Saturday, 9 June 2018

ssk & k2tog

SSK & K2tog are both common directional decreases.

When you use ssk, the result leans to the left. When you use k2tog, the result leans to the right. Both decrease one stitch by working two together.

SSK is one of several left leaning decreases and probably the newest. Other methods used were sl1k1psso - slip one, knit one, pass slip stitch over and k2togtbl - knit two together through back loop. All good and all appropriate in different situations or personal preferences.

No left leaning decrease is the exact opposite of k2tog. They all look a little, well, less neat than their counterpart. Which is how the ssk decrease came about really. Knitters wanted something that looked as good as k2tog but went the opposite way.
Since it first arrived on the scene, even the ssk has changed slightly, going from slipping two stitches knit wise, to one stitch knit wise and one purl wise in an attempt to neaten things up even more. Recently I have even seen a newer version where the stitches are twisted before being worked, but I'm not going to discuss that here.

What I really wanted to show you was the ssk decrease that I use in my patterns and to hold it against the k2tog so you can see the results and understand how to work them.

What follows is a little photo tutorial that show the two decreases.
Firstly, k2tog....




Next, the ssk decrease ......










And finally, how they look together.....



Wednesday, 6 June 2018

CDD - Central Double Decrease

CDD - Central Double Decrease is exactly what is says on the box. A double decrease which is central, i.e. it neither leans to the left or to the right but the stitches are decreased evenly, one each side of a central stitch.
Or, in other words, this decrease reduces three stitches down to one, in a vertical line.

As with all the double decreases, they are occasionally used in shaping but more often in stitch patterns.

Here is a quick photo tutorial on how to work this interesting decrease.












Friday, 1 June 2018

Alder Blanket

A smart baby blanket in Aran / Worsted weight yarn



This blanket is suitable for the beginner knitter as well as more advanced knitters looking for a simple knit. The pattern covers two different sizes, a small blanket for covering little knees in car seats or push chairs and a larger more substantial cot sized blanket. 

When I am contacted by new knitters looking for an easy blanket project that will give them a stylish end product but one that is not too difficult, I always direct them to this pattern. The heavier weight yarn knits up quickly, so you get pleasingly quick results and the pattern is easily remembered (no constant referring to the pattern). The borders are knitted along with the pattern so there is no picking up of stitches and the end results give confidence to grow their knitting skills.

Having said all that, Alder makes good T.V. knitting for more accomplished knitters. Something to turn to when you need something relaxing.



The two samples here are knitted in very different yarns. Both look great but give a totally different feel. The cream being more classic for a new baby and the red much more contemporary.

Make it your own. The patterning on this blanket lends itself to all sorts of yarn, plain or variegated, striping or gradient. You could knit this in a pure wool, a cotton or cotton mix yarn or an easy care acrylic blend.  Maybe you would like a lap blanket to keep on your chair for those chilly evenings. The larger version of Alder would be great for this and you could choose a colour to match your decoration or that contrasts nicely with your furniture.

 PATTERN INFORMATION

Size:
Small: 58 x 76 cm / 23 x 30 inches
Large: 78 x 96 cm / 31 x 38 inches

Yarn:
Small: approx. 700m
Large: approx. 1200m
Any aran or worsted weigh yarn is suitable. Choose something soft and machine washable if knitting for a baby. The cream blanket show was knitted in Cascade Pacific a soft blend of Merino wool and acrylic. The red blanket was knitted in a now unavailable yarn but there are plenty of multicoloured yarns available to choose from.

Tension:
24sts to 10 cm in pattern.
The pattern stitch pulls in the knitting a little which is why this number is not what you would expect from an aran yarn.

Needles:
4 mm  or the size to get you the above tension for the main part of the blanket
3.5 mm or needles one size smaller than your main needle for the top and bottom borders
Circular needles are recommended due to the number of stitches. You will need one about 80cm long.

Notions:
2 stitch markers
Yarn needle for sewing in ends

Techniques Used:
Knit, purl and simple increases and decreases are used in this pattern. Full explanations are given in the abbreviation section of the pattern.


As always, pattern support is available for this and all my patterns by contacting me using the details in the side bar.
This pattern is available using this link from LoveKnitting.

There is a companion bag pattern, available separately, which goes with this pattern. The Alder bag is an all in one knit with a little seaming.