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kyra

Reading a Chart

1 min read

I hope that this image illustrates how to read a chart. For this pattern you start from the bottom left hand corner, and then each next stitch will move left. This is the direction you knit and then each row you move up the chart. 

I divided my stitches so there are 30 on one side and 30 on the other. I'm using the magic loop method and this makes the pattern clear to knit. There are tons of explanations of magic loop out there, one example is on the Purl Soho site. 

kyra

German Twisted Cast On

2 min read

This video from Lucy Neatby provides some excellent instructions for German Twisted Cast On, as well as tips and some comparisons to a Long Tail Cast On. 

There are some useful suggestions, including that it uses slightly more yarn (I used an arms length approx 1m when determining the tail) and it creates a more flexible cast on edge, because of the extra yarn. She also ties up the yarn to start with, as the yarn twists a lot with this method and it makes it easier for it to unwind. 

In the following images I show how to pick up the yarn to start off. I don't start with a slip knot - you can just start with making the stitches. 

Basically, lie the yarn folded at the point you have decided will be the start of your tail over your fingers.

Then, putting your thumb and forefinger together, slip them through the hole created and separate them.


The tail should be over your thumb and the rest of the yarn over your forefinger. 

I've made a quick cheat sheet photo for German Twisted Cast On. Hopefully it's helpful. 

After you've done the first stitch and pulled the yarn taut, it should look a bit like this. 

Good luck! 

kyra

Better

Finding the right needle size

1 min read

For me, size 3mm is pretty close.

But also, it feels nice to knit and the fabric looks even and a good weight for socks. 

Photograph of apricot yarn against a blue background.

The yarn I am using is Good Wool Sock, colourway Home Fires Burning. 
100g/400m, 80% NZ Merino, 20% Nylon

kyra

Reading your tension square

3 min read

I’ve had a play around with working out my tension for this project.

The recommended needle size is 2.25mm. As I generally knit tight and my favourite needles for knitting socks are 2.5mm I started with them. I cast on 25 stitches and then each time I got to the end of a row I slide my stitches back to the other end of the needle and then knit them again. This is the method recommended by Ysolda for knitting a tension square in the round. Because I don’t want to sacrifice the yarn (this is a special one off ball), I didn’t block and just measure without cutting the square flat. I used my Addi sock wonder needles which are awesome, but (spoiler alert) I only have two sizes and they’re going to be too small for this project. 

In showing you the tension, I’ve used a nifty tool to demo, although in an ideal world I feel it’s best to measure over a greater expanse (10cm rather than 2.5mm) because it is more even. 
 
For this project we’re looking for a gauge of 32stitches x 40 rows = 10cm
Stitches run horizontally, they are the stitches I have highlighted in pink. Rows run vertically, I have highlighted them in red. 
A photograph of some knitting of apricot yarn with the horizontal stitches and vertical rows highlighted.
 
So on my first tension square to 2.5 cm I have 8.5 stitches and 11-12 rows, which is equivalent to 34 stitches x 46 rows. 
Wooden gauge with apricot yarn sample behind.
 
That is way too small, so I went up a needle size to 2.75mm needles. As you can see below, that is a little better, but I think it will be worth going up another size. 
Photo of a wooden gauge with apricot knitting behind.
 
For each of these I haven’t blocked them, so were my wool to expand after washing the final product will be too big, however I think I’m better off going bigger needles and I know I have had to do this consistently in the past. 
 
One final thing to take into consideration here is the size you want your finished sock. If your feet are slightly larger or smaller than the pattern’s “finished measurements”, one way you can fudge it is by slightly adjusting the needle size up or down (for example, if I wanted a slightly smaller sock I could use the smaller needles). However when I measured the circumference of the ball of my foot it was 8 inches, so I’ll knit one more test. 

kyra

A couple of thoughts on tension

Knitting tension squares/swatching

3 min read

If you’re knitting a jumper/sweater a tension square is the most important part (I don’t think I’m exaggerating here, it’s pretty important). 

(1) Tension impacts the size of the finished garment - too tight and your garment will be too small, too loose and it will be too big and you might run out of yarn. You’re knitting, so really this isn’t a big deal but also, is it the worst thing to slow down and save some trouble later? 
(2) Depending on what it is you’re knitting you can practice - what is the stitch pattern like? Are there any places you might go wrong? What do the colours for colour work look like together? Particularly if you are knitting colour work, lace or cables blocking is essential in this respect. See below. 
(3) While after a while you can generally guess a little bit, for example, I knit tight so generally my initial tension squares have more stitches and rows than the instructions state, different yarns from different varieties of sheep/yarns with different compositions (nylon/alpaca/acrylic etc) will knit up differently, as will different weights of yarn. 
 
For so much more information on tension squares/ swatching see Ysolda’s suggestions: https://ysolda.com/blogs/journal/how-swatch-for-a-sweater
 
But then again, tension squares take time and yarn and what will you do with the square later?*
 
 
Best practice is to knit a big tension square, at the minimum a little larger than 10cm and then block it, that is, soak it in water and then lay it out, pin it into position and then wait for it to dry/ encourage it along with a hairdryer/heater. If you’re organised and you do this the night before, you’re winning. 
 
But hey! We’re knitting socks and we generally knit socks in the round and so the rules change. You should knit your tension square in the round. Ysolda also has some great instructions about this - https://ysolda.com/blogs/journal/swift-swatching-in-the-round The biggest issue I have with this is that if you cut your tension square it makes the yarn unusable in the future. This is great and vital if you’re making a jumper, less great if you have one skein of yarn to make a pair of socks. I have definitely been known to unravel a tension square when I run out of yarn as I get to the end of a project. 
 
Again though, we’re knitting socks, so if you’re not too worried about time/starting over it is acceptable to take a guess, start knitting and then check halfway down the leg. This of course depends on whether the yarn is likely to shrink or grow when washed and how on the edge you want to play things. (Personally, I’m going to knit a teensy tiny square, really more of a teensy tiny rectangle). 
 
Next time I’m going to post a picture of how you read/measure a tension square and what to do if it isn’t the right size. 
 
* I wish I was the kind of person who knit the same size square every time and then made a freaking awesome square blanket. I am unfortunately not that person.