Stranded Colorwork Success

Reposting for quick reference as I’m currently working on my first ‘real’ fairisle project – Persian Dreams 🙂

Spirit Trail Fiberworks

I knit a lot stranded color work. I think it’s my favorite knitting technique (it’s at least in the top two, along with cables). One thing I’ve noticed about knitting with two or more colors is the number of people who comment, both on line and in person, that they either don’t think they can do it or are afraid to try.

To which I say: don’t be! It’s awesome! And really, practice does make perfect.

The most important facet of successful stranded colorwork knitting is maintaining the proper tension in the yarn that you’re NOT knitting with. It’s very easy, especially for beginners, to tighten the yarn not being used too much (the “floats”), which will create either a puckered appearance to the knitted fabric, or uneven stitches where the stitch is pulled tighter and smaller because there isn’t enough yarn being carried behind the work to maintain proper…

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Provisional Parlance

My two most current WIP’s use a provisional cast on and I thought I’d share a little pictorial of how I do it. My favourite of the many provisional cast on methods is the crochet method and it’s one of many reasons that I think every knitter should have some basic crochet skills – there’s lots of time to entice you to the dark side!

There are two crochet-type methods, the most common is where you create a chain length and then pick up your stitches in the back bump of each chain stitch. This is a perfectly serviceable method but even as an experienced Hookster, I find dealing with a long, floppy bit of string to be a pain. I think it would give a novice the vapours!

For control, neatness and ease – once you’ve practised just a little – the “crochet on” method works best for me and I think would be easier to manage for beginners or entrenched knitters. It does require two “sticks” and works stitches in a knitting-type way, so is a more familiar feel. When done the way I do, there is lots of room to correct stitch count before beginning to work with your project yarn without having to rip out and start over. If you’re as OCD as I am, this method really fits the bill.

Below is a photo infographic with notes of how I work this cast on. I can’t be sure if anyone else does it like this, I haven’t seen it in any tutorials or pictorials, so I’ll call this tweaked version “Kei’s Crochet Provisional Cast On”. You’ll need to click the individual photo in order to read the full text of the instructions 🙂

I hope this is as clear as I think it is and if you are trying this out, feel free to message me if you have a question – there’s a “message me” email button up top there ↑

You will find that you very quickly gain a rhythm with this, using your forefinger to move the yarn from the front of the last stitch made and around to the back for the next one. I like giving myself the insurance of a couple extra chains even if I wind up not needing it and the added control that the beginning tab gives me for those first few stitches.

I’m using a ChiaoGoo circular needle, a Prym hook and a smooth cotton fingering weight (a scrap, don’t remember the brand). Smooth cottons are ideal for any provisional cast on.

Hope this will help someone out!

Cheers all! 🙂

Twisted Purl Cast On ~ My New Boyfriend

I am using this on my ‘Le Scarabée Bleu‘ cardigan and between it and German Short Rows, I’m not sure which technique I love more!

When I decided to do the TP cast on a few hours ago, I thought as I looked at the directions that it is the same as the way I’ve always added stitches – But! – purling them instead of knitting them ie: cabled cast on, makes for a much nicer edge to pick up and the first and last stitches between the front and back are much tidier. *Heart*

The German Short Rows… With a maiden name like ‘Tupper’ this should have always been in my crafty tool kit. I will never ‘wrap and turn’ again. Srsly… It is just that good.

Sharing the joy of the original posts just below here:

German Short Rows La Maison Rililie picture tutorial

German Short Rows Tin Can Knits picture tutorial

Mimi Kezer’s step-by-step tutorial on the German Short Row or “working the Double Stitch”

If you haven’t used these techniques before (and I have an ‘old knitter’ attitude about not broke, don’t fix) you may want to give them a whirl. My knitting happy quotient just jumped big time and that’s saying a lot from Miz Sticks Obsessed 😉

Not So Swift?

I saw a post on Instagram that caught my eye. A newbie to skeins, as opposed to commercial yarn balls, asked an Indie dyer if winding a skein into a cake was necessary before beginning to knit.

Confession? I’ve been in such a rush to start a project that I have sometimes knit right from the skein. I always want to put myself in a corner at some point before that skein is all knit up!

The discussion continued, as the newbie didn’t know how to cake yarn, what a swift was or what she could use in its place as she didn’t own one. I decided to post my own swift hack on Instagram and Pinterest because I don’t own a swift either! I have something that works great for me, is super cheap, easy to put together and ‘green’. Picture follows with the blurb I posted with it. Pretty straightforward assembly and it puts zero stress on the yarn – one reason why some Indie dyers advise winding by hand v. a swift / winder combo.

