Dropping a stitch from time to time is pretty much inevitable. Despite our best attempts to keep them all on the needles, one seems always to be falling off the front of a straight or circular needle, or off the back of my arch-nemesis, the double point. Luckily, once you've learned to pick up a dropped stitch, it's more of a minor annoyance than a major waste of time. Having pulled out multiple rows and re-knit them time and again, I'm delighted now that I've learned how to fix dropped stitches without backtracking.
The first step to being able to fix your dropped stitches is being able to identify them. Each stitch on your needle is a loop, attached to the row below it by looping through the stitch below. So when a stitch falls off your needle, it first looks like a little loop right at the top of your knitting - if you can pick it back up right away, that's all there is to it! With the loop safely restored to the company of its siblings on your needle, you're ready to start knitting again.
The real problem comes when you can see the same little loop that you did at the top, but now it's a row or two ... or ten, down from where you're knitting now. Sometimes, when the stitch has had some time to pull down several rows, instead of seeing the stitch at first you just see a ladder of straight sections of yarn. Don't be overwhelmed by dread! This is fixable, and you don't have to take out your whole piece just to recover that one stitch.
If you see a dropped stitch ladder, the first thing to do is find the loop at the bottom. It may be very small at the moment if it's in the process of pulling through another row, but once you start pulling it back up one more row will hardly matter, so don't worry if your first attempts to get your needle through it cause it to drop another step in the ladder. Just get your needle through the loop, in any direction to start with. Once you've caught the loop, your work is safe. If you need to put it down now (or maybe put it in a cupboard for a year or two), there's no problem - it will be just the same when you come back to it, for better or worse.
Next is bringing the loop back up to its proper row. You can figure out how many rows you have to work by looking in front of and behind the loop that you've caught on your needle. Count the number of times that the yarn goes straight behind and in front of your loop - these are the steps of the ladder that your stitch has created, and this is the number of rows that you need to work back up. In the photo, I'll need to bring the loop back up a total of 5 rows.
It is certainly possible to re-loop your stitch with just your needles, but it's even easier if you have a crochet hook.
Turn the work so the knit side is facing you (the knit side is flat, as opposed to the bumpy purl side).* Put your crochet hook into the loop from your side toward the back of the work. Maneuver things so that your loop is sticking out the front of your work, in front of all the steps of the ladder that you need to work back up.
Hook the first step of the ladder, and pull it through your loop from back to front. Drop your original loop off the hook, keeping the stitch that you just created from the step of the ladder.
Voila! You're one row closer to your goal. I had 5 steps in the ladder when I started, and now I have only 4. Repeat this until there are no more steps in your ladder. Be careful to keep looping in the right direction - check after each stitch and make sure your crochet hook is going through your stitch from front to back. If it's not (it probably won't be), just pull it out of the stitch and put it back in the right way.
When you are done bringing your stitch back up to the top row, just slip it back onto whichever needle it fell off of. If when you knit it in the next row, that stitch looks twisted, knit it through the back - its direction may have gotten switched during the re-looping.
*If you are knitting in garter stitch - i.e. you are just knitting every row and the two sides look the same - or you want more detail, take a look at the complete version of this article, posted on the Picking Up Dropped Stitches article on our website.
Don't forget that the deadline for the first monthly pattern contest is April 30th, 2007. You can find more info here.
JBW Knit for Charity
Here at Jimmy Beans we've been thinking a lot about ways to give back to the community. We love to knit gifts for our friends and families, but we often forget how many people there are out there with no one to knit gifts for them. It only seems right that the love and knitted gifts should be shared - that's why we're starting our Knit for Charity program.
Each quarter, we'll be sponsoring knitting for a different charity. Here's how it works: You choose your project (we'll put up guidelines for which items this quarter's program accepts, patterns, and which yarns will work), order the yarn, and knit it up. Then, send the completed project back to us and we'll put 25% of the price of the yarn into your account as a credit. We'll pack up all the donations for the quarter and send them off to the charity - and keep you updated on the contribution, of course!
We're happy to announce that the inaugural charity for the program is Stitches from the Heart, an organization whose volunteers hand knit and crochet hats, booties, blankets, and sweaters for newborn and premature babies. The clothes are donated to hospitals around the country so that premature babies and needy newborns can go home from the hospital with something to wear.
For guidelines on what to knit for Stitches from the Heart, and the details on JBW Knit for Charity, take a look at our new Charity page. We'll start accepting contributions as soon as you (and we) are done knitting them! We're excited about the opportunity to do some knitting for a good cause, and we hope you'll join us.
