Cables are gorgeous, intriguing, raised patterns that make knitting look incredibly complex. In order to make them stand out more, they are usually worked over a background of Reversed Stockinette. When the purl stitches on either side of the cable are loose, they gap and form loose horizontal bars that resemble ladders running up next to the cable. This detracts the eye from the gorgeous cable and can give a garment a sloppy look.
The other problem that happens when the purl stitch is loose, is that the far left column of knit stitches on the cable are uneven.
In this swatch, the cable on the right is formed correctly. The cable on the left has ladders to the left and you can see how the stitches on the far left of the cable are enlarged and don’t look as tidy as the rest of the stitches.
Ladders can also change the gauge and make your garment too wide overall. Notice the width difference in the left and right cables, including the 3 purl sts before each cable. For all of these reasons, avoiding ladders are best.
The first step is to recognize that this happens. Once you see the ladders, you can prevent them from forming.
What causes ladders?
This happens when changing from a knit to a purl stitch that is worked too loosely. When the yarn comes off the knit stitch, the slack in forming the next purl stitch creates the ladder. This usually happens when ending a cable and beginning a purl stitch, so you’ll see them most often to the left of the cable.
The slack in forming the purl stitch happens on every row, but is more exaggerated when you've crossed stitches to make a cable. On rows where you do the cable cross, the ladders are usually worse. This is because the cable has pulled the knit stitches tightly, then a purl stitch is worked at a normal tension, and the pulling effect draws the extra yarn from the purl stitch and pulls it out.
The way to prevent this is to take up the slack in the purl stitch immediately coming off of the cable, or to the left of the cable.
Any of these methods work; try them and find the best for you, or combine them:
1. After knitting the last stitch of the cable, pull the yarn downwards rather snugly, and then work the purl stitch.
2. After knitting the last stitch of the cable, insert needle into the next stitch to begin working the purl, but give the yarn a firm tug before continuing with the purl stitch. You’ll feel the yarn slack being taken up as you tug.
3. Wrap the yarn the opposite way when working the purl stitch. When you wrap the yarn clockwise around the needle, there is less yarn between the knit and purl stitch. When you reach this stitch on the WS row, you’ll need to knit it through the back loop.
4. Work close to the needle tips to prevent the stitch from being stretched out.
I actually do methods 1, 2 and 3 most of the time, at the same time. I work at the needle tips, pull the yarn downwards, and tug a bit. If I’m working a large cable, like a 10, or 12 stitch cable, then I will use method 3 and wrap the yarn around the needle clockwise.
Fixing ladders after they’re knit:
If you notice ladders after you’ve finished knitting, you can usually minimize their appearance. Take a tapestry needle and pull up the slack on the ladder, then work the slack back into the knit stitches on the cable. With each stitch that you pull up, you should have less and less yarn, until they all feel the same. Do this before you block, which will help “set” the stitches. Remember knitting is made up of 50-100 yards long pieces of yarn. Each stitch affects the stitch next to it, so you just need to redistribute the yarn a bit.
This is time consuming, so don’t get me wrong. It’s not the answer. It’s by far better to avoid the ladders in the first place. But things happen and if you find yourself with a finished piece, staring at you with ugly ladders, just know that you can fix them at this point.
By preventing ladders from forming, your cables will look more uniform, the background stitches remain in the background, and you will have better luck staying on gauge. Just remember, pull yarn downwards, give a little tug, work at the needle tips and when all else fails, wrap the yarn clockwise.
The Knitting Guild Association (TKGA) has appointed Heather Storta as Vice President of Education and Donna Estin as Vice President of Public Relations to the board of directors.
District of Columbia, Feb 19, 2020 (Issuewire.com) - The Knitting Guild Association (TKGA) has appointed Heather Storta as Vice President of Education and Donna Estin as Vice President of Public Relations to the board of directors.
“We are excited to welcome Heather Storta and Donna Estin to our board of directors, allowing us to expand our reach and to support serious knitters worldwide in their quest to elevate their knitting skills,” said Arenda Holladay, Executive Director.
