QueerJoe’s Top 10 Rules for Successful Knit Blogging

Do you blog about knitting or other fiber arts?  Are you considering starting to blog?

My Hints, Tips and Suggestions for Knit Bloggers

I’ve been consistently blogging about knitting and queer issues since 2002, and not always well, but I’ve learned a lot of things about blogging in those years, and thought I might share my top 10 list of “do’s and don’t’s” of knit blogging.

  1. Pick The Right Blog Host Platform – If you’re not currently blogging and want to start, make sure you pick the right platform for your blog.  Technologies have changed a lot since I first began blogging…I used to have to FTP photographs to my blog server and then write my own HTML to embed the photographs into a blog entry.  While I have ended up on Blogger as my platform,  I don’t know that I would have chosen it if I was starting today.  Here is a great, simple comparative guide of many of the popular blog platforms.  In my mind, it’s a matter of deciding between flexibility/functionality and technical abilities.
  2. Pick a Theme and Stick With It – I blog about fiber arts and queer issues.  Every blog entry I’ve ever done has one or both of those in it.  Don’t start a knitting blog and then start writing posts only about your latest, favorite recipe.  Unless that’s part of your theme…knit blog with Recipe-Thursday posts…you get the idea.
  3. Post Regularly and Persistently – Nothing bugs the shit out of me more than fast finishers…especially in blogging.  Don’t start blogging without committing to it for at least a year.  Nothing worse than getting all excited about a new blog, and it peters out faster than a…well, again you get the idea.
  4. Post a LOT of Photos – Even if you write exceptionally well, and you’re very witty (like Franklin or Stephanie), people are still usually more visual and want to see bright, vibrant, well-staged photos.  My photos aren’t always anywhere close to that and the quality of my photos is probably one of the reasons I’m not a top-tier knit-blogger.
  5. Do You Knit Enough to Supply Blog Content? – Knitting isn’t the fastest hobby on the planet, so make sure you’ll be able to keep up with the demand.  Yarn store purchases, fiber-related flea-market finds, gifts of pattern books…all of those help fill in the gaps when you can’t knit quite fast enough.
  6. Pay For a Domain – Nothing says you’re committed to continued blogging as your purchase of a domain name to represent yourself.  It’s relatively cheap, although, you do have to know how to forward your blogging platform to the domain name, but it’s worth it.  I love that’s I’ve been QueerJoe.com for all this time.
  7. Let Readers Get to Know You – Blog readers want a relationship with you.  Let them have one.  Include lists of “100 Things About Me”.  Post photos of yourself, your partner/spouse, your pets.  Reply to comments and/or e-mails to make sure readers know you’re actively participating.  Make sure you keep the important things private…be cautious about posting photos of children, location information in your photos, work-related things you don’t want public, etc.
  8. Market Your Blog – There are a number of ways to do this…post actively about lots of things in Social Media…and make some of those posts about your blog entries (with links), participate on others’ blogs through comments, but be careful about posting links in comments without permission.  Use the label settings to include search terms about your blog, so that it shows up in search engines more.  Have contests and prizes.  Ask other like-blogs to exchange links.  Link to other more popular like-blogs.  Set up an RSS feed (if you don’t know what it is, it might be worth looking up) Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get hundreds of readers a day right away…just keep at it.
  9. Consider Monetizing Your Blog – You’re not likely to make a ton of money even with a very popular blog, but I do make enough to pay for the blog costs.  Here is a good blog post about a bunch of bloggers’ ideas on monetization and how to do it.  And know that you have to balance the possibility of alienating readers with flashing ads to what minimal income you get doing it.
  10. Enjoy Yourself – If blogging isn’t fun, stop doing it.  For me, it’s never been a chore.  I love interacting with readers, I love the excitement of coming up with a new topic I think y’all will like.  I love writing.  I love being a minor celebrity in the online community of knitters.

Current Knitting

See?  There is knitting content!  Kind of.

Here are the three projects I’m currently and actively working on.  The niece blanket, the nephew cardigan and the experimental stitch project.  I’ve made significant progress on the experimental stitch, mostly because it’s like a lace project that looks like a lump of yarn before it’s blocked.

Readers’ Comments/Questions

Regarding the experimental stitch project, Sue H. writes, “what does the stitch look like when completed? Please show!”

Someone has taken a lot of effort writing up a beautiful pattern for this stitch and I’d prefer to give her credit and I’d prefer not to give away all the secrets of this cool pattern stitch.  So, if my experiment comes out well, I will be pointing you to this designer’s pattern in all it’s glory.  I’m making a different type of garment, so I may give supplemental information about mine, but it will still require that you purchase her pattern for the stitch, or re-engineer it yourself.
Source: loo

Reading My Knitting

Many long-time knitters say that the most important skill in knitting, is to be able to “read” your knitting…or understand how a stitch looks on the needles, so you know when it looks wrong  (here’s a great blog on doing that).

