Marcela Chang Knits

All about Knitting

Category: Tricks

Tips for Save Money or Stay in Budget when you are knitting.

Hi Knitters!!

This couples of days I’ve been reorganizing my stash and I have lots of yarns that I forgot it was there.. I have to say, I love yarn and color and I buy for impulse, sometimes. But money doesn’t grow out of trees, so I want to share with you some tips to stay in budget (or save money for more yarn!!).

  1. Plan

First of all, is totally necessary planning your knitting. A long term planning saves money, time and helps you to not buy for impulse. How to do this? Make a list of what you want to knit in the next 6 months, you have to include all your knitting (X-mas knitting, selfish knitting, etc). The list has to be realistic on your speed of knitting, for example I can knit 2 sweaters or 5 accessories in a month. That’s all. At the same time check what patterns you want to make, do you need to buy it? did you bought it? I highly recommend start with the patterns you already bought and then you can add more patterns.

Knitting plan

2. Use you Stash

All knitters have a stash, that’s a fact! So, after you decide what patterns are you going to use and before you run to your LYS for new yarn,  look at your stash first. You can also trade some of your stash yarn with your knitting friends or through Ravelry for the yarn you need.

use your stash

3. Buying Yarn

Now that you have the list of patterns and yarns you already have.. You can start checking on the yarn you need to buy. In my example,  I have one pattern ready but I don’t have any Aran weight at my stash. What I can do? Looking at my stash, I know I have tons of Fingering weight yarns, so I can change the pattern and save money. Also I have time to check some yarns sales for about a month, meanwhile I start the other projects of my list.

Where are the yarns sales? many of the LYS and online yarn stores, run seasonal sales. Summer is a great season for yarn sales, because people tend to buy less yarn. Because you have a plan, you know what yarn and the amount you need so you can start digging on the sales. Also there is lots of discounts on Instagram from indie dyers worldwide.

Where to buy pattern sales? Indie Designers and Craft editorials are constantly running sales. Follow them on Instagram to look at the news they have, check their Ravelry accounts and Ravelry ads. Many of them are running summer sales also.

Download the knitting plan and start yours!! Hope this tips helps you with your yarn budget, see you soon!!

With love, Marce

PS: I’m running a summer sale at my Ravelry store. 50% discount in selected patterns, no coupon needed!!! Follow this Link and Happy Knitting!

 

 

 

Make It Yours: Abloom Tee

Hi.

I recently release Abloom Tee at Ravelry and I want to show some easy modifications you can make to the pattern.

Abloom is a simply Stockinette st tee with a lace border. So, one of the first mod you can do  is make it in stripes.. I recommend you, to start the stripes after the neck shaping, when you start knitting in the round again.

abloom tee stripped

you can play with color blocking or gradients, just look at your stash!

Other mod, is make it longer and convert the tee in a mini dress, for this just add more repeats of the lace border.

 

You can also do this in just one color. For example, make a little black dress.. Remember a pattern is just a guide, you can Make It Yours with very simple modifications!!!

With love, Marce

How to Read Charts 101

Hi Knitters!!!!

I recently published a hat e-book (Colowork Hats) and most of the instructions are charted. This is because is really difficult and pointless make written patterns with colowork. I have to say, that I really love charts because they have no languages, they are universal. When you feel comfortable with them, a world of patterns open to you. because you can buy any pattern no matter the language in which it is written. So, here are some basic:

  1. Every square is a stitch
  2. If is a back and forth pattern you start reading from right to left (odd rows) and continues from left to right (even rows)
  3. In most of the charts the sts in the even rows are the oposite st of the odd row. For example, in the picture below, row 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11 are all knit stitches  and the even rows (2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12) are all purl stitches.

Tutorial chart back and forth

Now, the same example  in the round:

  1. As the same as above, every square is a stitch
  2. When you follow an in the round chart, you always read from right to left
  3. The stitches of the odd and even rows are the same. In the example,  the stitches of all the rows are knit stitches.

Tutorial chart in the round

Sometimes the charts, look like they have some stitches missing. But in a chart, nothing is missing… The charts shows the final result of a stitch. For example: ssk it shows in one square like this /. So when you see a chart with blank spaces, just jump to the next square and forget them.

Tutorial chart blank space

These are some basic tips of reading charts. If you never have tried to knit with charts, I recommend you to start with a small project in colorwork (hats, mittens, scarf)… Don’t go with a big lace shawl, because you will feel overwhelmed. Hope you like this tutorial and find it useful for your next projects.

With Love, Marce

Buttons or not Buttons?

This is one of the main questions when you decide to design a cardigan (or just knit one). Just, because implies things such as buttonband, buttonholes and choosing buttons (correct weight, correct color etc). Today, I’m going to talk about choosing buttons for a project.

