the simple magic of tubular bind-off

Little details can transform a simple item into something very special. A tubular bind-off can take a humble 1×1 rib edging and turn it into a finished and sophisticated feature. It sounds tricky and complicated, but is straightforward once you break down the steps. One quick word of warning — you do need to be comfortable grafting! The method I use for 1×1 rib (how I knit the cuff on the majority of my socks) is most similar to what Ysolda shows in her tutorial post.

I’m providing a quick photo sketch of the process in this post and a list of links to several clear tutorials at the end. It’s the time of year when decent photo light is fleeting and I missed it today.

When your ribbing is one round before the desired length, with a second needle*, knit the knit stitches onto the original needle and slip the purls with yarn in front onto the second needle.

* I try to make this second needle slightly different — either it’s a size smaller or the cable is a different colour (as in these pics) or maybe it’s tip isn’t as sharp — it helps keep me using the correct needle.

Work a second round purling the stitches on the second needle and ignoring the stitches on the first needle.

Then graft around! I like to cut the yarn about 3.5 times longer than the bound off dimensions.

grafting

As I knit my socks two-at-a-time on one needle, I keep a small coil-less safety pin on hand to hold the two stitches of the first sock while I finish off the second.

These haven’t been blocked yet, but I think they look quite nice!

I don’t often do this bind-off as it requires time and some extra planning. You can do it without a second needle, but using one makes it easier for me. My other favourite bind-off for toe-up socks is Jeny’s Super Stretchy Bind-off.

Tutorial links:
Tubular bind-off

Grafting

Other links that came up in my research

This post was first published in 2015 has been updated slightly for 2024.

Book Review: Sequence Knitting

How does one review a book that profoundly changes how one thinks? It’s a challenge to find a balance of the right words, ones that go beyond “read this title” or sound like a love letter. Sequence Knitting is remarkable in its simplicity and focus on laying out all that is possible with knits and purls. Each time I reread it I’m in awe of the dedication and brilliance found within its pages.

What makes Sequence Knitting unique? I believe it is Campochiaro’s dedication to a systematic exploration of what is possible with the most fundamental stitches of knitting and her proving how slight variations on the theme can produce a whole new masterwork. It is an approach that doesn’t require or expect the reader to adore maths, but it’s there for those who want to dive in further and geek out.

Within the 387 pages comprising of six chapters and a delightful appendix are clear charts, crisp photos, and useful explanations. The reader follows a logical sequence of skill building throughout the text. After learning the fundamentals and their basic variations, covered in the first two chapters, the reader can skip to their sections of interest. Chapter 3 introduces the serpentine method, and the many possibilities of this stitch pattern sequence are explored. Knitters who prefer to work in the round will enjoy chapter 4 the most. In chapter 5, shaping is examined. Here, Campochiaro shows the influence that adding or removing stitches can have on the sequences explored so far. The last chapter looks into the effect that fiber, drape, color, and their contrasts can have on the fabric. This chapter lays the groundwork for her next extraordinary title Making Marls which will be explored soon.

Sequence Knitting is a book that makes this reader want to curl up to reread again and spend days swatching new ideas and combinations.

book cover for Sequence Knitting. White with text in dark brown capital across top. Includes author name above and sub title below. Remaining 2/3 shows example sequence knits in an off white shade.

Sequence Knitting: Simple Methods for Creating Complex Reversible Fabrics
by Cecelia Campochiaro
March 2015 | Chroma Opaci | 387 Pages | Hardcover
ISBN-13: 978-0986338106

Find a copy:


Perhaps you are reading this and frustrated because you are one who prefers a hook over two sticks for working with your string. In a future post, I will share how I use this book as inspiration for crochet as well.

keeping track of WIPs

I always have many works in progress (WIPs). The same thing happens to me with books. I may set a project aside for months … or years and return to it and continue as if there was no pause. How do I keep track of all the details? Carefully.

The other day someone asked me how I don’t mess up and work on instructions for a different project. It happens! This is definitely true if I’m working on a few projects with similar stitch rhythms.

