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Knitting tutorial : How to Steek
January 18, 2022

Knitting tutorial : How to Steek

When knitting stranded colorwork (fairisle), it is often easier to knit in the round, always on the right side of the work. It is also easier to read the pattern if you always working in the same direction, knitting on the right side from right to left. This is why the "steeking" technique was invented: to be able to knit in the round (in a tube) and to be able to create an opening (or openings) by cutting the knitting afterwards.   The following video tutorial shows you this technique from start to finish and you will also find under this video the written explanations with illustrations to learn how to prepare the steek before opening and how to cut the knitting!  STEP 1: To make a steek, we will normally increase 5 stitches at the location where the opening will be created later.  These 5 stitches will then be cut in the center and are usually knitted by alternating the 2 colors of your colorwork. In the example below, our steek is composed of a blue, beige, blue (center), beige, blue stitches: STEP 2: After binding-off the stitches, use a yarn slightly smaller than your work yarn and using a hook, secure the center stitch of the steek by poking the hook behind the "left leg" of the stitch to the right of the center stitch and behind the "right leg" of the center stitch (identified in red above). Using your hook, grab and pull the yarn behind these two "legs" as shown below: Repeat all the way to the top to secure the steek opening by pulling one stitch behind each "leg" (shown in red below)... STEP 3: Finish the first side by cutting the yarn and passing the yarn through the last loop (stitch) and then turn the knitting 180 degrees to repeat the same thing on the other side of the center stitch as shown below (identified in pink) STEP 4: When both sides of the center stitch are secured, use a sharp pair of scissors for best precision and cut the middle of the center stitch (bottom up or top down doesn't matter, as long as you make sure to cut the center of the stitch). STEP 5: Once you have cut the steek and opened the fabric, fold the remaining stitches of the steek inside the fabric and secure it with a piece of yarn and a tapestry needle. Have fun working your steek: the technique may scare you the first time but you will see that it is very easy to do! Happy Knitting!!

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How to knit Short Rows
September 30, 2021

How to knit Short Rows

Short Rows - What is it exactly? This is a way of knitting the stitches back and forth without knitting to the end of the row, which means that there are stitches remaining at the end of the row when you turn the knit. The short rows are used to adjust the volume of the knit: either to create a relief in a knit, such as for the hollow of the heel in a sock, for example, or to change the shape / direction of a flat knit.   Right Image - source: http://www.purlwise.com/short_rows/ Several effects can be created with short rows! We are happy to offer several knitting patterns with short rows that you will find at the very bottom of this page! 👇👇👇  How to knit Short rows Many knitters dread (and even avoid!) Patterns containing short rows. Firstly because the short rows require a little more concentration to find one's way: when one does not knit the rows to the end, it sometimes becomes more difficult to give oneself benchmarks and to follow the instructions. In addition, we may end up with a small hole in the place where we wrapped our knitting. To solve this small hole problem, several techniques exist. The most common is the technique of winding the next stitch before turning (or "wrap & turn"). You can discover it on Knit Spirit TV just HERE The German Method or "German short rows" A few years ago I discovered the German method more commonly called the "German short rows". I like this method that produces a rather transparent look and without holes! So for much of you, we have prepared this video to illustrate this method and you will also find the explanations written below.     Here is how to knit the short rows using the German method: when you have turned your knitting and you are ready to knit your first row short, with the yarn in front , slip the stitch as if to purl and pull the yarn behind the work by pulling slightly so as to stretch the stitch on the needle. This way of pulling the yarn will have the effect of creating a "double stitch" composed of 2 strands that cross and wrap on the right needle. If the next stitch is a knit stitch, knit the stitch as you normally would. If the next stitch is a purl stitch, bring the yarn back (the yarn will have gone around the needle from behind and back in front) and purl the next stitch. On the next row, when you need to knit the previously wrapped knit, knit the two strands that are stretched on the needle together as you would normally knit a stitch or purl as instructed by the pattern. Substitute the "Wrap & Turn" for the "German Short Rows"  If you knit a pattern that suggests the "wrap & turn" method but you prefer to use the German method, here's what you need to know: When the pattern says, “wrap the stitch and turn," ignore this instruction and simply knit back. In the next row, when the pattern says, for example, "knit 5 back", you slip the first stitch as explained above and knit 4 back (the first stitch being slipped ...). Remember to subtract one stitch from the next row since the first slipped stitch is included in the number of stitches to work. That's it ... it's as simple as that :) Now that you have the tools, why not grab your needles and put your new knowledge to the test? Happy knitting!  

