Thursday, May 29, 2008

Bobby Blue, Confession Time and some Malabrigo for you (maybe!)

Eye of Partridge Shawl in Malabrigo Lace "Bobby Blue"
Bobby Blue
There are so many shades of teh Malabrigo to love, but I think that I might be currently knitting with my all-time number-one-with-a-bullet: Bobby Blue. It's just...the perfect blue. And I am not really even a blue person, but this color just sends me into paroxysms of delight. Yesterday I cast on for the
'Eye of Partridge' shawl with some Malabrigo Lace and I am just feelin' it, in fact I can't put it down, despite the massive amount of textbook editing I should be doing. Work--it just gets in the way.

Confession Time
I cannot do a long tail cast on to save my life. It has been shown and explained to me by at least 4 different knitters with various presentational styles at different points in my knitting career. Explanations have ranged from the kinesthetic "move the yarn like a triangle and then... ", the visual "do you see how you are creating a triangle? Next...", and finally, the text-heavy "In order to do th long tail cast-on you must create a triangle, you'll then proceed to..." None of these were even remotely successful--I just don't get it. Does not compute. I've even spent extensive time trolling around Youtube for helpful videos and have yet to find the video that will make it all make sense. I've actually really tried as opposed to fake tried (like I used to do with math in middle school) and just can't grasp it at all. Weirdly I am sort of good at things that can be hard for other knitters, like the kitchener stitch, stranding and even seaming. But the long-tail cast is just not happening for me.

Malabrigo for you?
What do you not get? What technique has been dumbed down by patient knitters who somewhat incredulously try to understand what your exact damage is, and yet still eludes you? I have a leftover skein of Malabrigo 'Velvet Grapes' that I would love to give away to someone who'll love it more than I do. Bobby Blue I am true blue for you, but Velvet Grapes? Not so much. Just leave a comment before Sat. at midnight and I'll choose a random individual to receive it. Not to be all gimmicky with the contests, but I just know that I won't use this skein when there are so many other colors I'd rather use...

65 comments:

Erin said...

Have you tried this video? http://www.knittinghelp.com/videos/cast-on

I learned to knit pretty much exclusively by watching those videos over and over while sitting with the needles and yarn trying it as she was doing it, so I'm a big believer! I don't know what I would do without long-tail - every cast-on I regularly use is a variation on it. What cast-on do you use instead?

The A.D.D. Knitter said...

I am all about the cable cast-on!

theblondeknitter said...

that IS quite an excellent shade of blue isn't it? and in Malabrigo no less...yuuuummmy. thank you for sharing it!

well, i'm still a new knitter so i am learning as i go. most things have been conquerable for me but they have to be shown to me. in person. as in a live demonstration. i am enough of a visual learner that i have a hard time learning something just by reading it in a book. it takes a LoNg time for me to figure out. i have no idea as to why. not a clue. you know, the most ironic part of it all is that i love to read and write!
:)

Yarnhog said...

The only cast on I knew for years was the long tail, and I never once thought of it as a triangle. I teach it as "over and under, behind and through", which is how I think of it. No one's ever had trouble picking it up. But the provisional cast on? Yeah, that one doesn't work so well for me. Not in any of its seemingly endless variations.

Alice said...

I have the same mental block with long tail. I used to wish I could, but since I learned cable, I just don't see the reason to do much else.

Marion said...

I struggled with the long tail cast on until one day it just clicked. I was watching someone do it on TV and I had a lightbulb moment. Keep trying, You'll get it some day.

peaknits said...

The baby surprise jacket's written pattern stumps me - but the video - ah, a lifesaver!

Sharon said...

Provisional cast-on. I've tried it...hmm, I dunno how many times, and I still can't get it right. I just can't seem to wrap my brain around it.

michele k said...

Kitchner grafting eluded me for a while, but after a weekend by myself with no television I conquered it. My current bugaboo is Magic Loop method for knitting 2 socks at a time. It just gives me tangles and a reason to practice cursing. My buddies swear by it and all I can do is swear AT it!

Pheelya said...

OMG! Casting on for double knitting!! I just cannot seem to get my finger and yarn to work together!!

That blue is beautiful!

kim said...

I'll take short rows for 100, Alex. I hate 'em. I actually think I may be doing them correctly, and I STILL hate them! But I am quite confident that you can master the casting on. I just know it.

Love the blue EOP shawl. It's funny because as I was reading, I was thinking, "I'm just not a blue person."

Sourire11 said...

I had that same mental block about stranded knitting forever. I just couldn't get it at all... then one day the light bulb went on. Perhaps one day the secret of the long tail cast on will be yours.

gay said...

that blue is a beauty. i have no trouble with cast ons of many varieties but i cannot grasp the knitted i cord edge...what the ??? i have tried it and just don't get it. i have to find the way though because i'm making a baby jacket with that type of i cord edge aarrrgh!

nicole said...

