In last month's newsletter I gave directions for casting on your hat using a circular needle,
joining it to work in the round, and a quick formula for decreases. If you were knitting a hat
using those directions, though, you probably noticed that shortly after you start your
decreases, that 16" circular needle starts to be too big for the shrinking circumference of the
hat. To solve this problem, you'll finish your hat with a set of double pointed needles in the
same size as your circular. Keep in mind that
these pictures are larger on the How to Create a Hat - Part 2 article on our website - I know it's hard to see what's going on in these.
Some people transfer the hat to the double points just before they begin their decreases,
but since I tend to put everything off until the last minute, I generally wait until I start
noticing the stitches on the circular needle being pulled tight as I knit around.
Once you decide to transfer your stitches, knit to the end of the round (you might have
put in a marker there, or you might just look at which stitch your tail is coming from). For
the duration of the next round, you'll be knitting the stitches from the circular needle onto the double points.
Your set of double pointed needles has either 4 or 5 needles in it; to knit with them you'll use 3
or 4 needles to hold the stitches (these will all take turns being the equivalent of your left needle
when you knit with straights, and 1 to knit onto (this one will always be the equivalent of the right
needle when you knit with straights).
For the rest of this article, I'll assume that your set consists of 5 double pointed needles.
If your set has only 4, you'll just be distributing your stitches evenly over 3 needles instead of 4.
To start, you'll distribute the stitches onto 4 of the double points. Divide your total number of stitches
by 4 - if your total isn't divisible by 4, it doesn't matter; just put 1 more stitch on one or two needles.
A pattern will usually tell you exactly how many stitches to put on each of your needles, but unless you're
working in a pattern stitch that requires you to count your stitches, it doesn't matter if they're perfectly
evenly distributed or not. In the case of our hat, we had 65 stitches total, so we'll put 16 stitches on 3
of the needles and the extra stitch on the last one - 17 stitches.
To put the stitches on the double pointed needles, just knit them on.
Hold the circular needle the way you would normally with your left hand, and instead
of using the right needle from the circular, use the first of your double pointed needles.
Knit the appropriate number of stitches onto that needle and then let it hang while you
knit the next batch onto the second double point. Do this twice more, and you'll be done
with the circular until the next time you want to make a hat. Now you have your 4 double
points holding all your stitches, and a fifth needle to knit the stitches onto.
Just knit the stitches from the first double point onto your empty needle,
the same way you knit them from the circular to the double point. When you
get to the end of the first needle, stop. You should now have the same
configuration that you started with - your stitches distributed evenly over
4 double pointed needles, and one empty needle. Now just repeat around the hat.
Now you've sped along through your decreases and you have fewer than ten
stitches left. It's time to finish your hat!
If you're using 7" long double pointed needles, this is a very
awkward moment, when you have a whole lot more needle space than stitches. It
is for situations like this that shorter double points were invented - but more
on that another time. Cut your yarn (leaving about 6 inches for weaving) and thread it through a
darning needle. Pass the yarn end through each of the remaining stitches, then
pull it tight and weave it in. I tend to weave the ends in a few times across the crown of the hat, in a criss-cross manner.
Better to weave in too much now than to have to fix a hole later. Now your hat is complete!
The part of knitting with double pointed needles that most often throws me off track is remembering to stop when I
get to the end of the stitches on the first needle. I tend to keep knitting until
there are stitches falling off the end of my right needle - and then realize that
I should have switched needles a long time ago! (The giveaway on this difficulty is that you suddenly end up with an extra
double pointed needle sitting in your lap.) If this happens to you (i.e., you see that you now only have 1-2 needles holding your yarn, instead of the 4 that we've been talking about),
just slip the correct
number of stitches back onto the empty needle. If you discover the problem mid-needle
(i.e. the extra needle isn't quite in your lap yet - it still has some stitches on it),
it's probably easier to go back and un-knit the extra stitches, and then knit them again
onto the correct needle.
Have you had the frustration of a needle breaking in the middle of a project? Or worse, in the middle of a row??
If you have, you'll understand why we want to remind you of our broken needle exchange policy!
If you have broken a Lantern Moon, Clover, Britney, Boye, or Blue Sky needle
(any brand and size that we carry - call us if you're not sure), send it back and we'll exchange it for an identical (but not broken!) one.
Just put the needle - all the parts, including the rest of the set if it's a double point - in a package and send it to us. Please include a note that says "broken needle exchange"
and include the size and length of the needle and whether or not you bought it from us (we happy to exchange needles not purchased from us, just make sure we carry the size and brand that you're sending).
The only catch is that we ask that you include $4 for return shipping & handling if you didn't purchase the needles from us originally.
Keep in mind that our shipping is $4 flat rate, so if you'd like to order anything else to ship with your replacement needle, you'll have already covered the shipping!
Pattern Design Contest Guidelines
Whew! We've finally done it... our pattern contest guidelines are up and the contest has started.
Click here for details.
And remember we're running this contest every month, so if you don't get your first entry into us by the end of April, there's always May :)
The prize pack is growing daily (we're expecting prizes by Trendsetter, Berroco, & Lantern Moon, ... plus a few others!),
and is currently valued at over $180. The deadline for the inaugural contest is April 30th, 2007.
We've included answers to the most obvious question below, but if you click here, you'll find answers to your other questions.
Why submit a pattern?
You'll be famous and the envy of your knitting friends! Well, famous to the extent that people around the world who regularly come to our site will enjoy reading and knitting (or crocheting) your pattern! I'm not sure you will be immediately invited to be on The Today Show, but your pattern will be featured on our website, in our newsletter, and will include your photo and short bio!