Sometimes keeping track of my WIPs doesn’t go as planned. I don’t always follow my own advice! More often than I’d like to admit, I’ve had to scour my own social media posts and photo archives to try to remember what size needle I used, what materials I chose, or if I made a planned modification or a mistake.

Here’s my ideal world process to keep track of my WIPs.

Where I keep my project records

  1. As soon as I commit to a project, it gets a page in my notebook1. When I start a new notebook2, relevant information on existing WIPs is migrated as appropriate.
  2. Each project also receives an index card. These are my quick notes and used mostly for me to track progress though I will often put a crib sheet of the pattern there too. Think of these index cards as the due date slips in library books. Yes, I have a date stamp which I often use.
  3. I’ll create a project online, this is hopefully in the fledgling notebook website I’ve created, but I also add it on Ravelry.

What I record in my project records.

  1. All basic information: yarn and colorway, needle size, pattern information.
  2. Any modifications I make to the pattern.
  3. A note for project bag the project is stored in.
  4. A photo or doodle.

Years ago, I sketched and colored examples of my project bags and printed stickers. My intent was to put them in my notebooks. That hasn’t worked well for me, as I constantly swap the bags around depending on various factors. It’s been easier for me to write that out each time. I still like the sticker idea!

Where I keep my WIPs

It is important for me to keep my studio tidy and cat safe. Dot has very good taste in yarn and it’s not hers to play with whenever she wants. This IKEA “expedit” cabinet3 is where I keep most of my WIPs and yarn and fiber. It isn’t the only one in my studio, there are also two smaller units.

It’s not the most user friendly of systems for me – if it’s out of sight, it’s out of mind. I keep index cards for WIPs grouped by its bin. The cards help me to go through my current projects without pulling out all the bins to search for the right project. It has worked out well, except when the cat decides to run off with the index card.

How do you keep track of your WIPs?

This post was first published in 2015 and updated for 2024.

  1. This is a new design in Oink Pigments Dapper, colorway Random Carp. I hope to finish the pattern soon! Interested in being one of the first to know? Please follow @creativeacorns on Instagram and sign up for the newsletter. ↩︎
  2. A few notebooks are still available in the shop, if they are sold out, I also offer notebooks at PSG Studio↩︎
  3. For many years it wasn’t in my studio and stored other things. After renovating my space I realized it would now fit and provide much needed storage. ↩︎

tips for after sheep and wool

The days after a sheep and wool festival (or any large event) are ones which can cause a range of emotions. Today, the day after Rhinebeck is one of work and recovery. To help you process, I gathered a few of my favorite tips for recovering from a large creative event.

My Number One Tip – Pause

two goats: a dark grey and a light natural colored laying on hay in a barn

There are a few post-event emotions that seem to occur whether you’re a first-time attendee or have years of shows under your belt. You’re likely exhausted, exhilarated, excited, and overwhelmed all at once.

That’s ok!

Perhaps like me you are introverted and enjoy a routine schedule. You find it challenging to get back to the day to day after a large social event.

On days like today I carve extra time to for myself in the morning before I attempt to settle into my workday. I recommend at least 5 minutes and think 15 is even better. I like to sit in quiet contemplation, please do this however is best for you1.

These events can be overstimulating, and I’ve found that pausing before taking time to formally process allows for it to be done in a more meaningful manner. Why? The pause allows a bit of distance to take place both cognitively and temporally, yet not too long that details are forgotten. My experience is that this allows me to write the details that will prove relevant later. When I skip this step, I find there are larger gaps in my records than exist otherwise.

