PATTERN SUPPORT: TECHNIQUES
This page is intended as a reference guide for advanced or unusual techniques mentioned in my patterns, which the knitter might not yet be familiar with. If you still have questions after consulting the tutorials I have linked to here, please contact me via the Pattern Support info provided at the end of your pattern. I will do my best to help!
Provisional Cast On
Most of my sweater patterns, and some of my toe-up sock patterns, call for a Provisional Cast-On. This method leaves the cast-on stitches live, so that they can later be picked up to continue the sock (or sleeve) in the round, after the toe (or bodice) is completed.
The most popular provisional cast-on technique seems to be the crochet method shown in this popular Pink Knits tutorial. However, the technique I learned, and prefer, is a staggeringly simple one that requires just one knitting needle and scrap yarn - no crochet hook or other tools needed. You can find a tutorial for it here - although I recall there is a more detailed one out there which I can’t seem to find at the moment, but will link to when I do.
The cast-on method I use for sock cuffs and hat brims, is a variation of the long-tail cast-on. It is sometimes called the German Twisted Cast-On, or the Old Norwegian Cast-On. A detailed video tutorial is available from Very Pink Knits.
I like to use this increase for circular yoke designs, for darts/shaping, and in other instances when I want the increase to look as close to invisible as possible. One of the easier increase techniques to master, the Lifted Increase calls for knitting into the same stitch from the row below. You can find a clear video tutorial here.
Knit 3 (or 5) stitches into 1
I love using multiple-stitch increases to create botanical motifs in my knits. There are surprisingly few tutorials on this particular technique, so I will try to make my own down the line. For now, see this video from WEBS. The technique is demonstrated in the English style of knitting, but should hopefully still be clear to Continental Knitters!
Garments: Wrap & Turn
There are several methods for working short rows, and you can find a rather good overview in this handy Interweave article. For shaping parts of garments, my preferred short rows method is Wrap & Turn. There are lots of tutorials out there. This one is a good place to start, as it's short and simple with pretty good close-ups.
Socks: Short Row Heels and Toes
For socks, my preferred short row technique is a variant of what this article refers to as the Catch Method. If you are new to this method and find the directions in my patterns insufficient, I recommend watching this delightfully narrated video tutorial from Bronislava of Handmade-Rukodelky. Personally, I love this version of short rows for socks because it is easy, does not involve advance planning (i.e. setting up wraps/YOs), and does not require using stitch markers. If you can Ktog and Ptog, you can master this short row method! That said, if you already have a go-to method for working short row heels and toes, any of them will work. So feel free to substitute the short row instructions in my sock patterns with your own preferred technique.
My cuff-down sock patterns call for using the Kitchener Stitch to close the toe. The Kitchener stitch is a grafting method, and you can master it by following this Craftsy tutorial. Be aware that the Kitchener Stitch, while easy to execute, is surprisingly difficult to memorise! So you might want to keep this tutorial handy for your first dozen pairs of socks ;)
As an alternative to Kitchener Stitch, some of my top-down sock patterns allow for the toe to be closed with a 3-needle bind-off. To be perfectly honest, I find this to be more awkward than grafting. But have a look at this straightforward tutorial from Knitty and decide for yourself which suits you best.
All of my toe-up sock patterns call for finishing the cuff with an elastic bind-off. This is necessary, because if you use a traditional bind-off your cuff will end up too tight. There are several elastic bind-off methods out there, and I suggest taking a look at this excellent comparison from Stitch Diva, complete with links to video tutorials - then deciding which suits you best. My personal favourite Jenny's SurprisinglyStretchy Bind-Off, which is well illustrated in this video tutorial by Cat Bordhi.
...to be continued!