Doing It Wrong: Techniques with Nick!

If you know how to bind off with a picot hem, you already know exactly how to work a bind-off hem the way I do it. I’m not even sure this technique is that odd, really–I just couldn’t easily find a tutorial that worked bindoff knit hems the way I do, and I think this way is pretty easy; it doesn’t require sewing.

Once you’ve worked the number of rows called for by your pattern, you’re ready to bind off.

This bindoff hem is pretty easy–you just begin at the beginning of your round (in this case), knit the live stitch on your needle together with the corresponding purl-bump, and do the same with the next live stitch and its purl bump. Pass the first worked cast-off stitch over the second the way you would with a basic bind-off, and continue in this fashion until all live stitches are consumed. Then break yarn, weave in ends, and you’re done.
The only tricky part to this is figuring out which purl bumps to knit together with the live stitches, and that’s pretty easy once you get started–the stitches are all in the same row, so when you pull on a purl-side bump the next stitch shows tension. With this example, it’s even easier, because of the stripes: the purl bumps to be picked up and worked are the MC bumps right above the last CC bumps. perplex

As you work around, you get a little chain stitch bind-off ridge. I do not like it very much during the work-in-progress stage, but it flattens out with blocking. (Blocking is kind of important to this piece, because of that. I give the Grays Harbor cowl a gentle wet block just to even everything out. ) dsc_0180-1024x678

Once you’ve worked all your stitches (and technically, woven in your ends, I guess), you’re done!

Doing It Wrong: Techniques With Nick! Provisional Crochet Cast-On Knit Hem.

Doing It Wrong: How to Work a Provisional Crochet Cast-On Knit Hem.

This post is about knitting hems the way I do, which is probably wrong somehow–though I think this is pretty close to the standard method for working a knit hem from a provisional crochet cast-on. It’s useful for patterns like Grays Harbor and some other things in the 2017 mouse army queue, and also makes a really nice cast-on for short socks worked from the top down, in my opinion. (It’s pretty stretchy and neat-looking, as well.)

With this hem, you first work a provisional crochet cast-on. There’s more set-up detail atdsc_0183-1024x680 the link, but basically it works like this:

using smooth waste yarn similar in weight to what you’ll be working with for the project (mercerized cotton is great for this), work a crochet chain. It’ll need to be longer than your number of cast-on stitches–if you add at least 10-15 chain sts to the number of stitches called for, it’s easier to manage. Pick up your stitches (sidenote: start from the end of the chain, not the beginning; it makes it easier to unzip the crochet stitches when you’re ready) and then work your called-for number of rows or rounds–say 17 total. The picked-up stitches are usually called the foundation row, or the foundation loops.


Once you’re knit 16 rounds (16+foundation=17), transfer the foundation loops to a spare circular needle. A needle that’s a size or two down from your working needle makes this a little easier. (As a sidenote: the very last loop always feels like a half-stitch to me, but in this example you’re working in the round, so it will be knit together with its corresponding stitch just like the others.)

After transferring your stitches, unzip the provisional cast-on chain.

Then knit each live stitch together with its foundation-row loop. Continue in this fashion until all the stitches have been worked. dsc_0176-1024x680

With that done, you’re all set with neatly knit hem! dsc_0178-1024x678



If the provisional crochet cast-on hem is totally new to you, then it might not be totally intuitive when I say “unzip the crochet chain” in a tutorial or pattern, though it will become pretty obvious after you’ve worked this technique once or twice. If it is familiar to you, a step-by-step on this is going to be incredibly tedious, so I’d probably skip this little post.

Unzipping a Provisional Crochet Chain (for the Provisional Crochet Cast-On): 

Behold the crochet chain! And especially that last bump/loop at the end, which leads into the end of the waste yarn, there:


Work this loop free. dsc_0009-1024x680

Now you’ve got the end worked out. Pull this end. dsc_0012-1024x681

Zip! dsc_0013-1024x678Your crochet chain is unraveled! This has only been a drill/tutorial. If this were a real crochet chain cast-on, you would have had your foundation loops on a spare needle before raveling. I hope.

New Pattern: Poda Bun Hat!


