Posts Tagged ‘duplicate stitch’

Tweedle Toques

Sunday, November 21st, 2010

This is a bit hard to explain–as some inside jokes are–but these toques are number 32 and 33 for the K-Botics team.  These two are going to two mentors who have been nicknamed the Tweedles.  Their hats are fraternal twins, one purple, one blue (although the picture doesn’t do the purple justice).

The Tweedles can often be found helping repair robots for our team or for others near by.  They can also be found studying hard at Queen’s University, or building Lego robots as members of Team Pancakes!

There’s nothing really crazy about these hats, but there is a surprise….something that can only be seen when you turn out the lights!

Duplicate Stitch Tutorial

Saturday, July 10th, 2010

Would you like to add a little bit of colour to something that is already knit?  Duplicate stitch may be what you are looking for.  It can be used in the O Canada mittens (Olympic mittens) as an alternative to the stranded colourwork.  Follow the charts in duplicate stitch after the red mittens are completed.

You need:

  • a darning needle, or a needle with an eye big enough for the yarn that you are using.
  • yarn for duplicate stitch (contrasting colour to the original knit fabric)
  • original knit fabric

What to do:

Step 1:  Thread your needle, and come up through a hole (at the bottom of a V) from the wrong side of the fabric.  The right side should be facing you.

insert needle through from the wrong side of the fabric to the right side.

Step 2: From the hole, follow the yarn upwards.  It will loop behind 2 strands of yarn and back down again.  That’s what you do with your yarn.  Trace the path with the needle!

insert the needle through both sides of a stitch one row up.

Step 3:  Pull the yarn through, you have now traced half a stitch.

Pull yarn through, you now have half a duplicate stitch!

Step 4:  Follow the other half of the stitch back down.  The needle will be inserted under 2 more strands of yarn.

Keep tracing the path of the yarn

Step 5: Pull the yarn tight and you can see one stitch, a little heart shape, in your contrasting colour.

One stitch has been duplicated!

With practice it gets pretty fast.  Just always remember to follow the path of the yarn and you’ll be fine.

several stitches complete (3 in the top row, 4 in the bottom row)

What other techniques would you like help with?

Designing A Headband

Friday, February 5th, 2010

Several anonymous knitters met today at lunch to sketch out a plan for a surprise project. The goal was to design a headband that has a complex image on it, and some of these anonymous knitters looked at me strangely when I mentioned words like gauge and thickness of yarn, and stranded knitting, and reading charts.  This post is dedicated to these anonymous knitters, and all other beginners who want to make up their own designs.

Find out the general size of the garment

For a headband, this requires the circumference of the head (wrap a string around your head, then measure the string with a ruler), and an estimation of the width of the band.

Plan of attack

Headbands fit best if they can stretch outward, and knitting in the round will allow for this stretch.  Another option would be to knit a rectangle and sew it up (I avoid sewing things up if at all possible).  Consider how the edges might roll–add ribbing on the top and bottom edge to prevent rolling but to still allow it to stretch.  (I-Cord will not stretch….I learned the hard way on this one)

Choosing the right yarn and needles

If you are planning a really complicated pattern, choose thin yarn and fine needles.  This will let you have detail in your project without the project getting too large.


I don’t like this step, but it is sometimes a necessary step in the design process.  With the needles and yarn that you have chosen, knit a small rectangle at least 2 inches by 2 inches.  Get a ruler, and (without stretching your sample) measure how many stitches fit in one inch.  Measure also how many rows fit in one inch.  Write down your needle size, yarn that you are using, and stitches per inch, and rows per inch.  This will prevent the need for future swatching with the same materials.

NOTE: Stranded knitting with two colours tends to draw in (get tighter) than knitting in one colour.  Keep this in mind if you are going to knit with two colours.  Another option is to use duplicate stitch to add designs on after the headband is knit.

Math Time

To make a headband fit snugly around the head, you need negative ease.  This means that you should aim for the headband to be about an inch less than the head circumference.  If you are doing stranded knitting you might not need so much negative ease, since your knitting will be tighter.