Heather Storta of Concord, North Carolina, earned her certification as a Master Hand Knitter in 2014. She has served on the Master Hand Knitting Committee since 2014 and is currently a Co-Chair. Her background in teaching as well as engineering has served her well in her new career as a Knitting Instructor. She teaches at yarn shops, retreats, conferences, guilds and fiber festivals nationally. She is a TKGA Certified Knitting Instructor, Certified Technical Editor and is the editor of TKGA’s monthly newsletter K2TOG. As Vice President of Education, Heather brings to the board a passion for knitting and education, and the skills needed to guide the educational component of TKGA’s mission into the next phase. To read more about Heather Storta, visit: https://heatherstorta.com/about-me/
Donna Estin of Vienna, Virginia, earned her certification as a Master Hand Knitter in 2017. She has served on the Master Hand Knitting Committee since 2017 and has been running the social media marketing platforms for TKGA since 2018. Her background in sales and marketing and as a successful business entrepreneur in the Washington DC area helped pave the way for her launch in 2015 of Donna Estin Designs, LLC. She currently works as a Knitwear Designer and her designs can be seen in knitting magazine and books worldwide. Her expertise in sales and marketing will help to raise the visibility of TKGA in the knitting industry. As Vice President of Public Relations, Donna will expand the current marketing efforts to increase exposure and reach more knitters. To read more about Donna Estin, visit: https://www.donnaestindesigns.com/about.html
About The Knitting Guild Association
The Knitting Guild Association is a 501c3 nonprofit dedicated to providing education and resources to knitters to advance their mastery of the craft of knitting. They support serious knitters in their efforts to perpetuate traditional techniques and keep the artisan aspects and high-quality standards of the craft alive. For more information, visit https://tkga.org/about-us/board-and-committee/
Linen is one of the strongest fibers for knitting. It does not break down like wool does over time and as a result, lasts for centuries. It is cool, breathable, wicks away excess moisture, dries faster than cotton and is perfect for warm-weather sweaters, tops and dresses. It has a slight sheen and drape that makes garments elegant and creates a fabric that improves with age. It softens each time you wear and wash it. Linen yarns made of long-staple flax do not pill. If you have sensitive skin, the smoothness of the yarn and moisture absorbing qualities make this an excellent fiber to wear against the skin. A garment knitted in linen will not wrinkle the way a woven linen garment will. It is not susceptible to insect damage when stored.
Knowing the qualities of linen will help you make good project choices. But how does all this translate into knitting with linen? You will need to knit a little differently, so read on! Learning a few tips about knitting with linen will make the knitting process so much more enjoyable.
First of all, about that strong fiber that I mentioned in the first sentence; the flip side to this is that it can feel rough when you’re knitting it. Yes, it will get softer with each wash, but you have to knit it first. So if you want to soften it up a bit before you ever cast on, take the labels off the hank but leave it tied. Soak it in a sink of tepid water, add some fabric softener. For a natural fabric softener, use one part baking soda with two parts white vinegar in a sink of water. Let it soak. Press out extra water in a towel, and hang it up to dry. Then wind it and start knitting.
The wound cake of yarn will be messy so it is best if it stays put. When you pull yarn from a wound cake, let it unravel from the outside. If the ball doesn’t move around the house, and stays in place, you can almost wind 95% of the yarn out, leaving a mesh structure with just a few wraps of yarn left. It will sit there like a sculpture, if not tasseled about. So it’s probably not the best project for traveling or moving around from room to room. Once the yarn cake does collapse, the yarn can tangle easily and be difficult to form back into a ball. If you like to pull from the center, here’s another example of how knitting with linen will push you out of your comfort zone. Unwrap it from the outside and be mindful that the less movement the better.
Part of the strength comes from linen’s lack of elasticity. It feels like a waxed, smooth jute. It is not going to cling to the knitting needles the way wool does. If you try and knit with it like you normally would, your hands will get a real work out. When you knit a stitch, it may stand up and not hug the needles at all. In order to see the knit stitches wrap around the needle and lie uniform, you’ll be tempted to knit tightly. And this takes a toll on your hands and arms. My best advice whenever you start tightening up, is to stop. Think “KNIT LOOSELY”.
