Saturday, June 4, 2011

Casting Off, One Hand Knitting

Cast Off, One Handed


Now that you have knitted your project as long as you want, it is time to cast off, or remove the stitches from the needles.


I have 11 stitches in this demo. 

When you are casting off you are working with two stitches. So knit two stitches.



There are now two stitches on your working needle and 9 on the holding needle and a bit of a knitted bridge between them. The stitches on your working needle I will call, from tip down the first stitch and second stitch.


Stick the button of the working needle which has two stitches on it,  firmly in to the belt. You do not want it to wiggle on you.


To cast off a stitch, you will move the second loop/stitch from the tip of the working needle up and over the first stitch.


You will end up with one stitch on the working needle.


Remember, how I hold and control the stitches is a starting point. By now you may have your own system. In the picture above I am using my ring and little finger to control the stitches on the holding needle, my middle finger the first stitch on the working needle and using my thumb and first finger to move the second loop up and over the first stitch and off the needle.


You now have one stitch on the working needle. You have cast one stitch off the working needle. There are still eight stitches on the holding needle.


Knit one more stitch. You again have two stitches on the working needle. Repeat these steps until there are not stitches on the holding needle and one on the working needle it is time to cut the tail. Some thought in to how long to cut the tail is needed.


If you have knitted a headband and will be sewing the first row to the last row, you will want to cut a tail that is at least three times as long as the area you will be sewing. This is a rule of thumb that has served me well for any two pieces of knitting that I am going to sew together. 

If you are just practicing or the piece of knitting will not be sewn to something else, then cut the tail at least six inches long. Threading a needle with two inches of yarn is a pain. Experience talking here? You bet

The six inch tail will give you enough yarn to sew in to the edge of your knitting and make the tail disappear. The needle you want is the ones with the huge eye and dull point. You will find these in knitting tools area of your knitting or other store that carries knitting supplies. It can be plastic or meta. Find a way to secure the needle so that it holds still. About an inch or two from the end fold the yarn in half and pinch the fold between your thumb and first finger with about a quarter of an inch of the fold sticking out. Put the fold through the eye of the needle, then push it through a bit more until you can get a hold of it and pull on the fold until the tail is through. Pretty slick I think, an original idea but works real neat. If the project is small enough to pull through the belt on your leg this would hold the two parts together as you sew. Other wise I think I would pin on part to a pillow or maybe a padded ironing board, then line up the second part to be sewn to the first and sew the seam. You I think will have figured this out or been shown a better way. 

I hope these last few posts have helped get you started. I would suggest you keep your first one hand knitted project to show children and grandchildren and hopefully students. First projects are full of problems but almost all of them look rather strange for the first few inches. With in these first few inches you have learned to cast on, knit rows, what the yarn should look and feel like as you knit for just a few. Most of all don't give up just yet try a head band or narrow scarf. I would keep to the non textured yarns until you have a smooth, even edged project. 


There are two basic stitches in knitting, the knit stitch you have been doing and the purl stitch. I'll cover the purl stitch in the next section.


Until then travel the inter net, look at books in the library. When at the library pull out a lot of books off the shelf take them to a table and look through them until you find one or more you understand. Check these out, then after some delightful hours at home making sure these are understandable for you, make a list, check it twice and indulge your self and buy the best. I suggest you look for a stitch book. One full of stitches with directions you under stand. I will tell you now I like the books by Barbara Walker. 

The inter net has a lot of free patterns my favorite source of knitting information at this time is Ravelry. They have some nice ways to narrow the search for patterns. Once you find one you may be able to check out what other knitters thought of that pattern and how they changed it. 

While cursing the Internet, look for directions for using a knitting belt. A knitting belt goes around your waist. This may be easier for you. It uses double pointed needles so look for double pointed needles to be use with a knitting belt. When you are ready to knit a sweater I think the combination of knitting belt and double pointed needles may be easier than my very basic belt and towel set up. Which is just to get you started and a starting point to find your own system.


