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Pearmain Fancy Ribbed Beanie

Here is the follow up hat from the same series as Rubinette

above is now ready to download for £1.50

Yarn: Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran or substitute with a soft Aran/Worsted
Needles: 5mm dpns or circulars/knit in the round
Stitch Pattern: This is Beaded Rib adapted for the round, and the decreases are a custom fit so it neatly decreases in pattern right to the end.
Sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL covers from teenage girl (20 inches) up to Men's (23 inches plus)
Style: Loose, modern beanie with optional slouch.

This is one of a set of loose modern beanies/tams that are quick knit but in a very easy knit and purl stitch. I specifically came up with a construction a beginner of knitting in the round could follow, and stitch patterns that don't involve complicated lace patterns. However, I was adamant that I was not going to do what a lot of people do with their ribbed beanies. Many patterns abandon the stitch pattern as soon as it comes to the crown, so with this, I forced myself not to think about it, to wing it when I got there i.e. not over intellectualise it, but allow it to come out of it organically. Well it worked. I managed to get each beaded column smoothly disappearing down to one stitch, whilst the purl sections disappear altogether.

It is a lovely crown, though I say so myself, and many thanks to Kate Blackburn who tech edited it, and test knitted it, as together we made sure that the decreases worked in each size with the correct written instruction.

There are some lovely Tams and Beret patterns out there but with complicated stitch patterns which might seem quite daunting to a person just starting out with dpns or circulars. However, knitters who have mastered knitting flat and want to progress to knitting in the round do not necessarily want to be knitting in stockinette or plain rib.These stitch patterns are inspired by forgotten easy textured patterns from vintage stitch sources. Many of these stitches look a little ugly in their scratchy wool swatches of yesterday, especially in black and white. However, you must try them and see the overall pattern, and you will agree that they are best not forgotten. Some of the overall knit and purl stitches can be quite rigid and tweedy, but I have used their 'twiggy' nature to make Tams with a sturdy stitch that still drape.

The theme of the whole set is apple varieties.
So far there is Rubinette (a rosy red variety) in a checks pattern, shown here on the right
Rubinette is re
ady to download for £1.50

Coming soon there is:
Launcelot a tweed/herringbone stitch Tam, that I am working on at the moment inspired by the Lancelot of Camelot who fell asleep under this variety of apple tree whilst some enchantment was afoot. The tree has a very dense criss crossing of twiggy stems and that inspired me to find a stitch of the same nature.

Starr a star stitched Tam and
Pippin, stitch pattern to be confirmed.

I made each one from Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran because that has the best drape and soft luxury that you would want to put into a gift hat.It takes about a day or two to knit this....so there is still time before Xmas to knit one as a gift!

Winter Knitty

Winter Knitty has been up for a while, but I haven't had time to comment on it yet. The cover is stunning; the model for Bijouterie by Romi the jewellery designer, is outstandingly attractive, as is the jewellery.

Here are a few of my favourites from this issue.

Fernglade is a pretty beret, it looks good on although I would like to see a greater difference between the 'slouchy' on the left and the 'slightly less slouchy' on the right.

However, I still feel Woolly Wormhead has the edge when it comes to designing a beret that behaves exquisitely when it gets to the centre down to the very last stitches. I am fussy like that and trying to train myself to try several different ways of decreasing when I get there, as what you plan and what works out can be different things and a happy accident is the goal.

For quirkiness and kiddy factor I like these fish head hats.

This is a another wonderfully quirky pattern for slipper socks.
I can imagine all sorts of furry creatures that could be made in this style and can remember craving some Dougal slippers (from The Magic Roundabout) in the 1970's. I didn't get any but years later I got a Dougal and Ermintrude Puppet.

I love this design Everybody Knows by Weaver knits. She has deconstructed everything to to give the most basic of designs, in the most basic of stitches and has punked it up with some dropped stitch sections.

Despite its complete simplicity it still holds onto a structured tailored look given by a bit of ba
sic shaping but also the rigid nature of garter stitch. Simple, but effective I think.