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Casting on Toe-up: the Turkish Cast On Method
February 15, 2021

Casting on Toe-up: the Turkish Cast On Method

Here is a technique that allows you to cast on stitches to knit socks "toe-up". This type of cast on is known as a "toe-up" cast on that is called the "Turkish Cast-on". This video is in french with english subtitles and is followed by illustrated explanations in pictures.  1 – Start with a slip knot about 30-40 cm from the end of the yarn.  2 – Align your 2 needles so that they point to the right and place the slip knot on the bottom needle.  3 –Wrap the yarn connected to the ball by going behind the needles from the bottom up and in front of the needles from top to bottom. 4 – Wrap 1/4 number of the total number of stitches (for a 32 stitch cast on, wrap around 8 times). 5 - Pull on lower the needle to work on the stitches on the top. 6 –Knit what will become the first stitch of the top, the yarn must stay in the front of your cable (which will close the last stitch at the bottom.) 7 –Knit the upper stitches. At this point the "stitches" will be very loose, this is normal! 8 –Once you've knit all the stitches, turn your hands clockwise, taking care to keep the right side of the work in front of you. 9 – Your slip knot is now on the top cable. 10 – Push the upper needle on the stitches and pull on the lower needle to work on the upper stitches. 11 –Remove the slip knot and pull on the yarn to untie it. Use the two strands as they are (one strand in front and one strand behind the cable) to knit the upper stitches. 12 –You will double the number of stitches on the top needle... 13 – Once all the stitches are knit, turn the needles clockwise taking care to always keep the right side facing you.. 14 –Now that your needles point to the right, push the needle up and pull the needle down. 15 –Use the 2 strands again to knit the upper stitches using the needle at the bottom. 16 – You will double the stitches of the second half.. 17 – That's your finished cast on! 18 – I suggest you cut the tail of the yarn, so as not to confuse it with the working yarn! Tips and tricks: You have to be familiar with the "magic loop" to follow these explanations. When you are ready to knit, your needles always point to the right. Always use the bottom needle to work the upper needle. Always keep the right side of the knitting in front of you when handling your needles: the common mistake of beginners is to turn the work on the wrong side ... To use the strands as they are, when the strand is in front of the cable, it is because it will form a stitch on the next round. If you are missing a stitch during the cast on process, it is because you have failed to follow this instruction. Make sure you have a good quality circular needle. Practice makes perfect: give yourself the chance to learn this technique of casting on, you will certainly appreciate it once acquired! We offer a number of knitting patterns to practice this technique in our online store !

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The beauty of tonals, semi-solid yarns
November 06, 2020

The beauty of tonals, semi-solid yarns

In the world of indie dyers, there is no such thing as solid colour. It has to do with dying the wool after it has been spun. Commercial yarn brands dye the wool before they spin it into balls; they have the space and the huge vats. Small variances in shade or tone are blended in the spinning step so the eye sees a true solid colour. There is a reassuring reliability to knitting with solids and they are the go-to choice for many projects. But, oh, how charming the subtle beauty of the not-quite-solid colours you get from indie dyers.  These yarns are dyed after they have been spun, so the dye attaches itself a bit differently to the yarn. Sometimes it clings with all its might and sometimes it is a more casual embrace. The effect is a subtle (or not if the natural yarn itself had different shades throughout) blend of tones or shades of the colour of the dye. Pure Comfort Cardigan by Andrea Yetman From afar, a sweater, shawl or socks knit in tonals look like a solid, but when you see it close up, you can see all the intriguing shifts. Such a pleasure! Not as dramatic a feast for the eyes as a speckled or variegated yarn, more like a wink and a smile. Tonals have personality! Each batch is a little quirky, a little unique. And isn’t that why we knit? To create unique pieces for our loved ones and ourselves. Why choose tonals semi-solid yarns Lace patterns shine in a semi-solid yarn where the intricate stitches are splendidly showcased. Summer Butterflies by Louise Robert The light play of tones enhances rather than detracts on cables so they truly pop. Stranded work takes on a unique look when knit with tonal yarns: the patterns are a little less crisp giving the sweater or toque a different allure. Role Model Yoke by Andrea Yetman And a plain tee or pair of socks are never truly plain when knit in a tonal yarn. Still not sold on tonals? Garments or accessories knit with tonal yarns are great additions to any wardrobe. Tonals are easy to pair with just about every item of clothing you own: they are fabulous with plaids, prints, and stripes. They complement stranded knitting and yes, are a playful friend to pieces featuring speckled or variegated yarns. Whisperer Socks by Dolly Bhardwaj When you jump onto the tonal bandwagon (we know you will – they’re irresistible), there is one rule to follow: if your project requires more than one skein, be sure to alternate skeins every so often (i.e.: every 4th row). It is pretty common to have colour variations in hand-dyed yarn, even from the same dye lot. These variations may not be obvious when looking at the skeins but can become quite visible once you start knitting so don’t risk it, alternate! Find more info on this topic here: Yarn pooling - what is it and how to manage it. If you haven’t already, try one of our tonal yarns. Let us know how you like them, what projects you made or are planning to do.  