Poda is a unique take on the bun hat trend–a broad headband with the coverage of a hat, and space at the top for a high ponytail or a messy bun. It’s a pretty efficient project, and knits up in just one ball of Lionbrand Amazing, or about 140 yards of Dk-to-worsted handspun.

You can also use the pattern as a guideline for a more traditional headband (knit it in sock yarn on smaller needles, and there won’t be as much width, for example). If you knit this and put photos on instagram, #podabunhat is a good tag to use!

Thanks for looking!

New Pattern: Frank


Frank is a good basic watchcap-style beanie; the warm tweed yarn really makes the hat!

It’s a structural sibling to my other hat, Driggs, but a little less absurdist, so you can knit one for yourself if you are a serious person with serious business to attend. Professional in a cold winter city? Knit this up in the luxury yarn substitute for the one I used (Queensland Collection Kathmandu=Jo Sharp Silk Road) for a warm, presentable topper.

Wear it with the brim folded for a classic watchcap look; wear it flat (this works at least for smaller sizes) and slouch it slightly for a look that is more casual and modern.

(There’s no reason why you can’t knit and wear Driggs as well, but it has a different effect when paired with the business casual ensemble I’m imagining.)

Doing It Wrong: Techniques With Nick

Doing It Wrong: How to Work a Provisional (And Not-So-Provisional) Crochet Cast On! 

Welcome to a new (potential) series of knitting technique posts, where I’ll attempt to explain how to do things wrong! Or rather, I’ll show how to do some things, and how to do some things I do a little strangely because I’m self-taught at all these fiber arts things, and some of my methods have evolved a little differently.

Today’s post is about crochet cast on methods, because I’m preoccupied with knitted hems and with crochet finishing. You’ll need to know a little bit about crochet, at least enough to work a chain. The way I work a provisional crochet-chain cast on is pretty standard, but the way I work a simple crochet cast-on is a little different than most of the google results you’ll see; the photos below will demonstrate both versions of the latter technique.*

Provisional Crochet Cast On. This one is only temporary, but it sets up some really nice edgings; my favorite right now is a knit-in hem.

Make a crochet chain–a little longer than you need, so if you have  a 120-stitch cast on, for example, you’d want to chain ~130 stitches. A smooth, mercerized cotton thread (this isn’t one) in a weight similar to what you’ll be knitting with is best. dsc_0001-1024x678

Once your chain is finished, pick up your cast on stitches in the bumps on the reverse of the crochet chain. dsc_0006-1024x678

Continue this until you’ve got all your cast on stitches on the needle. dsc_0009-1024x678

For a knit hem, you’ll knit the required number of rounds in your pattern, and then place your foundation row stitches (the ones in the photo above) on a second needle. After unzipping the provisional chain, you then knit each main stitch together with its foundation stitch until all the foundation stitches are consumed, and you’re left with a very neat hem. If that’s hard to picture, I’ll do a more in-depth photo tutorial on that as well, later on.

For a traditional crochet cast on, you apparently work stitches right over the knitting needle. One benefit of this, in my opinion, is that you may be able to see and count your stitches more easily.dsc_0003-1024x692

Mouse Army Crochet Cast On. This is essentially the basic crochet cast on with an added foundation row–it’s very much like the provisional version.

For a crochet cast-on the way I do it, work a crochet chain. The number of stitches is the number of stitches for your cast on row minus one, since the last live stitch adds one to the row. So if your cast on edge is 35 stitches, you’ll make a loop, chain 34, place the last, live stitch on the needle, turn work, and pick up 34 stitches from the same bumps you’d use in a provisional crochet cast on, for a resulting total of 35 stitches. csc_0011

Keep picking up stitches until you’ve worked the entire chain. Check to be sure your stitch counts are correct–for me, going from crochet-chain counts to knitting stitches can be a little weird. Here’s what it looks like with all the stitches picked up–a 35-stitch cast on row. csc_0014-1024x714(Please forgive the squiggly needle. It’s new.)

Now you’re ready to turn your work, and start knitting flat, or join and knit in the round, depending on your project.

*Or my version, plus my unfamiliarity with the standard version. That is the first time I’ve attempted it.