Lastly, I was attracted to these socks because I am into crochet at the moment, and thought Wow Knitty has started accepting crochet! However, on closer inspection I see that it is a Roman type of textured stitch making the surface look similar to crochet stitches. An interesting colour pattern too and suitable for gentlemen or ladies.

Here is a list of books I have read recently, most of which I enjoyed. I have put an * next to the really outstanding ones and a ** to an absooultely must read kind of book. I don't have time presently to do reviews, but am listing them here because they are going to a charity shop tomorrow. I will pop back and write up a little about each one when I can. There were many more books I did read, but can't remember or find them.

The Last Witchfinder James Morrow*

A Spot of Bother Mark Haddon
The Other Side of The Bridge Mary Lawson*
On Chesil Beach Ian McEwan

The Eye In The Door Pat Barker
Love In The Time of Cholera Gabriel Garcia-Marquez*
Random Acts of Heroic Love Danny Scheinmann
The Queen of Subtleties Suzannah Dunn
The Forgotten Garden Kate Morton*
Case Histories Kate Atkinson
His Illegal Self Peter Carey*

Engeleby Sebastian Faulks**
The Outcast Sadie Jones*
The Kite Runner Khaled Housseini**

A Thousand Splendid Suns Khaled Housseini*
The Road Cormac McCarthy*
Liars and Saints Maile meloy
Carry Me Down M J Hyland
The Island Victoria Hyslop**
The Steep Approach to Garbedale Iain Banks
The Weather Makers Tim Flannery
Mr Pip Lloyd Jones*
Strangeland Tracey Emin
The Road Home Rose Tremain**
The Resurrectionist James Bradley

The Dragons Tail Adam Williams**
I have just finished this. It starts like a classic Fleming spy story, then it switches to an epic like Wild Swans, and finished like Dickens. It is a wonderful story and despite the horrors, is strangely uplifting. I found myself sneaking downstairs to go to the loo on the middle of the night, and sitting there reading chapters because I couldn't put it down.

New Year's resolution, I must must must keep a complete list of everything I have read. How else will I remember what I did for most of the year? These characters are probably the most entertaining and revealing of anybody I met in the entire year....

La Calaverita
The Anticraft Samhain 2008 issue

At last this is up, my pattern for a 'Little Skull' bag to fit in with the dia de los muertos theme. As you know, there were several skully type things in this issue of the Anticraft submitted by Erssie; skellie socks, hourglass ankle socks, hourglass knee socks, Calavera Naranja chart, Skull & cherries chart (which also was adapted for the cover of this Bones issue) and now, this bag.

You can download the pattern and charts from here.
The chart looks like this, with three colour options.
The yarns are King Cole Merino 4ply so you can use up your odds and ends of sock yarns.

The skulls charts were a smaller version of the large chart, mainly because my poor old hands couldn't cope with such a large project in such a short space of time and also because I knew people were in need of little bags for their runes, charms and tarot cards and this gives a basic size that can be adapted for this use. I do have some Rune Charts in progress, to put onto the bags so watch out for those.

I am using this little bag as a lavendar sachet in the other half's wardrobe. He needed an anti-moth device but wasn't taken with the usual floral with ribbons types of designs you normally get for wardrobe sachets. I didn't felt the bag, so would suggest do as I do, and tie the lavender into a little muslin or cloth sachet and put inside the bag. That way it won't come through any gaps and is changeable at any time, so you could start with lavendar, and then put in secret little charms that he need never know about! No, no don't do that......remember the Threefold Law....!

I will never tire of skulls and skeleton designs and motifs but fear that some of you might, so for a moment, let me retire from skulls and move on to other areas leaving a trail of glorious skully patterns in my wake (I mean like a boat, not a funeral!)
Handknit Heroes

I have just finished making the first project for Handknit Heroes, and am bound by absolute confidentiality......but couldn't wait to tell everyone how much I enjoyed knitting this/these
blank with blank & blanks
in the wonderful
blank blank blank blank yarns
and it only took me blank hours to do.
I just love this new blank blank blank blank, blank shade
which I knitted on blank blank needles

Will fill in the *blanks* next year when Stephanie lets it all out!