You want to knit with a loose tension. Let let the yarn flow and don’t worry about snugging up the stitches after forming them. You’ll want to go down two or three needle sizes than you normally would use for another yarn in the same weight. By using a much smaller needle, you are able to achieve the gauge by knitting loosely. The process of knitting will be more enjoyable.
Of course, practice on your swatch and change the needle size to one that allows you to get gauge. But if you’re not getting gauge on the smaller needle, before you go up to a larger needle, try knitting a little looser and see if that helps. The looser the better – your hands will thank you for it later! Our tension changes all of the time. We tend to knit tighter when stressed, anxious, short on time, upset, or during a cliffhanger of a movie. Some people knit tighter at night, some tighter in the morning. You may tend to knit tighter or looser, but know that your tension does indeed change. So you can purposely change it. Focus on knitting looser. And if a pattern has increases or decreases, by keeping it loose you’ll also be able to work those more easily.
Just relax your hands, relax your tension and don’t worry about forming perfectly uniform stitches. Some stitches will be larger than others. Linen isn’t perfectly formed and most linen yarns are thick and thin in places. A finished garment in Stockinette will not look like a uniform piece of Stockinette done in wool. It will have a more rustic look but it is supposed to.
While we’re talking about the look of the stitches, you might also want to use wooden needles. I use metal needles 90% of the time, except when I knit in linen. And bamboo works best for me with linen. The wood isn’t as slick as metal and helps keep the stitches a little more uniform, so the needles are doing the work instead of me. Everyone is different. We knit differently, hold our needles differently and tension our yarn differently. Just know that by changing things up with linen, you may find better, more pleasing results.
Remember that beautiful drape I mentioned? Linen will grow lengthwise slightly over time. A blocked Stockinette swatch usually does not change much from an unblocked swatch, measurement-wise (it will be softer and stitches will start to even up a bit), but wash after wash, you’ll find lengths may get a little bit longer. This is a plus when you’re knitting a summer top or tee, as it just becomes more comfortable with time. When I designed the Heartwood Cardigan [click here to see pattern details on Ravelry], I designed notches in the cuffs and hem to accommodate any lengthening and still allow for a pleasant fit.
While you can toss your linen garment into the washer and dryer, it will be difficult to have lace look as nice. While a pure Stockinette or textured garment can be laundered this way, if you have lace you’ll want to wet block it and use pins to stretch and open up the lace to really show it off. If you have wet blocked your garment, you may find that it is stiff when you remove the pins. Just crunch it up in your hands and voila! It will feel great. You can also put it in the dryer on air fluff for a minute to shake out any stiffness.
When weaving in yarn ends, weave in a bit more of yarn tail than you normally would. If you normally weave in 1” over duplicate stitch or 2” into a seam, add ½” or so, just to keep it snug. Remember it's not going to cling to other strands so make sure you're weaving in a long enough tail to stay put.
Linen is fabulous! It’s strong, gets softer with each wash, lasts forever, and is an enjoyable break from tight knitting if you tend to be a tight knitter. A garment knit in linen will last, stay in better condition for longer, and become softer in time. These will be your true heirloom pieces to be passed down to the next generation. If you haven't knit with linen, or it's been awhile, try it! You may just fall in love with linen. Knitting and wearing!
Hiatt, June Hemmons. The Principles of Knitting. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, 1988.
Editors of Vogue Knitting. Vogue Knitting: The Ultimate Knitting Book. New York, NY: SOHO Publishing, LLC/Sixth & Spring Books, 2018.
Paden, Shirley. Knitwear Design Workshop. Loveland, CO: Interweave Press, 2009.
Heartwood Cardigan, published in Interweave Knits Spring 2020 magazine, was knitted with Fibra Natura FLAX, by Universal Yarns in shade # 12, Tarragon.
I'm so addicted to slip stitch knitting! It’s fast, complex looking, incredibly vast, and simple to do.
Slip Stitch is defined as a stitch passed from one needle to the other without being worked.
Slip Stitch knitting uses slip stitches to create designs or texture, or both.
Note - Mosaic knitting and Brioche knitting are subsets of slip stitch knitting, but they are not covered in this article.
