Crafty Weekend

There are a lot of local activities going on this week leading into the weekend!

Hello Craft's Summit of Awesome is going on now right here in Portland. The Summit closes its lineup of workshops with a Day of Craft and party. Crafty activities will continue into the weekend with the Show of Awesome at Doug Fir Lounge (Crafty Wonderland, one of the sponsors, used to host monthly craft shows here).

Friday through Sunday is Oregon's Black Sheep Gathering, and annual fiber fest, featuring a livestock and wool show, contests, workshops, and a trade show. You can find Bumblebirch stitch markers at the Kathee Nelson Art Yarn booth. Kathee's a fellow local independent dyer and has the loveliest silk yarn. If you're heading out to Eugene, be sure to stop by her booth!

Saturday is the famous WWKIP Day (that's World Wide Knit in Public Day). You won't be able to avoid seeing knitters walking around with their projects on display in cities all over the world! Many of them will participate in photo scavenger hunts, such as the one organized by Sock Knitters Anonymous, a Ravelry group.

Bumblebirch has a bit of crafty going on in the studio this week...a new colorway is in the works. Check in again soon for a sneak preview!


Two Basic Cast On Methods, Remedied

When I first started knitting, I used to panic about what kind of cast on method to use. Now I don't panic, but I have developed preferences and experience. Until recently, I would avoid 2 particular cast on methods: the backwards loop cast on, and the long-tail cast on.

The backward loop is called the "beginner" cast on because it's so simple, and when I first started knitting everyone told me to use this method. My problem was that by the time I knitted to the end of the first row, there was huge gap of slack between stitches at the first cast on stitch (the slipknot). So I cast on one more stitch than needed, then drop the skipknot at the end. Problem solved!

My problem with the long-tail cast on is that I either overestimate the tail length and waste too much yarn, or I underestimate and have to start the whole cast on edge over again (usually multiple times). But there's a solution to this!

I was catching up on some knitting podcasts and heard about a brilliant way to fix this problem: use both ends of the ball of yarn. I haven't found a video demonstrating this, or even much discussion online, so here's the basic theory:

1. Hold both ends as one and make a slip knot. This will be the first 2 stitches of your cast on edge.

2. Position the yarn as you normally would for long-tail cast on, with one strand around the thumb and one around the index finger. You'll want to decide whether you'll knit your item from the "inside" or "outside" yarn and put that strand around the index finger.

3. Cast on infinite stitches!

4. Snip the other strand, leaving a tail long enough to weave in.

At least I don't have to avoid these cast-on methods anymore!