Quick tip: counting rows when knitting in the round

Obviously when using a circular needle or double pointeds you can’t use a regular stitch counter as there’s not a needle end to put it on. But you might still need to count your rows, so what should you do?

If your pattern repeats over a small number of rows as my current project does (4 in this case) then simply tie a slip knot in the tail left over from casting on each time you pass the tail. Then once you’ve completed the pattern simply untie the knots and start again. It’s a simple way to keep track and makes it much easier to leave your project and know exactly where you were when you come back.

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If you need to count a large number of rows I would thread a stitch counter onto the tail and loosely tie it to the work. Then every time you pass the tail you add another row on the counter.

Easy! Hope you find it a useful little trick 🙂

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Winter is coming…

So recently a friend of mine shared a picture with me, that I think is incredibly apt in the circumstances:

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Here is my pile of completed projects from the last couple of months, along with my current work in progress:

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There is (from the top of the pile): my hat; baby’s hat; young sir’s hat; what was going to be his hat but I ran out of yarn and he now wears as a snood; a toddler size, double breasted Arran cardigan (matching baby size to come); my finished and blocked shawl; and the current WIP is an entrelac blanket. Phew! That’s a lot of knitting even if I do say so myself 🙂

I’ll be doing a few more detailed posts about some of the pieces, including some more tips and my reviews of the patterns I’ve used. Now, back to it! This blanket isn’t going to knit itself! 😉

Knitting, knitting, knitting and an update

Oh man, what a week! And unfortunately not all in a good way.

First of all we all have the lurgy in our house, which isn’t so much fun. For me especially as on Sunday it migrated to my sinuses and I’ve spent the last three days feeling like I’ve been kicked in the face 😦 (pause for sympathy…!) According to the doctor, my nose looks “all swollen and haemorrhagic-y”. I mean wow. It must have taken years of studying to be able to come up with a diagnosis like that! He he, well at least it cheered me up a bit!

Also in the middle of last week our new boiler decided that it wasn’t cold enough for us to want heating or hot water and so decided to stop providing us with both. Considering it’s less than a year old we were less than impressed! Luckily it was actually fairly straightforward to fix, but it did require a visit from the manufacturer, who couldn’t come until Monday. So we had a weekend in the cold, when all I wanted was a nice hot bath! Luckily we have an electric shower though so we didn’t have to also brave cold showers.

But on a more positive note I had my 28 week midwife check up yesterday and got to listen in to baby’s heartbeat. Baby wasn’t cooperating and kept wriggling away from the doppler, but I can’t really blame him for not wanting poked and prodded! Everything is going really well, baby is very active and seems to like to party. It’s very exciting to be in the third trimester now and on the home stretch! I think this is my favourite time of pregnancy: when I’m big enough to very obviously be pregnant, far enough along to feel lots of movement, and still not so big that simple tasks are getting difficult (I’m thinking specifically of bending over and putting on socks!).

I’ve also been making very good progress with my knitting to-do list. The matching hats are coming along nicely, although they did have a slight change of plan. It turned out that I didn’t actually have enough of that lovely green bamboo yarn I was using to finish off the hat for young sir. But thanks to the stretch in the ribbing and the fact that he has quite a big head, it is large enough to fit me as a headband. So poor baby will have to match me instead!

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And this means that I’ve started on a new, new hat for young sir using this slightly odd yarn that I found in a charity shop. Bet you can’t guess what it’s made from! Anyone care to have a try?

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I’ve also finished a little carseat baby blanket using this funny, bumpy yarn:

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It knits up pretty quickly once you get used to it. You have to use small needles (I used 2.5mm, but you could propbably use 3mm too) and do one stitch between each bump. I did the whole thing in garter stitch (knit every row) and the only issue I had was when it came to casting off. I couldn’t use the usual method as it made the final row too tight so I had to be inventive and make up my own method. But I think it worked quite well 🙂

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Although it’s quite small, that little blanket is actually 3 balls of yarn! I’m glad I bought 3 otherwise I’m not sure what else I would have been able to make with it.

And last night, thanks to young sir having an uncharacteristically early night, I managed to finish my shawl! Woo hoo! I still need to weave in the ends and block it to bring out the lace pattern but I’m pretty pleased with how it came out 🙂

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Once it’s finished I’ll do another update and let you see how it turned out. I’ve never blocked something so big before so I’m hoping it will all come out nicely, although I’m not really sure how long it’ll take!

And I realise I told you all I was excited about dying my hair and then never showed you the finished look, but honestly I look like death warmed up right now so it’s not a great time for taking close up pictures of my face! I’m really pleased with the hair though and as soon as I look healthier I will show you!

Matching hats, and tips for knitting magic loop

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OK, be honest, is this too much? Matching hats for young sir and new baby. I think they’ll look adorable. Well, I hope they’ll look adorable because they will be wearing their new hats come winter! (And yes, that may be a clue about the flavour of my bump!)

As I was knitting away in the park this afternoon, I thought it might be useful to pass on some tips I’ve picked up to make magic loop knitting a bit easier. If you’re unfamiliar with it, magic loop is a technique to use a long circular needle for a project with a small circumference. For example I’m using a 31 inch long needle to make baby and toddler hats. It is an alternative to using multiple double pointed needles.

I’m not going to go through the whole technique as there are already plenty of good instructional videos on YouTube, these are just my tips to make it a bit easier. I’m making the basic baby hat from Mama’s Stitchery Projects.

Tip 1:

When casting on, split your total number of stitches up into three even sections and place a stitch marker after each section (3 markers total). Now at each of the two markers in the centre of the work (the third marker is at one end) pull half of the excess length of the needle cable through, so that it looks like this:

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See the two loops and the stitch markers? This is what your work should look like each time you finish one section and before starting the next. I know some videos say two sections is enough but I found that far too awkward, three gave me much more freedom of movement with the needles.

Tip 2:

Always remember to transfer your stitch markers! It’s so much easier to slip your marker than to have to count a third of the stitches each time you finish a section. Trust me 😉

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Tip 3:

I find it easiest to put my left pinky finger through the loop of my needle while I’m working:

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Otherwise I feel like my fingers are getting in the way, and it stretches the last few stitches too much.

So there you go, my three top tips for working with magic loop! I hope you find them helpful 🙂

Oh, and if you’re concerned I was being neglectful and ignoring young sir at the park, fear not. He got too excited at the prospect of going to play and fell asleep en route! Oh well!

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A little something for myself!

I often feel like a lot of the things I make these days are not for me, so I decided to rectify the situation! I’ve recently finished a lovely Aran jumper for my little man, which I’ll share with you as soon as I’ve got it blocked.

So I’ve started work on the Shoreline lace shawl, a lovely (and free!) pattern from Lion Brand, which you can also see, with more examples of finished ones, here on Ravelry. I chose this pattern partially to give me something nice and warm to snuggle up in this winter, and also to practice knitting lace, which is something I’d like to get more practice at.

I started on Sunday evening and it’s already about 20cm long, but there’s still a long way to go to get to the 160cm finished length!

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It’s going to take even longer as I’ve made my shawl 8 ‘sections’ wide, whereas the pattern only called for 4. But I prefer my shawls quite long down my back and I liked the idea of it doubling up as a little blanket.

So this is how my evenings are going to be spent, for a while anyway! If anyone else has a project you’re working on, feel free to share it and we can keep each other motivated 🙂