) should blanket stitch or hem the edges.

    We also know that in the High Middle Ages, many of the "tights" worn by men didn't have a full foot but instead had a strip of cloth underneath (like some modern gym clothing) we know this from paintings (one of which is an executioner) where for whatever reason the shoe is off the foot and you can see the strap under the barefoot.

    This was almost certainly to save on laundry and we know they made and wore socks; it was just that a lot of poorer people didn't have many and often choose to go barefoot; we know they had a form of bias tape from another picture where a man has been killed and his many-pleated 14th century tunic has fallen open and the artists painted in the "bias tape" covering the inside of the pleats.

    I have been thinking myself of making heavier leggings to go over the tinier gage socks, just for an extra layer of warmth; I am also thinking of making a pair of EZ "Longies" aka knitted long underwear; though because I've been losing a lot of weight (intentionally but for health reasons) I wanted to wait until that stabilized a bit though with the drawstring waist it shouldn't matter much.

    If I recall correctly EZ suggests making them without a foot but with the strap as an option, again for the reasons of laundry and you can fit another hand knit sock over the foot.

    That said, I make almost all our socks knee length (what husband wants) I've gotten really good at decreasing in the back; with socks I find heals OK and tend to do the same basic one I got from Knitting Without Tears and the original Interweave Sock book all those years ago in Sweden (I bought the books over Christmas the first year of our marriage 23 years ago and produced a very funny looking but much-loved pair of socks for my husband in a dark January - he worse them until they fell apart).

    I found the Moccison socks (separately knitting bottom of the foot and heal) did not stay on my feet well; though I might try it again in smaller gages; I also had trouble with socks slipping until I went back to the 50/50 (1/2 stitches for the heal) on the smaller gage socks, though 2/3'rds is OK for the larger gage ones.

    HINT: if you can't stand knitting heals but are OK with toes, when you get to where you want your heal, knit 2/3'rds to 1/2 your stiches on the back of the sock in WASTE yarn (a bit larger than your project, in a totally different color).

    Make your sock 2 inches (apx) shorter than your foot; now take out the waste yarn and knit a "backwards" heal; that is even easier to do than it sounds - this is also a good way to repair a heal that has too many holes to really darn without being lumpy.

    It takes a small learning curve but is very easy once you get it; there are youtube instructions out there I'm sure - I use this technique on heavily patterned socks, especially if you want hte pattern to go all the way around the foot.

    Feel free to PM me, I'm horrible at math myself, but I also have found that if you get the heal slightly "wrong" like I just did last night; you can cheat a bit and if the angle isn't too far off, your foot will never notice.
    expatriate Californian living in rural Ireland with husband, dogs, horses. garden and many, many cats

  24. #64
    There is a method of making rugs without a loom called "kitchen table rugs." The link I posted had information on how to do them. Post #52. I think they use denim.

  25. #65
    Join Date
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    Melodi, the Norse/Viking criss-cross strip 'leggings' were most of what I was thinking of, but I didn't know nearly as much about them as you do! Thanks for the extra information.

    Kathleen
    Behold, these are the mere edges of His ways, and how small a whisper we hear of Him.
    Job 26:14

    wickr ID freeholder45

  26. #66
    Melodi, in the last couple of years, I've knitted myself several pairs of long john bottoms with plain old cheap Red Heart 4 ply yarn on #8 needles. They are wonderful as I no longer have central heat in my house. I used stockinette stitch, thank goodness, because I've had to start wearing them inside out so the smooth side is against my skin.

    They don't need a strap under the foot. With a decent 4" cuff, I don't think anyone would need the strap unless their legs are shaped like those on a Steinway piano. And even then, most people have an obvious ankle. If one's feet get stinky, that strap will get stinky, too.

    I learned it's better that the legs be a little too long than a little too short. And if the top part is too high, it will bunch up a lot. Better to have them ride near the hips than have a big wadded up lump at the waistline. It's also better, at least for me, to have the drawstring tie off to one side rather than right in the center front.

  27. #67
    No one will see your long johns when you're out and around, so use two different colors in stripes of six rows each. It's the perfect amount for increasing a stitch on each end as a new strip is started, and it saves a lot of counting when you can just glance and not really need to count.

    The alternating colors are a good way to use up a lot of tail ends of yarn that wouldn't be useful for much else. And it doesn't matter if the yarn size is a little off, like when using a solid color and it's matching variegated color, which is lighter weight than the solid, at least with Red Heart.

  28. #68
    I always prefer patterns with colorwork or textures that make rows easy to count. I hate just trying to use a tape measure on the project - never seems accurate enough. Am OK with a bit of fudging at the end if the reason one piece is shorter/longer is because my gauge changed, but at least I know the number of rounds in each is the same, and that I TRIED to match the two perfectly.