If you would like to win a couple of skeins of the blank blank yarns above, then email me erssiemajor@yahoo.co.uk
the above filling in the blanks with your guesses as to what this/these projects could possibly be and the person with the most blanks which are exactly right will win the yarn from my stash right after the details have been published.
Mortaine Publications Inc will also be giving a free copy to the first entrant with the most number of blanks correct. Keep on guessing! You may have 2 chances per entrant.

This is not open to the tech editor or any other people who worked on it though!

Not open to any of the tech editors though! Closes after publication of first issue of HKH. This competititon is for fun, and is to win yarn from my personal stash and is in no way connected to the publishers of Handknit Heroes who commissioned me as an independent artist to design and make a project for them

Email: erssiemajor@yahoo.co.uk
Subject: Win Erssie's Stash Competition


The magazine The Inside Loop is out, with its winter issue. My favourite is probably the Hippocampus mittens by Tori Seierstad as I love a bit of colourwork and support anyone who can see it through, for two pairs of mittens as well (yes, she did this 4 times!)
I also liked Kate Blackburn's Pablo socks, they are the exact colour I am looking for, though in a more solid shade for some socks I have in mind. Must look for some of that Wild Fire Fibres myself.

The other designs I liked in The Inside Loop were the Armenius Sweater by Kai Mistry (who has 2 sweaters in this issue....busy lady!) and Carol Ventura's vulture tapestry crochet bag.

Just in case you missed it when it went up, the Winter issue of Knotions magazine is also up. You had better go and look yourself, there are 22 patterns available to download. At quick glance, I really like the Coronet Cuffs because it is a small but practical little design unlike anything I have seen. However, I do feel the designer offered too much choice in another stitch pattern and yarn gauge, it is almost as if she worked both and could not see which design really stood out (I think one of them does, you tell me which one works for you?). If she was showing options, perhaps she should have knitted the same design but in different colourways perhaps one bright solid and one slightly variegated tweedy. Too much choice or a totally different type of stitch pattern or design can cause the whole effect to not latch onto a knitters brain.

I also have to mention of course that The Twist Collective winter issue is out, the production of the online mag is just like a print mag and has a wonderful format for browsing through colourful pages if you have the time, but as I am supposed to be knitting and not browsing, I didn't find it that easy to get straight to the meaty bits. There is another lovely design in there from Ysolde Teague, a green hoodie that i need to go back and view more closely. However, this wonderful coat caught my eye, not just the colour but the texture and style and wonderful photography of course.

Look people? No clutter in the background, outdoors with good light and an empty scene. It is easy really to get your composition right with a bit of effort. I failed a bit last weekend by rushing my Rubinette photos and then finding I had a chimney coming out of my model's head (not literally, just visually) and a green garden hose in the background, or just a garden of bare earth. I should work a bit harder on the location and timing, but we had no choice. The photos we went there to take though, which are confidential are fantastic, it was just the extras that we rushed.

Yes, you can't beat a knitted hooded coat in red ( Sylvi by Mari Muinonen) really for its drama and fairytale qualities. Talking of red, I asked a few people to try out the Rubinette pattern below in other colours, and also people knitting it up who bought the pattern have tried different yarns and it has worked out well in any worsted/aran and any shade really, so that is good.

Here Are a Few More versions of Rubinette made by other knitters I love it in blue. This is Lionbrand Wool knitted by I Love Wool (Ravelry name)
This next black version is by Kate Blackburn
in Cygnet Wool Rich Aran which I have here actually in Cranberry, Black and Denim Blue.
However, I still love the Cashmerino Aran for the sheer luxury of it. And lastly a white one by Joey Edwards in Pendleton Woolworks; Natural color (off white) Next I would love to see a pink, or a purple version or perhaps green or orange.
Anyone wanting to try those shades can get a free pattern from me but in return for giving feedback and taking notes on your version.
New Erssie Knits Pattern

I made this hat for myself, rather than design for a commission. I went shopping last week and saw a huge variety of very loose beanies. They weren't tams and they weren't berets, they were just elongated and as popular at the moment amongst teens and twenties as the Palestinian scarf/wrap (which I still have from many yrs ago)

I thought, oooh I'll make a new hat just for me. Then I did my usual thing of adding and adding detail overcomplicating the design and making it take longer to knit than one of my commercial projects. I dumped all those ideas, and made myself knit something in a very simple stitch pattern so it would only take a couple of hours. I did the decreases on the inside. Rather than do P2tog, I knitted it inside out, and so I could clearly see the decrease lines as I was working. These could be a feature, rows of single spiral knit stitches. However, I turned mine inside out and had more subtle purl decrease lines disappearing into the pattern.

