Wednesday, April 12, 2017

What's Your Style?

Knitting style, I mean.

Not do you "throw" or "pick".  Not do you like lace weight or bulky.  But, how are your stitches mounted on your needles?

Still not sure what I mean?

First, we need to define some terminology.  For front and back loop.

Oh the conversations I have had with people over this one and it is so easy. The front loop is the side of the stitch that is closest to your body while knitting.

The Back Loop is the one furthest away from your body. (Click the pictures to embiggen them!)

Which brings us to our next terminology which is leading leg.

If you look at the pictures above you can see that the front loop is just barely closer to the needle tip than the back loop, that portion is leading the way.  (Kind of like a cowboy sitting on a horse, your stitch has one leg on each side of the needle.)

In Western Mount the leading leg is also the front knit that stitch without twisting it you would insert your right hand needle through that front loop from left to right, wrap your yarn around your needle and so on and so forth until you had completed the stitch.

Like this :

But there is another way of mounting your stitches so that the leading leg is actually the back loop.  (People who knit both Combined and Eastern Crossed Uncrossed styles mount their stitches this way.)

To knit that stitch without twisting it you would need to insert your right hand needle through the back loop from right to left, wrap your yarn around the needle and so on and so forth to complete making the stitch.

Why does it matter you ask?  Well, for many things in the knitting world, so long as you know which way to approach your knit and purl stitches to not twist them, it doesn't make any difference at all.  There are places where the mount of your stitches does make a difference : decreases, gathered stitches and in my opinion nupps.  Today, let's just look at one...gathered stitches.

I love gathered stitches from the Estonian tradition of knitting. (The link goes to a book with a few patterns in it that show what I mean. )  I actually have some lace knitting books in Estonian, so I can't read a word of what they say, but I can follow the charts! But, sometimes making the gathered stitches can be hard with a Western Mount answer is easy...I knit Eastern Crossed Uncrossed which means that my stitches are mounted with the leading leg at the back of the needle. Working into the same group of stitches multiple times is much easier when you don't have to drag your right hand needle all the way across the front of the grouping to knit them. (It's all in the purl folks!  So when I work in the round my knit stitches sit Western Mount...people who use this method get very good at reading which is the leading and which is the lagging leg so that we don't get twisted stitches when we move from flat knitting and in the round knitting.)

Want to see what I mean?  (For you non-Eastern Crossed Uncrossed knitters start by :  slipping three stitches as if to knit, individually and then slip your left hand needle into the front of those same three stitches so that we can knit through what is now the leading leg, but the back loop.  ECU knitters just insert your right hand needle into the leading legs of the next three stitches like you normally would.)

Pull the stitch you have just made onto your right hand needle but do not drop those three stitches yet!  

Yarn over and re-insert your right hand needle into the backs of those same three stitches and knit them one more time.

Now you can drop them from your left hand needle and proceed as you normally would.

Put in groups, even just a 3/3 gathered stitch can do some interesting things in a pattern.

The same would apply if you were doing a 5/5, 7/7 or even up to a 9/9 gathered stitch, although for the larger numbers it is easier if you use the cheaters method and employ a crochet hook.  I will share that trick another day.

What's on my needles today, other than a swatch?  My Colourmart Shawl is within 20 or so rows of being finished.  Lots of beads to come before the end, although I waved goodbye to the nupps just yesterday.  (A couple of secret design things are happening ) and Quill made it off the needles, into a bath and is ready for her photos.  You'll get to see her on Friday.

What's on your needles today?


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