Twisted stitches bust my britches

I know I’ve mentioned this, but I knit in an Eastern European style. Which means I knit and purl through the back loop. Pretty sure I “unvented” it (Thanks, Elizabeth Zimmerman) based on the fact that I’d been crocheting since I was six.

Unfortunately for me, since I was mostly self taught, I didn’t have someone around to point out that my stockinette in the round looked different than my stockinette knit flat. It took close to two years for me to be able to look at my knitting to know what I was doing and sort out what the problem was (this was right at the start of Ravelry and I wasn’t much in to forums) and then to figure out how to wrap the yarn so that my stitches looked the same in the round as they did flat.

I loved each of these socks. But you can see the ridges on every pair, a very tell-tale sign of twisted rib. It’s especially obvious in the green sock pic as the camera sort of reverberates over the color.

Compared to these more recent socks. Smoother, more even stitches that lay flat.

Which is not to say that you never want twisted stitches. More and more designers are using them intentionally. I generally avoid them, even as a design element. But had to carefully work them in my Plicate hats by Hunter Hammerson.

Talk about a tough sell, I have to re-seat each stitch in order to get the proper ridge/twist that the designer is looking for (love this hat, btw, a favorite no matter how I do it).

Done intentionally a twisted stitch can be an attention grabbing design detail. Done unintentionally, particularly in fair isle, it makes your work look unprofessional and like you jumped into designing/selling before really knowing your craft because you haven’t been able to “read” your knitting well enough to know you are doing it wrong.

 

More Reviews

I’m pretty lucky that my library has a good selection of knitting books. And what it doesn’t have it’s able to request from the branches up and down the Central Coast of California.

Unfortunately, this one, while it had a beautiful braid that had me drooling, didn’t come home. It focused a bit more on “how to knit” and the pages just weren’t captivating for me. I’m a bit beyond “how to knit” and with the whole Eastern European style, most books don’t even address different methods. So this one wasn’t a good fit for me.

Who knew the world of stitch dictionaries was full of so much competition.

I did bring home two stitch dictionaries – one for knitting, one for embroidery.

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My husband does not count “Do you want to come to bed and read stitch dictionaries with me?” as an aphrodisiac ūüėČ

But I found myself just paging through the “Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to¬†Embroidery Stitches” book. It was captivating. Fascinating. Because I’m a beginner at embroidery, I appreciate the “how to’s” for this. But there’s almost too much info! I skipped a lot of the first several chapters and went straight to looking at stitches. Some of that may be because I’m only really interested in embroidery on my knitting, so different fabrics doesn’t hold a ton of interest. Though it does have me considering more Wabi Sabi¬†embroidery repair on clothes that are wearing out (afterall, I am a lover of darning).

The other book, “400 Knitting Stitches,” is, well. It’s a stitch dictionary. I’m looking more closely at some of the bobble stitches than I did in my previous stitch dictionary. But if I were to add one to my personal shelf, it wouldn’t be this. It’s just a book. And one I can re-check out if I need to.

 

Vogue Knitting Live, Pasadena

I’ve never taken a knitting class. I was a crocheter from about 6. My initial foraIMG_20150418_114502219y into knitting was being given a lesson by my aunt. And then there was several years dormant before I picked it up for real. But I¬†decided to take a class by Susan B. Anderson at Vogue Knitting Live, Pasadena (I could do it as a daytrip).

I’ve used Susan’s Itty Bitty Hats¬†book for a decade – as reference, as ideas, as primer. And I love her website and blog. I referenced her patch pockets tutorial for my own Calligraphy Cardigan.

IMG_20150418_084812047So I decided to take her Little Dragon class. I could have figured it out on my own. But it was cool to have a knit-a-long with this group of women. And also hear the tips and tricks from the designer herself.

I would definitely do a class again! Though next IMG_20150418_115116155time, rather than project based, I might try to pick a technique I’ve struggled with or wanted to try instead of going solely on the teacher (though I might make an exception for Lara Neel & a sock class, but that combines teacher & interest. Come to think of it, so did Anderson & dragons).

IMG_20150419_075644838IMG_20150418_173007217I really enjoyed the location for VKL. Pasadena is both beautiful and a do-able day trip. But I think next time I would consider either a destination trip and/or Stitches West (not a day trip). The marketplace at Stitches is so much bigger, the freebies are more plentiful and better, and the variety of “must haves” were more in line for my wants. Still, I came home with one beautiful skein of self striping sock yarn to use. And I got my measurements taken in an effort to help my sweaters fit better.

One thing I did come away with is a sudden urge to knit more toys. Particularly the bedtime puppies from Itty Bitty Toys.

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I also have a confession to make. As I was leaving class I went to throw away my garbage (wrapper, scrap bits). And I totally dumpster dived this bit of yarn. There is likely enough for a hexipuff! Why would anyone throw that much away?!IMG_20150418_120453935

Kitchener Stitch for Eastern European Knitters

Kitchener stitch is used to graft live stitches together. There are plenty of great tutorials, I, myself, used Silver’s Sock Class for simply ages, but was never happy with the result I got. My stitches always looked twisted and wonky. When I finally realized that I was doing Eastern European style knitting, I realized why! Because of how I knit, my stitches sit differently on my needles than most poeple.
So, for a model, here is a hex, knit in the round. I’ve swapped out the tail for a pink tail to make what I’m doing more obvious.
I worked on twenty stitches. So the first step is to take it down from 3 needles to 2.

The general rule with Kitchener is Knit & remove, Purl the front needle; Purl & remove, Knit on the back needle (KP, PK).
Step A – First, though, run the needle, as if to purl, through the first stitch on the front needle.
Leave this stitch on the needle.

 

 Step B РThen run the needle, as if to Knit, through the first stitch on the back loop.
Leave this stitch on the needle.

 

Step 1. Here’s the first stitch you’ll remove. Run the needle, as if to knit, through the first stitch on the front needle. Then remove that stitch from the front needle.

 

 

Step 2 – Now run the needle, as if to purl through the second stitch (now the first stitch) on the front needle.
Leave this stitch on the needle.

Step 3 – Run the needle, as if to purl, through the first stitch on the back needle. Then remove that stitch from the back needle.

 

 

Step 4 – Now run the needle, as if to knit, through the second stitch (now the first stitch) on the back needle.
Leave this stitch on the needle. Return to step 1 & repeat until the last stitch on the back needle.

 

Et voila! You can see the new pink stitches grafting my hex shut. Once again, it’s important to note that (hopefully) these instructions don’t actually differ verbally from other blogs and posts descriptions of how to do the Kitchener stitch; what should be different is the pictures of the needle moving in & out of the stitches because of how my stitches sit on the needles while knitting.