Headband circumference[adjusted to account for negative ease] in inches x #stitches per inch = #stitches to cast on

Desired headband width in inches x #rows per inch = #rows to knit

Chart Time

Get a piece of graph paper, or a fresh excel spreadsheet, and mark off the rectangle that will be the headband (#stitches to cast on is the long side, and #rows to knit is the short side)

Colour in the design on the graph paper.  Each square will represent one stitch.  Think of it like you are creating the pixels of your picture.

Cast on!

Start with ribbing, then add your design according to your chart.  If your design is not symmetrical (like letters or numbers) make sure that your pattern will be the right way up and the right way around.  End with ribbing, and cast off.

I look forward to seeing the finished product!  Get knitting!

The Guidey Award Goes To….

Sunday, December 20th, 2009

Ossama! He was our tour guide in Jordan, and from the first smiles on the bus, I knew that it was going to be a fun 5 days together. From impromptu Arabic lessons on the bus, to stories about the different archaeological digs, and stories about his own family, Ossama added a personal touch to our tour. He spent time with all of the group, getting to know each of the 14 of us, and asking us about our countries and lives.

fashion lessons on the bus

Even though he has been to all of these places so many times before, he presented each historical site with enthusiasm. He showed us through Petra, pointing out things that we would never have noticed on our own. He showed us around the Wadi Rum desert in the footprints of Laurence of Arabia. It was that night, camping under the stars in the desert that we got to really appreciate his sense of humour. Thanks Ossama to being on scorpion patrol!

At the end of the trip, we exchanged contact information, and have continued to be penpals over the last few months. I’m glad to have made such a nice friend in a far away land. I’m learning so much about the everyday life of a tourguiding nomad!

To thank him for his fantastic tourguiding, I made him some lovely wool socks for his birthday….but they got lost in the mail (which makes me quite upset).

the missing socks

So, Ossama….I’m sorry that these haven’t found you yet. When you are in Amman, take a close look at the footwear of those around you. Let me know if you find these socks walking around somewhere. You’ll know they are yours….they have a “small fox” on each sock.

(for the knitting geeks out there: Socks were knit cuff down, and fox sewed in afterwards with duplicate stitch)

Best Trip of 2009

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

I’ve joined a new blogging group for the month of December. You’ll still be hearing all about my knitting and crafts, but through the lens of my past year. It’s important as one year closes to reflect on what was accomplished, and learned, and experienced over the past 12 months.  This begins the  “BEST OF 2009 BLOG CHALLENGE

This summer I went on the trip of a lifetime. A friend (who will be known as Captain) and I met up in England, and flew to Amman where we started our tour of Jordan and Egypt. We decided to tour the Middle East on a whim, a decision made when Swine Flu was rampant in Mexico (our planned destination), and travel plans needed to change quickly. Visiting the desert in the summer is not everyone’s idea of fun. We did need to have siestas to avoid the 45 C heat of the midday sun

Amman, seen from the citadel

Amman, seen from the citadel

We saw Amman, a busy modern city, and then saw Jerash a city with the most amazing Roman Ruins!

Jerash, Roman Ruins

Jerash, Roman Ruins

Jordan is famous for Petra, the city carved from rock by the ancient Nabatean people. We spent a day exploring Petra, and I would like to go back to see more of the sights. We met friendly bedouin people who sold us trinkets and gave us tea. If you go to Petra, be sure you go on the “Petra By Night” tour, and let all the noisy tourists walk far ahead of you. The silence and stillness of the smooth walled canyon is magical.

With stars above, and ancient stones beneath lit only by candles, you forget that you are moments away from a busy world. Time stands still. You want to walk towards the end of the canyon, to see the large carved facades that are so famous, but you don’t want to really get to the end of the canyon as it is also a magical part of the experience. Captain and I took this tour, but the rest of our group decided against it. Their loss!

Also in Jordan, we floated in the Dead sea (an absolutely amazing experience!) It’s what I imagine being in a “jolly jumper” would feel like….you can’t touch the bottom, no matter how hard you try

Dead Sea Float

Dead Sea Float

We also camped overnight in the Wadi Rum desert under the stars.

