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Hi there, nice to have you visiting! I'm Heidi and this is the blog for Heidi Bears. Here is where I post all the happenings in my work and daily life. Here and there you'll find info on things that have caught my attention as well as the odd tutorial. I hope you enjoy your visits. I love to have feedback, so leave me a comment!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Judy's Magic Cast-On and Magic Loop Knitting: Tutorial 1

Blessed Easter everyone...

I am so thankful for the gift of Easter...may you all have a special renewing in your hearts, may you be blessed and fulfilled this year, my friends...

I have been hard at work... here in SA it has been raining non-stop for some time...something we aren't all that used to :) but nevertheless extremely grateful for. Friends of ours at the coast have completely run out of water, their dam is dry and the local municipality are trucking in water daily...

My girls are still on holiday, so today was a day to bake muffins (vanilla with melted chocolate in the centre...), stay indoors and just veg out... they are adorable, I love them lots...

I wanted to do a post yesterday about the Magic Loop and Judy's Magic cast on...but today was fated to be the day:)

I have been a knitter for many years, and I can honestly say that nothing else has influenced my knitting to such an extent...I adapt everything possible to Magic Loop, it's just the easiest and most efficient way to knit, and serves the most important function I can think of....avoiding SEAMING!! Oh, I hate seaming/sewing etc my knitted items...I'd rather not knit if I have to sew up something :( So when I came across this technique, I was determined to master it at all costs...

You may be intimidated at first if you haven't tried this before, but let me promise you, it is just a bit of practice and you will be able to use this technique :)

I will do small bits at a time, as Magic Loop knitting can be used for such a wide variety of things, that it is potentially overwhelming...so we start small, and build on it... We will start with Judy's Magic Cast-on (which she has graciously allowed me to refer to...thank you Judy :) )
If you want to knit something with a closed bottom (think bag, sock, mitten/glove, hat, knitted toy body etc, etc), you'll want an invisible, strong "closed" side...right? Then you need to use this technique (please note: I am in no way undermining other ways/techniques...I am merely expressing what works best for me, so please don't be upset if you disagree... :) ).



Judy's Magic Cast-On: Tutorial
Right! Ready to begin?
You'll need a pair of circular needles. I use Knit Pro needles (amongst others...) because they are fabulous! Their cable/needle joins are superb and smooth, their needles pointy, and the cables are flexible and thin...at some point I will do a post on what I look for in circular needles, but for now, you need a pair of needles and a ball of yarn.

I have deliberately used two different needles (attached to the same cable...this is an interchangeable circular needle), so that you can see clearly where each needle is placed, and how they move. One needle is made of wood, one of metal. Hold your needles close together, deciding which needle will be "on top" and which will be "at the bottom". This is really important, as you will see... If you don't have two different coloured needles, take some nail polish and mark the tip of one of the needles, then you can easily identify which is which...

Hang your yarn over the top needle (in this case I have the metal needle on "top"), so that the tail is closer to you, and the yarn to the ball of wool or working yarn as I like to call it, is farther away.


Hold the tail, and moving in a counterclockwise direction, (in the above pic, to the right hand side), position the tail farthest away from you, and the working yarn will now be closest to you. Essentially you have created the first stitch on the metal needle.

Grab the yarns in your left hand, and using your thumb and index finger, splay the yarns so that you have a diamond-shaped opening (see below). Make sure that you have good moderate tension on both yarns.

As you have already added a stitch to the top needle, you need to add your next stitch to the bottom needle (all needles are created equal friends!). This is the rule: the bottom needle wants to be friends with the index finger yarn, and the top needle wants to be friends with the thumb yarn, ie stitches are added to the bottom needle via the index finger yarn, and stitches are added to the top needle via the thumb yarn.

Move both needles in the direction of the index finger yarn...this will involve a "swivel" movement (kind of like a pendulum). Your needles always point to the left, they just move up and down around a fulcrum (the stitches act as the fulcrum). Place the bottom needle over the index finger yarn, and then slip the yarn BETWEEN the needles, ie the yarn will curl around the bottom needle ONLY.

Yarn slipped between needles...

Stitch on bottom needle created...a stitch on each needle now...

You need to add the next stitch to the top needle...so off we go...swivel the needle pair towards the yarn at the thumb, the top needle will go over the yarn, and the yarn will slip between the pair of needles. Voila! another stitch done!

See? Easy...

Swivel the pair of needles back to the starting horizontal position, and your stitch is done.

Next add another stitch to the bottom needle...you do this in exactly the same way you did the first stitch on the bottom needle...

Swivel up...over the index finger yarn...

Repeat the exercise...

It's the same procedure for every stitch you add... keep going until you have the right number of stitches (if you need 36 stitches, you will keep adding until you have 18 stitches on each needle, ie you have to add the number of stitches on each needle together to get the final count).

Now you need to "anchor "your tail. This is not a fixed anchor until you have completed your first round of knitting...but it does allow you to keep the stitches together and your starting round, firm. You will remember that when we started, the tail was at the back (around the index finger). You bring it around to the front (counter-clockwise), as seen below, and hold it in your right hand, next to the needles. In the next post, I will show you how to turn your work, so that the working yarn is to your right and you can start knitting.


Bring the tail around to the front and towards your right hand, holding it close to your needles.


I hope that the tutorial makes sense...again, please accept my apologies if it appears repetitive...I am hoping that even new knitters will be able to follow, friends :)
I have done something for the first time...loaded a short video to demonstrate the steps...I hope it is clear and will load properly...please let me know if it doesn't... ha! it's a learning curve, that it is ;)

video
Let's hope...
Have a blessed day,
Lots of Love,
Heidi :)

5 comments:

Linda said...

Dear Heidi,
What an awesome tutorial! Thank you so much and a video too! I will have to give this a try soon:) Thank you so much for sharing this tutorial on Friendship Friday:)
Hugs
Linda

tidbitqueen said...

Thank you so much for all you tutorials. This is a fantastic service those who love to craft!! I appreciate the time and effort you put into this.

RosalĂ­a said...

Thanks for sharing. It's an interesting cast-on.

Mary said...

Your instructions on the photos would be easier to read if you would change the color to contrast with the background... some darker color would work.

Mary said...

Your instructions on the photos would be easier to read if you would change the color to contrast with the background... some darker color would work.