I still love this yarn as well, it is the easiest to wear when you have a bit of an allergy to scratchy wool. I am now going to go off and try a chunkier ribbed beanie like some of the others I saw when shopping.

I called the hat Rubinette after a rosy red variety of apple a bit like a Pippin

"Rubinette is a modern apple variety developed in Switzerland between 1964 and 1982*, and also known and trademarked as Rafzubin. Switzerland is perhaps not the first country that comes to mind when considering the development of new apple varieties, but don't let the lack of track record put you off, Rubinette is an exceptional apple and anyone who appreciates apple flavours should certainly try to get hold of some Rubinette apples - you won't be disappointed."
Extract from the http://www.orangepippin.com/ website

* These are the exact years Erssie developed from infant to adult!

Yarns: Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran or other Worsted
Needles: 5mm dpns or circs

This simple hat pattern in a textured checks pattern is available for £1.50

An Old Erssie Knits Crochet Pattern

By the way, it is still not too late to buy a Red Poppy for Remembrance Day crochet pattern. This pattern is no longer available as a single pattern but it can be found in the book Hookorama by Rachael Matthews.

It only takes 15 mins to make, and you can wear it all year or pin it on a favourite homemade bag.

Las Calacas Danzantes

Designed by Erssie Major
Modelled by Jennifer Gwiazdwoski
Photography by Stevie Savage of Raid Zero
Knitted by Erssie Major (turqoise)

My latest knitting pattern is up on the Anticraft site in their Samhain issue 2008, you can download it from there. If you need a little reminder on how to do Kitchener stitch, then you can see the instructions on my previous post

I have a love of these socks. They look so nice when done, but you really get involved with them when you're making them and each stitch has to be lovingly laid down. The heels were easier to do than it looks. The issue had a dia de los muertos theme hence the Dancing skeletons with their sombreros and there was also an option to duplicate stitch little cherries and stalks onto the skellies on the charts. I also have another socks pattern Pequenos Relojes de Arena, and a Skull & Cherries chart and and Calavera Naranja orange skull chart in the same issue. I still have another project on the go, to come as a surprise around Halloween on the Anticraft too. Seems like a lot of stuff, but I did design these things over quite a few months which is how they accumulated.

To avoid any confusion with reading charts I recharted the design for each size. The skeleton motifs remain the same, but I plotted out little Fair Isle style dots cascading down in the same yarns used on that line so that there are floats in between the motifs.

Whilst knitting this I deliberately did NOT twist or catch any of my yarns at the back. I literally dropped the colour and picked up the next loosely stranding across the back. With a 100% fleece type yarn, those strands will stick to the backs and bed down with time so why bother knitting in the floats. Also, if you have ever tried to knit socks with colour stranding you may find that when the stitches stretch apart on your legs, the twisted yarns are in danger of peeking through.

If you like sock pics and want to see more go to the Flickr album

I used Artesano Alpaca 4ply in various shades to make the turqoise version above, Kate Blackburn knitted up this other version below in Regia Clown that is self striping

Also, for a Samhain Halloween theme as well as this dia de los muertos theme, I have a free Dancing Skeleton Chart with Top Hat and Motif available in my list of PDFs, so click on the sidebar then scroll down my list of patterns and upload it is

I have another skulls chart with the same theme, but it is not just a single motif it is a whole wallpaper of them charted out so you can use on a blanket, or perhaps on some stockings like I did. It is called Tessellating Skulls and is also in my list of pdfs

Kitchener Stitch & Twisted Cords

This is a brief explanation of how to close the toe on a sock using Kitchener stitch. It is mainly to support the pattern Las Calacas Danzantes recently published in The Anticraft Samhain 2008 issue. Also attached is a wordy explanation of how to make twisted cords which are useful for bags, hair ties and even a cord for a light switch/pull.