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Yarn pooling: what it is and how to manage it
September 07, 2020

Yarn pooling: what it is and how to manage it

Knitting with artisanal yarns requires certain knowledge. First of all you need to know how to wash hand-dyed yarns and you will find a very detailed article on this subject by clicking HERE. Once the issue of care is covered, let's talk about what is commonly known in knitting language as "POOLING". First of all, what is pooling? The term "pooling" is used when the colors of a semi-solid, speckled or variegated yarn all come together in the same place in a knitted fabric. It is easier to illustrate this concept in a picture with a variegated yarn: Here is a perfect example of "pooling". The Grounded pattern you see above has been knitted with a two-tone skein (chocolate and moss green). In one part of this knit, at the waist, you can see chocolate and moss green "pooling" appearing, a bit like a liquid where water and oil refuse to blend. Why is this? Because the combination of "number of stitches and yarn colors" at that particular spot made the chocolate color arrive at the same place on several rows in a row and the moss green followed the rhythm! And don't think that the pooling effect occurs only in multi-colored yarns, you can see it in knits with semi solid colors as well as in the Autumn Breeze pattern. "To pool or not to pool"... That is the question! Some people don't like pooling at all and will do anything to avoid it while others like the effect of pooling so much that some dyers and yarn manufacturers will intentionally dye the yarn to produce this effect. When well mastered, pooling can be very interesting and add a "wow" effect to some projects, but in other cases it can be annoying and produce an undesired result. How to minimise pooling? The best method to minimize pooling is to alternate the skeins (or balls of yarn) every other row if you knit back and forth or every round if you knit in the round. Not only will this way of knitting reduce the "pooling" effect, but it will also ease the transition from one skein to another. Because even when they come from the same dye lot, artisanal yarn skeins are slightly different from each other: the end of one skein does not necessarily correspond to the exact color of the beginning of the next skein. So to avoid a demarcation in your project, alternating the skeins is the best solution. Personally, when I knit sweaters I ALWAYS alternate the skeins between them from the beginning to the end. This method allows me to obtain a homogeneous result while preserving the hand-dyed yarns' unique and artisanal look. It's an easy habit to take and after a while it becomes natural! And if alternating the hanks is not possible? If you have only one skein for example, you could always alternate using the beginning and the end of the same ball, but if the idea is completely repugnant to you, there is still hope: Whenever possible, change the way you knit: if you work in the round, try to knit back and forth or vice versa. Sometimes, a slight modification to the gauge can make things better: try with a needle half a size smaller or larger. Change the knitting stitch pattern: replace the jersey with a seed stitch for example. Adding or removing a few stitches could also make enough difference to break the pooling.  

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A Beginner's Guide to 6 Different Types of Yarn
March 22, 2017