Yah, to be honest, I'm more of a Bobby Blue person too (Velvet Grapes is purty, but not for me). Your shawl will be gorge (it doesn't hurt that I love "eye of partridge" anything!)

And I don't mean to be such an copycat, but my "talon d'Achille" is also the long tail cast on. I CANNOT get my brain around that ma. Why does it taunt us so?

Vaedri said...

That is a lovely, lovely blue. I did a hat in a very similar shade in Manos del Uruguay last year.

My big "I-just-don't-get-it" is still crochet. I can barely get the single chain done for a provisional cast on. I'm thinking it might be a summer project of mine, to finally find some way to learn.

Melissa said...

It took me FOREVER to get the idea of the long-tail cast-on too, at least the "textbook" way of doing it. Triangles? Huh?

If you knit English-style (as opposed to Continental), my Grandma taught me a different way of doing it. It basically involves wrapping one loop around your left thumb, then pretending your thumb is a needle and knitting that one "stitch" as you would normally. The KnittingHelp.com website mentioned above calls it an "alternate" or "thumb" method.

Laura said...

Ditto what people said about the knittinghelp.com videos! They helped me learn to kitchener stitch.

I just bought some Knitpicks Shadow in a beautiful shade of blue ... perhaps it is time to cast on for my first shawl!

sandy said...

moebius cast on...can it get more mind-boggling than that?? It's that whole math/science thing that blocks me.

I'm loving the velvet grapes, but as did Picasso - I may be entering a blue period.

Pikku- Kettu said...

Beautiful! Would you believe that I have never, ever tried Malabrigo?

The long tail cast on was for a long long time the only one that I knew because it was the only one we learned at school. But my true achilles' heel is cabling without a cabling needle. I just don't get it. It is so much harder and drives me crazy (and breaks my needles, my precious needles!). I've read all about how it's supposed to be so much faster and easier and whatnot. Bollocks, says I. ;)

Jen C said...

The long-tail method is my cast on of choice. What method do you use instead? I taught myself knitting via books and I think the diagrams with directional arrows (for the needle pathway) and accompanying text did the trick for me.

Velvet Grapes is actually one of the colors on my Malabrigo wishlist.

steel breeze said...

I can't do the long-tail cast on either. I can only do cable! But it works for me!

I am running a workshop for my knitting group later in the year, different cast ons, so I guess I better start learning!

Terhi said...

Oh, pretty! :-)

My stumbling block is kitchener stitch. I've tried to learn it many many times, but it always ends up being a row of ugliness. I'll have to check out those Knitting Help videos.

guiltypleasures said...

I feel lucky for picking up the long tail cast-on so quickly, and I even lucked out with kitchener. My issue (every stinkin' time) is picking up the stitches from my crochet cast on. I always end up with an extra stitch or a stitch less than what I need. It's infuriating, but it's my cross to bear. ;-)

indieknits said...

I can't figure out Magic Loop AT ALL. I've tried online videos, written instructions, but it's just not happening for me.

sophanne said...

socks on circs (one or two-one at a time or two at a time) I understand the principle behind it all but when everything is in my hands, conceptual thinking flies out the window and confusion prevails.

Diane said...

I can't get knitting in the round using 2 circular needles. I've tried it with socks and hats but somehow my tension on the switch between the needles doesn't exist and I get laddering that is about 1" wide. Pathetic!

I also have issues with the provisional cast on. Don't know why but mine looks awful.

p.s. love that blue!

Jessica K. said...

Argh, I love that you asked this question! I hosted a knit night last night as this question came up. I like hearing others' responses.

As for me, I "just don't get" yarn overs when they're not in between two of the same kinds of stitches! I have read so many lace tutorials, and the concept makes sense in theory, but in practice... well, I'm just being a scaredy cat, I guess.

Lauren said...

provisional cast on gets me every time! I just can't figure out which part of the loop to pick up and knit no matter how it's explained...

Sarah said...

Provisional cast on - I just can't wrap my mind aournd the concept. Why do I crochet more chains then I need? Which loops do I knit into and how? Why must you mock me provisional cast on??? Why?????

Corinne said...

When I first learned to knit I was taught the long-tail cast on. I try and teach others the same, but they can never "get" it and I always think it is the "way" I am teaching it!!

Lone Knitter said...

That is a pretty blue. It's funny, but I love the long-tail cast-on. It's my favorite. I have to admit that the whole realm of sweater knitting eludes me; I really want to be a sweater knitter, but all of that blocking and piecing and seaming is so daunting to me!

Emily Amelia said...

I'm glad you're enjoying the E-O-P shawl! It can be so addictive, you'll blast through it in no time. A word of warning, though, the top edge *really* curls, so if you don't want that, be sure to work at least 1-2" of something more stable at the top border.

