Thursday, February 23, 2017

Knitting Tutorial: M1L & M1R Increases

There are several ways to increase stitches when knitting.  

This tutorial focuses on the "make one" technique which can be used to make a left leaning stitch or a right leaning stitch.

This tutorial is for increases made with knit stitches (not purl stitches)...working knitwise.

How to: M1L = make one stitch left leaning (knitwise)

Make one (1) stitch by picking up the ladder stitch from the front and knitting through the back of the stitch. 

Step by step instructions...

1. Separate the needles slightly to locate the ladder between stitches:

Step 1: locate ladder between stitches
2. With the left hand needle, pick up the ladder by inserting needle from the front towards the back.

Step 2: pick up ladder stitch from the FRONT
3. Knit this picked up stitch by inserting the right hand needle through the back of stitch.

Step 3: insert right hand needle through BACK of stitch
4. Wrap the right hand needle and complete as for a knit stitch.  One new left leaning stitch made!

Step 4: wrap right hand needle & complete as for a knit stitch

How to: M1R = make one stitch right leaning (knitwise)

Make one (1) stitch by picking up the ladder stitch from the back and knitting through the front of the stitch.

Step by step...

1. Separate the needles slightly to locate the ladder between stitches:

Step 1: locate the ladder between the stitches
2. With left hand needle, pick up the ladder by inserting the needle from the back towards the front.

Step 2: insert needle from the BACK to pick up ladder
3. Knit this picked up stitch by inserting the right hand needle through front of stitch.

Step 3: knit by inserting right hand need thru FRONT
4. Wrap needle and complete as for a knit stitch.  One new right leaning stitch made!

Step 4: wrap needle & complete as for a knit stitch

Here's an example of completed M1 stitches:
 


Monday, February 13, 2017

Favorite Photos from the #YarnLoveChallenge

As you may have read in my previous post, this month I am participating in the #yarnlovechallenge over on Instagram. The organizers of this fiber themed challenge came up with themes for each day of the month in February 2017 and encouraged any yarn enthusiasts to share their photos related to the themes. It's been so fun to participate and I particularly like the themes for the second week of February and thought it would be fun to share a few of those photos here on the blog...in case you missed them.  

The theme for day 8 of the #yarnlovechallenge was "where I craft".  This photo was taken in my home studio where I spend a lot of my time.

My home studio.
I bought the sturdy, white table for my first college apartment many years ago.  This table is fantastic for crafting.  I love the durable white surface and it fits in right next to a big east facing window so I have lots of natural light.  My husband built an awesome desk and cabinets that run along the wall (behind the table).  That's where I have my computer and printer.  We live in an old house and this room was originally the kitchen when the house was built in the 1940's.  In case you are wondering...the grey blanket draped on the chair in the center of the photo is my Over the Rooftops blanket knitting pattern.  The blue blanket on the table was made using my free knitting pattern...The Boulevard Blanket.  The blue yarn is Lion Brand Hometown USA in the color 'Washington Denim'.

The theme for day 9 of the #yarnlovechallenge was "tools".  I love knitting tools!  It was fun to create a flatlay design using some of my favorite knitting tools...plus a few old treasures...

Some of my favorite knitting tools.
The Susan Bates US 13 straight knitting needles on the right are from the 1980's.  I haven't used them in years!  These days I primarily use circular knitting needles for flat knitting (working back and forth just like with straight needles) and double pointed needles for hats and other small in the round projects. My stitch markers, tape measure, tapestry needles and old Susan Bates gauge ruler are a few of my most used little tools.  I use a clip board with paper or a simple spiral notebook to keep notes when I am working on a new knitting design. I always have several ballpoint pens and basic pencils handy for taking notes, editing patterns, jotting down pattern name ideas, etc.

The theme for day 10 brought back a lot of memories..."oldest stash".  I pulled out my bin of really old yarn and dug to the very bottom to find some of these yarn treasures from the 1980's...

