Knit Chick Raven – Hints and Tips

finished ravenThe knitting pattern for the Knit Chick – Raven is now available in the NattyKnits Etsy shop. The Knit Chick Raven pattern is designed for an intermediate level knitter, but these hints and tips could be helpful for an ambitious beginner. I’ve used some photos from coloured knit chicks to illustrate this, just because it’s much easier to see detail when the yarn isn’t black!

How to Close the Holes

Knit Chicks are made using a technique called Short Row Shaping. This involves turning the knitting around before you’ve knitted to the end of the row, so making the knitted fabric 3 dimensional. However, when you turn the knitting, you leave a small hole.  There’s a special blog post on how to close the holes and get a smoother finish just here

Right Side and Wrong Side

All knitted fabric has a “right” side and a “wrong” side, even garter stitch, which looks pretty much the same on both sides. When you start the first row of your knitting the right side of the work is facing you. Take a note of where your cast on tail is (it will be on the right if you use “double cast on” or the left if you use “single cast” on or “cable cast on”). That cast on tail will then tell you which is the right side. Obviously the right side should go on the outside.

It’s good to get the right side facing outwards for the knit chick’s body, but even more important to not get hung up on it when sewing together the tail. When you make the 3 needle bind off for the tail you will actually have the wrong side of the first half and the right side of the second half facing inwards. It’s much easier to think of this as “the second half is closest to you”.

Sewing the back seam

The following way is an excellent method for sewing the top and bottom of garter stitch knitting, it leaves a nicely hidden seam. The basic method involves weaving the yarn in and out so that it goes directly over the existing stitches in the knitting. Here’s a diagram:

Sewing Top and Bottom of Garter Stitch
Sewing Top and Bottom of Garter Stitch

The important thing to remember when using this method is not to pull the yarn tight as this will just make a nasty mess. It’s a delicately balanced operation, but simple with practice.

French Knots for Eyes

If you’re thinking of making a Knit Chick for a younger child you may want to consider using embroidered French Knots for the eyes instead of felt which may get chewed off and will shrink slightly when washed. I’ve only just learned how to do this myself, but here is the website I learned it from.

http://www.purlbee.com/embroidery-tutorial/2007/2/12/french-knot.html

Equally if you’re making the knit chick for an adult, you could use shiny black buttons.

The 3 Needle Bind Off

The 3 Needle Bind Off is a great way of making a secure and neat seam, it works very well as a seaming method for the shoulders for sweaters. Although it is bulky and creates a ridge, this ridge is actually part of the design on a Knit Chick’s tail. It’s very simple to master.

Take the two needles with stitches on them and hold them next to one another in your left hand, knit together two stitches, one from each needle and then when you have two stitches on the right hand needle cast off as you would normally by leapfrogging the first stitch over the second.

Here’s a really clear video tutorial from knittinghelp.com, scroll down to the bottom for the video of the 3 needle bind off

http://www.knittinghelp.com/videos/casting-off

Sewing on the Tail

When you’ve finished the tail there will be four yarn ends hanging from the bottom of it, two in the middle and one on either side. Weave in the end on one side and one of the middle ones then use the remaining side one to sew along the bottom of the tail and the central one to sew up the back seam of the body and half of the centre seam of the tail. The tail looks best when the ridge made by the 3 needle bind off is facing outwards at the back, like this:

Tail seen from underneath
Tail seen from underneath

Positioning the Beak

This is an easy one, there are seven sections to the knit chick’s body, find the middle section by counting in four sections from either side. There should be 4 small indentations in a square about 2/3 of the way up the body.

Beak Position

The beak should go in the middle of this square, with the seam on the beak centered and facing down.

Sewing the Seam on the Beak

The beak is very small and sewing that seam may look a little daunting, just remember that it may take a few tries to get it evenly sewn. Use Mattress Stitch, the standard method for joining two pieces of stockinette stitch fabric. This website has some fantastic clear photos to help you with this. Although, as you will only be sewing a 6 row long beak you won’t need to block it first.

http://www.knitty.com/ISSUEspring04/mattress.html

Sewing the Beak on to the Body

The beak can be sewn on to the body by oversewing the knitted stitches at the bottom of the beak so that the sewn stitches are not obvious. The two photos below show this.

sewing-beak-on11sewingbeakon22

If you have any questions or comments which are not covered either in the pattern or here, please contact me through the NattyKnits Etsy shop and I’ll do my best to help you.

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