It was so hot in the desert that I stayed with several group members and knit in the shade of an overhang all afternoon. As the sun set, we all sat together and watched the sky and sand as the colours changed. The reds faded to purples, the stars came out, and in the distance we could hear our dinner being prepared back at the camp, cooked in an underground oven.

Eating the best food we’d had in Jordan among happy tourists, fun tour guides and a very friendly sheikh was certainly memorable. I didn’t want to sleep that night because the sky was too beautiful. Deserts are places where you can certainly feel how small you are in a big world, like a single grain of sand or a single point of light in the vastness of the universe. It is a place of beauty-a different beauty than I’ve experienced at home.

Crossing from Jordan to Egypt, we camped on the beach at the Red Sea and I experienced snorkeling for the first time. It is a mindblowing experience, just like what I imagine swimming in a fish tank would be like.

taken with a friends underwater digital camera

taken with a friend's underwater digital camera

We then climbed Mt. Sinai to see the sun set. Captain convinced me that climbing the “stairs” is the only way to get to the top (riding a camel, or walking the camel track would be cheating). The views from the top of the mountain were stunning, and it was finally cold enough to wear a long sleeved shirt!

Egypt in general was less friendly than Jordan, perhaps because we were in busy cities, or because Captain and I were traveling on our own. We never felt unsafe, but just generally more harassed and hassled. We explored Cairo (must sees: islamic markets-watch out for crazy mosque tours…we ended up on the roof without much warning at all!, coptic churches, museum of antiquities–mummies are worth the price of admission, but you can’t bring your camera inside the museum, they do a bag scan like at airports). We got good at bartering for water and taxi fare, and found out that the subway is clean and very reliable and that there are two train cars reserved for women!

We went to Giza to see the pyramids which were colossal, but crowded with tourist busses, and tourist police who want you to pose all over the place for photos. I went inside a pyramid-Captain was too claustrophobic to make the trip inside. If you go to the pyramids, be sure to get the taxi to drop you off at the tourist entrance, NOT with the “camel mafia” at the “alternate entrance”. They are very very pushy everywhere, wanting you to buy trinkets and overpriced drinks.

We took a train to Aswan, and a car to Abu Simbel (near Sudan). The temples there had to be moved when the Aswan High Dam was put in. It was a great UNESCO effort to relocate such amazing buildings and the hills they were carved into.

After our car trip and through a great deal of luck and chance we ended up meeting and becoming friends with Captain Hamada and his brother Ali, captain and crew of the felucca Flower 2 (look for them near the Aswan Moon restaurant on the corniche).

Their boat is bedecked in Jamaican flags (and maybe Canadian ones too if the package I sent ever arrived). We took several short trips with them, and later signed on for a 4 day adventure that brought us down the Nile to Edfu. We experienced such delights as bathing in the Nile (hanging on to a rope on the end of the boat so we didn’t get swept away with the current–we did lose a bar of soap!), making tea and cooking and cleaning (there is quite a ritual to keeping the boat tidy).

We slept on deck under the stars, we swam when it got too hot, sailed with the wind, or drifted with the current. Captain got her name because of her excellent skills as a captain…she learned VERY fast. The two downfalls of felucca travel are

  1. it is slow, but at this point on our trip we needed some slow days….I had lots of time to work on my sock.
  2. there are no bathroom facilities….so we got used to finding trees and plants to use as a toilet shelter (harder than you might think!)

Captain Ali, and Flower 2 at the shore near Edfu

socks I made for Captain to commemorate our wonderful trip.  Photo links to blog post about the socks.

socks I made for Captain to commemorate our wonderful trip. Photo links to blog post about the socks.

Our last few days included seeing the sights of Luxor (Luxor Temple, Karnak, and Valley of the Kings)



It is amazing to wander in those ruins and feel the spirit there. The scale of the pillars and statues is hard to describe, and I imagine how hard it must have been to build it and carve it with limited access to tools and technology. There must have been an amazing abundance of slave labour! Be warned about food in Luxor…stay away from anything involving mayonnaise! There are some good English food shops that keep mayo in a cooler…trust them, and them alone (or suffer the consequences).