You will win a $50 gift certificate to Jimmy Beans Wool that can be used in our store or online!
PLUS a prize pack donated by the manufacturers. The prize pack is expanding all the time, and currently includes:
Every month we feature a new yarn + pattern combination at a special kit-of-the-month discount...
This yarn is so unbelievably soft that you won't ever want to knit with anything else! This gorgeous hat and scarf set is a
quick-knitting and spectacular gift for someone with a rainy, windy March birthday - or for yourself, of course!
And knitting with Supercashmere is a gift anyway!
This month's featured kit is the
Karabella Supercashmere Lace Hat & Scarf .
On Sale as low as $120.05, you're saving 30% off the original price of $171.50 - for 100% cashmere!
The price is even lower if you already have the pattern 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 March 31st, 2007).
The Baby Blanket Corner
Baby blankets make wonderful, practical gifts for babies and toddlers alike.
The reason that I love knitting baby blankets is because I can try out new stitch
patterns (and techniques and yarns) that I might not want an entire sweater out of.
And they can knit up so quickly!
Depending on where you (and the baby) live, you'll want to select a fiber that works
best for that envirnoment (cotton vs. wool vs. acrylic). Don't get stuck thinking that
only acrylics are baby yarn, though, as yarns have come a long way in the last 5-10 years.
There are tons and tons of luscious fibers that can be machine washed now.
And, if the mother-to-be prefers completely organic products, there's always Blue Sky
Alpacas Organic Cotton - there are no dyes used to create the 6 colorways.
Hint: Have a baby shower to attend next week and haven't started on the gift yet? Grab
a couple balls of a matching solid. If the yarns are worsted weight, you'll want about 500 yds
of each color and a US 11-13 needle to make a 36"x36" blankie. Knit the blanket using one strand
of each color and you can finish the blanket just in time for the baby shower!
Yarn: From talking with thousands of knitters, I've learned that most knitters
prefer yarn with little or no fuzz, lots of softness, and plenty of machine washable
durability. As such, all of the yarns that we recommend in our Baby Blanket corner
are machine washable and perfect candidates for a blanket.
Kits: Baby Blankets are particularly great projects because they can be designed for absolutely any level of knitter!
If you're just starting out, try the Cashsoft Baby DK Blankie, knitted in small squares, or the Muench Big Baby Feather and Fan Blanket,
with a gorgeous and easy stitch pattern. Intermediate? Try the Blue Sky Alpacas Eyelet Baby Blanket, made with incredibly soft Dyed
Organic Cotton. If you're looking for a challenge, try the Cashsoft Alphabet Blanket, with colorwork alphabet and a picture to illustrate each letter!
My motto lately has been, "into each life, many baby showers must fall all at once." Luckily, I've discovered how enjoyable and fast
it is to make baby blankets as gifts!
TEAM JIMMY BEANS...MEET VIRGINIA
Employee of the Month :: VIRGINIA
A recent newbie to the area, Virginia is helping out in both our locations. She's a great knitter and an even better professional,
so you're almost guaranteed to get the right answer when talking with her...Virginia has just started helping with our eCommerce orders,
so you'll be hearing from her more and more often!!
I just love having her around & I think you will too!!
Just Arrived :: Rowan Beads, Terry Ross bags, KnitWhits Sock Kits & new Rowan Yarns!
Our new Rowan Beads are already a huge hit
among our staff members, and we think you'll love them too. They're called for in a lot of Rowan patterns (check out recent
for some examples), but we've also used them with Blue Sky Alpaca and Silk, among other yarns, and they're spectacular!
And if you're looking for a bag to match a beaded sweater, take a look at
Twelve Bags Fulled a new offering from bag designer Terry L. Ross!
We know Terry best from her amazing Felted English Garden Carpetbag,
which she designed as a free pattern for Crystal Palace Yarns. Needless to say, we were thrilled when we found out that we could
try a new one of her bags every month! Twelve Bags Fulled is a collection of knitted and felted handbag patterns inspired by the months of the year.
If time is going to zip by us anyway, why not knit a bag each month to commemorate those fleeting days? Every month evokes a new theme
for a fabulous purse.
Put some Spring in your step with these new KnitWhits Socks for Tots kits - a perfect quick project for the last of the cool weather.
Everything you need to make a cute pair of socks for your favorite tot (or two), including great (what is this yarn made of) machine washable
yarn. At $19 per kit, the color and pattern combinations make these socks our new favorite quick knit (or gift).
This month we almost stopped talking to Jerome (our UPS guy) entirely when he brought in stacks
and stacks of boxes of new Rowan yarns! You might think we were annoyed at the fact that we can hardly walk around
in the store anymore, but in fact we were just all unpacking the yarn to see and feel it - it's incredible! Bamboo is
the fiber of the season, and
Bamboo Soft and Bamboo Tape
(both 100% bamboo!) are perfect for elegant spring and summer projects! They're amazingly soft and silky, and have wonderful sheen and drape.
MARCH SALE - CASHSOFT 4PLY
Yep, you read it right - all in-stock colors of Rowan
are on sale for the rest of this month (or as soon as we sell out).
At $6.37 & 198 yds per ball (reg price $8.95), you won't be disappointed with the quality and quantity of this machine washable cashmere yarn.
Below are a few of the kits and patterns using this yarn.
Thanks for reading and Happy Knitting!
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