Three additional tips for Processing your Sheep and Wool Experience

two page spread of an orange lined notebook on a wooden desk with keyboard, mini watercolor set, pen, and date stamp visible.
please click to expand image full size
  1. Write it down. It’s an established fact that I love notebooks. So much so that I offer some of my favorites in my shop2. As I process the event, I first focus on bold strokes in a first pass. These are the basic details. Who, what, where, and whys.
  2. Write more. Throughout the week, I write and draw more and fill in gaps. For example, since the photo I’ve added a note about how fast the women’s room line moved3. Here I also try to record the initial ideas and plans I have for new acquisitions. Scribbles for potential blog posts or sketches designs begin to make an appearance.
  3. Review. I also use this time to review my records for my yarn, fiber, books, and notions. While I should always update my database, that doesn’t always happen timely. I know some yarn that came in over the summer didn’t make it into Ravelry. This week I’m inventorying my storage bins and adding missing entries. Books are catalogued in LibraryThing. While I don’t track my needles and notions in a database, I properly store them.

I know this tip is out of order chronologically, but I’ll put it here anyway: as soon as I get home, I take a photo4 of what I purchased so I can help record details about what/who/where — we know that labels disappear. I no longer post “here’s my haul” pics to social media, but I take one for reference. I found this sort of display can cause extra feelings for everyone and they are rarely end positive.

Additional tips:

Tools

Are you looking for some tools to help you process your experience?

Are you preparing for a festival? Check out my tips.

  1. What are ways to make time for yourself? Some ideas include: sitting on a bench and breathing autumn air, taking a walk in the woods, napping with a kitten (or puppy), writing in a journal, painting, or sitting with your favorite beverage and a favorite book to (re)read. ↩︎
  2. Are these sold out? I also offer notebooks at PSG Studio. ↩︎
  3. The one near the first aide stations/building G. ↩︎
  4. Are you more curious than my cat about what I purchased? If you really want to see a photo, please ask. I bought 5 oz of fiber, and 3165 meters of yarn (880g) over a few vendors and skeins. ↩︎

This post was first published in 2017 and updated for 2023.

preparing for sheep and wool

It’s autumn and that means the fall sheep & wool festival season. These events are fun for the entire family but can be overwhelming the first time (and ever after).

This post shares my tips for attending a festival in person. I walked many trade shows before I went to my first sheep and wool and thought a fiber festival would be the same. While there are similarities, I find the differences can either make it exciting and fun or a draining lesson that ends in frustration. My first sheep and wool experience was over fifteen years ago and I cried on the drive home, overwhelmed by everything I’d seen and experienced.

At the time I didn’t know to adapt my trade show tools to help me prepare or that I might need to decompress after. I first wrote this post to help share my experience over the years as an extremely shy socially anxious introvert. I have more tips specifically for trade shows.

The biggest difference I found is that a trade show is attended with a company budget, meanwhile fiber festival purchases come from your own pocket. That small shift changes the entire experience, even if your company is a solo enterprise. The result for me is I think through my purchases differently (read: even more angst). The dynamic of meetups and encounters change too. Meeting friends in a social context is very different than when you’re specifically thinking about work.

Rhinebeck!

The third full weekend of October will be here before we know it, and that means the New York State Sheep and Wool Festival up near Rhinebeck, NY. This year’s show is October 20 and 21, 2023. Please note that any information written here specific to the festival may change. Please visit the official website to stay informed.

tips and advice to prepare

Note that many of the links are specific to Rhinebeck. The tips are useful for any festival.

  • First and foremost: remember we’re all on this same rock circling the sun together. Please be kind and respectful to everyone. Be kind.
  • If you want to save some money, purchase your ticket online.
  • Familiarize yourself with the map of the grounds, review the schedule, and take note of the vendor list. Remember that many vendors are solo or very small businesses and things happen. Be kind.
  • Wear comfortable shoes. You will be walking.
  • If you need mobility assistance, I recommend that you bring equipment from home (including rent at home and bring); I’m unsure if any services will be available at the Fairgrounds. Please contact the festival directly if you have specific questions or concerns.
  • The pathways at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds are mostly smooth and paved. They may also be crowded. The area is not flat, there are areas of incline (well, depending which direction you want to go). I recall some uneven terrain near the fiber sheds and some parking areas. If it rained recently there can be mud.
  • Be prepared for changes in weather. It could be 80°F. Or it could snow. On the same day. Wear/bring layers.
  • Please be sure to note the yarns and pattern of anything handmade that you’re wearing. You will be asked. Also be prepared that you may be asked where to find the yarn/pattern at the show.
  • If you need a break, take one! Be kind to yourself. Respect others needs for breaks too. If you can find the info, try to take a note of large group meet up times and locations so your quiet tree doesn’t suddenly become the center of attention.