I have also made a playlist on the ErssieKnits YouTube channel of people demonstrating this method. Click on Playlists in the menu on channel

Closing the Toe – Kitchener Stitch

This method is the best way of grafting the stitches so that they are continuous around the toe with no seam therefore less rubbing. It is very easy to do but needs concentration and should be done all in one sitting.

Arrange so that top of foot sts are on one dpn, and bottom of foot sts are on another dpn with the yarn tail on the bottom RH side

Hold the 2 needles parallel to each other with the yarn tail at the back right hand side

Thread yarn through a darning needle

Thread yarn/needle through 1 st on front needle P-wise and leave st on needle

Thread yarn/needle through 1 st on back needle K-wise leave st on needle

*Thread yarn/needle through next st on front needle K- wise and take st off needle

Thread yarn/needle through next st on front needle P-wise and leave st on needle

Thread yarn/needle through next st on back needle P-wise take off st off needle

Thread yarn/needle through next st on back needle K-wise and leave st on needle

Rpt from * until all sts have been taken of the needles, then take yarn tail through to wrong side of toe on the inside of sock and secure

Twisted Cords (see also the slide show below)

Cut equal lengths of yarn (enough so that doubled up it is thick enough and much longer than you need for your cord)

Make sure that the yarn is ties into long continuous loops. You can place two chairs about 5 foot apart and wind the yarn around the top/knobs of the chair back if you wish, or turn chairs upside down and use legs. Ask a partner to help you if you can.

Place one end of loop yarns over door handle, chair post, or chair leg.or other person
Insert a pencil, pen or dpn into all loops at opposite end

Pull taught and twist yarn by spinning a pencil/pen/dpn

Keep twisting until yarn is so tight it is almost pulling back on itself

Slide a finger half way along length of twisted yarn still keeping end taught

Fold yarn/twist in half and put loop/pencil/pen/dpn together with loop over door handle (post or leg)
Let go of finger holding halfway mark and allow yarn twist on itself
Tie knots at the beginning and end of the cord to secure the twisted strands and cut below the knot to give it a small tassel
Thread each cord through band of eyelet holes or use as desired

How To Make Twisted Cord
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: tutorial handmade)

UPDATE: Lily has had surgery, 4 lumps were removed and all diagnosed as cysts or benign skin/blood tumours called a Hamartoma. Her vulva biopsy though showed a chronic thickening and inflammation within the folds so we have to wash and dry her and put nappy rash cream on. Talk about a child substitute! We are so relieved, and she was so brave despite being bruised, scarred, stitched and poorly

Darling Lily

Knitwear for hounds supermodel, comedy greyhound, little puppy in a grown bitch's body. All those things and more, we love her to bits. Poor Lily is having surgery tomorrow, and I am a little worried about her. Have to keep on having positive thoughts though. You can see more about her on the Gorgeous Greyhounds blog

UPDATE: We picked her up Wed eve. Poor Lils has been in the wars, lots of bald patches and stitches as well as having had internal biopsies and scans. Now we have to wait until biopsies are back to find out whether the skin tumours are sarcoma, or benign.

The other strange thing is that the vet started to explain that her urine test showed an inability to be able to concentrate the urine.....and I had deja vu.
I had been told the exact same thing, and in fact after some hideous tests I was diagnosed with Cranial Diabetes Inspidus (cranial meaning it is in my head....no, not that I have imagined it but because it is due to failure of the pituitary gland which is somewhere under the skull!) DI either kidney or cranial is very rare problem with kidneys not concentrating urine and constantly losing water, and being thirsty as well as peeing ALL the time and even incontinent (sorry to go into the pants region here).