  29. #69
    I'm pretty much self-taught with knitting, so it's always nice to hear when someone else is doing the things I do. Helps me know that I'm not coming up with something stupid and totally the wrong way to do it.

    I've no one to learn from, so I just keep trying and copying and then stay with what works.

    Just yesterday I went back to that little youtube that showed how to do the fisherman's rib stitch and my computer found that the site had a virus and blocked it. So I'm just going to hope I remember what it showed me how to do.

  30. #70
    Quote Originally Posted by Martinhouse View Post
    I'm pretty much self-taught with knitting, so it's always nice to hear when someone else is doing the things I do. Helps me know that I'm not coming up with something stupid and totally the wrong way to do it.

    I've no one to learn from, so I just keep trying and copying and then stay with what works.

    Just yesterday I went back to that little youtube that showed how to do the fisherman's rib stitch and my computer found that the site had a virus and blocked it. So I'm just going to hope I remember what it showed me how to do.
    I usually find numerous videos for various techniques. There is likely another for that one. I learned the fisherman rib from Verypinkknits (or similar name) a few years ago. Ran across a good tutorial this morning by Suzanne Bryan. Her channel is KnittingwithSuzanneBryan (or similar - going off hand written notes). Haven't looked at the others, but her kitchner tutorial was very clear and easy to follow.

    My mother taught me the basics: essentially, how to make a pot holder, which was also about the limits of her own skills. I remember a huge ball of scratchy and ugly green/yellow mohair and a pair of huge needles. Throughout the course of my childhood, she would occasionally try to knit some big loose sweater with it, and then get frustrated, and put the yarn ball away again. We had a huge pack of various straight needles (mostly big to very big), but I never saw her try to knit with anything but the one pair of plastic ones, and I never saw whatever pattern she was trying to make.

    Odd...she was skilled seamstress, from dressmaking to upholstery and drapes. Her work was always flawless, but she never could seem to get the hang of knitting.

    I mainly learned from books, and from a lady who ran a lovely local knitting shop. After knitting about eight inches of my very first sweater, I took the piece into her for advice...Why was the whole thing kind of slanting one way? it just wasn't square. Turns out, I was crossing every stitch. I've always had trouble with right/left, and directions (my mother was dyslexic - don't know it that is inheritable), and just getting THAT consistently correct...if you are going to insert the needle that way, you wrap the yarn this way... was a long term challenge. I still don't wrap the way most people do, but eventually did develop the muscle memory that gets the stitches angled properly for both knit and pearl.

  31. #71
    Faroe, after flu season I'm probably going to try to find someone in town who can show me how to do cable stitch. Other than slippers, my first attempt at knitting anything "real" was three or four years ago when I copied a fisherman's style cardigan my Mom made me years ago. It was full of bobbles and cables and I had no clue how to do those, so I jut used seed stitch with vertical stockinette stripes. It had a collar that self-lined itself when the front facings were folded back into place and it turned out exactly the way it need to. I even figured out how to leave buttonholes on the one side, that would line up when the facing was folded into place. And I improved the pockets by thinking up on my own how to make them part of the front pieces, instead of patch pockets, not even a separate patch for the back of the pocket. The whole thing was an intense job but so gratifying to prove to myself that I could actually figure out how to do it without a pattern or a bit of guidance.

  32. #72
    Once you learn, you will be amazed at how easy it actually is.

    After I got comfortable with simple cables, I got a Viking knits book that had sweaters with very complicated intertwining charted cables. I did't bother with the sweaters, but knit the designs as samplers. Tedious to do, but very impressive when done. Tends to look like Celtic knot work.

    I have a set of three wooden Brittany cable needles (the only Brittany needles I actually like). They are about 2 1/2 inches long, and sized for fine to chunky yarns. In a pinch, tooth picks or stubby pencils can work too. Look up a video - they are not hard, and the charts for them are simple to read.

  33. #73
    Faroe, my mom used some old curler picks when she was knitting cables. You know, the kind that came with those old mesh brush rollers? I have those plus some of the little pins. Hoping some day I'll need to use them.

  34. #74
    Cables are fairly easy to do as long as you have some way to "store" the stitches you aren't using at the moment.

    The absolutely easiest way to learn a new technique is to swatch. Usually a roughly four inch square works well. You can find out if you like the new whatever without investing a lot of time or money like a sweater would take.

    Ravelry is a great place to find patterns, enablers, and links to different techniques for knitting, crocheting, weaving, spinning, naalbinding, sprang, tatting, etc. Including making tools to do all these fun things. It is also nice to find other people who don't think you are odd because you would rather make something than buy it at Walmart.

    Jacki
    McKenziefatwood.com
    JackiGossSpecial-Tees.com

  35. #75
    Best way I found to practice simple cables is to make a strip between 21 and 22 inches (measure your head) and then pick up the stitches on the edges to knit a hat - so you have a band of the cable you are learning in a band around your head; and easy knitting on the way up.

