Sheepfold

Techniques used in our kits

Temperatures for felting

Many of our kits recommend that you felt your knitted bag at 60 degrees C in the washing machine. We have both bought new machines recently and these don't felt quite as well. Raising the temperature to 70 degrees C seems to solve the problem. It is also important to note that a small number of breeds felt very readily indeed. For this reason our kits containing Blue Face Leicester wool correctly state that a temperature of only 30 degrees is sufficient. If you inadvertently use a higher temperature the damage can not be undone! Any kits containing this wool do give the correct temperature in the felting instructions.

Get the correct needles

The needle sizes given in our patterns are the diameters of the needles, given in metric. Use the following table to convert to your sizing scheme:
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Make your own stitch markers

Take a length of spare yarn, approximately 12–15 cm long, fold in half and tie a knot to form a loop. This loop must be big enough to fit over your knitting needle, but not too big!

When knitting your bag, slip the stitch markers across the working needle each time you reach them. Do not knit or purl into these markers!

Knit in the round

Many of our bags are knitted in the round. This avoids the need to sew seams in your work. We recommend that you place a marker at the start of the first round so that you can easily see when you restart the round and count the number of rounds you have knitted. A simple stitch marker can be made from a loop of contrast yarn, as described above. By knitting throughout, your work will appear as if knitted in stocking stitch.

Circular needles

Cast the required number of stitches onto the needle. Many of these will pass onto the nylon cord joining the two ends of the needle. Make sure that the last of the cast on stitches are at the end of the point in your right hand and that the first of the cast stitches are at the end of the point in your left hand.

Using the left hand point, as if it were a second needle, knit round all the stitches, sliding the stitches along the nylon cord towards the point in your right hand as you work. When you reach the end of the first round continue knitting as before, so 'working in the round'.

When knitting one of the smaller bags the first few rounds can be offputting as you will need to move the stitches across the nylon quite firmly, even having this poking out between the stitches! But persevere as it will get easier as you work up the bag.

Double-ended needles

If you prefer to use a set of double ended needles, cast the required number of stitches onto one of the needles. Divide these stitches evenly across three of the needles, making a triangular shape with the needles.

Use the fourth double ended needle to knit across all the stitches working from each of the needles in turn. Each time one needle is emptied of stitches this becomes the new needle to use as the 'fourth needle'. Keep knitting round in this way so don't turn your work and go in the opposite direction!

If you end up with the stitch at the end of any of the needles being worked loosely compared to all the others, I suggest that you transfer an additional couple of stitches onto the next needle each time you go round. This stops these looser stitches sitting in a vertical line within your work.

Knit an I-cord

Standard I-cord

1. With double ended needles, cast on 5 stitches. Some patterns say 4 or even 3 stitches but this can give a rather loose cord unless chunky yarn is being used.

2. Knit 1 row; do not turn work.

3. Slide the stitches to the opposite end of your needle so that the smooth side of the knit row remains facing you.

4. Take the yarn behind the stitches knitted and repeat the knit row, making sure that you knit the first stitch tightly.

5. Repeat this until the I-cord is your desired length.

Attached I-cord

1. With double ended needles cast on 4 stitches. Some patterns may say 4 or even 3 stitches, but we prefer the chunkier edging obtained with 5 stitches. Then pick up and knit 1 stitch from the edge of your main piece.

2. Knit 4 stitches, knit 2 together through the back of the loops, then pick up and knit 1 stitch from the edge of your main piece.

3. Slide the stitches to the opposite end of your needle. Take the yarn behind the stitches knitted and repeat the knit row given above, making sure that you knit the first stitch tightly.

4. Repeat this until the I-cord is attached to your main piece as far as required.

Graft using a Kitchener stitch

To join two pieces of knitting without a seam, use the following method (do not cast off the edges of the pieces to be joined!):

1. Thread a wool needle with a length of wool and hold in your right hand. Hold both knitting needles with the knitted stitches to be joined, parallel, in your left hand. Secure the wool to the right hand end of the knitting.

2. Pass the wool needle, as if to purl, through the first stitch on the front needle then, as if to knit, on the back needle and draw the thread through.

3.
*Pass the wool needle, as if to knit, in the first stitch on the front needle and draw the wool through while slipping the stitch off the knitting needle. Pass the wool needle, as if to purl, through the second stitch on the front needle.

4. Pass the wool needle, as if to purl, through the first stitch on the back needle while slipping off the knitted stitch, as before. Pass the wool needle, as if to knit, through the second stitch on the back needle and draw the wool through.
*

5. Repeat from
* to * until the end of the row then secure the wool and weave in the end.
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Thanks again for the superb service which could not have been bettered. We will definitely use Sheepfold again. PG
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