I’ve been intrigued by knitting DVDs. When I began to watch Knitty Gritty on DIY network, I wished that I had knitting videos available when I started to knit. And KnittingHelp.com has gotten me over several rough patches—most notably with one-row buttonholes. But knitting videos are expensive, and my knitting dollars are limited. There is a hierarchy to my spending with yarn first, tools second, and books third. When it comes to a new book, unless I’m absolutely sure that I want it sight unseen (as I would if Myrna Stahman had a new shawl book or Jean Frost had a new jacket book), I want to flip through it first before buying.
This leaves me with a problem for DVDs. I would really like to see them before buying, and that is hard to do. My library has a wonderful system for accessing books, audiobooks, music CDs, and movies. I can log on from the comfort of my computer and request items from about thirty branch libraries in my county. There are 772 knitting books. So for three weeks I can have the pleasure of browsing books I think are interesting and consider them for my own library. I’d been putting “knitting” in the subject line for DVDs and coming up blank. I’m not sure what possessed me to do this, but when I put “knitting” into “movies”, I got 28 hits. And so I borrowed some DVDs to watch.
The first was one called The Absolute Best Way to Knit by Leslye Solomon (click on the DVD link from the online catalog). I took one of Leslye’s classes at Stitches, and she was a great teacher. This is a fine DVD for someone learning to knit, or someone who wants to learn Continental knitting. Despite the hyperbolic title (I think, for example, that the “best” way to knit is combined—but that’s just one person’s opinion), the DVD is easy to follow and a fine way to learn.
I was most eager to see the Lucy Neatby DVDs because I had heard so many good things about them. I sat riveted as I watched the two my library has: Double Knitting Delight and Finesse Your Knitting 1. I’ve never done double knitting because it seemed daunting, and this DVD demystifies it. The Finesse Your Knitting was amazing. It showed many uses of the tubular bindoff, and Lucy’s foolproof way of grafting two pieces so that there is no seam (as when you’d want to attach two buttonbands at the back of the neck). She also shows a buttonhole that left my jaw dropping. Here is a photo from her website of what her buttonhole looks like:
This leaves me with a dilemma for my red sweater. I would like this to be finished quickly so I can move on to other things. But the techniques in Finesse Your Knitting would be great to try on this project. So last night, I decided to modify slightly Lucy’s buttonholes.
Notice that in Lucy’s photo (and on the DVD), she knits the buttonband so it is perpendicular to the knitting on the sweater fronts. I don’t want to do that. I want my buttonbands to go in the same direction as the knitting, mirroring the pattern of knits between the cables.
So I cast on an odd number of stitches (19) and left a column of slipstitch where the band will fold.
To start the buttonhole, you insert waste yarn (to remove later), similar to the way you might do it for the thumb on a mitten. When you’re done with the buttonband, you remove the waste yarn, fold the buttonband, and use a tubular bindoff. Lucy does this in a different color, but I want mine to be the same red as the sweater. I won’t post the details because I doubt if I could do them justice, and I don’t want to infringe on Lucy’s copyright. But if you are as obsessional about buttonholes as I am, you may want to have a look at this DVD.
Unfortunately, I only get a week for a “movie”, and the DVD is headed back to its branch library. I would really love to own this set of DVDs, so I could watch them while I tried the new techniques, and I think that I’ll start acquiring them shortly (as soon as the dentist tells me exactly how much a forthcoming root canal will cost).
I’m not sure I’ll be totally successful with the red buttonholes. I’m not skillful at tubular bindoffs, although I’m sure I would be if I could practice in front of the DVDs. But I’ll keep trying for the next several evenings. It was too late last night to attempt the bindoff on the sample buttonhole. The sleeves are done on the red Calvin Klein cardigan (but sleeve #2 needs blocking), and I have my sock to work on this week, but I can’t put out of my mind the possibility of such classy buttonholes.