Risa said...

Think twice before you give that Malabrigo away!! Did you hear they had a fire in their factory? Everyone is ok, but they're not sure when they'll be able to get back to work... Oh, the horrors!

Amy said...

It's not just a knitting technique, of course, but I absolutely cannot crochet to save my life. Forget those awesome spirally shelly things. I can't do a simple chain. My provisional cast-ons involving crochet almost always involve at least an hour, an alcoholic beverage of some sort, and much cursing when it's time to unravel.

Even the wonderful women of my family have all written me off, shaking their heads and sighing. (They are all excellent crocheters, naturally.)

What a fn qustion, and I just love the shawl!

Olga said...

The thing that has stumped me is on this one pattern you were suppose to cast on in pattern, huh? I never heard of that one, I suppose I could of made a bit of an effort to look it up, but I just scratched my head and did another pattern.I know- I'm useless.

Robin said...

I *HATE* the long-tail cast on and I NEVER use it. I only use the knit-on cast on for most things, and provisional/e-wrap whenever those are called for. All that imprecision about not knowing exactly how much yarn it will take, all that fiddling around to cast on the stitches. YUCK.

weezalana said...

Another vote for the knittinghelp.com vid!

No need to throw my hat into the ring for the Velvet Grapes (not my color, either), but one technique I had to try repeatedly to wrap my head around was provisional cast-on. I can do it now, but not very well. Which is probably why I don't like it. :P

Panda said...

I haven't been successful at short rows, as of yet. I've never really had a need to do a long-tail cast on. Partly, it could be just that I am stubborn. I like to cast on the way I like!

Janet said...

Oh hell, it would be faster to tell you the few things that I *do* understand instead of telling you what I can't grasp. For awhile there I couldn't grasp the kitchener, but I've *finally* figured that one out.

I still avoid anything with a provisional cast-on because I simply have never had one work properly. I've tried several different techniques to no avail. At this point I'm kind of over it - I've got a lifetime's worth of non-provisional cast on patterns in my queue, so I figure I'll survive.

As a side note, I think that Bobby Blue is my favorite mmmmMalabrigo color, too!

Amyt said...

It's nice to know we all have our, er,.... issues. For me it is the little things. I don't like to purl. I can knit all day long. But when I am making something with purl rows they seem to take twice as long and I feel like I have 2 Left hands. I also don't understand toe-up socks when I read the patterns. I am afraid to try to start one because I just don't get it. And no one is around to show me. Last but not least, I don't really know how to rip things back a few rows and retrieve all of my stitches. I have had to undo entire projects because of one little mistake. The funny thing is I knit all the time anyway. I guess the enjoyment I get is worth the frustration.

Krystal said...

Picking up stitches for socks always gets me. I think I have it, and then there's a hole. The kicker is I am in love with knitting socks right now (everyone has their sock phase, right?). The shawl should turn out beautifully though!

Jennifer said...

Long-tail was the first cast-on I learned (out of a book, actually) and it was all I used for 20 years... I'm not sure I even knew there were others :) Once I learned the cable cast-on, though, I became an instant devotee - it's firm but stretchy, perfect for most of my projects. Provisional cast-on, though, that's the one that gets me. Just can't do it.

K. said...

I can't imagine thinking of the longtail cast on as a triangle. I can't even carry yarn on my finger as I knit, though. I put a loop on my needle with one yarn and draw a loop through that one with the other yarn. Those diagrams I see for casting on in books confuse me. My brain begins to glaze over when I look at them.

WonderMike said...

I'M SHOCKED THAT YOU CAN'T DO LONG-TAIL. I mean, what is the world coming to when one of the most prolific knitters I know can't do it. I need a moment.

:-)

But, what do I not get? Well, there's quite a few things but I think most of all I don't really get intarsia. It's so baffling to me with all the bring the yarn over and joining new balls for each color section.

Oh, and if you're having trouble with long tail cast-on, thing of it this way. You're doing two things at once:
1. Backward Loop off of your thumb
2. Picking (knitting) off of your index finger.
The harder thing, I think, is guessing how much yarn you need so that you don't run out.

The thing I'm most "in the dark" about is WHY YOU HAVEN'T WRITTEN A BOOK YET?

xoxoxoxo

Faith said...

I have to agree with the people who cited the provisional cast on. The first time I tried, it worked perfectly. I'm not sure what I've done wrong, but I messed it up the second and third time -- it didn't 'unzip' right.

Also, I started crocheting before knitting (single and double stitches for blankets), but I envy my friends who can make sense of crochet patterns. That is my Achilles heel.

Steph F. said...

The more knitting blogs I read, the more I realize I know absolutely nothing. Various cast-on techniques? No. But I do know that blue is gorgeous.

nova said...

