Life with Fiber and Fiber Arts

Happy Green Day! (…well, that’s everyday for some of us) March 19, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Hannah Cuviello @ 8:19 pm

For the sake of all the people out there who have not had a chance to look at my Ravelry page or my stash or almost all of my clothes, or my business logo, I should let you know that I rather like the color green. You can imagine how excited I get come mid March when everyone else joins me in celebrating my favorite color. (Yes, I know that St. Patrick’s Day was some days ago, but I make the magic last as long as I can).

Now, I think we had better start by looking at some green yarn.

Pretty Green Yarn

I love it. I just love it. sigh.

In celebration of this lovely color, I have some patterns for green things. Of course, you don’t have to make them in green, although I don’t see why you wouldn’t want to.

The first of these is a pattern to which I have alluded in past blog entries.


Grammy Slippers

In case you missed that post, I will recap. My Grammy (who was a KNITter, with stress on the capital Knit) made these slippers for everyone. Everyone. If you knew her, you probably had a pair (or several) of these. There has been no point in my life when I have not had at least one pair of these (although the last pair of Grammy-made slippers wore out last year). I’m not sure where she got the pattern. I feel like it’s one of those patterns (like a rolled brim hat) that is just out there. It exists in the knitosphere and, if we just breathe deeply enough, we might all take it in.

The beauty of these slippers (aside from their simplicity) lies in the gooshy*, waffle-like texture of the fabric.

*technical term

Many people have written this pattern down over the years, I’m sure. I certainly don’t claim authorship; I just hope to make it accessible to as many people as possible. To that effect, I am offering a downloadable pattern on my website. This pdf includes the pattern for the slippers, some ideas about color schemes, and pictorial instructions on two-color cast on, seaming in garter stitch, and a couple of other things pertinent to the project.

With a little time and a little yarn, this could be you:

For what it’s worth, I made my slippers (pictured) out of my two favorite colors of Cascade 220 SW; Turtle (1919) and Aporto (859).

The second pattern (also green) was included in one of our newsletters a while back, and I have just made it available on the website.

This little fellow was inspired by Lantern Moon’s lovely and whimsical tape measures. It occurred to me after I had taken this picture that a little black bead sewn to the tongue with white thread would make a perfect snack for my little froggy. This pattern is also available on the website.

So that’s that.

I have been managing to keep myself pretty busy lately, teaching beginning knitting (that’s how we knitters reproduce, you know) and toe-up socks, among other things.

I may have also been doing some designing. Just a bit.

Shhhh…. here’s a sneak peak!

All I can tell you is that they will be released at the end of the month. I’m pretty jazzed.

In the meantime, before I begin my next big project, I will try to spend some time on a hardcore technical post or two. I am painfully aware that I have still not finished the promised next installment of the Ways Of Knitting post. (guilty squirm) I have started it so many times. I just need to buckle down and knit some swatches. You’d think that wouldn’t be a problem for me.

Hmmm… or I could just take more pictures of yarn.

I will keep you posted.


In the meantime… February 20, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Hannah Cuviello @ 9:42 am


There is a post coming. It is so close…so very close. And there will be a little pattern in it.
In the meantime, here is a kitty in a shawl.


Will Seam for Love January 31, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Hannah Cuviello @ 1:58 pm

You’d think that I would have learned by now to avoid phrases like “will post very, very soon”, which inevitably turn me into a liar.  Well, I will console myself that “rather soon” is good enough.

For anyone who did not read my last post, we at Abundant Yarn are conducting a Square Drive. A what? A fun way for all you yarn crafters out there to contribute to the warmth and comfort of a child in need without having to commit to knitting/crocheting an entire afghan. You don’t even have to sew any squares together. All the afghans we put together will be donated to Project Linus, a non-profit organization that donates handmade blankets to children in crisis situations. This is one of our very favorite knitting-for-good activities, and we would love for you to play along!

