Grafting is a versatile technique that produces an invisible join between two stocking stitch pieces. It can be used when lengthening (by inserting rows) or shortening a garment in the middle. If a garment were found to be too long across the center back, you could cut across the stitches, unravel a few rows and then rejoin the two portions by grafting. Read more... to see the grafting stitch used to attach lace trim to a hand towel.
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The photo shows the cabled headband in process, after blocking, before joining in the round, since it is easier to photograph this way. This is the fourth cabled headband I've knitted, but the first in two colors. The single color headbands take me one evening and the two color, two evenings to complete. The pattern is easy to memorize. Read more .... for tips on working the headband in two colors.
The J-hook or shepherd's crook cable needle offers a number of advantages for knitting cables. Because it has both a leading and trailing arm of different lengths, the chances of twisting the stitches are minimized, because you can more easily tell if the cable needle has been twisted, when compared to cable needles whose arms are equal in length and symmetrical. In addition the deep U, holds the stitches well, so that they do not slip off easily. The following photographs illustrate these advantages as well as the cable needle in use.
There are times when a toe-up sock might be the preferred construction method, for example with slip stitch patterns that traverse multiple rows, like the fireflowers stitch pattern. Other cable or multi-row patterns may also benefit from a toe-up approach. It is more aesthetically pleasing to start and end a cable pattern in the middle; by starting long patterns at the toes, rather than the cuff, you are not left with awkward pattern adjustments to accomodate various foot lengths. You can more easily add a few stitch pattern rows before beginning the cuff for a pleasing transition, than reduce pattern rows on the foot to achieve a pleasing end. Perhaps the best reason of all for a toe up sock is when knitting for children--you can lengthen the sock as they grow, as you could for sleeves on a top down sweater for a child. For these cases there is a slightly modified cuff.