For the last week, I have been trying to figure out the whole continental knitting thing (because, you know, it's supposed to be faster). After trying over and over, a knitter at work actually asked me if I had some sort of malfunction. A knitter that I taught how to knit!! Ingrate.

ali said...

Continental purling... I'm an English knitter, all the way- thank you, Debbie Bliss.
Whenever I try continental (because I just keep trying, I cannot let it truly beat me) my knitting is just too loose, with uneven tension, so I'll stick with my nice, tight, pleasantly even English knitting, thank you very much.

The only problem I've ever run into with the long tail cast on is underestimating how much yarn 182 sts will require... the only thing worse than casting on 182 sts is casting on 178 sts, pulling them all out, moving your slip knot to get a few more inches of yarn, and casting on all over again- I'm pretty much ready for a high carb snack after that happens...

Happy knitting-
ali

SJ said...

Purling continental. I've managed to teach myself to knit left-handed in order to do stranded colorwork, but I just can't figure out how to do a purl. I'm determined to get it one of these days, though, if only to be able to do corrugated ribbing!

Elemmaciltur said...

I was going to suggest the KnittingHelp videos...but it seems that other people have already done that. ;-)

spider said...

i have tried to graft my garter stitch mitts 5 times and they are still not done! no amount of youtube, instructions on blogs have helped. i am usually pretty good figuring out patterns or instructions, but this has me stumped.
on to other projects until i find someone to show me.

Sophie said...

I still have to find a long-tail cast-on that doesn't imply unspeakable curse words over the very last stitches.

Other than that, I must be a clever knitter for techniques that I don't handle I just don't use. Let's stay in the blissful ignorance, I say ;-)

Sonya said...

Purling in continental continues to elude me. I used to do long tail cast on with the thumb method mentioned earlier. It took me a while to get the triangle method. Love the Bobby Blue, but Velvet Grapes sounds like it's right up my alley.

Sereknitty said...

Kitchener stitch ... I've been shown ... I've got a picture how to book, and I just can't do it!

Sereknitty said...

oh yeah, Magic Loop Cast on slays me too ... I've looked at the You tube tutorials, tried it numerous times ... just ain't happening. Some kind of mental block, I guess.

Meghann said...

I'm a double pointed needle drop-out. I've tried and tried, my friends have gotten me to try, but I can't do it!

Bobby Blue....gorgeous! That's a color I hadn't seen yet.

Eden said...

I learned long-tailed cast on out of Stitch N Bitch. The visuals are good. Visuals are also good in the Klutz books on knit & crotchet (look in the kids areas in bookstores, not the knitting areas).

Bobby Blue is the only Malabrigo I've ever bought. I have a hat out of it. I adored working with it and the final garment is lovely. I have some left too.

What I can't get is short rows. I have tried & tried. I think if I could see someone do it IRL, I could pick it up. I've tried videos, photos, illustrations, written directions, you name it.

tiennie said...

That is a beautiful color and shawl!

You're so funny. The long-tail cast on is de rigeur for me! I hope you figure it out - but only if you want to. :)

Knittymuggins said...

Sadly, I've missed your contest deadline, but I come here for the reading material anyway ;) I really dig that blue shawl you're working on and totally agree that even though I'm not a "blue" person either, that blue is definitely the shizzle.

Hmmm... what don't I get? It would have to be seaming. I've done it, I kinda get how it works, and though I don't have any knitty pals here to show me what's what, I just can't deal with the thought of having to do it. I'm with you on kitchener - why's everyone think it's so hard? So what cast on do you use if you don't use long-tail?

knittymuggins

Nora said...

If it makes you feel any better, I can't do a long tail CO to save my life either!! :)

Re Velver Grapes: I bought some a couple of weeks ago and I love it! [No need to put me in the draw then, is there...?]

ingrid said...

Same here. I can't figure out the long tail cast-on and I don't really understand why. I mean, I learned how to knit from a book! I've watched videos on youtube, but I still can't master it.

I just bought my first skein of Malabrigo last month . . . and I could certainly use some more since I can't seem to find it in Nova Scotia! :)

Dove Knits said...

I'm totally late for the contest, and that's totally fine, because I still want to share my knitting weakness.

It's embarrassing, but I suck at weaving in ends. Suuuuuck. So, so bad at it. They always stick out and eventually work themselves looser and looser.

Knitting Bandit said...

What do you thinl of that Malabrigo lace? I'm on the verge of visiting the malabrigo section at my LYS. It would be my first lace. Would that be your first choice you Malabrigo 'Ho.

Desiree said...

When the loopy ewe recently updated they had 20 new malabrigo colors, with 25 more coming soon!!! I wanted so many of them velvety grapes included....love it. Thats a pretty use of the blue, it really compliments the slight variations in color.

castingaway said...

If by "triangle" you mean how it sits in your left hand, I refer to it as a slingshot...would that help?