My oldest stash yarn.
I bought a lot of this yarn when I was in high school and college when I worked a couple summers in a little yarn shop.  Apparently I spent a lot of my earnings on yarn!  I knit mohair sweaters with the ivory and blue yarns (top corners).  A mohair sweater sounds dreadfully itchy to me today!  But...I did wear those sweaters. The raspberry colored yarn is alpaca and I knit a very soft, over-sized sweater for myself with that yarn.  I used the medium gray blue yarn (center) to knit a short sleeved pullover top that I wore many times in the spring and summer.  The greenish and gray blue yarns in the lower right of the photo are Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Worsted. I knit many sweaters with various colors of this reliable yarn back in the 80's and 90's.  In more recent years, I used up some of my leftover Lamb's Pride Worsted by knitting hats and mittens for my kids.  The ivory ribbon marketed for knitting and crochet was purchased in the 80's.  I never used it for knitting so these days I use it for wrapping packages and as a background prop in my knitting photos.

"Travel Projects" was the theme for day 11.  My favorite travel project is to visit a local yarn shop and bring home some beautiful yarn as a memento of the trip. I also love going to local book stores when I'm on a trip. Books and yarn are my favorite souvenirs!

The Yarn Barn in Lawrence, Kansas & Purl Soho in New York City.
 Last weekend I took a day trip to Lawrence, Kansas with my daughter.  It's only about 40 minutes from our house.  We went to Mass Street Music for her to check out some guitar accessories.  It's a really nice guitar store!  We also stopped in The Yarn Barn which is a lovely little yarn shop on Massachusetts Street.  (Locals call it "Mass Street".)  The Yarn Barn carries a great selection of yarn for knitting and crochet, as well as a huge section of supplies for weaving. (If you are interested, they print a beautiful annual catalog filled with their products.) I bought some beautiful yarn...see photo below.  One year ago I went to New York City and loved having the opportunity to go to Purl Soho. Their wall of yarn is gorgeous!  (FYI: check Purl Soho's hours before you go...when we were there they did not open until noon.)  Also...I would suggest previewing their yarn online before you go so you have an idea of what to look at first.  There's so much to see in this small but well stocked store!

Here's the gorgeous yarn I purchased at The Yarn Barn last weekend.  It's Malabrigo Rasta - a super bulky weight yarn that is kettle dyed.  The color is called 'Solis'. I'm making plans for this yarn!

Malabrigo Rasta - kettle dyed yarn in 'Solis' #809
Now I should get back to working on one of my knitting projects. I have a couple things in the works. Honestly...one idea has been slow to come together.  Trying new ideas takes time and patience!

If you would like to see more behind the scenes photos and follow along with the #yarnlovechallenge follow me on Instagram...@fiftyfourtenstudio.

Hope you have a wonderful week!  Happy Valentine's Day!  Happy knitting!

Mary Lee
Fifty Four Ten Studio

Monday, February 6, 2017

Three Year Blog Anniversary!

This week marks three years since I started this Fifty Four Ten Studio knitting blog!  It's been such a fun way to share my knitting patterns, extra details about my patterns, knitting tips and behind the scenes photos of my work in progress. It also helps me record my progress on my knitting endeavors. I really appreciate all who have read my blog!

This month I'm participating in a fun "challenge" on Instagram called the #yarnlovechallenge. If you have not heard about it...the organizers set up the @yarnlovechallenge Instagram page and posted a list of themes for each day for the month of February 2017.  The idea is for any yarn enthusiasts to share photos based on the daily theme.  Themes include: "currently making", "stripes", "where I craft", "tools", "happy color", "yarn love", and more. They came up with a great list of ideas and it's been fun to decide what to share on each day.

In case you are not in Instagram, I thought it would be fun to share a couple of the photos I used...

The theme for Day 1 of the #yarnlovechallenge was "introductions".  This is a photo of me taken on the first day of school...either 2nd or 3rd grade.  I picked this photo because my mother taught me to knit when I was about this age.  As a girl I loved to sew, design clothes for my dolls, knit draw and paint.  I love this photo...my navy blue sailor dress, my metal lunch box, the red ribbons in my hair, the wallpaper in the kitchen of my childhood home, and the umbrella hanging on the doorknob...it all brings back a lot of wonderful memories.