The Squares (guidelines):

  1. Squares can be either 12″ or 7″; we will hopefully be making many blankets!
  2. Squares should be machine washable (superwash wool or acrylic blend- please make note of which you used so we can keep like fibers together).
  3. Squares should not be too lacy, so little fingers don’t get caught.
  4. You do not have to weave in your ends! Leave a 15-25″ end and we will use it for seaming.
  5. All squares should be made with love!

Inspiration and Ideas

Not sure where to go from here? Well, we have ideas!

12″ Squares:

We are huge fans of the Great American Afghan series from XRX publishing.

Each book contains about 25 unique and interesting squares to knit, ranging in difficulty from basic stockinette with a few embellishments to off-the-wall constructions with complex cables. My mother, especially has a fondness for these. She has just finished her third and is starting another (more on that at some as yet unspecified time).

12" Squares from The Great American Aran Afghan

One of the best parts is that, by the time you are totally sick of one pattern, you’re done!

7″ Squares:

This size square is the perfect medium for playing around with new stitch patterns and interesting textures or using up left-over yarn. Pull out your stitch dictionaries and go exploring!

These squares are the perfect stuff-in-your-purse/bag-and-whip-out-while-waiting-in-line size project.

7" Squares in Knit and Crochet

Just think how many of these you could get done while watching a single movie. And talk about instant gratification!

Where to send them:

You can send the squares to us at-

Abundant Yarn Online

PO Box 8093

Spokane, Wa 99203

Once we have an afghan or two put together, we will be setting up a page on our website where we can recognize all our wonderful square makers (“blanketeers”, as the Project Linus folks call them). We will post pictures of the finished afghans with the first name and city/state of the knitter or crocheter. If you would prefer us not to, please let us know.

Thank you all in advance. I just can’t wait to get seaming!


Sew Its Seams January 23, 2011

Filed under: Garter Stitch Seams,how to,knitting theory,Seaming — Hannah Cuviello @ 6:35 pm

(Snicker, snicker)

I love the New Year; it’s so full of opportunities to do all the things I didn’t do last year. I’m also a huge proponent of New Year’s Resolutions Lists…mostly because I would be lost without lists. I don’t know if you have noticed this about me…but I’m a little scatter brained. Not in a bad way! Usually, actually, in a very amusing way. A putting the remote control in the freezer kind of way. A leaving my keys in the door kind of way. Without lists, I would be completely lost and would, consequently never get anything done. Never. Ever.

I especially love the satisfying feeling of checking something off my list. It’s so encouraging. That is why my New Year’s Resolution List will never contain something like, “Eat healthier” or “Keep the house clean.”  How do I check that off? I won’t know I’ve done it until January of next year. I will have lost my list by then anyway.   My New Year’s resolutions list usually contains small, manageable tasks that I just didn’t get around to last year. It’s more of a New Year’s To-Do list, really. So far, this year’s list contains:

Write Tunisian Crochet Blog (check!)

Rephotograph Cascade 220 superwash (check!)

Write Seaming Blog (check!)

Write the rest of the Ways of Knitting posts … (no check yet)

Take down Christmas Tree (almost check!)

Make Afghan

Start Charity Knitting Project

Plus a few other choice tasks, all easily manageable if I can just remember about them long enough to get them done.

Today’s post has to do with three of the above Resolution Tasks, namely, “Make Afghan” and “Write Seaming post” and “Start Charity Knitting Project”.  You see, I am quite fond of Afghans…especially in January.  I am particularly fond of afghans that are knit in many small, manageable squares (each square is a check mark on my To-Do list!).  I am even more pleased when each square is different and interesting in its own way. For this reason, I am drawn to XRX’s Series of Great American Afghan books (including Great American Afghan, Great American Aran Afghan, and Great North American Afghan).

We have several of these afghans in my house and are getting started on a brand new Great North American Afghan (colors as yet undecided).

