I have finally mastered knitting two sleeves at a time using magic loop. Double pointed needles I can handle but I have never loved it as I love the magic loop. First, I were frustrated by the ladders I accidentally made when using DPNS, second I became fed up of hunting for a lost needle especially on double decker bus without any friendly knitters on board – if there were I did not have to look at all – it would be given back a few seconds later by a fellow knitter who can spot it very quickly indeed! But I digress, I have used the magic loop for years now, and would recommend it warmly. Using a good quality circular needle is essential otherwise you might end up with just a needle tips without a cord or a kink damaged cord (read: I have done both). It needs to be a minimum of 80 cm/32″ long, since you need to pull out a loop at each end, in a figure 8. Now, I have managed to knit two at a time with the aid of Liat Gat’s brilliant YouTube video – she demonstrates knitting both the English way and the Continental way here: Two at at time.
I found it hard to solve the cast on issue on my own and needed a teacher to show me which method of cast on I should use so that the yarn would be in the right position, and the fact that you actually first cast on half the amount of the first sleeve, then the full amount for the second sleeve. Next, you pull out the cord in the middle and join second sleeve then work half of it before casting on remaining stitches for the first sleeve and repeat the join on the first sleeve. I also find it easier to work in a lace pattern across a magic loop, since I only work half a sleeve at a time instead of a quarter of it and hence do not need to move stitches from one needle to the other, when I end on a knit 2 together for instance. So I am knitting my lace sleeves a lot quicker than I thought I would and it is pure bliss!
After completing a weekend workshop in Finishing and Fairisle I held for Vestre Aker Husflidslag/Handicraft association in Oslo, I am preparing the next which is Lace knitting for Larvik Husflidslag. So my mind is set on knitting techniques at the moment, spurred on by questions e-mailed to me for assistance on my patterns. The most popular video which is all over the Norwegian knitting groups on Facebook is one called Tilbakestrikkingens Kunst/The Art of Backwards knitting. It used to be the colloquial term for unraveling a row or a round; stitch by stitch, but this is literally knitting backwards without turning your knitting and purling, hence creating stocking stitch by knitting into the back loop in the opposite direction. For all of you knitters out there who dislike purling, do watch this:
The Art of Backwards Knitting
I adore tucks and hems. They are both enjoyable to knit and give such a distinct look to a garment. Above is the Indigo Sweater with tucks (pattern available in English on ravelry and in Norwegian in my book) modeled by the beautiful Anna Pfeifer, photographed by Kim Müller. Using two needles held parallel to each other, also raises some eyebrows, but it is ever so useful not to have to pick up stitches several rows down on the wrong side of work when you make a tuck or a hem. You only cast on, or knit one row with 2 needles held next to each other, and then on the next row or round pull out the extra needle so the stitches stay on the cord hence it becomes a stitch holder, while you continue to work with the other needle until you are ready to close the tuck or the hem. Then you fold the second needle – the holder – at the back and work knit 2 together with one stitch from each needle. This is a video I have made, but even if you do not understand my Norwegian I think you will find the demonstration useful.
Tuck or Hem Making
An I-cord, and especially an attached i-cord, is a method I favour for edgings when a bit of extra volume is needed at the end. Like at the top front edge of my Aran Bolero, and at the hem of my Aran Skirt, just to mention two garments where I have used it. The name in Norwegian is knitted cord, but that removes the fun of the name. I for Idiot, in several senses of the word: so easy that even an idiot can do it, that is when you know how, obviously! Other knitters have been quick to add: So boring that only an idiot would actually do it… Yes, I agree it is not what I enjoy knitting the most, but then it does make a neat rounded cord finish. And even an idiot have to admit to it…