Monday, 25 June 2018

Summer knitting

Do you knit and crochet during the summer months? It is one great divide we come across in crafting. Some people pack away their yarn projects as the barometer rises while others plan on taking their knitting to the beach.
 There is no reason why knitting and crochet can’t be all year round activities but you may need to plan differently for the summer months. We have few tips on enjoyable yarn crafting for the summer months.

Fibre choice
If you are worried about getting sticky hands during the summer, choosing the fibres in your yarn carefully can make a big difference. Avoid hairier yarns like mohair or brushed yarns because there will eb more rubbing from the fibres as they pass through your hands making them hotter and potentially felting.
Instead choose your yarn as you do your summer clothes - other natural fibres such as cotton, linen and even bamboo are as good choices for knitting as wearing. These option are often very smooth so will slide through warmer hands more easily.
One thing to remember about cotton and similar yarns is they can stretch or drop because the smoother fibres don’t stick together as much as wool. So take time to make a swatch and wash it before you start.

Yarn weight
Finer yarns such as 4-ply and laceweight can be a good summer choice because there is less yarn actually going through your hands and your growing project is likely to be lighter and airier. A chunky wrap pooling in your lap in mid-summer is not that pleasant. However, be realistic – I’m not sure hand painted cashmere/silk lace weight and the beach really mix.

Needles and hooks
What your needles and hooks are made of can make a difference to how warm your hands feel. If acrylic needles usually feel warm in your hands, they may not be your best choice for summer. Metal can warm up in the sun whereas wood and carbon fibre are less affected by external temperature. Pick needles that generally feel cool or comfortable in your hands.
The other factor is how smoothly your stitches move on your needles. Some yarns will stick or slide more on different materials. You will find it more comfortable to choose needles where your stitches slide easily, reducing the chance of generating extra friction and heat.

Smaller projects
As mentioned above with the chunky wrap, a summer’s afternoon is not the best time to work on a man’s chunky jumper that will cover your lap with an insulating layer you really don’t need. Go for smaller and lightweight projects – socks can be a good choice. And the brighter summer light could be perfect for the lacy scarf you’ve been planning.
Crocheters might think of making squares or other motifs that can be joined into a blanket in cooler times.

Find a good crafting spot
Some shade is your friend when it comes to summer knitting as is a light breeze, Find a good knitting spot and stick with it.
And most important – enjoy your summer knitting and crochet.

Thursday, 7 June 2018

Using double pointed needles

We love our double pointed needles (DPNs) and you can often find at least one of the KnitPro team with a sock growing from a set. But we know that some of you feel a little intimidated by balancing four or five needles at once, so here are a few tips to get you started with DPNs.

KnitPro DPN sets come with five needles and you can work in the round using four or five. In this example we have used four, leaving one as a spare.

 Start by using one of two needles to cast on as you would normally, so that all your stitches are on a single needle. Then divide your stitches evenly between three needles by slipping the stitches from one to another.

Form your needles into a triangle so that your first cast on stitch is the first on on the needle on the left side of the triangle, tacking care not to twist your cast on.

Using your fourth needle start to knit the stitches from the needle on the left of the triangle. Don't worry too much about the other two needles with stitches, they are unlikely to fall out.

Once you have worked the stitches on the first needle, rotate your work clockwise and use the needle that has just been freed up to knit along the stitches on the next needle.

From there you can continue rotating and knitting as set by your pattern. You will find that as your work a few rows, the DPNs and knitting becomes easier to hold.

Working on DPNs is useful for working on smaller circular items such as socks, gloves, sleeves and the crown of hats and many people prefer them to the magic loop circular needle method. It is worth trying out both to see which works best for you.