If you have a charity to suggest for a future quarter, or a pattern for newborn or preemie clothing that you'd like to share, just email us at charity@JimmyBeansWool.com. We'd love to hear from you!
Jimmy Beans Wool Retreat 2007
After a hiatus of two years, Jimmy Beans Wool is excited to announce that we are hosting another knitting retreat!
The 2007 Jimmy Beans Wool Retreat will be held on the weekend of September 7th to the 9th at the Ice Lakes Lodge at Soda Springs, in the beautiful Sierra Nevada Mountains. We will have three days and two nights of fun, knitting workshops and relaxed social knitting, and yoga.
The lodge is located next to the beautiful Serene Lakes in the northern Sierra, and for the early birds we will have yoga on the beach, weather permitting. For those who love to hike, there are plenty of trails to peruse.
Due to the small size of the lodge, we are only able to accommodate about 40 participants, double occupancy. Below is a tentative itinerary:
Welcome - Arrival & Registration
Mini Classes (perhaps)
6.30am -7.30am Yoga
7am - 9 am Breakfast
9.30am - 12.30pm Classes
1.00 - 2.00pm Lunch
2.30 - 5.30pm Classes
7 pm Dinner
After dinner - Show and Tell - bring your projects!
6.30am -7.30am Yoga
7am - 9 am Breakfast
9.30am - 12.30pm Classes
After Lunch - Departure
Costs and specific class schedules are still being worked out, but we wanted to give you as much notice as possible. The weekend cost will likely be between $300 and $500, all inclusive. Tentatively, there will be three teachers and we will have a list of classes in the next few weeks. We would love to hear from you! Please email us at retreat@JimmyBeansWool.com with any questions or to reserve your spot.
Thanks for your interest, and we hope to see you in September!
Kit of the month
Every month we feature a new yarn + pattern combination at a special kit-of-the-month discount...
Make this stunning heirloom blanket for the new addition to your family. This blanket is made using the intarsia method and also incorporates a cabled border. It features each letter of the alphabet and a small multi-color illustration to match - a challenging project that will be treasured for generations.
This month's featured kit is the Rowan Cashsoft DK Alphabet Baby Blanket . On Sale as low as $76.51, , you're saving 25% off the original price of $101.95 and that includes the book Mother & Baby, which is chock full of other great patterns! The price is even lower if you already have the pattern book at home (or if you have a different pattern you love)!
This kit will be available at the sale price through the end of the month (sale ends April 30th, 2007).
The Cable Corner
I love cables! I think they're one of the easiest techniques to master, and yet they yield spectacular results. Nothing is quite as disappointing as working for hours on a complicated technique, only to have the piece look approximately the same as it would have if done simply. With cables, this is never a problem! They turn any plain project into a beautiful piece that's interesting to knit but not (usually) impossibly intricate. Take a look at the Cabled Baby Sweater that I made last fall to learn more about adding a cable to a simple project.
You can knit a cable onto anything you're making, so if you've made mostly scarves, try a cabled scarf pattern. If you're into hats or sweaters or socks or ponchos or afghans or wrist-warmers, there are cabled projects for you! And after you've tried some simpler things, try making or even designing your own Aran sweater, combining multiple cable patterns in unique configurations - and Arans are great gifts for hard-to-knit-for men.
Cables are created by knitting stitches out of order on a purled background; you skip two or more stitches on your right needle and knit some number from further down, then you go back and knit the stitches you've skipped. Ordinarily, you'll use a cable needle to hold the skipped stitches, but it is also possible to cable with just your two regular needles (take a look at Carole Wulster's book Cable Needle Freedom to learn more about this great time-saving technique).
Yarn: You can use a wide variety of yarns for cabling; the most important factor in choosing for a cabled project is definition. Very fuzzy or novelty yarns won't show a cable pattern well (although some mohair and angora will - it depends on the yarn); the best yarns for cables have relatively little fuzz and little if any variation in width. The heavier the yarn you choose, the wider your cables will be - you can always make your cable more or fewer stitches wide, but in a very heavy yarn you can't make the dainty cables you can, for example, in a fingering weight.
Lighter colors will also help a cable pattern show up better, but done in dark colors they also lend great texture and make people want to look more closely. Variegated and self striping yarns also work wonderfully, creating a colorful background for a cable pattern.