At the end of the trip I had finished one sock. I turned the heel in the Wadi Rum, and knit the leg of the sock on the Nile felucca. Talk about a good reason for second sock syndrome. I’m waiting for an equally exciting time to cast on for the second sock…don’t want it to be jealous of the first one!

I highly recommend a trip to Egypt and Jordan. Captain and I have blogged in more detail on the following site, and I’d be happy to answer any questions you might have–ask away!

Captain’s Socks

Friday, October 30th, 2009
feluccas on the Nile, Aswan Egypt

feluccas on the Nile, Aswan Egypt

This summer I went on an intrepid adventure to the middle east. I visited Jordan and Egypt, saw wonders of the world, and experienced the best of middle eastern hospitality. On a particularly hot day in Aswan Egypt, CM (my travel buddy) and I negotiated a great price for a boat ride on a felucca (a sail boat historically used for ferrying goods, but now ferries tourists). We ended up having such a wonderful time with Captain Hamada and his teenage brother Ali, that we went back the next day, and then the day after that we set sail with them on a 4 day trip. We helped out on the boat with tea making, veggie chopping, dish washing, and deck wiping. We both learned how to steer the boat, but CM took to it more than I did, and earned a fake Felucca Captain License. I earned a fake Crew License. We had many adventures including swimming in the Nile on the end of a rope (it’s harder than it sounds to wash your hair while hanging on to the soap and the rope!) We saw many donkeys and water buffalo, we learned to fish, we walked through several Nubian villages, and were told that we were the colour of cheese (which is apparently a compliment).

To commemorate our journey, and to celebrate CM’s birthday, I knit her a pair of Captain Socks out of odds and ends of different sock yarns from my stash.

captain socks

captain socks

Note the Jamaican flag on the boat. Hamada seemed to be a fan of Bob Marley and all things Jamaican.



The socks were knit from the cuff down. The yellow (sand) and green (plants) were knit in stripes, and the topography was augmented with duplicate stitch to make the landscape look more realistic. The felucca was done in duplicate stitch also, with french knots for Hamada, Ali, CM and me.

Nubian houses are blue

Nubian houses are blue

Hamada pointed out to us some Nubian houses on the shore of the Nile. He told us that Nubian houses are blue. We asked why Nubian houses are blue, expecting some cultural reason as a reply. He looked at us with a smile, and said “Nubians like blue”. I’m not sure if that is true of all Nubians, but the houses were pretty.

donkey and boat man

donkey and boat man

We saw many donkeys along the Nile during our 4 days, and although we had heard them make their funny noises, this was the first time for us to see how they actually do it. The rapid expansion and contraction of their rib cage forcing air though their throat with their mouth wide open was enough to set us giggling every time! Sometimes the beasts near the water were not donkeys, but water buffalo. The owners of these creatures would often ferry reeds from one part of the Nile to feed their buffalo. This photo shows my impression of such a boat man rowing reeds to feed his animal.

swimming in the Nile

swimming in the Nile

This sock shows CM and I swimming in the Nile on the rope. Ali would often be our lifeguard, making sure we were hanging on to the rope. The Nile is a really cold fast flowing river, and we were swimming when the felucca was under sail. Hamada would occasionally yell “I’m tacking!” and he’d rapidly move the rudder to change direction and keep wind in the sails, but that would essentially leave us playing crack-the-whip, holding on for dear life on the end of the rope. We were glad that Ali was there to look out for us.

If you are ever in Aswan Egypt, ask for Hamada and Ali on the felucca “Flower 2″, and go for a ride. They are the boat with the Jamaican flag, and maybe Canadian flags too (if my mail ever got to them). Get them to cook you Bolti fish–it was the best food we had in Egypt!

My friend CM is in Belgium now; hopefully these Captain Socks will keep her warm with the memories of rash decisions and felucca adventures. Cheers Captain!