I do strongly suggest you find as many knitting groups in your area as possible. The groups I belong to are wonderful. I think we laugh as much as knit. I bet there will be someone at one of them ready to give helping you their best shot.


Most of all bravo from me. 



Lynne  a mom with a geology degree that knits.

Second Row, One Hand Knitting

Second Knit, Row, One Hand Knitting


I have 10 stitches on my needles in these photos. 

Now you are ready to knit the second row of your project. I have 10 stitches on my holding needle.


The first steps for knitting the next row is the same as you did for the second stitch of the knitted cast on.


Insert the working needle between the first, the stitch closest to the tip, and second stitch on the holding needle. Slide your working needle up and through that first stitch and to the back of the holding needle. Tuck the button end of the working needle into the belt, to free your hand. 

Move the yarn away and below/behind, both needles, then up and between them. Putting a length of yarn between the needles. Pull the button end of the working needle from the belt. Hold the long tail with the working needle and pull a new loop through the old loop.

STOP you now have a new loop on the working needle that is still part of the old first stitch on the holding needle. You now need to drop the old loop off the holding needle.


Hold the new loop with your index finger, and the second stitch on the holding needle with your thumb and work the old stitch off the holding needle. Keeping a firm tension on the long tail will help me control the stitches you are working with. In the picture below the old loop is between the tip of my first finger and my thumb just behind the point of the holding needle. This I'll let go of.



You will have one stitch on your working needle and 9 on the holding needle. You have knitted the first stitch of the second row.



Repeat these steps to make the rest of the second row of stitches. The new stitches are made from the old stitches on the holding needle and kept on the working needle.


I found I used the first joint of my first finger to hold the newest stitch/loop on my working needle. Put the point of the working needle between the first and second stitches on the holding needle. Slide the point of the working needle up through the first stitch. Tuck the working needle into the belt.


Continue these steps to knit the second row of your project. Your are placing new stitches onto the working needle and removing older ones from the holding needle. Each new loop has been drawn through the loop of an older one.

When all the stitches have been transferred from the holding needles to the working needle, push the stitches down the needle so that you are sure they will not come off.


Tuck the button end in the belt. Pull the empty holding needle out of the towel and insert its button end in the belt. Both needles are now held by the belt.  

Pull the working needle with all the stitches on it out of the belt and the button end o into the towel making sure you don't push any stitches off.


Presto Change O, the needle in the towel with all the stitches is now the holding needle and the empty needle is the working needle. The second row of your project is done. 

The following rows are knitted the same way.

When you 'work in progress' or as knitters abbreviate it WIP, is as long as you want it,  it is time to bind off.

Go to Bind Off, Knitting One Hand.



Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Third stitch cast on, one handed knitting

One hand knitting, Cast on third stitch


At this point your holding needle has two stitches on it. 

For the rest of the cast on stitches you will be working with the loop or stitch closest to the tip of a knitting needle.


To make the third cast on stitch you will put the tip of the working needle between these two stitches. Slide it up, through the loop closest to the tip of the holding needle, and under or behind the holding needle.



Tuck the working needle in to the belt, to free up your hand. Take the long tail of the yarn and move it away from your body, below the two needles then up and between the needles. Now move the yarn down and towards your stomach. There is now a section of yarn between the two needles.

Sound familiar? You are following the same steps as you did with the last cast on stitch.

Take a hold of the long tail and slip the button of the working needle from under the belt being careful not to let stitches slip off.

Continue as you did for the second stitch. Hold the long tail and working needle and slide the tip down the holding needle to pull a new loop/stitch through the old loop that is currently around both needles. 

But not the next. This new loop needs to be put over the tip of the holding needle. Hold the new loop with your first finger and use your second finger control the loops on the holding needle.  Move the new loop up and on to the holding needle, then pull the working needle free. Scoot the three stitches down the holding needle till you feel that they will not slip off.


Continue casting on until you feel you know how to cast on. Pull yarn from the skein as you need. Use the belt to keep the yarn as tight or as loose as you want to help with your style of knitting.

