Saturday, December 05, 2009

Knitting Q&A
Dear Melody,
You... have inspired me to want to learn to knit. A friend from my quilt guild knits, and is in a group that meets on Monday nights. After final exams this week, I'll go next week. I want to make the Baktus scarf. What weight yarn/size of knitting needles should I get? What is the advantage of using circular needles?
Kristin in SC
Dear Kristin,
Fabulous! I hope you find learning to knit a fun experience. My mother taught me to knit when I was 15 to distract me from being heartsick. I had fallen in love with a boy in Erie PA when I was visiting a school friend there and I moped around all summer because we couldn't be together.
Knitting really did the trick! Forgot all about him. When I knit today, I still forget I have a husband.
The Baktus Scarf is a perfect first knit to make. It is all knit, no purl, not that there's anything wrong with purl. I do it all the time. But to begin, it makes it easy to stick to the same motions. There will be increasing and decreasing every four rows, but hardly any casting on or casting off. Three stitches to start and end. I recommend a circular needle because you never lose the second one. And you will be building up the number of stitches and it is easier to hold them all on a circular.
Spend the money and get good needles. I love the Addi turbos I have and also the Clover bamboo circular needles. Don't waste your money on Boye's or Susan Bates. The cable part between the ends isn't flexible enough, IMHO.
The thing about the Baktus scarf is that it works with almost any yarn and any needles. To start I recommend a nice DK weight merino wool yarn and maybe size US6 needles. Merino wool is totally seductive, yummy, soft, not itchy, and dreamy to knit. DK is lighter weight than worsted but is not as light as fingering or sock weight. For this scarf to drape nicely it is better to use a light weight yarn. Nothing bulky. You'll need about 300-400 yards total.
Go to a real knitting shop and pick out two colors that coordinate. One might even be variegated. The reason I suggest two yarns is that it is easier to remember to increase on the fourth row if you are using two colors. It is easy, don't worry. Knit two rows with one yarn and then two more with the second color. When you start the second color you will increase one stitch on one edge (always the same edge). To make it even easier, I would slip the first stitch of every row and then make your increase.
That may be too much information for a beginner, but pass this on to your teacher and she will show you what I mean.
Good Luck!
Dear Melody,
When are you going to stop knitting and get back to quilting. I keep checking back to see if you are done with the yarn stuff and doing fabric stuff again.
Dear Anon,
I haven't put away the fabric, and still have patchwork sitting (collecting dust) on my work table. I meant to get back to quilting, but I had just one more thing I had to try with knitting, and then I ordered some yarn to dye, and after that I had to try out the dyed yarn, and then I got another idea of a way to do something and had to try that and then I had to make it again and again and again....
And boy, is my arm sore from all this knitting. So there's hope.
PS It snowed just as forecasted. About two inches. Pretty. I was planning to go on a Studio Walk in Sewanee today, but will have to wait until it melts...maybe by noon. I am not afraid of driving on snow, but slippery wet mountain roads are a whole 'nother story.


  1. snow - wonderful!

  2. Hey, I'm going on the studio walk tomorrow (if it doesn't snow again). Don't buy all the good stuff today! :)

  3. You are totally out-wintering us so far. Well done!
    PS: I love how your house looks with the lights. I would love to have only outdoor decor and none inside = all the pretty without the clutter. :-)

  4. Hi Melody,

    Thank you so much for your answers to my knitting questions. You are so generous in sharing your knowledge and I really appreciate that. I did learn to knit when I was 10 years old, and my grandmother, mother and I all worked on an afghan. It was done in long strips with a design in it with little holes that I don't know how else to explain. Unfortunately, I never did any more knitting after that. I must say it does seem awfully complicated after one gets beyond the basics, in terms of counting stitches, increasing, decreasing, etc. In other words, actually making something!

    You are really so very talented at everything you do. I love your knitting projects, especially the socks and the socks made with the mitered squares. And your latest multidirectional diagonal scarf is really a work of art!!!!

    Thanks again for the directions on making the Baktus scarf. I will print them and take them to the meeting.

    You have a nice winter wonderland there. I'm in Greenville, SC, and it hardly ever snows at all here. I love snow!


    Kristin in SC

  5. Melody, your explanation of getting started [with the Baktus]is the practical I seen. I use Turbo Addis and also have some Lace Addis love 'em. Their cable so pliable/flexible - no struggling.
    Hope to recover from my coughing enough to get to the yarn store next week. More Addi Needles ! ! !
    No Snow here in mid-Missouri :^)

  6. Melody as much as I miss your quilting I say go for whatever makes you happy in the moment which is what you seem to do.

  7. Anonymous7:30 AM

    hello... hapi blogging... have a nice day! just visiting here....

  8. Hi Melody,
    I, too, was anxious for the quilting posts to start again but...after all these knitting posts I pulled out small balls of yarn and started a's about 3/4 done and I'm going to felt it but now I've started another one on a loom! (My friends say I've regressed but they're all fascinated and want to get looms now)! And...I got a round loom because I want to make a cowl!!!! It will probably take an evening in front of the TV, if that!!!
    I had just bought a bunch of new fabric and it's all waiting for me on my cutting table downstairs but that's okay....I'm really enjoying this knitting stuff and we have a big storm coming this week so I can burrow in and do whichever appeals!!!
    I also want to try smaller needles and yarns. Your stitches are so perfect. I've always used the bigger, bulkier yarns but now you've inspired me to try something that shows the knitting better.
    Thank you for ALL the beautiful posts!!!

  9. I love all your crafts and do them right along with you. Well, not the painting. And not as well as you. Thanks for all the sharing you do.


So nice of you to drop by. I love your comments, and if you would really like a reply, please email me at fibermania at g mail dot com