tips and advice for the evening/day after

  • Prepare for an emotional release. Maybe you anticipated this event for a very long time. Perhaps there was disappointment or wonderful surprises. All of your emotions are valid.
  • Be kind to your feet.
  • See more at my post tips for after sheep and wool.

I hope these tips can help you enjoy a sheep and wool festival.

Note: some photos are from Maryland Sheep & Wool.

Additional Resources

This post was first published in 2014 and has been updated over the years and for 2023.

tunisian crochet resources

Over the past few years, I’ve fallen in love with Tunisian crochet. It was a long time coming. Honestly I’m surprised this didn’t happen sooner. When I was a child, I wanted to learn to knit and couldn’t figure it out. My mother couldn’t and said it was “too hard” so she hated it. We both knew Tunisian crochet could look like knitting, however, the few resources I found back then didn’t make sense to me.

Once you figure out the rhythm of it and learn what parts of stitches to work with, it’s a fun new form and creates fabric that is unique. I really love how it plays with colour.

I’m so smitten I recently designed a crochet cowl — multimesh. The way it’s worked up blends colors into a cohesive and colorful whole and without it looking muddy. The colors retain their vibrancy due to the nature of the Tunisian crochet stitch. This design is worked up Artyarns worsted weight Silky Twist, using a “Duos” kit and a full length skein, approximately 440 yards/440 meters total.

There’s many resources online and a few new books out that show I’m not alone in falling for this crochet technique.

Resources

Edie Eckman is an excellent teacher and creates remarkable videos. In the two I’m linking here, she explores the Tunisian Simple Stitch for both Right-Handed and Left-Handed Crocheters.

the book title is in red and green. nine swatches primarily in oranges, reds, and yellows are laid out in a 3x3 grid on the white cover.

Kim Guzman of CrochetKim has been working with Tunisian Crochet for years. I’ve been able to borrow her book, Tunisian crochet stitch guide, from my public library. Published in 2013 it shows basic stitches, colorwork, and lace. While it may look dated when compared to publications from the past few years it is a useful book!

model wearing tunisian crochet wrap of light blue, grey, orange, and teal wrapped around their body. the title of the book is super imposed in white text.

If you’re looking for a more modern guide, Toni Lipsey’s 2021 title, The Tunisian crochet handbook: a beginner’s guide is lovely. It’s available from Hoopla if your library subscribes to that service or through a local bookstore or your yarn shop. It guides you through the basic essentials and includes 20 modern looking projects. The page layout makes it easy to skim or read closely. The swatch and tutorial photographs are clear and bright. Tutorial steps match the photos and I know I almost expected them to move they felt so right as I worked with them. The section “Adding Color” is where I first saw two-toned stripes and fell in love. I think this is a useful title no matter your Tunisian crochet skill level.

the title is above a flat lay of balls of pink yarn, a swatch on a hook, and four other swatches laid out to show different stitch options. the pallet is pink to the top and left and then shifts to yellow, greens, and blue.

Once you have mastered the basics – what other stitches can you make? Yes, it’s possible and fun to play and design your own. My preference is to first comb through a dictionary for inspiration. Some times I’ll create a new combination of stitches and at others I’ll create a new variation based on another stitch. If you love stitch dictionaries like I do, then the Tunisian Crochet Stitch Dictionary by Anna Nikipirowicz will be a useful addition to your shelf. There’s a clear photo of each stitch, it’s charted, and many of the steps are laid out with clear tutorial photos to help you figure out how to work them.

Tools

I’m working on adding more products to the shop, including Tunisian hooks. I struggled to find some when I was swatching for multimesh. Please sign up to my newsletter to be informed when I add them to the shop.