Needing a New Skill Set

I’ve recently decided to try and re-engineer a stitch I saw on-line, which requires that I do a “tuck stitch”, by counting down rows below my needle on the reverse side of stockinette stitch, and I really have no idea what I’m doing.

Don’t get me wrong, I can clearly see the difference between a knit and a purl stitch and my fingers even feel when a stitch has been twisted when I go to knit or purl it.  I can easily count rows on the right side of stockinette as well, but counting them on the wrong side has got me stymied.

So I came up with a way of marking the stitches with a coil-less safety pin, so that when I get up to the place where I need to count down rows, they will already be marked.

I honestly thought that after doing a few of these tuck stitches, I’d be able to recognize 9 rows below on the purl side of the stockinette stitch…I still can’t, so I’m just sticking with my stitch markers.

Current Knitting

Yes, I did start a new project…I saw a really cool looking stitch and I just HAD to try and re-create it.

I’m going to keep this one un-named for now…until I’ve successfully re-created the stitch and that one be established until the garment is finished.  More to come.

I did also do some additional snow-bound work on the niece blanket.

It’s moving along a bit more quickly than most linen stitch blankets I’ve made…thank Dog!
Source: loo

February 2016 meeting

Is it too late to say Happy New Year?  I hope not!

Our first meeting of 2016 is coming up quickly.  It’s Tuesday 2nd February.  It’s a “play” evening as we will be using scraps of yarn to make felt balls.  Yes – any odd scraps of yarn that will felt can be used to make felt balls for decorative use, like the bits you trim off when you’ve sewn the yarn ends in.

There are two ways of making the felt balls, one is to roll them between your hands, and the other is to put them into a plastic “egg” and shake.  You’ll need a bit of water and some soap or detergent too.

So I hope you’ll come along and join in.  Of course if you pefer you can bring a work in progress and join in with the chatter too.  And don’t forget to bring completed projects for show and tell.

Tuesday 2nd February is the date, 8 pm is the time.  See you there.

Source: Knit

Sent to the Marsden

Here’s a couple of photos of the lovely items we sent to the Friends of The Royal Marsden Hospital, Sutton Branch at the beginning of December.

As you can see, it isn’t easy taking a photo (or two) of the things when laid out on 6 ft tables and we used three of them to have enough space to lay everything out.  (Note to self: must think of a better layout for December 2016!)

A few days after the items were taken to the Hospital we received a lovely thank you letter.

Thanks to everyone who brought something along.  I know the things we send are appreciated.

Source: Knit

Twisted Stitches

On Thursday, we had the first Huddersfield KCG branch meeting of 2016.  The plan for the year is to tour the world in knitting, and we began the tour with a workshop on Bavarian Twisted Stitch patterns.  Marie had devised several small projects for us to try, from fairly simple to quite complicated – the end result of each is a phone case.

I had already knitted something using Bavarian Twisted Stitches, it turned out – the Baht ‘At mittens from Ann Kingstone’s Born and Bred book.   So I decided I should try the most complicated project – which was a bit daft.  I should know by now that in a workshop I’m not usually at my best – I’m not as careful as I should be, I make mistakes.  I should choose something simple. But I’ve done some more work since the workshop (corrected a couple of mistakes) and now I’m making better progress.

I did at least make the sensible decision not to attempt Judy’s magic cast on – I’ve done it before, but I can’t remember how to do it, and it would have taken most of the evening by itself.  So the bottom of the case is open, and I’ll need to sew it up to finish it.

My stitches aren’t as neat as they should be (having to correct mistakes doesn’t help), but they are getting better, and twisting the stitches does have a remarkably neatening effect anyway.   Many of the Bavarian Twisted Stitch motifs have evocative names like “Clover Leaf” or “Ear of Wheat”, but this one is apparently called “Large Chain with Twisted Bands”.  So far I’ve done one pattern repeat, and I think it’s looking good.

Next month’s meeting is on British Ganseys, and further ahead I am doing a workshop on Swedish twined knitting.  At the time this was planned, I knew almost nothing about Swedish twined knitting, but some progress has been made – a friend has lent me a book on it, and I’m going to start practising.      
Source: ggg

A Really Long Sampler

One of the more unusual items we have in the Knitting & Crochet Guild collection is an enormously long sampler of knitting stitches, in a pink synthetic yarn.  There are about 950 stitch patterns in it, and it was knitted over several decades from the 1940s on.  Gladys, the knitter, intended to get to 1000 stitch patterns, but sadly she had to give up knitting due to arthritis and so never reached her goal.  After she died, her family gave the sampler to the  Guild, along with the 17 spiral-bound Woolworths notebooks that Gladys used to record the patterns.

