Sunday, January 4, 2009

January Bag- Getting Started

Before starting to knit, I'd like to suggest a tip that makes knitting patterns like this a LOT easier for me. It will take you about 10 minutes, and you'll be happier for hours to come! For this pattern, the diamond pattern is worked on 26 rows. The stitches are not complicated, but each of the 26 rows are different. I don't know about you, but my eyes never remember where they looked last on a pattern page like this! I know- you can use a ruler and pull it down the page- but then the ruler goes flying when the dog walks by and wags his tail over the page. You can use a stitch counter, but then you still have to look down the page to find the line. You can mark it with a pencil, but you need to repeat the diamond pattern over and over and the page gets messy fast. I like to make myself a little pattern booklet. For this pattern, I cut 26 pieces of heavy paper and punched a hole in the top left corner of the stack. I wrote one pattern line on each piece, then tied them together with a piece of scrap yarn. After working a row, I flip the "page". I always know that I need to start with the page that is currently showing. Really- it just takes a few minutes to do this and you'll be smiling for hours. You have to work these rows 6 times- so it's really worth the 10 minutes!
This pattern is for the "intermediate knitter". I don't know exactly what that means. If you'd knitted before, you can do this. If my little pictures aren't enough, check out the Lion Brand website (where you got this pattern) or Ravelry. I'm really hooked on Ravelry. If you like to knit or crochet, you HAVE to check out Ravelry! Aside from basic knit and purl, there are a few different stitches used in this pattern. Above is M1 (or Make one). There is a horizontal stitch right below the next stitch to be knitted. I have my thumb nail on it in the photo above. Lift it onto the left hand needle and knit it--- and you've "made" an extra stitch (increased one).
This photo (above) illustrates p2tog, which means purl 2 together. It's just like a purl, only you take 2 stitches together. It effectively decreases your row by one stitch.
This photo (above) illustrates p2tog-tbl, which means purl two together through back loops. It's the same as purl 2 together, only you do it through the back. With yarn in front, take your right hand needle and insert in the next 2 stitches on the left hand needle in the back- going in the direction of the point. In other words, you are actually poking it throught the second stitch before the first stitch. Then just wrap your yarn and purl them off together.

There is one other unusual group of stitches that will come up in row 10. I'll show them to you when I get there.

So- we're starting with the back, casting on 67 stitches, and working the first 9 rows of the diamond pattern.

I'll try to work through this project in the first few weeks of the month, giving you time to complete it in January if you want to keep up with the bag of the month. I'm excited- I think this is really a cute bag!