    Or just knit a hat, a simple one doesn't even need shaping, I've learned one reason most commercial hats have pompoms is because they are quicker to knit on the machine without decreases, then you just gather them all into a wad at the top (makes a gathered look and put a pompom on top to hide it.

    Start with smaller cables (which can even be done without cable needles up to 3 stitches) a pair of socks is another good starter project if you are used to knitting socks.

    Just pick a simple cable that is all right or all left facing every few rows (something easy to remember like six) and you will get a lovely sock and if you "goof" no one is going to look at your foot and go "ah hah! that cable is backward!"
    expatriate Californian living in rural Ireland with husband, dogs, horses. garden and many, many cats

  36. #76
    Forgot to mention, many traditional (like 19th century) socks were knit in stripes to make counting easier and to use up leftover yarn, sock knitting was often done by children and the elderly whose vision might be going; so having socks in red and white stripes (like the Wicked Witch of the West) was very common.

    Thank you for the tips on the longies, I can't wear polyester next to my skin (or not much of it, I can wear sock yarn as socks) but I had thought that strips might be easier, I thought of doing really nice decorative stripes towards the bottom and then going more plain higher up.

    As for straps, I think it depends on "the look" - men's tights in the High Middle Ages even for poorer people were supposed to be as form fitting as possible and the straps would help with that, also people often were not wearing shoes. I don't' think they would really be needed for most modern clothing unless you needed a really "smooth" look or something.
    expatriate Californian living in rural Ireland with husband, dogs, horses. garden and many, many cats

  37. #77
    Thanks, everyone. Now I want to get out my knitting! Maybe I can try extra hard and figure out the cable instructions in the one book I do have. There are instructions in this book for both right and left twist cables.

    I also need to figure out how to make the vertical zigzag rows that aren't really cables, that look like a vertical stack of big open diamonds, which are knit stitches, on a field of purl stitches. Hope that makes sense.

  38. #78
    Quote Originally Posted by Martinhouse View Post
    Thanks, everyone. Now I want to get out my knitting! Maybe I can try extra hard and figure out the cable instructions in the one book I do have. There are instructions in this book for both right and left twist cables.

    I also need to figure out how to make the vertical zigzag rows that aren't really cables, that look like a vertical stack of big open diamonds, which are knit stitches, on a field of purl stitches. Hope that makes sense.
    I call the zig zags traveling stitches - may or may not be correct terminology. Very easy to do, and can be done over stockinet also. Thy will still stand out. The stockings I just finished had a back zig zag over stockinett framed by pearl on each side. Details like that can save time since, again it makes keeping track of rounds so much easier. My favorite glove pattern (Folk Knitting in Estonia) has these, and looks very impressive, but again is easy, and like Melodi, I don't sweat the occasional mistake with a wrong slant...it's a glove, not the front of a gansey.

    The new yarns are still in the mail, so I got out the inkle last night. Am trying to learn Baltic pickup with a pretty snow flake pattern that is drafted in a book for rigid heddles. The first warp attempt for a sample - I know this would be risky - was totally wrong. Warped a second try this morning with the help of an SCA lady's blog, and came closer, but not yet getting a snowflake. The open/heddle, throw the shuttle left/right/ up shed/down shed needs adjusting. Probably don't need a new warp, but need time to focus. We have guests coming (any minute now), and I'll be tied up for the rest of the day. Spent the last few hours frantically cooking and cleaning. I hate housework. The dogs, at least know better than to get in my way!

  39. #79
    Guest had a late night and they were on the road at 5am today, so back to the hotel to rest. We'll get together for brunch tomorrow.

    Anyway, back to the snowflake. DONE! I figured it out - problem was that originally started the pattern on an up-shed, but as the pattern thread were arranged, the first row needed to be started on a down- shed. Then, I fixed a couple of errors made when copying the chart onto some graph paper. The chart is quite tiny in my book.

    Got it now. That mystery has been bugging me for years.

    Yarn showed up. Blacker Yarns imported by The Wooly Thistle. 50/50 mohair and English wool. Looks beautiful in the skeins, BF likes it (this pair of socks is for him). Excited to get started knitting.

  40. #80
    You beat me to it, I was going to suggest that you were starting on the wrong shed, I've only done a limited amount of Baltic pick up but I've noticed this is a very easy mistake to make especially on patterns that don't actually tell you where to start (hint, use whichever way lets you have the most threads in a "natural" -not needed to be picked up manner as your first shed up or down).

    The sock yarn sounds wonderful, I need to get the foot finished on the ones I have with me this week at the hotel and I have black and black/white patterned yarn to make them for DH (i do wild colored ones for myself).
    expatriate Californian living in rural Ireland with husband, dogs, horses. garden and many, many cats

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