A slip stitch is probably the easiest technique in all of knitting, and certainly one of the fastest and most useful. It can be used to create a dense fabric, as an alternate way to work stranded colorwork, to create a decorative design on a fabric or as part of a structural role.
Stitches can be slipped knitwise or purlwise. When slipping stitches, always slip them purlwise unless instructed otherwise by the pattern. When you move a stitch from the left needle to the right needle purlwise, you do not change the orientation of the stitch. This means that a “normal” stitch has two legs, and the right leg rests to the front of the needle and the left leg rests to the back of the needle. The needle goes through the middle of the two legs. When you slip a stitch purlwise, it ends up on the right hand needle with the right leg still resting to the front of the needle. To do this, insert your right hand needle into the first stitch on your left hand needle from right to left, as if you were going to purl the stitch. Don’t purl it. Just move it from one needle to the next. (If the pattern says to slip knitwise, you will insert needle from right to left as if to knit and you will form a twisted stitch.)
In addition to slipping knitwise or purlwise, you can slip more than one stitch at a time, you can slip the same stitch again on the next row which stretches it, creating a visible vertical strand and compressing the fabric, you can slip a stitch so it draws diagonally or horizontally.
There are two very different applications for slip stitch knitting:
First, in a single color, slip stitches are used to either create dense, thicker fabrics which are durable and wonderful for coats, hats, mittens, placemats, outerwear sweaters, or just highly texturized sweaters. The purpose of slipping the stitch is to create a visibly decorative pattern.
Yarn can be held in the back, (wyib) as you slip the stitch to let only the slipped stitch show. When working with a single color, it is used when you want an elongated vertical stitch slipped over more than one row. Yarn can also held in the front (wyif) as you slip the stitch which carries a horizontal strand across the bottom of the stitch being slipped. This provides a woven look and takes on a very interesting look when worked in more than color. (See Plectics above).
When you use more than one color, you can create all types of designs by slipping a stitch from one color to a future row. The West Village Cardigan for children for example (below), uses three types of slipped stitches, one in a single color on the body and multi color slip stitch motifs on the hem and cuffs.
In either single or multi color slip stitch, when you slip a stitch up more than one row, you will compress the fabric, making it denser with more rows to an inch than you would get without slipping the stitches. These type of slip stitch patterns are designed to manipulate the stitches to create a highly textured fabric.
The second application, involves keeping the row gauge the same, and does not pull a stitch up to another row. It is used as an easy way to work Fair Isle. When working Fair Isle, the stich is slipped with yarn in back. You can work any Fair Isle pattern as written by working with only one color at a time. You work each round twice: first you work it in the first color of the first square on the chart, knitting only those colored stitches and slipping the stitches on the chart that are in the second color. Then you drop the first color, pick up the second color and work that round again, slipping the stitches that you just worked on the previous go around. If you are working flat, back and forth in rows, work on circular needles so you can slide the work back to the beginning to begin knitting the same row again in the second color.
One word of caution however, you will not be able to catch long floats with this technique, so look over the charts before you begin to make sure the colors change frequently. If you have sections of only one color that are 1" or more, you want to avoid this way.
You will also still need to spread your stitches out to keep the floats on the back from pulling tightly. This method is fun to do, but doesn't solve all of the tension and disappearing stitch problems of traditional Fair Isle knitting. It can make your Fair Isle a little more uniform and yarn more manageable. It's a great way to work your first Fair Isle piece.
Overall, slip stitch knitting is easy enough for beginners to do, and when I was designing Plectics, I almost classified this Easy. It’s definitely a good sweater for a confident beginner. It uses single color slip stitch at the cuffs and hem, and multi color slip stitch at the yoke. It's a fun and fast pullover!
Traveler's Sweater (below) uses one color throughout and you can see the amazing texture that this particular slip stitch pattern creates. This fabric is denser, with more rows per inch than Stockinette stitch.
To try this fun way of knitting, look for patterns specifically designed with slip stitch patterns, or try any Fair Isle pattern and work it using only one color at a time (remember to work each round twice; once in each color).
