Useful Knitting Techniques January 16, 2012 – Posted in: How to, Mondays with Mona

While I am knitting away on my “Before and After” (some progress is made but before I want to add the beads in the bind-off there is really not much to see)  I thought I tell you about some useful techniques a knitter stumbles upon one time or another.

One of my hat patterns called Put a Knot in it! asks you to begin with knitting I-cord. When I encountered I-cord (in my very first knitting attempt following an American pattern nonetheless) I was puzzled. I could not for the life of me picture what I was supposed to do just reading the instructions. Little tip: when reading instructions and you haven’t reached that point in your knitting as well, don’t worry overly much if you don’t understand at first. (Ask me how I know.) Once I tried a couple of times I realized what I was getting was practically a knitted string same as you would with a knitting dolly.

Pictured here my own which has seen better times,but as you can see was well loved and used when I was a child.

The great thing about I-cord is that you can knit it in any size you want, with any yarn on any size needles, the only restriction is that it has to be double pointed needles or a circular (I highly recommend dpns, working I-cord on a circular needle can get tedious because of all the sliding).

For the earflap cast on three stitches.

Now comes the part that makes a cord and not a flat piece of knitting: Instead of turning your work and knitting the row as you would, you slide the stitches to the other end, i.e. the end where you start knitting, pull your yarn around in the back and knit the three stitches.

You continue doing so until the cord has the required length. For the hat that’s roughly 6″, I wrote 30 rows, but in the end it is up to you how long you want the string. Once that is done you turn your work and knit a WS row.

What follows now are increase rows interspersed with knit rows. I usually specify how to make the increases, since the various methods of ‘make 1’ each have a different look. In this case I ask you to work a yarn over (yo) on the right side (RS) rows.

When working the wrong side (WS) row you are knitting the yarn over into the back loop, hereby twisting it and avoiding a hole. In effect this is about the same as an increase worked by twisting the strand between to stitches and knitting it. The benefit in doing it with a yarn over is that none of the stitches in the previous row get contorted, your tension stays nice and even across all stitches. In some cases the yarn over is actually worked regularly and the generated hole is a design feature – not in this pattern, though.

I am knitting the medium size hat, so I increase until I have 13 stitches on my needles. Then this earflap gets put on hold until the other one is worked and the brim of the hat is cast on.

The last technique for today is a way of joining two pieces of knitting without sewing. I could have bound off the earflap and sewn it onto the hat once it is finished. I am, however, in favour of the least amount of sewing necessary for a project, so I chose to join the earflap by knitting them on. The pattern specifies when to do it. Hold earflap on stitch holder or dpn behind working needle. Knitting together each st of earflap with st of hat, join earflap to hat.

One earflap neatly joined. Join the second earflap and continue the pattern as written.

This concludes our little excursion into useful knitting techniques.

For this version of the hat I used  one skein Rowan Cocoon, colour Bilberry, which is really lovely to knit with. I have been knitting so many of these hats that for this one I decided to skip the knot and just finish with a little tip of I-cord to switch it up.

– Mona