Now, I can imagine what some of you out there are thinking. You like the idea of an afghan where each square provides new, engaging designs and techniques, but you just aren’t into sewing together all those squares. I know how you feel. I used to be firmly in the “I’m a knitter, not a sewer” camp and was determined to knit only top-down or otherwise seamless garments. Then I sat down and learned how to do it right…and you know what? It turns out that it is supremely satisfying to produce a beautifully seamed piece of knitting. It’s just as satisfying as checking a whole slew of things off a list.

Today, we are going to talk about seaming. Specifically, we are going to look at the kind of seaming that would be involved were you to make one of the above mentioned afghans…Garter Stitch seaming.

Very cleverly, the publishers of the American Afghan books required all the designers to give their squares tidy garter stitch borders, simplifying the seaming process tremendously. That said, there are still three different kinds of garter stitch seams you will encounter, should you knit these afghans.

1. Seaming up the edges of Garter rows (this one is easy!).

2. Seaming along bound off or cast on edges of Garter.

3. A mix; seaming a bound off edge to the edges of rows.

Let’s start with what is often considered the easiest of the three.Garter stitch, you may have noticed, is made up of ridges of alternating knit and purl rows (this describes the finished look, not necessarily how you come by it). Along the edges, you will notice handy little bumps, which correspond to the purl row ridges.

Each edge bump actually consists of two interlocking bumps; a lower bump and an upper bump.

When seaming Garter edges, you will insert the weaving needle through the lower bumps on one side of the seam and the upper bumps on the other side, alternately.

Go back and forth from one side to the other, until you have something like this:

When seaming, I will usually make several passes before pulling the thread tight and closing the seam. I find it easier to get into the bumps when the seam is still loose. Also, I love pulling the seam tight with a satisfying zip. Just be careful not to wait too long or it will become rather difficult.

Normally, of course, you would sew the seam with yarn that matched one of your squares.

Wasn’t that easy?

Number two takes a little bit more scrutiny of the knitting, but is, I think, still not too bad.

Just under the bound off edge of your square, you will see the little V’s of your stitches (they’re right above the upper bumps). To seam this edge, insert the needle behind both legs of one of those V’s.

On the other side of the seam, you will find much the same thing.

Do you see the little legs? They are right above the bump from the cast off (a cast on edge will look rather similar and be treated the same way).Insert your needle under the legs of a stitch on the bottom square, then under the legs of a stitch on the top square. Go back to the bottom square and move on to the next stitch.

If you can do these, sewing seams that include both edges will be just as easy. On the side with ridge bumps, insert your needle under the bumps (in this case, I actually go under both the top and bottom bump); on the cast off side, go under the legs of the V’s.

Alternate between the two edges as before and pull tight.

Sometimes you will have squares that aren’t exactly the same size a their neighbors. In this event, you can skip a stitch now and then on the side that is longer (I’m afraid I was not feeling quite thorough enough to take pictures of that for you. I’m sorry.)

So…are those afghans feeling a little more approachable now? Do you feel inspired?

Perhaps you would enjoy the experience of knitting these fun and enlightening squares, but  feel a little “no-thank-you” about seaming, let me offer an alternative.  We at Abundant Yarn are big fans of a program called Project Linus. This wonderful organization collects handmade blankets and afghans and distributes them to children who are ill, traumatized or otherwise in need. Should you feel like you would like to knit some squares, but don’t want to seam them, send them to us. We will be happy to sew them together for you. Then we will send them to Project Linus.

Actually, I will be writing (very, very soon) another post, completely dedicated to our upcoming official afghan square drive, with all the details you could possible want. Until then, I leave you with the tools to finish any garter stitch afghans you may happen to have lying around.

Happy Seaming!




Why I Love Tunisian Crochet… January 2, 2011

Filed under: designs,how to — Hannah Cuviello @ 3:12 pm

“Why, I love Tunisian Crochet!”

Those of you who receive my newsletters may recall a promise I made several weeks back regarding blog posts about Tunisian Crochet, to the effect that there would be some very soon. Clearly, I lied. But better late than never, right? We can call this the first installment in my “actually write all the blog posts I’ve promised to various people” resolution.

