An alternative to P2tog tbl

Sometimes you need to work directional decreases on both sides of your knitting and this often involves P2tog through the back of the loops which is a rather awkward stitch to work.  So let me guide you through an alternative way to work this stitch which I think is much easier on the hands and the final stitch looks exactly the same as a P2togtbl but requires less acrobatic hand maneuvers. There is also a video right at the very end of this post.

Step 1: insert your right hand needle into the next 2 stitches just as you would when doing a P2tog

new_first

slide these 2 stitches on to the right hand needle.
Step 2: bring the left needle up and under these two stitches and slide them back on to the left needle

new_second

the stitches have now been twisted:

new_third

Step 3: Now purl these 2 stitches together just as your would a regular P2tog

new_fourth

As you can see on the right side you now have a left leaning decrease that looks just the same as P2togtbl:

new_fifth

You can also view this tutorial on YouTube:

Planning your knit or crochet blanket layout

I am currently obsessed with designing and knitting blanket squares, from tiny bias garter stitch squares to large lace and cables squares that is all I want to create at the moment.

With the weather starting to warm up here in the UK I’m also thinking about smaller, lightweight projects that are great for the summer months and I think that blanket squares are the perfect portable project to take out with you to the beach or anywhere you go with your knitting.

colouredsquarespic

So my obsession with blanket squares led me to thinking about how you plan out your finished blanket. If you blanket square are going to be all the same colour and design then this is not an issue, but if you are planning a multi-coloured blanket or one with many different squares then you need to consider how the final blanket will look.

My answer to this is usually to draw out a grid with the final number of blanket squares then start colouring the squares in until I get a layout I love, then I thought wouldn’t it be easier if I had a selection of grids ready so that I can just print them out whenever I need them then start colouring away.

6pic

And so I made a small booklet of different sized grids for planning out your blanket, this PDF features seven different sized grids from 6×6 up to 16×16 and you can download your free copy by clicking on the pdf link below.

BlanketLayouts

These grids of course work for both knitting or crochet, I will in the near future create another booklet of grids for larger sized blankets, so if you have any specific requests for a certain size please let me know in the comments.

Intarsia tutorial – it’s more fun than you think!

I love creating pictures with my knitting, whether it’s with the use of texture or stranded colourwork motifs but also with intarsia.  For some reason so many knitters have a serious aversion to intarsia, I think it’s possibly the thought of having to work with 20 different yarns at once that puts people off.

I really want to show you that intarsia can be fun, especially with simple designs that don’t require you to be working with numerous little balls of yarn at once, and I hope that this tutorial will help change some minds about intarsia.

This is the simple chart that I will be using throughout this tutorial:

chartjp

As you can see there are only two colours in this design, but there is more than one ‘section’ of each of the colours.  A section is a separate area of colour, each section will need a separate ball (or bobbin) of yarn, before starting you will need to work out how many balls of yarn you will need to wind.

In the first part of the design there is 3 sections; 2 main colour and 1 contrast colour:

lowerarrow-chartIn the second part there is 5 sections; 3 main colour and 2 contrast colour:

upperarrow-chart

So in total you will need 3 small balls of main colour yarn and 2 small balls of contrast colour yarn.

Start knitting:

Having already worked 2 rows in MC (main colour) on row 3 you will K4 in MC, then join your first ball of CC (contrast colour) and K12 in CC, then join a 2nd ball of MC and K to the end of the row.

When you get to row 11 you will continue using the balls of yarn that you’re already working with but also add in two more.  So K4 with current MC, K4 with current CC, join another MC ball and K4, join another CC and K4, then K to end with existing MC.

Changing to the next colour:

When you get to the point on a row where you change to the next colour it is important to remember to twist the two colour threads so as to not leave a hole in your knitting.

On a RS (knit) row bring the next colour yarn tail under the current yarn tail and then knit the next stitch.

colchangers

On a WS (purl) row again you bring the next colour yarn tail under the current colour yarn tail before purling the next stitch.

colchangews

By always bringing the next yarn under and around you are twisting the two colours and there will be no gaps in your knitting, the back of your knitting should look something like this:

reverseknit

There will be a few ends to weave in, but apart from that I think intarsia is quite painless. If you are now feeling super confident about this technique I have a new pattern coming out in the next couple of days which has a fun intarsia motif and is super cute.