scrappystickyinkymess


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Knitting charity squares that are SQUARE

So I mentioned yesterday that I was knitting charity squares for a local project, the Gillingham CommunKnitty KindNose “Bringing Gillingham together while keeping apart” project for Red Nose Day.

So once I confirmed that when they say WOOL they mean YARN and acrylic is OK, I started knitting. I really need one of my British friends to explain that to me – why is all yarn called WOOL, no matter the fibre content? It matters, sometimes, if you need to consider washing items (mixing cotton, wool and acrylic fibres in one blanket, for example, is a recipe for wash-day disaster) so why use a misleading term? Or is it that one should assume if a charity wants a particular fibre ONLY they will say so and if they don’t you could assume WOOL and YARN are interchangeable? Except when they say WOOL they might mean either ONLY wool or any yarn. {sigh}

I have ALWAYS struggled to knit “perfect” squares. There is just too much pfaffing about with gauge for all the different sorts of scrap yarn, adjusting the cast on and stitch count, getting the right pattern (if other than a straight stocking stitch or garter stitch square… Bah! I waste so much time trying to get it right, I went on a hunt for a few foolproof patterns that knit up as a square, almost despite my best efforts to screw it up! I found three (two for sure, one sort-of.) Bear in mind none of the squares are blocked at all, so maybe looking a little wonky in the photos LOL!

The traditional dishcloth pattern.

This is simple and has a cute YO edging and only two pattern instructions, after the cast-on of 4 stitches and Knit one row.

  1. Increase row (and every row till one side = your finished measurement): Knit 2, YO knit to the end.
  2. Do this till one side is the desired size of your final square. My squares need to be six inches so I knit till one side = 6 inches
  3. Decrease Row (and every row till four stitches remain) Knit 1, K2Tog, YO, Knit to the end.
  4. When four stitches remain, bind off all four stitches, break the yarn, and pull thru.

Easy peasy.

An easy corner-to-corner square.

  1. Cast on 3 stitches and knit the first row
  2. Increase half, every row: K1, KFB, K to the end of the row (you can also KFB in the first stitch, K to the end – swings and roundabouts….) Do this till one side is the size of your final square. My squares need to be six inches so I knit till one side = 6 inches
  3. Decrease half (till three stitches remain): K1, k2tog, to the end of the row
  4. When three stitches remain K3tog, cut tail and pull through. 

A super easy and cute variation on this is to do all the increase rows in ONE colour and then all the decrease rows in another. Perfect when you have a bit f yarn but not quite enough to manage a full square. Like so:

An easy mitered square – OK so this one does need you to cast-on a guess and knit at least a couple of rows to see if you got it right but somehow I find this easier than any other pattern square. For me, with 4.5 mm needles and DK yarn, 58-60 stitches to begin is about right for a 6-inch square.

  1. Cast on double the stitches you need.
  2. Row one: Knit one row, placing a marker in the middle (so for 60 stitches: CO 30, place marker, CO 30.)
  3. Row two (and every even row): Knit to two stitches before the marker. K2Tog, slip the marker, K2tog. Knit to the end
  4. Row three (and every odd row): knit

This is the easy garter stitch version. I also do a variation on this that has a Slip 2 as if to knit, K1, p2sso on the right side and a purl in that stitch on the wrong side, and a stocking stitch version, also with a purl in the centre stitch on the wrong side, but this simplest version is the best one for charity squares!

So, those are the three squares I settled on, after knitting a few only to get to the end and find they were A. NOT square or B. not 6 inches! I feel for the people who will be putting these together, so I really want to make them as close to the right size as I can. Only 12 done, but I hope to get to 20 or 25 by Saturday.

Back to papercraft tomorrow, I’m sure – oh – and it’s WOYWW day so I’d better get tidying for sure. But not before I add my 100 days page:

Keeping well away from bulk in the middle LOL!


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Another Nearly No-Sew Knitted Heart Pattern

I was keen to make another no-sew heart, with slightly different proportions and with a bit of texture.   It took me a few sample knits to get it to where I wanted it to be, but I am finally happy with the results. The original No-Sew Heart is very simple, a pair can be whipped out in and hour or two, if you do the two at a time, as you would socks. It looks like this:

I will add the NEW PDFs right at the beginning then get on with the explanation so I don’t get 100 comments or emails asking where they are!

The Nearly No-Sew Textured Heart

The Nearly No-Sew Subtle Textured Heart

The new, textured version has a few more rounds, and a few special tricks to make closing the gap in the middle a bit easier. Here are a couple of samples (the subtle version sample photo is right at the end):

 

 

On the last pattern I talked about the KFSB (knit front, slip back) alternative to KFB.  I explained how knitting into the front of the stitch, then inserting the needle into the back of that same stitch as if you were going to go ahead and knit into the back, but instead slipping that stitch over to the right  needle still produces two stitches but omits that little bar across the front you get with KFB. I offered the KFSB as an alternative to KFB, and said feel free to KFB if you prefer, it would be fine.

This one? Not so much. In order to make the pattern work, the increases need to be on the first and last stitch of the increase rows rather than one stitch in.  The KFSB give a far neater and snugger line of increases.

Can you see the KFB stitches (on the left) are just a little baggy and open?

This is the KFB seen along the edge – see the gaps above the “braid?”

and this is the KFSB seen along the edge – much tighter and neater!

I hope I have convinced you to give this a go!

One other small change.  When dividing for the heart bumps, in this version you will have an uneven number of stitches.  The round has 21 stitches and can’t be divided evenly.  This makes for a happy accident, I think.  When you begin heart bump #1, you will knit 10 stitches from the front needle, then slip on to waste yarn the heart bump #2 stitches.

You will move 11 from the second half of the front needle and then 10 from the beginning of the back needle. You will then begin heart bump #1 with a K2Tog, which brings the two halves together, beginning to close the gap.

Once you complete heart bump #1, and are ready to begin bump #2, you will need to join your yarn in the middle.  Re-organize your stitches so there are 10 stitches on the front needle and 11 on the back needle,  BUT you must then move the extra stitch in the middle from the BACK needle to the front, to then K2tog in the same way.

This seems like a bit of palaver but it helps to both simplify stitch pattern AND results in fewer sewn stitches needed to close the gap.

Now, I don’t have an issue stuffing the heart nicely thru the open bumps and the centre gap, but it IS easier if you fully stuff the tip and lightly stuff up to the gap then do bump #2 and finally fully stuff the bumps before you fully close the gap.

I was lucky enough to get a fellow Ravelry user, who knit the original, review the pattern and knit a sample.  I think her sample photos show the superior look of the KFSB along the side edge as well!

Many thanks to  MingleYarns  for her help. It is much appreciated!

As a bonus, there is yet another way to make this pattern that you might prefer.  The texture is more subtle, but if you hate purling then this will be better. All you need to do is read every PURL stitch as a KTBL (knit thru the back loop, or make a twisted knit stitch, as you prefer.)

With this very simple change, and making only knit stitches (well, sort of!) you get texture like this:

I went ahead and did a replace P with Ktbl  edit and created what I am calling A Nearly No-Sew Subtle Textured Heart Pattern.  Just know that that is quite literally the ONLY CHANGE in Subtle Textured vs Textured – just substituting a knit thru the back loop for a purl.

Lastly, if the proportions of the textured versions are more pleasing to you, you need only add 5 knit rounds after round 18 on the original No-Sew heart pattern.  The original is as streamlined as I could make it for charity knitting, but the textured versions (and the + 5 rounds version) are great for any other heart-as-gift.