The theme for Day 5 of the challenge was "community".  I made a collage of favorite photos that all relate to my community...Kansas City.  I have lived in the Kansas City area my entire life.  I love my hometown!  We're right in the middle of the US...some call this "fly over country" but those of us who have lived here a long time know we have a lot that makes our city special....friendly people, great BBQ, the amazing Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, the Kansas City Royals baseball team and so much more.  See below for details on this collage of photos.


Kansas City - my community - my hometown. 
Here's the details on this photo collage...starting at the top left and working row by row:

1. The Parkway Pillow - my knitting pattern named for Ward Parkway, one of the prettiest and most well known streets in Kansas City.

2. Meyer Circle Fountain - it's located along Ward Parkway and is representative of the many fountains in our city.  Kansas City is known as "the city of fountains".

3. Brookside Blanket knitting pattern - named for the neighborhood where I grew up.

4. Shuttlecock sculptures at the Nelson-Atkin's Museum of Art - our world class art museum!  These sculptures were very controversial when they were installed in 1994.  Now, they are a KC landmark!

5. My Third Street Blanket knitting pattern - the name was inspired by the old River Market area in KC.

6. Sunflowers in Kansas - a photo I took at Grinter Farms in September 2016.  Their sunflower farm is absolutely beautiful...but best to avoid the crowds by going out there during the week.

7. My Westport Blanket knitting pattern - named for one of the oldest neighborhoods in Kansas City.

8. State Line Road - about half of the KC metropolitan area is located in Missouri and half in Kansas.  (I live in Kansas!)

9. The Boulevard Blanket - my free knitting pattern named in honor of our beautiful KC boulevards.  An old promotional slogan for KC was "More boulevards than Paris, more fountains than Rome."

The theme for Day 4 of the #yarnlovechallenge was "speed".  I used this photo...more below...

The Boulevard Blanket - a free knitting pattern.
In terms of speed as it relates to knitting...I am a very slow knitter and I'm ok with that!  I've seen videos on Instagram of knitters who knit so fast it makes me anxious.  It doesn't look relaxing at all to me!  For me knitting is about the process...not about how quickly I finish a project.

The pattern I used for the blue blanket above is my always free pattern...The Boulevard Blanket.  It's very easy to knit with super bulky yarn.  The yarn I used is Lion Brand Hometown USA in the color 'Washington Denim'.  This yarn is so soft and cozy.  It's very economical but don't let the low price fool.  The price is low but the quality is nice.  It's not "sticky" like some acrylic yarns.  I really enjoy knitting with this yarn!  It comes in a wide variety of colors.  I particularly like the softer, muted colors like 'Dallas Grey', 'Houston Cream' and 'Washington Denim'.

I have a couple of projects in the works right now.  Sorry no details ready to share yet but I'm really excited them and I'll post info as soon as it's ready!

January 2017 was a record month for my pattern sales on Ravelry, Etsy and Craftsy!  I am so appreciative of all the purchases and kind feedback on my patterns!  THANK YOU! 

In the past couple weeks, I've enjoyed helping a couple of knitters via their email questions. One knitter told me that she taught herself to knit using online videos. I was so impressed especially because her stitches were so well done with very even tension. It's very hard to teach a new knitter how to achieve even tension! I was so happy to be able to help her as she worked on my Where the Sidewalk Ends blanket.  I was thrilled to receive her email a couple days ago with a photo of her beautiful finished blanket!  If you ever have any questions when using one of my patterns, email me using the email address provided in the pattern. I'm happy to help!

Thanks so much for reading this long post!  If you would like to know more about the #yarnlovechallenge you can check out the @yarnlovechallenge Instagram page or see all my photos related to the challenge on my Instagram page.

Have a great week!  Happy knitting! :)

Mary Lee
Fifty Four Ten Studio