Now DI, is so very rare, so what are the chances of Lily and I having the exact same thing? It is not a transferable condition. Also reminds me that one of my eye conditions which is called a Holmes-Adie pupil, also a rarity but lucky old me even though this is a one sided disease, i.e unilateral and affects one eye only...I happen to have it bilaterally, separately but in both eyes. And of course, suffering from Behcet's Disease (with neurological problems) which in itself is a really rare condition, but even more rare apparently to have symptoms as dramatic or severe as mine (possibly BD caused all these other rarities to come about) These sorts of anomalies are commonplace in my life, and generally I don't talk about them because people start to think you are making it up! Who can have such bad luck and tragedy, and a string of rare diseases that even most doctors have never seen or heard of?

Anyway, back to mine and Lily's weeing problems. This means that as well as me having to get up to pee throughout the night and getting thirsty and drinking, Lily is doing the same thing. She needs to pee about twice once at around 2-3am and another around 4am and then again at around 5.30 am. So I trudge down the stairs, totally shattered and let Lily out go myself have a couple of hours kip and then up to do it again....It is so tiring I am starting to feel ill....wait a minute, I am feeling ill already! I do hope that we can sort Lily out and perhaps give her some replacement hormone further down the line.

And I really hope that Lils doesn't have a nasty skin problem.

I will make sure my next post is about knitting....and it should be a good one as I have a couple of patterns out very soon with lots of photos.
What Has This Got to Do With Knitting?

Answer: This is Stevie Savage of Raid Zero riding his bike on the Mallory Park Race Track, Leicestershire, UK and he is wearing an Erssie Knits knitted underwear design by Erssie Major and knitted by Joeli Caparco. Can't yet reveal the knit, or where it is to be published.....but will do soon. Noblin Knits knitted the project for photography as well.

I was very impressed though that he wore said knitwear from Friday morning until Sunday evening underneath his gear, camping in a field for the whole weekend and it was clean, dry and didn't smell a bit! Apparently it was cosy and warm which he was thankful for as camping outdoors in October in the UK is a bit chilly. Just one blade of grass fell out when I washed it.


All I can say, is Erssie might have something in the first issue of this.
Want to be kept up to date?
Come and join the Handknit Heroes group on Ravelry.
All will be revealed soon.

The Anticraft Samhain 2008

The first of the surprise knitting patterns is up on the Anticraft. It is for my pattern Pequenos Relojes de Arena which means Little Clocks of Sand i.e hourglasses.

I had a lot of fun with this pattern knitting it in the Neon colours and having it knitted up for me by Joeli Caparco in the bright Lorna's Laces colours.

Big thanks to Stevie of Raid Zero who did
the pics and of course Jenni Gwiazdowski for modelling it and being so patient. I loved her shoes as well! We got lots of good pics, and had fun dressing her up in clothes to show off the socks in her lovely shoes. Do click on these photos to see the giant versions. We are also putting more photos on Flickr of this day.

You can also see in the post below, that I have given some video support to demonstrate the 2nd row of this stitch, which is not difficult but just tricky to understand in knitting abbreviations and words. Also check out the ErssieKnits channel on YouTube which demonstrates different methods of casting on, although I need to add a couple of my own which are much easier for people like me with hand problems.

Do check out my tips on completing the 2nd row

Erssie Knits & Other Tutorial Videos

Below are some short video clips from Erssie Knits to support various patterns (listed).
I have also included some video clips on other basic techniques from various sources with permission from their original owners. Enjoy!

Little Hourglass Ribbing Demo

This is the first of the demos to be made available for pattern support on the Erssieknits YouTube channel. This stitch demo, is to support the pattern Los Pequenos Relojes de Arena published in the Anticraft this issue (Samhain 2008)

I am still a novice at video, so bear with me and the quality will improve. I couldn't add captions to the video for access by the Deaf, so I have put speech bubbles up instead and have summarised what I am saying. I waffled on a bit, so only put the relevant instructions and I know this means the Deaf can only access part of what I am saying, but please believe me I have put the most important parts into the bubbles so you can do the stitch. You can see lots of other Erssie Knits videos being added, and to make life easy just click on Playlists on the ErssieKnits YouTube channel to see them grouped into subjects. I am uploading other people's knitting videos too so enjoy! Not many vids yet, but the thing is going to grow and grow.