“No ‪#‎swift‬? No problem!
KeiB’s ‪#‎diy‬ swift solution. These ‪#‎upcycled‬ coffee jars work great and don’t require rearranging furniture or introducing your partner to ‪#‎bfl‬ bondage wink emoticon. Get fancy with ‪#‎acrylicwater‬ to anchor the contents and ‪#‎sculpey‬ or ‪#‎fimo‬ to dress up and disguise the lids. ‪#‎knittersofinstagram‬ ‪#‎keibdesigns‬‪#‎crochetersofinstagram‬ ‪#‎instaknit‬ ‪#‎lifehacks‬ ‪#‎skeins‬ to cakes – buy yarn not gadgets 😄 💕 ‪#‎keibonravelry‬

Provisional cast on: needle and hook method

One of the best tutorials I’ve seen for my favourite provisional cast ons.
This may be a little tricky to learn if you are less familiar with a crochet hook but it’s very worthwhile to learn, giving the most tidy and secure start to a piece IMHO. That says a LOT from this very OCD knitter / crocheter.

Tin Can Knits

There are LOTS of ways to work a provisional cast on, I find this method a little less fussy than the crochet chain method, although both work just fine. I find lefties are concerned this method won’t work for them, but I assure you it is a 2 handed process (just like knitting), you don’t need to work anything differently.


You will need: a crochet hook, your needle, waste yarn

Note: the size of the crochet hook doesn’t matter, the tension of your cast on is determined by your needle, not the hook.

Step 1: Using waste yarn wake a slip knot and place it over the hook

Step 2: place your needle to the left of your crochet hook with the yarn UNDER the needle

Step 3: move your hook OVER the needle, grab the yarn with your hook and pull it through the slip knot on the…

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One Row Buttonholes

One Row Buttonholes

This is a great photo tutorial for creating buttonholes from Tin Can Knits.

Tin Can Knits

MB-playdate-04a Buttons on our Playdate cardigan from Max and Bodhi’s Wardrobe

There are many techniques for creating buttonholes. This tutorial shows you how to make a one-row buttonhole. For information on spacing your buttonholes and creating a button band check out our button band tutorial here.

1-stitch buttonhole: This is my preferred method, it is simple and creates a small, tidy hole. To work a 1 stitch buttonhole simply work (yo, k2tog)

A 1-stitch buttonhole works perfectly for Lush! A 1-stitch buttonhole works perfectly for Lush, especially if you are using smallish buttons.

2, 3, and 4-stitch buttonholes : For larger buttons, or in lighter weight sweaters (fingering / sock weight for example) a 1 st buttonhole would be too small, so you will have to go with something bigger. For 2, 3, and 4 stitch buttonhole you will work as follows:

1. slip the next 2 sts

2. pass the first over…

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All In The Details ~ Crochet Magic Loop

There are so many neat tips and techniques out there!

I’ve been knitting and crocheting a long time and so don’t feel the need to change my technique very often. Preferences come with proficiency! I am always willing to try something new and finally got round to doing that with the “Magic Loop” for crochet. This technique is now my favourite for all the reasons you may have already read: it’s simple, clean and produces a very nice start to crocheting in the round.

There are lots of great tutorials out there and I’m adding a pictorial one here and you can find pictures and full text here: “MLCT By KeiB” – this will take you to the Flickr page for the tutorial. You’ll need to click each photo to read the written step-by-step instructions. I hope this will be handy for any of you who decide to make a KeiB Design that is or incorporates crochet. Hope you’ll find this helpful and straightforward 🙂

Tips To Share

I found this gem of a tip from Melissa Leapman on Vogue Knitting International:

“I like the look (and the speed!) of solid double crochet stitches, but I hate the little holes that often appear next to the turning chains. Here’s how to use “linked dc stitches” to prevent them: Immediately following the turning chain, insert your crochet hook into the second chain of the turning chain just made, then yarn over hook and draw the loop through the chain—two loops will be on your hook. Then, insert the hook into the next stitch the regular way (that is, into the second stitch of the row), yarn over hook and pull up a loop—three loops will be on your hook. To complete the double crochet stitch, [yarn over the hook and draw the loop through two loops on your hook] twice. Easy!”

I love this and will definitely be using it on my next crochet project.