When the sampler came to the Guild, it still had the needles and final ball of yarn attached.  It has since been cast off and washed (not easy!).  It was brought to the Guild weekend in Sheringham two weeks ago – now mounted on a garden hose reel and trolley, so that it can be easily unrolled and re-rolled – a very clever idea, that makes it much more manageable.    

The sampler on its hose reel

The sampler as Gladys left it

I had slip stitch patterns on my mind at the time, because of the slip stitch workshop I did at Sheringham, so on looking through one of Gladys’s notebooks, I noticed a slip-stitch pattern.  

None of the patterns in the note-books are named, as far as I know, but I recognised this one: it’s slip-stitch honeycomb, which I used for the cushion I made last year,  It’s odd that Gladys didn’t record the names – the numbers are not very memorable by themselves. Did she remember all the names, so that she didn’t need to write them down?  The information from her family is that she invented some of the patterns, and some of them are marked M.U. in the notebooks, which could be ‘Made Up’ – you would think that she might have named the new patterns as well.

All a bit mysterious – but fascinating.

Source: ggg

Episode 151 The Orange Sweater Curse!

Abby is drinking peppermint bark tea and Melissa is drinking Cardamon Cinnamon from the Republic on Tea 
Twist Cardigan
Melissa is working on the District 12 Cowl Wrap in crochet. Using an N hook 
She is also working on the Full Circle Cowl from 60 Quick Cowls 
Abby discussed gauge.
Abby is working on the Twist cardigan by Bonne Marie Burns of ChicKnits. She received a gift card for Quince and Company from Elizabeth Doherty that she used to purchase the yarn.  She is using the channel island cast on.
She is working on another Brickless by Martina Behm. Abby is using a Yowza What a Skein from Miss Babs 
Giostra Hat
Melissa finished the basket-weave blanket that she has been working on and off for six months. She suggested getting pet hair out by using Sticky Sheets.  She also finished the Giostra Hat by Woolly Wormhead. For that she used Knitted Wit PDX Carpet in worsted weight


Basket-weave Blanket
Brickless one + in progress
Rainbow Socks
Abby finished the Fab Funky Fibres Rainbow Socks. And she has sworn off the afterthought heel. Finallythe orange sweater curse has been broken by completing and liking the Hitofude sweater. She is also still working on the double knit scarf.
Hitofude Sweater

Bitter Cup
Melissa didn’t have the materials need to start several projects. Abby describes her hand made item’s run in with (possible) moths. 
Abby wants to make another cowl.. Also on what kind of sock design to use with her New Zealand Possum Yarn.
Melissa is thinking about baby items and another cowl. She would like to learn or try a new technique. 

Abby has re-watched almost all of Outlander.
Melissa has watched Transparent and The Man from High Castle, both high recommendations, and can’t wait to get back The Walking Dead.
Abby compares Harry Potter, Sherlock and The Walking Dead.
Making a Murder
Podcasts mentioned

Source: New feed

Loom Knit Cable Craze

Loom Knit Cable Craze!!!

So many loom knitters are really getting curious about the realm of loom knitting and cables. Well I love to loom knit cables, so if your interested in viewing some tutorials and some patterns to try take a look at the information below. They range from chunky cables, owl cables, cable braids, to heart cables. Also things you can wear on your head, feet, and body!!!
Video Tutorials

 Free Patterns

Christmas Stocking, Cabled Owl Hat, Cabled Santa Hat, Chunky Cabled Hat, Sandal. 

 Challenging Cable Patterns

9 Stitch Chunky Braided Hat, Arm or Leg Warmer, Cabled Hooded Cowl, Heart Cabled Hat, Multi Cabled Toddler Sweater, Leaf Poncho Cable Rabbit Booties, Cable Rabbit Hat, Interlace Heart Remembrance Hat, Braided Cable Socks.

Fake Them Cables With a Faux Cable
Lady Explorer Hat and Fingerless Gloves (patterns in progress), Spiral Chunky Faux Braid Hat, Garter Slip Chain Book includes 8 patterns

Source: fs

Loom Knit Gusset Style Heel for Socks

I have always loved looking at needle knitted socks that have the heel, where the stitch design goes to the bottom of the heel. Seems like such a nice fit, and so clean looking. Well I went looking and the one tutorial I found, well looked more complicated than I liked. Wondered if it could be simplified a lot. So off I went, and figured it out. 
Here is the video showing to it is done. 