It is a wonderful knitting option for knitters who suffer from tendinitis or arm pain from knitting since you keep everything light. You don't want to pull stitches tightly when you are knitting or purling them after a slipped stitch, because you want that strand that runs behind (or in front of) the slipped stitch to lie flat. For this reason, it's helpful to keep your tension a little on the loose side, especially if you tend to be a tight knitter.
It is also a great way to create a sweater you can be proud of if you struggle with even tension. The slipped stitches tend to mask any guttering or rowing out that can be visible in stockinette stitch. Of course striving for even tension is the best solution in your knitting. But try slip stitch and you may be pleasantly surprised at how good your knitting looks when you're finished. Just another reason why slip stitch knitting is good for beginner-intermediate knitters.
Gonzalez, Leslie. “Slip Stitch Knitting Redux.” Cast On Aug – Oct 2014: pp. 10-12.
Hiatt, June Hemmons. The Principles of Knitting. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, 1988.
Stanley, Montse. The Handknitter’s Handbook. Newton Abbot, Devon: David & Charles Publishers, Inc., 1986. Distributed in US (New York, NY) by Sterling Publishing Co, Inc.
Walker, Barbara. A Treasury of Knitting Patterns. New York, NY: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1968.
Have you ever worked a neckline in Garter or Seed stitch and it flops over like a collar instead of lying flat? This blog post will tell you why this happens and how to prevent it next time.
There are two reasons this could occur. The most common reason is that the tension of the picked up stitches is tighter than the body. This will be especially noticeable if you are working on a garment with lace, openwork or lots of drape. When you pick up stitches, the act of drawing yarn through the bound off stitches leaves a loop on the needle which is the first “round” of your neckband. When this is done firmly, you are reducing the amount of space between the loop, or your future neckband, and the garment. This pulls the two together. Since we pick up stitches from the right side, you are pulling the neckband against the outside of the garment.
To a degree this happens in ribbing as well, but as you work the ribbing for an inch or so, the ribbing draws together and lies flat. Although if you look closely you might see a slight bulge at the base of your ribbing where the pick-up drew in the stitches too tightly. Where it is most noticeable is in Garter Stitch, Seed Stitch or with a simple pickup then bind off neckband.
To prevent this from happening, first try picking up the stitches loosely. Let your needle glide in and out of the pick-ups and resist the urge to snug up the yarn after each stitch is draw through. Keep it loose. This first round may look slightly enlarged, but you can compensate for that by purling the first round in Garter stitch. Think about the two sections of fabric. You want to be able to take the neckband in your fingers and move it forward and backwards at the join. This allows the neckband to lie flat. After picking up your stitches, on the next round work at your normal tension. If you want to work tighter that's fine. The rest of the neckband can be worked snugly and it won't interfere with the pick up round.
Once your neckband is finished, wet block it and press it into place with your fingers. You should not need to pin Garter stitch in place, but if you are pinning it, insert the pins in between stitches, and be careful not to split a stitch of either the neckband or of the garment.
If this didn’t completely work, try picking up only half of a stitch. This is most useful when using thick or rigid yarns like cotton. Instead of going through the entire bound off stitch, only go through the half of the stitch that faces the right side of the garment. When you reach shoulder seams, be careful to only pick up half of one stitch. This is an area where it’s easy to push your needle through both pieces that are seamed and you end up drawing your loop through a thick piece of fabric. If you’ve placed the center front and back stitches on a holder instead of binding them off, knit them as usual, but knit them a little looser than you normally would. As you are picking up the stitches, remember to keep it loose all the way around. A full disclosure note…when picking up only half of the stitch, and picking it up loosely, you will see the other half of the stitch at the base of the pick ups. This may blend it with an openwork garment, but with other stitch patterns it may be distracting. Pick up a few stitches this way and step back and take a look. If you don’t like the look of it, pick up the whole stitch as you normally would, but just do it loosely.
The second reason is that you’ve picked up too many stitches for the neckline. This causes the neckband to create a wavy effect, which sometimes flops over. If your gauge is off even slightly, this could be the cause. To double check the number of stitches to be picked up, place the garment flat on a table with the neckline opened, lie a tape measure on its side and run it around the neckline to get your circumference. Take this measurement and multiply it by your stitch gauge per inch of Garter stitch or whatever stitch you're using for the neckband. This will tell you how many stitches to pick up.