Go to Second Row, One hand Knitting


Cast on Second Stitch One Hand Knitting




We left off with the slip knot on the holding needle which is the one in the towel.


Pick up the working  needle which has no stitches on it, and slide the tip up the holding needle from below the single stitch, through the loop, so that the working needle moves under and behind the holding needle.



Tuck the working needle in to the belt to keep it in one place.


Now that your hand is free take the long tail and move it away from your body, past the two needles, then up and between the two needles, then down and back towards you.  

You have made a loop or part of a loop over the working needle, the needle tucked in the belt.

In the following picture my finger is near the short tail of yarn and my thumb is near the long tail of yarn. You can see it could be easy to pick up the wrong tail. You always want the long tail that comes from the skein of yarn. Also if you look carefully you can see a section of yarn is now between the two needles. This section of yarn goes behind the to needle and over the second needle.


Remember you can tuck the button end of a knitting needle under the belt when ever you want to get a different and better grip on your needle.  

I find for me that I hold the long tail and working needle with my ring and little finger. Then my thumb and other two fingers are able to control the stitches. Usually I have my first finger on the loop/stitch I'm working with and extend my index or second finger to stop the stitches on the holding needle from slipping off. My thumb helps my ring and little finger guide the working needle. Remember I have been knitting for the better part of 40 years and I have full fine motor skills of my right hand. What works for me is an idea for you to use to find what works best for you. Controlling the tension of the long tail will help you control the stitches on the working needle as the long tail is always attached to the first stitch of the working needle, which is the stitch closest to the tip.

Use your hand to move the stitches on the needles down both needles till you are feel sure they will not slip off. Take a hold of the long tail of yarn and the working needle, the needle that is stuck under your belt, and slip the working needle free from the belt, being careful not to let stitches slip off. Keep the working needle behind the one in the towel, the holding needle. 

You now have a bit more free movement of the working needle even though it is held near the other needle by a loop of yarn. Slide the tip of the working needle, down the needle in the towel, Until the tip of the working needle, the one in your hand, is about two inches above the loop that is around both needles.


Hold the long tail and the working needle, with your ring and little finger. Keep the long tail tight to help keep the loops from slipping off the needles. Slide the tip of the working needle, down the needle in the towel, Until the tip of the working needle, the one in your hand, is about two inches above the loop that is around both needles.

In the next picture you will see that the yarn you placed between the two needles, now divides the loop around both needles, the older loop. This yarn is held tight by my hand of which you see just my finger. This is what will become the next new loop and stitch. We will now use the needle my finger is on to catch this piece of yarn and pull it through the older loop.



This new loop we want to put on to the holding needle. Pull on the working needle to loosen the new stitch.

Loosen the stitches when you are at least half way down the needles or they may get away from you and slip off the tip. The place your index finger on this new stitch, and slide both up towards the tips of the needles.

Remember, controlling the knitting needles is like controlling a pencil, if you keep your hand at the eraser end of the pencil, for every small movement you make at the eraser end, the tip will make huge movements. So the shorter you make your needle by holding it closer to the tip the more control you will have over its movements.

Still holding the long tail and the working needle with your ring and little finger, place the first joint of your index finger on the new stitch and your thumb on the old stitch. Move the new loop over the holding needle's tip and then down the holding needle to a point where you feel the stitches will not slip off the points.



Let go of the long tail and pull the working needle down and out of any stitch.  The holding needle, tucked in the towel, has two stitches. The working needle is free of yarn.



From now on you will be working with the loop/stitch closest to the tip of a knitting needle.


Go to Third Stitch cast on, One hand knitting. 

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Set up for one handed knitting.

Set up for One hand knitting.Add Image

I want to thank Kathy Joy for allowing me to enter the world of one hand knitting with her.

 These directions are for someone who has never knitted.  Some of this may be new some old. The photos are from the view point of the knitter looking at her or his hand. 