Today’s thesis: Tunisian Crochet is awesome! Really.

Now some of you may have pretty fixed ideas about the uses of Tunisian (or Afghan) crochet. True, Tunisian crochet is frequently associated with stiff, itchy, acrylic afghans your Grandma made in the 60’s and 70’s.

(Note: this lovely afghan was actually crocheted in solid white. All the colorwork is embroidered!) I will never make this afghan because I don’t hate myself am not very skilled at embroidery. That said, some of my favorite afghans are actually Tunisian crochet.

But it can really be so much more! Tunisian crochet is a fast, simple way to play with mixing colors and textures. It creates a fabric with structure, perfect for outer wear with a tailored look. With the right gauge, though, it can still have a graceful drape.

For example, I have recently designed the Aspenglow Jacket for Interweave Crochet (“Toot, toot” goes my own horn).

I only mention it because today I am going to go over the basics of the Tunisian crochet stitch as well as the color changing and cabling techniques that are used in this cardigan. There will be a little review for those who subscribe to our newsletter.

Let’s start with the basics. You will need a crochet hook and some yarn. Today’s featured yarn is Imperial Stock Ranch Lopi. You can use an afghan hook if you want, but if you are just following along at home to get a feel for it, you can use a regular hook with a smooth, consistent body shape. Once you have decided that you absolutely love Tunisian Crochet, you can invest in some special hooks:

I particularly like these hooks with long cables; I find them easier to manipulate and, were I to make an afghan, I could more easily fit all the stitches.

I imagine that most of you (even you knitters!) have made a crocheted chain at least once. If not, there are numerous resources out there. Your chain has a distinct front and back to it. On the front, you see a row of interlocking V’s with top leg and a bottom leg. On the back, you see rows of bumps. Now, this is largely a matter of personal preference, but when I insert my hook into the chain, I usually go into the back bump. It is pretty easy to see and I end up with a nice, neat row of V’s along the bottom of my work.

If you are following along, insert the hook into the bump of the first chain stitch, yarn over and pull the hook back through. See below.

Leaving the new loop on the hook, repeat for each chain bump across. You should end up with a hook full of loops. This is the first half of your foundation row (vocab word).

To begin the second half of the foundation row, chain one (YO, pull through one loop), then yarn over and pull through the next two loops on the hook (step 2 above). Repeat Step 2 only until there is only one loop on the hook. Your foundation row is now complete. Good job!

From now on, each row will consist of two parts, an over and a back. This first part of each row (the over) is called the Forward Pass (FwdP).

You may notice that one of the most visually prominent parts of each stitch is a vertical strand of yarn. Begin the FwdP by inserting the hook behind the vertical strand (shown above). Yarn over and pull back through. This is your first Tunisian Simple Stitch (Tss). Repeat this process for every vertical strand across.

The second part of the row is the Return Pass (RetP). This is exactly the same as the second part of the foundation row; Chain one then yarn over, pull through two the rest of the way across.

If you keep at it long enough, you will have something like this:

Three rows of Tunisian Simple Stitch

So there we have the basics. You can now make a giant Tunisian Crochet afghan.

And if you would like to stripe your afghan?

On the row before you start you new color, work your RetP until you have two loops left on the hook.

Execute your last “Yarn Over, pull through two” using the new color.

I imagine that you can take it from here, but just for good measure, complete the FwdP with the new color.

If you would like single row stripes, RetP until there are two loops left on the hook, change back to your first color as before.

This approach gives you nice, neat stripes. Myself, I prefer to mix it up a little.

One of my favorite things about Tunisian Crochet is the woven-looking texture you get from the opposing vertical and horizontal lines. By adjusting where we do our color changes, we can get rows where the horizontal and vertical lines are in opposite colors. To begin, work the FwdP with one color (Color A). When you get to the end, make your chain one with your other color (Color B).