Here is the Little Hourglass Ribbing video, just click on it to play.
Erm, in the voice over, I keep referring to the rounds as rows....wrong! I adapted this stitch to work in the round, so think round round round not row
There are no mistakes in the actual method though, this is totally correct for round 2 of the stitch pattern

Tutorial Videos for Beginners and Intermediates

Here are some video clips from Let's Knit magazine that demonstrate some basic techniques

Video 1
Tying a Slip Knot

LetsKnit.co.uk - Demo 01 - Tying a slipknot from The Crafts Channel on Vimeo.

Video 2

Casting on Using the thumb method

LetsKnit.co.uk - Demo 02 - Casting On - Thumb Method from The Crafts Channel on Vimeo.

Casting On Using The Two Needle Method

I use this for lace on its own, or I use it as her basic cast on method but to make a firmer edge I knit into the backs of the loops on the first row and as well as firm it is a purled edge that is even and decorative from both sides.

However, knitting through the backs of loops (K tbl) can be tight, so where necessary cast on with a slightly larger needle if you want to knit into back loops then transfer to your normal needle on the first proper row of the pattern.

LetsKnit.co.uk - Demo 03 - Casting On - 2 Needles Method from The Crafts Channel on Vimeo.

Video 4
The Knit Stitch/Garter Stitch

LetsKnit.co.uk - Demo 04 - Casting On - Garter Stitch from The Crafts Channel on Vimeo.

Video 5
The Purl Stitch

LetsKnit.co.uk - Demo 05 - Casting On - Purl Stitch from The Crafts Channel on Vimeo.

Short Rows

Cat Bhordi has some very useful video clips to show wrapping and turning and picking up and hiding wraps on the heel of a sock, plus a few more. Here is one of them

Provisional Cast On Methods:
See ErssieKnits YouTube Playlists and read these notes

This is supposed to be an advanced technique but actually it is quite simple.
The purpose of it is to be able to cast on leaving a temporary edge, from which you will be able to knit downwards later. Why would you want to do that? Well it is used where a toe is knitted for a sock, and then the edge is shaped round and joined in a toe shape so the the cast on edge is unravelled and the live stitches are picked up.

I have also used it in hats, perhaps I have a hat and I am not sure exactly how long I want the hat and want to style it by look rather than measurements. I might have a provisionally cast on brim and knit up and do the crown as normal, but perhaps undo the brim edge and pick up the live stitches at the bottom once the crown is done to get the perfect length. This is a brilliant way of getting a good fit on a Rasta garment.

Perhaps as well you might have a garment that require a decorative edging later, and picking up live stitches and knitting downwards would be perfect for this.
One word of warning about that though is that when you knit downwards, your loops/stitches are slightly offset by half a stitch, so you cannot match rib to rib going in opposite directions or any complicated pattern easily.

There are several methods of provisional cast on. Some you knit onto a needle, and others use a crochet hook to knit stitches onto another needle. Then there is a fiddly way of picking up underside loops on a crochet chain. I use a very simple method with my hand disability. I just knit in waste yarn, then change to main yarn and later pick up the loops of the first row of the main yarn really easily with a flexible circular needle and literally cut the waste yarn off.

Whichever method you use, the important thing is to be able to pick up the required number of stitches and you need to undo the cast on edge to be able to do this or cut it off like me.

Another Tip: Beginners struggle to get the right number of stitches and think they have dropped one when they go to pick up stitches and undo the cast on. Actually as I said the stitches are slightly offset from the ones you were working on upwards, so when you pick up the live stitches you may find you have one less and will need to just make the numbers up by picking up one stitch in the corner. Sometimes, I make that a bit easier by knitting one more stitch than asked for on the provisional cast on, and then decreasing it by one somewhere it doesn't show as I go upwards, so that gives me exactly the number of stitches I need when I go to the cast on edge to pick up the live stitches.