These directions are above all a place to start, as I am me, and you are you, what works for me may not work for you. The materials I use I found at home or at a second hand store.  There are other options that may work better for you. I chose these materials because the cost is low and may get you knitting for the lowest cost possible. For the other options check out knitting belt and knitting sheaths sources on the Internet. Knitting belts and sheath  have been in use by knitters since way before my time though they will cost a bit more than my towel and multi hole belt.

As I am a right handed knitter, you will see that I am using my right hand. If you are left handed hopefully your computer will be able to make mirror images of these photos. My directions do not use left or right hand so hopefully the words will help and the photos guide.

I want to thank my oldest daughter Aleta for taking the photos for these one handed knitting posts. 



Long straight knitting needles with small "button at the end to keep stitches from falling off. The needles shown here are, I think about size 6 or 7, US.

Hand towel

Belt with multiple holes



Fold the towel in half and roll up as tight as you are able and put rubber bands around the ends. One end of the roll will show the rolled folded edge, the other the edges of the towel. With the folded end up, secure the towel to your leg with the belt.



Stick the button end of the knitting needle into the center of the towel, until only half of the knitting needle is sticking out of the towel. This should hold this needle, I will call the holding needle, almost still.



Take the yarn and pull about two yards from the skein or ball. Place the ball or skein on the floor. Feed the end of the yarn through another hole on the belt. This will help control the yarn. I found that the belt is also a quick way to hold the other needle that I will call the working needle because it is the one that you will use to manipulate the yarn as you knit. The holding needle will hold stitches.



As you threaded the end through the belt hole you will see that you have a short tail that includes the end of the yarn, and the part of the yarn attached to the skein, which I'll call the long tail. Here you see the short tail nearest my knee. You will be pulling the yarn to the knee side of the belt to use it. The long tail will always be the part of the yarn that will lead back to the skein. 


Now we need to place the first row of stitches on the holding needle, called casting on. The way I'm going to teach you to cast on is called the knitting cast on. This is my favorite way to cast on stitches. I believe it allows you to put a loose but stable stitch on the holding needle. Which I think is important for one hand knitting. There are many ways to cast on. I do not know how to do all of them but you can find this info on the internet or from your local knitting store or knitting group. One of these other ways may be easer for you. 


The main thing to remember in knitting is that you are creating a loop and then pulling that loop through an existing loop.


Now we need to make a slip knot which is our first loop.


Make a loop with the yarn so that the short tail lays on top of the long tail.


Pick up the top of the loop and fold it over so that the long tail is under the loop and divides the loop in half.



Now you will take hold of the long tail that divides the loop in half and pull it up to make a new loop.





This new loop you will put on the holding needle that is stuck in the towel.



Now you can pull on the long tail to tighten or loosen this stitch.


Go to


Cast on Second Stitch, One Hand Knitting.


Friday, May 6, 2011

knitting and crocheting one handed.

This week I met a friend. She has suffered a stroke and now has a strong side and a week side. An amazing recovery to me who has never had to think of these challenges. Beyond what her MDs thought possible. So she is a can do person. Could I do less that try to help? Her first request was to crochet. I gave it a try with one hand behind my back and thought, it will be a challenge but maybe. It was a struggle. Luckily my friend had come to a craft session in a senior activity center so there were years of experience to draw from. One of these other knitters and crocheters  suggested long straight needles  and holding one under one arm. I gave it a try and found it easier for me. We changed tools. 