The good news is that if your neckband is going to flop over, it will do so right away. After your first round or two, you’ll notice it. Continuing to knit won’t fix the problem. You can aggressively block the neckband, pin it in place, and minimize the issue, but it’s much better at this point to just rip back and re-pick up the stitches. Plus you’ll have piece of mind that the neckband is behaving as it should and you won’t worry as you wear it that it will start to turn outwards.
Photo: Woolfolk FAR
As knitters, we are familiar with 2-ply and 4-ply yarns, but have you ever picked up a ball of yarn that is super light and on closer examination, discovered that the yarn itself looks like a knitted chain? Discovering chainette yarns is exciting and opens up new possibilities for your knitting. But what exactly is a chainette yarn?
Chainette (from the French word for Chain) yarns are made up of narrow plies that are machine knit into a strand that resembles mesh You will be knitting with something that has already been "knitted". They have a chained construction that provides a hollow, airy core. Since you’re using less fiber to create the same yardage, this allows the cost per yard to decrease which is why many luxury fibers like cashmere are spun into chainette. If you want luxury at an affordable price, search for chainette.
The hollow core traps air between the fibers and creates a lofty, lightweight garment. They are good for heavily cabled garments to show off cables without the weight, especially since chainette yarns offer excellent stitch definition. If you've ever knitted an Aran sweater, you know how much yarn goes into one of these garments. It's not unusual to see a medium sized adult garment with close to 2000 yards of yarn, which is needed to create all of the intricate cables and deep texture. Chainette yarns give you the yardage you need with less weight so you'll have a comfortable finished garment that feels lighter, with less stress on the shoulder seams, and less weight pulling on the neckline.
Chainette yarns are also great for heavy fibers like alpaca, yak, llama, cotton who benefit by becoming lighter. If a fiber has a tendency to hang with gravity or grow lengthwise as you wear it, and it is spun into a chainette construction, it will be less prone to that drop and the downward pull will be controlled. This is great for cardigans with buttons, since it's common for buttons that are evenly spaced on an alpaca cardigan (for example) while lying flat, to look "off" when you wear it. There will be more space between the buttons at the top than between the buttons at the bottom, since the yarn at the top is stretching down more in an attempt to hold the weight of the garment. The yarn towards the bottom of the garment is only holding a couple of inches and can retain it's fluffy shape.
Since chainette yarns are stretchy (like i-cord) they help rigid cotton and plant based yarns become more elastic. This opens up more stitch possibilities for cotton yarns and allows you to create cables or lace with greater ease since the yarn will have some give to it when being stretched with a cable needle or when making decreases. This added stretch is also helpful when you're working with ribbing or for garments with negative ease. You want a fabric that will spring back and retain it's shape.
Savvy knitters know that the softer the yarn, the less durable the finished product will be. If you want a garment to last, you need to knit with a yarn with more substance. But because the fibers have already been “knit” into a tube which keeps them in place, chainette yarns prevent pilling of super soft yarns that normally have a tendency to pill like cashmere and merino, so you're able to knit soft garments that will last. This is especially important when investing money in expensive, luxurious cashmere.
If you want the softness of cashmere without indulging, you're able to achieve a similar effect with merino. Soft yarns like merino will take on an ultra soft feel, making it feel more like cashmere than wool, with a nice drape thanks to the airy core.
Heavy yarns become lighter, inelastic yarns become more elastic, soft yarns gain strength; everything you knew about fibers and yarn is turned upside down with chainette constructed yarns. But this opens up more projects to you, as a knitter, and allows you to do more with a wider variety of yarns. When knitting with chainette, think about these qualities and make sure your knitting takes them into consideration. For example, because it is stretchier, side seams will help give your garment structure and keep it in shape. Patterns that have turtlenecks or cowl necks with the fiber next to your neck, are perfect for chainette yarns.