Work your RetP and the FwdP of the next row with Color B.

After a few rows, you’ll start to get the feel of how the colors blend and merge.

I think it’s pretty nifty. The Aspenglow Jacket (above) uses a variegated color of Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Worsted against semi-solid for a sort of random, speckled effect.

At this point, to be honest, you have almost all the skills you need to make this jacket. The missing piece is creating the surface texture. For this, we combine our fancy new Tunisian Crochet technique with some tried and true crochet stitches. Specifically, we will be using a Double Crochet (dc), which you may have met before, or rather a Front Post Double Crochet (fpdc), which is really very similar.

Begin with an initial Yarn Over, as you would for a dc (note: I am using primarily American terminology; Canadian and European crocheters may call it something different).

Once you have complete steps 1 through 3, you will have the beginning a faux cable. At this point, however, it won’t really look like much. Complete the row as instructed and perform the RetP (changing colors, if you want). On the next row, work until you come to the dc from the row below.

Yarn over as before, but instead of inserting your hook into the vertical strand, insert it behind the body of the dc. Yarn over and draw up a loop.

Complete the stitch as before. This is a front post double crochet.

What we have done here is stack two double crochets right on top of each other. If you were to repeat this every third stitch or so, you would get an interesting ribbed effect. This is not what we want here, though. We want something that looks like cables. To get this, we have to create movement in our textured stitches. If you have been following along, go ahead and finish off the FwdP and RetP. On the next row, work the FwdP up to the Fpdc from the row below.  Next, Tss (that’s just the regular old stitch you’ve been doing) in the vertical strand above the fpdc from the previous row. Skip the next stitch (vertical strand) and then Fpdc around fpdc from the previous row (which is now behind you). This requires a bit of a backward reach. The effect is that the new fpdc is at a slant.

Continuing in this manner will yield a line of fpdc’s that cross your Tunisian crochet fabric on a diagonal (or in whatever direction you choose to send them).

To slant your stitches the other way, work Tss up to one stitch before the Fpdc from the previous row, skip the next Tss and Fpdc around the Fpdc from the previous row, then Tss in the top of the Fpdc from the previous row. Sorry, no picture here.

Well, is that enough for now? Have I given you something to think about? Come February (because I have a few projects in the works at the moment), I will be doing a knitalong for the Aspenglow Jacket. I will spend the month in between now and then trying to decide if I want to use Lorna’s Shepherd worsted (like I did before) or Cascade 220 Paints. It’s going to be a tough call. It may in fact take the whole month to decide. Hopefully you will hear something from me in the interim. Until then, Happy New Year! May your resolution lists be short and easily fulfilled!





Short Rows, in Short November 21, 2010

Filed under: how to,knitting theory,Uncategorized — Hannah Cuviello @ 5:34 pm

Apparently, it has been a while since I had time to post anything. I’m so ashamed.

Wait! I have an excuse. You see, I’ve been doing some knitting. Lots of knitting. Top Secret knitting.

Finally, I can share some of it with you all.

First, I spent some time working on this:

The “Saxony Scarf” for the Interweave Knits Holiday Gifts issue. It is knit here out of Nashua Creative Focus Chunky, but I’m working on a second one in Cascade’s 128 Superwash and it’s coming out quite lovely (pics to come).

Then, I spent rather a lot of time (well a month, I guess) working on this:

The Scavenger Skirt, knit out of Sanguine Gryphon’s beautiful Codex yarn (silk and BFL wool), was part of their recent Steampunk inspired pattern line.  So there we go. I have also been working on some Secret Knitting that will not be revealed until the end of December, and then some other stuff. What I mean to say is that I have been having all sorts of fiber fun.

  Yes, I know that I still owe some installments of the Ways of Knitting series of post, but, in my defense, I never claimed to be good at staying focussed on a single thing for a long time. In fact, I think that I clearly stated that I am quite easily and frequently distracted by shiny things.