With knitting, one needle is held more stationary than the other. The stationary needle holds the stitches and the second needle is moved to create the next row of stitches. As I was thinking that her week side would not be able to press the needle to her side  we started holding the stationary needle between our legs. In another hour she had about four to six rows of knitting done. When I got home my husband and I toss around ideas for holding the stationary needle and I also put the question to a wonderful on line knitting group called Ravelry. More idea seeds were planted. One idea was to check out a web sight that showed a clamp tool holding the crochet hook stationary. The light bulb lit. You don't have to move the crochet hook you can just move the yarn. Pondering this I walked passed my oil painting supplies including a grass place mat I had rolled up to stick my paint brushes in. Two and two came together to make four. By itself the rolled grass or reed place mat, rolled and held tight by rubber bands was easier to hold between my legs and held the needle or crochet hook nicely, if maybe a bit loose. I practiced knitting till I could cast on using a knitted cast on,  knit, purl and make yarn overs with one hand. Then I set the knitting needles aside and tied my hand, I know pun pun pun, at crocheting. Practice with crocheting gained me skill in single chaining, and single crochet. The crochet hook did wiggle a bit more than I wanted. Today I raided the local thrift stores for something that would improve on the reed place mat roll. I found two  webbed rubbery place mats. I have similar material at Walmart for lining drawers. Nice grippy stuff. I also bought two long belts. When rolled by its self the webbed rubbery mats  were hard to stick the knobby end of the knitting needle in. So I tried rolling the rubberized mat inside the grass mat. This although harder to slip the knobby end of the knitting needle in then just the grass mat, did hold both the knitting needle and crochet hook quite solidly. The belts would be used to hold the rolled mat at her waist, or maybe to the arm of a chair. 

I suggest that you find at least an intermediate knitter and crocheter to help. Check the web for clips on how to until you find one that you or you and your friend can understand the best. I use this system at the library. I pull books, sample them and check out the ones that I understand best. My computer is rather old and doesn't do U. tube and I would so like to check out that u tube, and this one and oh oh oh so many. 

For me there is a tail end of a ball or skein of yarn which is the end of the yarn. There is also the skein end which is attached and disappears to the skein or ball of yarn.

So here is how it stands. To get started or to help someone get started, find some sort of material to use similar to my rolled place mat. Don't forget something to keep it from unrolling. Hold this between your legs. Place one knitting needle's knob end into the roll. Make a slip knot, place this slip knot over the tip this stationary needle or what I think of as a holding needle.  If knitted cast ons are new to you  check out the web or books on how to do a knitted cast on. 

I would start with 10 or 12 stitches. To knit you will move the working needle, the one you move with your hand, up the holding needle or the one that has the 10 or so stitches on it and is held in the rolled grass mat,  then tuck the knob end of the working needle at your waist, I have a bit of a inner tube which does a grand job of this, while you move the yarn around the working needle to continue the knitted stitch. To purl you will move the working needle down the holding needle and through a loop. As with all things practice is needed. 

For crocheting stick the crochet hook in the grass mat roll. Run the yarn under the good leg to the crochet hook. Come to think on it this might add some yarn tension control for knitting as well.  Make a slip knot and place it over the tip of the crochet hook. Slide the slip knot down the crochet hook a bit. Take the yarn that leads to the skein and make a loop around the crochet hook. pull on the skein end of the yarn which is to the outer side of the leg, to hold the new loop in place. take your fingers and pull the slip knot up past the new loop and off the hook. The first chain is made. Continue in this manner until you have a chain of 10 or so stitches. To make the second row pick up the chain and poke the second or third chain, remember this is a first time thing so go for ease and when you have a good system you and your friend re-fine it,  and poke the tip of the hook through one of its loops. You should now have two loops on the hook. Make a third loopfrom the skein yarn,  around the hook as you did for making the chain. pull the middle loop up over the new loop and off the hook. Make an other new loop around the hook above the others. Now pull both the middle and the lowest loops, one at a time, up over the top hook and off the hook. Your first single crochet stitch is done. Poke the point of the hook through the next chains loop and continue single crocheting to the end of the chain. Your firs row of single crochet stitches  is done. Chain to loops as you did in the beginning  and poke the tip of your hook through the single crochet stitch closest to the hook and single chain across.

For all you who don't stop when you meet with such a challenge as my friend has, my hat is off to you. To those of you that searched out any solution, I hope this will help. My friend and I have had one two hour session. Our next session is this coming Tuesday. So I'll let you know how it goes.  My mom would say when we would see a handy-caped person, "There but for the grace of God go I" and now I think with, with  grace of God I can help.