I am slowly collecting videos to demonstrate these methods which you will find over on the ErssieKnits YouTube channel. I am going to video some of my own techniques when I have a moment so look out for them here and on that channel

Wanna See more videos? Go to
ErssieKnits YouTube
A new channel aiming to broadcast Erssie Knits videos and putting together some of Erssie's choices from around YouTube into useful playlists covering a variety of techniques as well as showing any quirky knitting fun in the community.
More videos coming soon...
If you have made any fun or useful videos related to knitting let me know and I can broadcast it with our permission.

Soon We'll Be Found

As well as using my hands to knit, I used to use my hands to make my living in another way. I was a sign language communicator for a Deaf school and was fluent in BSL. There is something wonderfully rhythmical about the way you can talk using BSL, and sometimes your emotions come flowing out, not hindered by the part of the brain that turns visual language into words to be spoken.

I also love music. It would be quite incorrect to think that the Deaf do not appreciate music. There are loads of degrees of deafness, and even with the most profound they often enjoy rhythm and vibration. And there is the signed song. A poem, lyrics that flow in time to music with the flow of sign language keeping the rhythm.

That is why I just love this lady, I love her voice and her songs but I also love the tremendous amount of thought put into her visual performance and costume design. We all need something to watch that feels like a dream, and for me, trying to grasp what she is singing and work out the signing is just like a dream. I can almost grasp it, but not quite for despite my fluency in BSL this is in a completely different language, ASL.

One of the myths perpetuated by the hearing world is that the Deaf's own language was decided for them by the hearing, and that this language is like a code, therefore it should be international. People are shocked and cannot understand when they learn that visual language, exactly like spoken language develops within pockets of cultures and is organic. It is not a code, it is the Deaf's own language constantly changing and updating but within each international version, there are also dialects. The sign for lemonade in one part of the UK, means something very very rude in another.

Long may the Deaf own their language, and may they constantly find new ways to communicate to keep up with society and our technology based culture.

Anyway, enjoy this video of Sia. When I saw her hands moving I felt a huge amount of grief for the loss of movement in my own hands and the inability I have to truly communicate in this way. I used to love sign singing. Knitting has been a way to fill the gap that loss of signing left for me, I had to do something with those hands!

Oh yes, and my eyes ain't what they used to be.
I have changed the blog and tried out a new lighter easier text hoping it will be better to read and write. Not easy to choose, as knitting and photos look good against a dark background, but reading text is better on a light background.

I have enlarged the text as well. I will have to check with the experts though, to find out if it is truly 'accessible'

And as well as going green, I have gone lefty too. It all seems to look better with sidebar options on the left hand side. There is a lot more space to lay out my list of patterns and long tutorial headings too. I didn't mean to run my website from my blog like this, but it is taking a little longer to get a new website than I had planned.

The Anticraft Samhain 2008

The Samhain issue of the anticraft is up; this issue has a Dia de los Muertos (Mexican Day of the Dead) theme and I have a few things included in it.
Whilst trying to sketch different motifs for a chart, I sent some sketches to Zabet and she liked one or two very rough drawings and used one as the basis for the cover above.

This skull & cherries sketch has also been converted to knitting/crochet chart, see the Anticraft to download a copy. It could be knitted or crocheted too (thanks to microrevolt for allowing me to use their software for this). If someone knitted it up that would be really cool (No way it is going to be me though, I am just too slow to catch up on my own ideas!)

There is another chart included, Calavera Naranja (Orange Sugar Skull) based on the artwork and skulls made for dia de los muertos.

This came from a very crude sketch above, and Cindy Moore of Fitter Knitter
who is a technical illustrator and graphic designer (and miles better than me in things like Illustrator or In Design) made up a chart from it. The eye sockets are left blank to do some embroidery. I am knitting this onto an accessory which will be a surprise in the Anticraft later this month.

So, three of my knitting patterns will be included later this month, all along the same kind of lines and two are perfect for any skellie or skull lovers, one is a textured pattern of a simple nature (without skellies).

In addition to this, I have a couple of other charts perfect for the Dia de los Muertos theme. One is a little dancing skellie and top hat based on the sketch above, and the other is a repeating skulls pattern which I am using on some stockings. Both are available to download from Ravelry.