Here are a few techniques we learned in last week’s class — a left- and right-leaning braid, and a two-color cast on.
This is a picture heavy post. If you’re interested in any of these techniques they’re behind the cut.
These techniques are really not that hard. They’re decorative and look like they take a long time to do, but they really don’t. If you’re feeling cautious, go grab 2 colors of wool yarn from your stash and give it a go.
If you know how to do a long-tail cast-on this will be a breeze.
Step 1 – Tie a slip knot with both yarns together. Important – do not leave a long tail here. It’s unnecessary and will just leave 2 long tails to weave in later.
Put both loops on your needle, making sure that the color you want to be the bumps below the cast is the color on the right.
Step 2 – Using the yarn that’s connected to the skeins, wrap them around your hand to do a long-tail cast on. The color around your index finger will make the loops on your needle, and the color around your thumb will make the bumps below the loops. Make sure that the color around your thumb is the same color that’s on the right of your slip knot loops.
Cast on using the long-tail method. For counting purposes, both loops of the slip knot should count as one stitch — not two.
That’s it — the color around your index finger is looped on the needle, and the color around your thumb is making little bumps below.
Now that you’re done, slip that first loop (the one that doesn’t match) off the other side of the needle, and pull the yarns to tighten up that area. Don’t worry — your cast on will not unravel.
You could use this technique all by itself to cast on the edge of a sock or even a sweater. If you use a double strand of the bump color you’ll see that color even better. If you do that, setup the slip knot in step one the same way, but add in a length of the bump color as well.
Notes for Both Braids
- I’ve knit these samples flat, but emulated knitting them in the round. The insructions I’ve given you are for knitting the braids in the round. Please disregard the yarn you see draped below my knitting — it’s just the yarn being brought from the end of one row to the beginning of the next row.
- For both braids, I have knit several stitches before taking a pic because the pictures were clearer when a few stitches were already knit. You should follow these instructions starting with the first stitch on your needle.
- Braids are knit by purling with 2 alternating colors and stranding them in the front.
As a setup row, knit a plain row of knits, alternating the two colors. I forgot to do this when knitting my sample for these pics. Oops. I’ll show you why you need to do this at the end of this post
Step 1: Take both colors and place them in the front of your work. Here I have just finished a light blue braid and am getting ready to knit a dark blue braid.
Note that the dark blue — the working yarn for the next stitch — is to the right.
Step 2: Take the dark blue yarn and place it in front of (on top of) the light blue yarn.
Step 3: And purl with the dark blue.
Step 4: Your work now looks very similar to Step 1, except that the light blue is to the right. You’re now setup to do the next light blue braid by following the same instructions.
It’s important to remember that the working yarn always goes in front of the yarn last used. That’s what makes the braid lean to the left.
And here’s what it should look like when you’re done.
This braid is made very similarly to the left-leaning braid, except that the working yarn is always passed under the other yarn.
Step 1: Just like you saw in the left-leaning braid, the yarn you just knit with will be to the left.
Step 2: Take the working yarn and bring it under the yarn just used.
Follow these steps until you’re at the end of the row.
When you’re done, it will look like this.
Do you see how there’s a straight piece of yarn in between the right- and left-leaning braids? That’s the yarn from the row before I started the braid. If I had done the setup row, all three parts of the braid would be in the same color.
If you’re curious what you can do with these techniques, take a look at Lizbeth Upitas’ Latvian Mittens. She shows a few other techniques and at least 60 different mittens.
If you try to use this tutuorial please let me know what you think. Is it clear? Was it helpful? Did you find an error?