Friday, January 30, 2015

More About MMABO ~ Purling and Ribbing

I'm still having all kinds of fun with MMABO, the crocheted bind off I accidentally invented (or unvented?) last November.

The good news: it still works.

The better news: you CAN use it for ribbing! (Gasps of amazement and delight resound around the knitting globe . . . in Mrs. M's dreams.)

Since the instructions for purling MMABO were not included in the original tutorial, I have included them below, followed by instructions for ribbing, and a video tutorial. For the original MMABO (knitwise) tutorial, click here.

Remember that MMABO works well with a hook that is smaller than your knitting needles.

A Note on Yarning Over

Crochet yarnovers are wrapped in the opposite direction to knit yarnovers. When working MMABO, be sure all yarnovers are made crochetwise. This will give your bind off the maximum amount of stretch and recovery.

To yarn over crochetwise: place the hook in front of the working yarn and scoop under the yarn to wrap yarn over hook.

Purling MMABO

To set up: Using your crochet hook, bind off the first 2 stitches purlwise. Slip the second loop (the one nearest the tip of your hook) through the first.

Holding yarn in front of the work, *insert hook purlwise (from back to front) through the stitch below the loop on your hook (where the working yarn comes out), yarn over and pull up a loop. Still keeping yarn in front of work, insert hook purlwise (from right to left, or left to right if you're working lefthanded) through (front of) next stitch on knitting needle, yarn over, slip stitch off needle (3 loops now on crochet hook), pull yarnover through all loops on hook. Repeat from *.

Note: When slipping the stitch off the needle, you can make the yarnover either before OR after you slip the stitch - it makes no difference. I tend to yarn over before slipping - not sure why..

Using MMABO on Ribbing

Despite its slight chunkiness, MMABO can be used very successfully on ribbing. Here's how it looks:

Binding off ribbing with MMABO is mostly straightforward: knit the knits and purl the purls, with one little tweak....

When using MMABO for ribbing, you need to think of each MMABO stitch as a two-part process:
Part One is when you insert your hook in the stitch below and pull up a loop. Part Two is when you insert the hook into the next stitch on the needle, slip it, then yarn over and pull through all loops on hook.

On both Part One and Part Two, you have a choice of working knitwise or purlwise, BUT:
  • No matter how you work Part One, Part Two is what defines your MMABO stitch as a knit or a purl.
The key to successfully using MMABO on ribbing is:
  • Always make Part One of the new stitch in the same orientation (knitwise or purlwise) as Part Two of the previous stitch. Then finish the new stitch according to what you want it to be: a knit or a purl.
For example: You're binding off in ribbing. Your previous stitch was a knit stitch, and your next needs to be purled. Part One of the new (purl) stitch needs to match Part Two of the previous (knit) stitch. So make Part One knitwise, by inserting your hook from front to back and pulling up a loop, then finish purlwise by inserting purlwise into the the next stitch on the needle. (And then, if the next stitch is another purl, you can make both Parts purlwise.)

If this seems too confusing, just remember: when starting a new MMABO stitch, look at the way the yarn comes out of the stitch you just made, then insert your hook through that loop in the same direction that the yarn is going.

How about a video? (You thought I'd never ask....)

Note: If you work MMABO in a contrasting colour yarn on ribbing, the purl sections will have little "blips" of the contrasting colour just below the bind off.

For enquiring minds who want to know why we match Part One of a new MMABO stitch to Part Two of the previous stitch: it preserves the proper wrap of the yarn and gives maximum stretch to the bind off.

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If you have any questions, please feel free to ask using the comment box below; you can also email me or contact me in Ravelry (where I'm MrsMicawber).

Thanks for viewing, and happy binding off!

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Speaking of binding off: what's your favourite bind off, and why?

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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Tallulah Takes a ... Walk

I very nearly wrote "nap", because that's what Tallulah's been doing for about two months now....

Sleeping in the arms of Millie the Measuring Tape

Not that I blame her. I'd nap all winter long if I could. Wouldn't it be nice if we could get paid to sleep?

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Sunday afternoon is sunny, with temps in the 20s and a brisk wind blowing. I wake Tallulah from her long winter's nap, pop her new winter hat on her head, and out we go into the wintry chill.

"Where should we stop first, Tallulah?"

"How about down by the lake? I can pose on a piling while you take a picture of me in my new hat," says T.

Tallulah's new hat sports braided ties and a tufty adornment on the crown, giving her a kind of Beaker-meets-Pippi Longstocking look:

"I thought I asked for a pompom," says T.