Let me break it down as best I can if you are a reading instructions kind of person.
Step 1:
What every loom you are using divide the pegs in half, one half of those pegs will be the heel section.

Step 2:
Use a drawn out foot mold to find out how many pegs you need for your heel.

Step 3:
Then count out the pegs on either side of your heel pegs. This is the amount of rows you will need to do for you heel flap.

Step 4:
Do the number of rows you calculated from step 3 making sure to skip the 1st peg in each row so that it can be slip stitched for the next row. This allows for easy visuals to put back on the pegs later as the gusset.

Step 5: Bind off the number of pegs on 1 side of your heel pegs, finish the row, then bing off the pegs on the other side of the heel pegs. The empty pegs should be the same as your what you had for step 3. (alternative: put the stitches on 2 different stitch holders, start by placing the stitch furthest away from you heel pegs onto the stitch holder 1st, then move in. Also you will need to knit into where your 1st heel peg is to start before placing stitches onto stitch holders)

Step 6: Slowly on each row add your stitch or bind off stitch closest to the heel back on 1 rows at a time, 1 side at a time. This means you should be doing the same number of rows you did to make your heel flap, you are just making the curve to the bottom of the heel.

Step 7: Add your slip stitches from the heel flap back to the empty pegs on both sides of the heel.This will be the gusset section as you work. 
Now you are ready to finish your sock.

Source: fs

Introducing Interwoven Hope!

Schnapps’ first new hat pattern of 2016!  We hope your year is off to a wonderful start and that you will find lots of time to help others in the coming months.
This hat was knit using Lion Brand Hometown USA yarn and works up very quickly.  I have included directions for other yarn weights as well, for your convenience.

Sadly, many people do not seem to read this blog – they just grab free patterns and then send me emails demanding that the blog format be changed, complaining that they can’t find the free patterns, only links to my stores, or basically just complaining about life in general.  I try to help those who have legitimate questions, but I do not respond to those who are just looking to cause problems.  The yarn weights that I list are the most common.  I give information about the pattern repeats…..if you want more than that, you will have to do the math yourself.  Experiment a bit – you might be surprised at how easy it is to do.
I completely understanding wanting free patterns…..especially when you are knitting for charity, as so many of you are doing, all the time.  However, I know that many people do not use my patterns for charity.  When a pattern is created, it takes time and effort.  The pattern is knit, written down, typed up and shared.  Thank you is the appropriate response, to any one who shares their creativity with others.  Those small minded, unhappy people who make negative comments are to be pitied, but deleted. 
 If you’re not a fan of Delaware Head Huggers yet, stop by and “Like” our Facebook page.  Help us name the patterns and see all the beautiful hats that are donated.  Stop by Kozy Kovers for Kids Facebook page too!  We welcome everyone to join us.  Stop by and say hello.  You can always reach Schnapps or me at robin@delawareheadhuggers.org too!
“That was some New Year’s party!”

Interwoven Hope

You will need about 70 yards of 6-weight yarn and size US 13 needles or some combination listed below.

T2L: purl the second stitch, then knit the first, dropping both at the same time.
T2R: knit the second stitch, then purl the first, dropping both at the same time.
C2L: knit into the back of the second stitch, then knit into the back of the first stitch, dropping both at the same time.
p2tog:  purl 2 stitches together
k2tog:  knit 2 stitches together

Cast on 48 stitches, place marker and join, taking care not to twist stitches.

Work Pattern:
Rows 1, 2, 3, 4 & 10:   *k1, p2, k1*; repeat around
Row  5 :   *T2L, T2R*; repeat around
Rows  6 & 8: *p1, k2, p1*; repeat around
Row 7:  *p1, C2L, p1*; repeat around
Row 9:   *T2R, T2L*; repeat around

Repeat Rows 1 and 10 until your work measures about
7.5 to 8  inches in length. 

Decrease Crown:  use dpn’s when needed
Row 1:  *k1, p2tog, k1*; repeat around
Row 2:  *k1, k2tog*; repeat around
Row 3:  * k2tog*; repeat around

Finish: Cut working yarn, leaving a 6-inch tail.  Draw the tail through the remaining stitches, cinch closed and secure.  Weave in ends and share.

 If using 5-weight yarn, use size 11 needles and cast on 64. 

If using 4-weight yarn, use size 8 needles and cast on 80.  You may wish to repeat Row 3 of the crown decrease.

If using 3-weight yarn, use size 5 needles and cast on 104 stitches.   You may wish to repeat Row 3 of the crown decrease.

The pattern is worked over 4 stitches.  Adjust in multiples of 4 to have the crown decrease remain the same.

Source: New feed