Once you understand chainette properties, you're better able to pair this yarn with the right project. Davos Pullover, designed for chainette yarns, takes advantage of the super soft chainette merino by incorporating a fluffy cowl neck which snuggles next to your skin to keep you cozy and cuddly. It has a fit that can be worn against the skin and feels as soft as fleece. Seams give it stability and keep it at its original length. Davos is knitted in luxurious Woolfolk Far, which goes a long way thanks to the chainette construction. Davos uses only 1130 yards for a size 36". Davos Pullover can be found here.
"Melange, Jaspe, Ombre." Schachenmayr.com 2019, <https://schachenmayr.com/en/news-events/whats-new/melange-jaspe-ombre>
"Chainette Yarn at WEBS." WEBS.com blog. 2019., <https://www.yarn.com/categories/chainette-yarn>
Babin, Meghan. "Chainette + Wool Studio = Luxury." Jan 20, 2017. <https://www.interweave.com/article/knitting/chainette-wool-studio-luxury/>
I was recently at a fiber show admiring a cute pile of baby sweaters at a booth. I was talking with the owner/knitter and she had so many gorgeous sweaters, in every color imaginable. Her work was lovely and knitters and non knitters were buying her sweaters, mostly as gifts. Mothers LOVE a hand knit sweater for their baby after all.
Then by our surprise, a woman walked by and said "That is my design. You can't sell those." Everyone at her booth disappeared, leaving the designer and knitter to settle this dispute.
This made we wonder about ownership, rights, and profit in the knitting world as well as the perception of it all. After delving into research and consulting the U.S. Copyright Office, I learned a lot about the process and wish that I could have gone back in time to that booth to save that poor knitter.
First let me say that I am NOT a lawyer nor do I work for the U.S. Copyright Office. I am a knitwear designer and my words and views in this article are of my own, based upon my experience and research with U.S. Copyright laws. Laws oversees vary from country to country.
Before we tackle the "selling knitted goods" issue, let's talk a minute about copyrights in general. How do you know if a pattern has been copyrighted? Copyright protection automatically goes into effect the moment an original work has been completed and fixed in a tangible form. After the pattern has been finished, it is essentially protected under copyright laws. So you should assume that all patterns floating around in print and on the internet are copyrighted. A pattern or any other type of work does not need to be registered, published or stamped with the (c) copyright notice in order for it to be protected. I do register my patterns with the U.S. Copyright Office, but it is not necessary. In the United States, a copyright lasts from the time the pattern or original work is completed until 70 years after the individual author's death or 95 years if the copyright is owned by a company.
Copyright laws offer protection to the author, artist, or to me as the designer. They prevent someone else from selling my patterns, or distributing them for free. Now we get back to "selling knitted goods." The copyright extends to the PATTERN. That is the tangible thing that I have created and have rights to. It covers the pattern, and all parts of the pattern like the photos, schematic etc. What it does NOT cover is the item that is made by using the pattern.
When you knit from a pattern, that thing that you create is, well, yours. You bought the pattern and the yarn, you knitted the item, it is yours. You may do what you wish with that item. You can wear it, give it as a gift or sell it. You can knit one sweater from a pattern or you can knit 100 sweaters from that same pattern. What you can't do, is claim the pattern or design as your own, sell the pattern to someone else or make copies of the pattern and give them away.
If someone gives you the pattern for free, that is normally sold to the public, it is a gift for you. It does not allow you the right to give it away to others for free as well. Copyright laws protect distribution of copyrighted materials in this regard. The same holds true if you receive a pattern as part of a kit. It is your pattern that you received for your use.
If you knit a sweater or accessory from one of my patterns, and you are fortunate enough to sell your finished item and make a profit, I encourage you to do so! It takes great skill and attention to details in finishing, to create a project that is "sales worthy." First let me say THANK YOU for purchasing one of my patterns to begin with. From the initial concept, to the finished PDF, there is a lot of work that goes into publishing a knitting pattern. In many cases the cost of the knitting pattern is less than 10% of the yarn needed to knit an adult size sweater, so the cost of a pattern is minimal. But it is everything to me, as the designer! So I am appreciative to everyone who has supported me and my designs by purchasing one of my patterns.
