Monday, May 7, 2012

GET “KNOOKED” AND MAKE YOURSELF A LACY SCARF.


Perhaps, if you've been following my blog posts for a while, you’ve noticed that, when it comes to needlework, Grandma Susan goes for gadgetry over mastery. Yes, that's one of my short comings. There have been many posts on knitting and others on crocheting and looming. I learn to use a tool, more or less - at least enough to do beginner level patterns. OK, I admit it. I have a definite limit to my capacity for memorizing and carrying out detailed instructions. I'm also allergic to too much pressure - especially when I do needlework mostly as a way to feel relaxed and not guilty doing "nothing" like watching TV, listening to music, or chatting with other people at informal gatherings. Anyway, I love a new adventure and try out new tools just to see what I can do with them.  So, I make it a point to learn as many methods as possible, hoping for the perfect way to do something - more easily. Does that always work for me? Obviously not, because I'm still not an expert at doing anything. But, anyway, here goes one more post about a new tool – the knook and how to use it to make a lacy scarf.

A while back, I saw the ads for the knook and they caught my attention.  I had to try it. While the knook  seemed to be complicated, it wasn't so much. It’s something like knitting, something like crochet and, actually, it’s a new set of skills. It requires learning some new stitches that are not exactly crocheting or knitting. And, it turns out that it's not a short cut for learning to knit or crochet. It's its own thing. Above all, it's a totally knittable crochet hook and a compact instrument that’s super handy for carrying around in a regular sized purse - a great plus for travelers on public transit and for long distance trips.

Leisure Arts invented it for the crocheter that wants to learn to knit. There's an instructional booklet on how to's for both right and left-handed knooker complete with photos, plus three bamboo knook hooks, each having a small hole on the far end of the hook. There are also 3 colored cords that are threaded through the hole. The cord is used as an extension thread, and rows are knooked right off the loops on the cord.

As to some of its advantages, well I've already mentioned its portability. Also, it’s inexpensive – about the same cost as about 3 regular wooden crochet hooks (and they can be used as traditional crochet hooks when you're not knooking). It's also a pretty nice tool for someone who learned to crochet and has been hesitant to handle two needle knitting or for a knitter who wants to knit part of an item and crochet some other part. Casting on is easy. More on that later. Beyond that, it's really hard to drop a stitch. The cord will save the stitches on the last correct row, and that can save a lot of time.

There are only a very few issues with the Knook. Some people are bothered by dealing with the cord. Another difficulty may be getting a consistent tension for knitting and purling. But, like most methods, it gets easier with practice. For the beginner, making square or rectangular items with just basic stitches shouldn’t pose any real problems. Leisure Arts has how-to videos and free patterns on the Internet. Right now, there aren’t many knooking books available so you’re limited to a small selection of patterns. But, read a few more reviews about the pros and cons and then decide if GETTING KNOOKED will be worth your time.

Getting started
Begin by threading the cord into the eye in the knook. Read through the instructions and check out a video. Choose a medium to bulky weight yarn. The cast on row is done by either traditional long tail knit method or the simple crochet chain method that the knook booklet illustrates. Then, you slip all of your loops onto the cord. To continue, you use the hook to pick up a new row of stitches, inserting the hook into the loops that are now held on the cord. Whether you make knit or purl stitches depends on which way you wrap the yarn around the hook.

The resulting fabric looks like knitting. All in all, it’s great for simple small projects like headbands, scarves, and dish rags. But it wouldn't be much use for sweaters or making socks and mittens. A really skilled knitter would probably be frustrated with the knook.

For me, there was a learning curve - but not such a steep one. Knitting with the knook isn't harder than crocheting and probably easier than knitting with needles. Better tension control and manual skills come with time and practice. After playing around with it for a couple of hours, I caught on to how to maintain tension control and was good to go. I GOT “KNOOKED” and you can, too. I am happy with my new tool and did a simple scarf to practice. I've included its pattern below.

A lacy knooked scarf
Here’s a simple pattern for a knooked scarf that uses only garter stitch and a variant that is knit 2 together (K2TOG), yarn over (YO) for a lacy look. Even as a total knooking novice, I was able to finish the scarf (5" X 50) in about six hours of TV watching - 3 sessions in two days.

Materials
Medium weight yarn - about 5 oz.
Knook, size – 5.5 mm, along with its cord
Yarn needle
Measuring tape
2nd knook or hook - ready to help if stitches slip off or need some other kind of correction.

Instructions
Chain and pick up 19 stitches for the cast on. (Note: Actually, I began with 19 stitches and medium weight yarn but saw that it was going too slow. So I switched to 15 stitches and bulky weight yarn - much easier for me as a novice with this technique.)
Row 1 Knit across
Rows 2-5: Knit all (garter stitch).
Row 6:  *K2TOG, YO* and repeat from * until there is 1 stitch left on the needle, then K1.
Row 7-9: Knit all (garter stitch)
Repeat Rows 6-9 until the scarf is almost the length that you want. End like the beginning with 5 garter stitch rows.

Bind off loosely and use a needle to weave end any tails.
As an option, add fringe to the scarf.

Related posts
Knit up some lacy curtain panels for a seasonal look that’s always in style
UNRAVEL OLD SWEATERS AND KNIT NEW THINGS.
THE VERY PRACTICAL AND HARD TO FIND "DICKIE"
LOOM KNITTED CAPS FOR KIDS
A LOT CAN BE SAID ABOUT A GOOD SCARF.
FAST KNIT THIS LONG BULKY SCARF WITHOUT CIRCULAR NEEDLES.
ROUND IN CIRCLES AGAIN: THE CROCHETED ROUND RUG REVISITED
CROCHET A ROUND RUG

 


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