A Beginner's Guide to 6 Different Types of Yarn

Sock yarn, self-striping yarn, knitting patterns – oh my. Prior to knitting, yarn was just yarn but as you start to indulge in this new hobby, you’ll quickly see that there is no shortage of options when it comes to materials. With baskets overflowing with all kinds of yarn, it can be difficult to know where to start. Fortunately, you’ve come to the right place. Here is a breakdown all of the different types of yarn and what each will do for your knitting aspirations. Sock Yarn For Feet Just as the name reads, sock yarns are for the kind of knitting designs you intend to be placed on feet. More specifically, this term refers to the weight of the yarn. You wouldn’t use the same yarn for a chunky knit sweater as you would for a pair of socks and that’s because of the way the material needs to fit. The most common sock yarns are DK weight, fingering weight and worsted weight, and they can typically be found in any fiber you desire. So, whether you want to craft some bulky winter knee socks, hiking socks or soft, traditional socks, sock yarn is where to go.   Self Striping Yarn For a Colourful Change Throughout our yarn website, you’ll hear a lot about self-striping yarn and that’s because it’s a huge trend. Self-striping yarns are yarns that have various colours woven together to create a stylish appeal. The colours change throughout the knitting designs, allowing every piece you create to be unique in its own way. Self-striping yarns are often used to create scarves, socks, hats, mitts, blankets – you name it. Hand Dyed Yarn for True Handmade Creations You’ll also come across several hand-dyed yarn varieties. These are excellent knitting materials for the true artisan out there, as each piece of yarn may not be identical to the next even if they come from the same dye. This is important to know if you intend to knit 100% identical pieces. The benefit of using this type of yarn is that it emits exquisite, hand-crafted beauty that you simply can’t get from brick and motor stores and products.   Yarns from Animals Yarns come from many different places, and some are even made with animal-based fibers from sheep (as the merino wool), llamas, goats (cashmere and mohair), alpacas, etc. Each has their own unique characteristics and softness. However, it’s important to know what type of animal the yarn is made of, as this can instantly determine whether or not you want to use it. For example, you may not want to use animal based yarns that are produced unethically and unnaturally from animals such as rabbits and foxes. This is a very important thing to consider, especially if you’re knitting for profit. Everyone appreciates yarns that are naturally provided by animals, such as wool from sheep, but the same can’t be said for all the rest.  Plant Producing Yarns Plants are also great sources of yarn that don’t harm the environment in any way.  These are a huge trend in today’s knitting industry, as people are starting to prefer natural, safe materials as opposed to synthetic ones. Some common types of natural plant-based yarns include cotton, bamboo, hemp, silk & seacell. Each have their own level of softness, which can help you determine which one is best for your knitting designs. Synthetic Fibers is Great for Starters While synthetic fibers aren't always the most common type of yarns used today, they still hold precedence and can be perfect for your knitting designs. These types of yarns are typically acrylic, which is an inexpensive and machine washable option, making them ideal for many knitting designs. They’re also a great yarn to start with if you’re a knitting beginner. And that’s not even getting into the true depth of the different varieties of yarn available across the industry. From speckled yarns to solid tones, lace to bulky yarn weight, everything you need to knit up your knitting designs can be found on Biscotte Yarns. Join our mystery yarn club today and enjoy new yarn to turn into a unique knitting patterns on the regular. You just never know what you're going to unravel.  NEWBIE KNITTER? Find more info about Knitting yarn types, knitting stitches and other resources for beginners on eKnittingStitches.com

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Knitting Terms Tutorial
July 06, 2016

Knitting Terms Tutorial

Whether a newbie knitter or a more experienced one, the world of knitting patterns has a language all its own. Understanding knitting terms and how to correctly produce them is key to producing a finished product that looks like the picture and fits as expected. In this knitting terms tutorial, I hope to provide you with the understanding you need to grasp knitting terms and create a beautiful finished product. CC or Contrast Color and MC or Main Color The knitting term CC stands for Contrast Color and is used in projects with striping in conjunction with Main Color (MC). As you follow the pattern, you will be prompted to switch from MC to CC and back again according to the size of the stripes. Frogging Frogging doesn’t refer to a child’s game nor an amphibious creature. In the knitting world, frogging is the term knitters use to discuss unraveling or pulling out a section of work to correct a mistake. Since no one likes having to rip out stitches, maybe it’s got a fun name to make it less painful. Knit 2 Together or K2tog Knitting two stitches together is a commonly used technique to decrease the number of stitches in a row. It’s a relatively easy technique to execute. Simply put the working needle through two stitches instead of one and complete a knit stitch as normal, pulling the yarn through both stitches and slipping them both off the needle.  Knit Through Back Loop or ktbl Knitting through the back loop makes knit stitches look slightly different. This technique sounds complicated by name, but it’s actually fairly simple. Normally, a knit stitch is completed from front to back. With ktbl, the working needle is placed through the back of the loop from right to left and then knit as normal. Purl Two Together or p2tog The knitting term p2tog is similar to k2tog. It’s another technique for reducing the number of stitches in a row, but instead of decreasing on the knit side, you decrease on the purl side. To do this, slip your working needle through two purl stitches, purl as normal, pulling the yarn through both stitches and slipping both stitches off the needle.  SSK SSK or slip, slip, knit is yet another decrease technique. By slipping two stitches onto the working needle and knitting the third. Then one or both of the slipped stitches will be psso (slipped over the knit stitch) to create a leaning decrease.  YO or Yarn Over A yarn over is an increase technique commonly used in making lacey patterns. It’s a simple yet elegant technique that creates an additional loop by taking the yarn and wrapping it around the needle. The challenge: make sure it creates only one loop. Wrapping too many times creates multiple loops! The knitting world has many terms, but these are some of the most commonly seen and confusing one. Mastering knitting terms enables you to complete your projects faster. You spend less time looking up terms and more time doing what you love – knitting. What other knitting terms confuse you? Let us know and maybe they’ll be in a future post!

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