There is plenty of buttons in market, different shapes, materials, colors, etc. I have a huge collection of them, but now I’m going to show you those I found in non-traditional places. I love these buttons because they tells stories and bring me back memories of travels or persons who has giving them to me.

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These buttons I found it, 15 years ago, the first time I went to Buenos Aires, Argentina, in the San Telmos’s Antiques Market, they cost me a penny (less than a dollar), and they were from an old pearl button factory, who has closed in the sixties. I use them a in a lot of project, and I regret not having bought more. I’ve been in Buenos Aires several times, and never found them again.

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The first button picture are gifts from my family and friends who has  bought to me different buttons in local craft markets, were they have been, some came from Pucón, Icalma lake, Villarica etc, and they are made with native trees wood. The second one, I bought them in a local craft market in El Bolsón and I had to smuggling them because we are not aloud to bring wood from Argentina.

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You also can make your own buttons, I have the machine, but you can go to your local craft store or to your tailor, and they can make them for you. The fun here is you can recycle some old clothes or buy some beautiful fabric (e.g. quilting fabric) and make the size of button you want.

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I found this in my LYS, a few month ago, they are ceramic buttons, but they are very light weight, so they can be used in knitted fabric. I think they are very fancy, and I love the bright colors of them.

Last week, I finished a cardigan, and I wanted buttons to stand out of the cardigan, so I remembered the ceramic buttons I has bought, but they were to big for my cardi, so I went back to my LYS to buy a similar button but small.

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I bought these beautiful heart shaped ceramic buttons, but the problem was the artist only make 2 of them and I needed 7, so I had to improvise. I really love the shape and the color was exactly what I was looking for, so I bought all heart shaped buttons who has the pink color on it.

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I use them mixed in the cardigan, I’ll not show you the complete cardigan because is not up in Ravelry yet, but Im going to show you some parts, so you can get the idea.

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They look very well together, despite the fact that they are all different designs, that is because they share color and shape.

So, when you choose buttons, be creative, it can be a plus for your knitting project. And there is lots of sources where you can find the right button to your project (vintage stores, craft markets, old clothes) and if you don’t find they right color, you can also paint them or dye them (that’s for another tutorial). Don’t get stuck because of a button! 🙂

With love, Marce

How to Choose a Pattern for Hand Dyed Yarn

Last day I was searching the web for new yarn for my stash and I found a lot of reviews from people who complain about the uneven color of their hand dyed yarns. Complains like they can’t do a determined pattern, or just have to change plans for a one skein pattern because of the color changes from skein to skein. So I decided to blog about how to choose a great pattern for your beautiful hand dyed or hand painted yarn. Here are some tricks:

Choose a Striped or color Blocking pattern

When you buy a hand dyed yarn brand,  who don’t have dyed lots like Madelintosh, you will get better results with a pattern like that instead of a plain color pattern. the color changes will be less notice for the eye. There is plenty of these patterns on ravelry, and they are equally beautiful. Here are some great patterns:

Japan Sleeves by Joji

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Signature Stripes by Amy Miller

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Enchanted Mesa by Westknits

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Choose a Lace pattern

Lace pattern are great for this kind of yarn, the uneven colors makes great shadows in the knitting and your lace looks more interesting. Looks like it was by design. I encourage you to do this one skein dark, one skein bright, that will make some great striped shadows in your lace. There are plenty of great lace design on ravelry, here are some of my favorites:

Hitofude Cardigan by Hiroko Fukatsu

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Tripartite by WestKnits

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Cropped Lace Jacket by Shiri Mor

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Choose a Crochet Pattern or  a Modular Knitting pattern

I know that some knitters don’t like crochet and vice versa, but why not to try something different, something new, learn some new skills and get  something new to your wardrobe. The great thing about modular knitting or crochet, is that is knitted in small pieces, so you can carry in you bag almost all the time and you can take advantage of the free time you have at work, the bus, etc. Here are some inspirational patterns:

Wrapped Tunic by Robyn Chachula

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Shetland Shawl Dress by Teva Durham

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Octagon-Dot Pullover by Myrrhia Resneck

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If you are stubborn as I am, maybe you don’t want to change the pattern or the yarn and still trying to make that plain color pattern with a lot of stockinette. For that you can make this trick:

1. Put the yarn in day light and separates de skeins in light and dark tones. (always buy one skein more than that you needed, so you can have more tones)

2. Choose one dark and one light yarn and start to knit.

3. Work 2 rows in dark and 2 rows in the lighter skein. Continue the knitting alternating the skeins 2 rows by 2 rows.

This never will be a solid color as if you were knitting with a industrial dyed yarn, remember is HAND DYED yarn. But you will get a nice color with this trick.  Your knitting it would look like this:

Hay Cardigan by Vera Välimäki

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Hope you like this post and found it helpful for your next knitting Project!!!

See you soon, Happy Knitting!