If you decide to give credit to Donna Estin Designs for the design on your finished, sellable projects, thank you. It is not necessary, but it's kind of you. But it's completely your decision. Sometimes the purchaser (mainly another knitter) is interested in who designed the garment. But if you're selling to the general public, they really couldn't care less who designed the thing that you made and sold to them, so don't bother.
I'm honored that you 've selected one of my designs to knit with the intent of selling the finished garment. I hope that I am able to help you create a niche business in this fabulous fiber world we all enjoy. Each of us play a roll in furthering the fine reputation of hand knits in the eye of the general public. Knitting is a skill that should be upheld and cherished. It is quite impressive! The more we are able to share the uniqueness and quality of a hand knit item to a broad base of the population, the more sought after hand knits will become. Which further increases demand for our time-treasured craft.
Happy knitting & happy selling!
U. S. Copyright Office 26SEP19 <https://www.copyright.gov/>
Krellenstein, Jason. "Ask a Lawyer, Knitting and Copyright." Vogue Knitting. Spring/Summer 2012. <http://www.vogueknitting.com/magazine/article_archive/ask_a_lawyer_knitting_and_copyright>
The Three Needle Bind Off Purlwise allows you to use 3-needle BO with Reversed Stockinette or Garter stitch, where your purl stitches are on the right side of your garment. This creates a seam that blends in nicely with the purl stitches and is hardly noticeable.
You can read the step-by-step instructions below or watch the video [click here].
How to work the Three Needle Bind Off Purlwise:
1. The setup is the same as regular three needle bind off. With the right sides held together (we’re working with Reversed Stockinette so we want the purl sides together), needle tips pointing in the same direction, and same number of sts on each needle, insert 3rd needle knitwise into the first stitch on the front needle. Leave it on the needle.
2. Wrap yarn counterclockwise around 3rd needle tip to bring the yarn in front. (You’re setting up a purl stitch and you always bring your yarn forward before you purl.) Insert 3rd needle purlwise into the first stitch on the back needle and purl this stitch. Let it fall from the back needle.
3. Take the yarn clockwise around 3rd needle tip to the back of your work. Lift the front knit st that is being held open, over the st that you just purled and off the needle. You have 1 st on the 3rd needle. Do these steps again and you'll have 2 sts on the 3rd needle.
4. Lift 2nd st over 1st st and off. Continue until all stitches have been bound off.
What we’re doing is knitting the stitches on the front needle and purling the stitches on the back needle. You bring your yarn forward before purling, then bring it to the back before knitting.
For the front, go into the stitch as if to knit.
For the back, yarn forward, purl the st, yarn back.
Lift the knit stitch held open over the purled st.
Bind off one stitch.
This creates such a nice seam that blends in nicely to purl stitches. I hope you find it useful. Many knitters love to join shoulders with the three needle bind off. It is a convenient way to end your work and join the front and back at the same time. With so many cable patterns using reversed stockinette as a background stitch for the cabling, there are many times where you end up with lots of purled stitches around the shoulders. Patterns will have you bind off and seam, which has its own advantages (stronger, more stable seam, etc.), but the Three Needle Bind Off Purlwise gives you another option that is fun to do, looks great and saves time. I hope you enjoy it!
Thank you to all the tester who are testing the Belfast Pullover. New sizes are scheduled for release by the end of August 2019.
Belfast Pullover is an easy-to-wear pullover which achieves the look of cables without a cable needle. The body is worked in columns of textured cabled stitches and the bodice in Stockinette with a gently scooped neckline. It is worked flat from the bottom up and is both charted & written out with schematics. Pullover is designed to be loose-fitting so please select a finished size that gives you about 4"/10cm of positive ease.
Skill level: Intermediate
Yarn: Worsted weight (yarn shown in sample is Good Karma Farm 60/40 Alpaca/Wool blend)
The test is being run on YarnPond.com. If you're not familiar with YarnPond, you can sign up as a tester for free. Click here for all the test/pattern details, or to apply.
The deadline to finish your test garment is 7/31/19 (but I am flexible on this). I hope you can join us!
Hello! I'm Donna. I knit every day and enjoy designing knitwear that is artistic, intricate and comfortable. I specialize in women's sweaters with a contemporary silhouette.