Kits: We have kits for a huge range of cabled items, and they vary from ultra simple and elegant, e.g. the Karabella Supercashmere Hat and Scarf set, to amazingly detailed things like RYC Natural Silk Aran Driftwood pullovers for men and women. Try one of these, or anything in between!
If you haven't tried cabling yet, don't be intimidated. If you have, well, you're probably already addicted, so enough said.
TEAM JIMMY BEANS...MEET JEANNE
Employee of the Month :: Jeanne
Jeanne recently came to us in dire need of a diversion from her tedious paralegal work. One smart cookie, she's always having a blast in the Reno store - rearranging yarns and books, creating compelling displays, and just chatting with the customers. You'd be hard pressed to find a nicer and more generous person. We're so grateful to have her!!
Just Arrived :: Rowan Damask and Cotton Jeans, Offhand Designs Bags, & Grayson E Leather Flowers and Bag Handles!
This month we're drooling over our brand new Offhands Designs bags. Handmade in Oakland, CA, these are the cat's meow in knitting handbags! They come in gorgeous limited edition velvet and chenille outside designs, with myriad pockets and storage nooks inside. The two Zelda bags have a magnetic closure at the top that also holds them open so you can rummage around inside with ease.
Also from Offhand Designs, we have the Deluxe and Circular Clutches. These sleek, elegant clutches hold your circular needles (and in the case of the Deluxe, your straights, double points, and accessories as well) and come in luxurious fabrics that match the Zelda and Eve bags.
The limited edition nature of the available fabrics makes these bags and clutches a little bit tricky to negotiate with your friends (or in our case, co-workers). We've already had a few tiffs over these, so if there's one you really like, order it before you show the picture to your friends (and I'm speaking from experience here)!
We aren't at loose ends about what to fill our bags with, either! This month we received more new yarns from Rowan - Cotton Jeans, their new tweedy cotton yarn, perfect for summer projects, and Damask, a blend that gets its texture from linen and its silky feel and shine from viscose.
We've been focusing on unique handmade knitting accessories lately - we have
Lantern Moon Baskets,
Alsatian Knitter's Soaps, and
Offhand Designs Bags, and this month we're excited to add Grayson handmade leather purse handles and
decorative flowers to our list. The handles come in three styles and five colors, and the flowers come in large or small - and they're gorgeous either way. We also have five new bag patterns using the handles and flowers - or use them with a favorite pattern of your own!
Mother's Day is coming up, and what better way to say thanks to Mom than with a handmade gift? On the other hand, if you're the one being appreciated, you can create a wish list on our website and email a casual reminder to the relevant parties, maybe pointing out that more knitting stuff for you translates into more knitted gifts for them...
April SALE - Rowan Plaid, Karabella Supercashmere, and Rowan Cashsoft Baby DK!
All in-stock colors of Rowan Plaid are on sale for the rest of this month (or as soon as we sell out). At $10.17 & 110 yds per ball (reg price $16.95), this amazingly soft Merino, Alpaca and Acrylic blend is sure to make a spectacular, affordable sweater! Plaid is a great yarn for a cabling project too. Below are a few of the kits and patterns using this yarn.
We've also extended our sale on Karabella Supercashmere! This 100% Cashmere yarn is now $33.00 & 81 yds. per ball (reg. price $55.00). A perfect yarn for supersoft, luxurious gifts!
We've gone a little bit sale-crazy this month, so we also have Rowan Cashsoft Baby DK on sale for the month of April! At $6.36 and 143 yds/ball (reg. price $7.95), this yarn is great for any project - and it's substitutable for Cashsoft DK as well! Below are a few of the many kits and patterns we have for this yarn.
Between moving, getting married, and having kids, it seems like everyone I know needs a knitted gift these days! I'm knitting like crazy; here are a few of the things I've been working on:
After seeing this adorable pattern in the most recent Vogue, I knew I had to knit it! However, my friend is due to adopt her baby in less than a month, so I knew I had to knit with something a little chunkier than the DK weight called for in the pattern. The Blue Sky Cotton was perfect! By doing some math, i just figured out how many to cast on instead (answer: 133) and how many fewer repeats I should perform. Hopefully I'll be done soon :)
My friends are all having babies, so I'm knitting up a storm! I'm alternating between the Arglye and the Tuscany, knitting 2 rows with each to create this unique colorway. I found this diagonal stitch pattern in one of my stitch pattern books & I think it works perfectly - what do you think? Only one more sleeve to go... (and then I have to finish the neck).
Thanks for reading and Happy Knitting!
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