"So you did," I reply. "But have you ever tried making a 5mm pompom? From sock-weight yarn? My fingers just aren't small enough. This is the best I could do."

"And I appreciate it very much," she says graciously. Our walk continues in amicable silence.

Down the trail the trees are hung with rustling clusters of champagne-coloured samaras:

We find a rare patch of green under some sheltering fir trees:

Farther on, a clump of oaks (northern pin oaks, I think) still retain their leaves - a phenomenon called marcescence:

The weather has been just warm enough this week to melt off much of the snow. What remains is patchy and, in some areas, softening from the ground up. We walk over a long stretch dotted with tiny holes where the snow has melted around each blade of grass:

Here also are the remains of knapweed, dreaming of lost summer:

At the side of the trail white birch reach up with shining arms to the blue sky:

Looking down another avenue of trees:

The thaw gives a deceptively spring-like appearance, but I'm sure that come February we'll see the ground snow-covered once more.

On our way back, we pass dried clumps of what I think is water hemlock, and I snap a series of andamento-inspired photos (somehow managing to obtrude my head into almost every shot). Here's the best of the bunch, with Mrs. M cropped out:

Hi, Anne! :)

Then it's back to the house for a quick dinner followed by a visit to the Aged P, where I will sit and knit while he watches football. (And what he'll do when the season is over I don't know.)

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Knitting has been much on my mind lately. Last week I caught a cold, which robbed me of my voice and gave me a killer sinus headache. While sitting home resting the vocal chords and waiting for the headache to subside, I taught myself to knit back backwards, and also worked out how to use MMABO on ribbing. Tutorial coming soon (for the ribbing, I mean).

It was almost worth getting mildly sick just to get the crafting time in....

How do you pass the time when you're under the weather?

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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Coming Up for Air

Goodness me, three weeks into the New Year and I haven't written a word until now.

How are you?

Gratuitous Photo of a Very Cold Sunset

I've been keeping my head down, designing like crazy, hoping to generate some magazine work for the coming year. (As I said to my niece recently: at times like this, I can design, or I can blog - but I can't do both. "You should write a post about that," she said.)

In the intervals of crochet, I'm knitting a variation of the Minecraft Inspired Hat for a soon-to-be-teenager's birthday gift. Though it's years since I've done any stranded colourwork, the tension seems to be about right (whew):

I'd forgotten how much fun it is to see a colourwork pattern coming out row by row. It makes it very hard to put the needles down. Who needs dinner? One more round and my Creepers will be finished!

Or perhaps not. When I looked up the pattern link just now, I found I'd messed up an entire round - three rounds back. This is what comes of drawing my own chart from a photo. Why didn't I just get the free Ravelry download? A-frogging we will go....

"Lifeline first! Lifeline first!" whispers my knitting angel, glad to be back in action after much tedious thumb-twiddling during the furious bouts of crochet.

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In other news, the Aged P turned 88 last week, and this week we celebrate the first anniversary of his move to Wisconsin. Driving him home from a doctor visit this morning, I asked if he was glad he'd made the move. He thought for a moment, then said, "I have no regrets." "I'm glad to hear it," I said. It's a big thing for a man his age to have moved 2000 miles from home - I hope I'll be as plucky as he is if I live that long.

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On the weather front this month, we have been cold, then Very Cold, then a bit warmer - and now icy. A pretty typical January.

Very Cold weather - by which I mean below zero with wind chills in the -20 to -30 (F) range - is perfect for sitting safely at home while sipping lots of hot tea and playing with yarn. In fact it's a positive virtue to stay indoors when frostbite is only minutes away.

But when wind and weather moderate, even the most hardened crocheter realises it's time to lay down the hook and sally forth into the cold white world for a bit of mind-and-body restoration.

Here is what this crocheter saw the Sunday before last:

A favourite tree with the sun just beginning to yawn in the background:

Samaras scattered over the snow:

A contrail that looked like a shooting star:

Crossed a few minutes later by another:

Goldenrod leaves with their feet in the snow:

More goldenrod leaves, curled into ringlets by the cold:

I like the dried flowers behind this fencepost:

(If I put on amber glasses, and ignore the snow, and pretend it's 60 degrees warmer, it could almost be summer....)

Sparrow-sized tracks crossing my trail:

A winter composition in blues and greys... transformed minutes later into this miracle of pale rose and violet:


And that's all she wrote.

How is 2015 treating you so far?

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