Right now, Short Rows are particularly shiny. I have been doing rather a lot of knitting with short rows lately and have fallen quite in love with them. I know what you’re thinking: “I hate short rows; they’re dumb and futzy and not worth the trouble”.  I once thought as you do (if you weren’t thinking that, good for you; you’re already drinking the short row koolaid). Now, however, I recognize that short rows are in fact not dumb, not that futzy (almost all of the time) and really, really worth the trouble (not that they’re really any trouble). Please observe the list of things that short rows do well:

1. Make curve hugging contours in your knitting.

2.  Make circular objects without knitting in the round.

3. Make edgings go around corners.

4. Make fun squiggles and shapes in all sorts of interesting places.

5. Make socks!

And that’s just the beginning.

Today, I am going to write a little bit about the different flavors of short row treatments. First, though, the theory:

When knitting short rows, you work to almost the end of your row, then turn your knitting, leaving the remaining stitches unworked. When you first started knitting, you probably did this a lot on accident. The result is that there is a portion of your knitting that is longer (has more rows) than another portion of your knitting.  This is useful when you are trying to knit fabric to cover something that goes out in some places and not in others.

Example: Ladies, take a tape measure and measure from the top front of your shoulder to your belt, in line with where your shoulder seam (if you are wearing set-in sleeves) is. Now, measure down your front, starting at a parallel point, but making sure to measure over the bosom and keeping the tape measure next to your body. (Fellows, you can find a lady to try this on, but make sure to ask for permission first). There is probably a different in the measurements. The height from shoulder to belt is the same, but there is more surface area over the bosom than at the side. Many sweaters and shirts ride up in the front because there is not a comparable difference in the amount of fabric used to cover the surfaces. We use short rows (on purpose) to make more fabric in the areas that go out more. Isn’t that Awesome?!

   When you were a beginning knitter and did this on accident, you probably observed a hole in your knitting once you worked back across the place where the short row happened. The trick to doing short rows on purpose is finding a way to avoid the holes. This is especially important when the short rows are someplace conspicuous, like the bust of  a sweater. That is what we are talking about today.

    OK. Too much text and not enough pictures! I thought this was a yarn blog!

First, I will address what has been (I believe) the most common way to treat short rows: The Wrap and Turn.

 Many patterns that require short rows will say something like this:

“Work to 2 stitches before the end of the row ‘Wrap and Turn’ leaving remaining stitch unworked”. Shown above, the Wrap and Turn is the reason why many knitters avoid short rows (it’s OK, I have two alternatives below). In the last picture above, I have wrapped every stitch on the row, creating a pretty severe angle. I have used this technique to make slantwise pocket fronts on bottom up sweaters. Notice that each of the stitches in that row has a bit of yarn wrapped around its base (like a tiny scarf keeping its little stitch neck warm). When working back across these stitches, you will have to knit that wrap together with the stitch it is wrapping. Observe:

That’s not so bad, right? OK, I know, it’s one thing to work in wraps on the right side of the piece when they are positioned in the direction you are knitting anyway. I promise that there will be a post on what to do when things get more hairy. This post is supposed to be “Short rows in Short”, and I am doing my very best to keep it to the basics (as much as I ever do, anyway).

Moving on. The next flavor of short row, which got quite a bit of attention a couple of years ago with regard to toe up socks, is the Yarn Over Short Row. This involves no wrapping at all and is much favored by those who would rather eat nails than wrap and turn.

While there is less slipping back and forth of stitches, this method is a little futzy in its own way. That is, yarning over on the right hand needle at the beginning of the row is not what we are used to. Once all your short rows are complete, you should have what looks like lots and lots of stitches on your needle. Really, it is just pairs of stitch and yarn over.

The working in part is just as simple here as it was for the wrap and turns. You knit the YOs together with the following stitch.

Finally, we have the Minimalist Approach, so called because it involves no wrapping and no YOs. All you do is turn, then slip the next stitch and work across the wrong side to the end. If you want a steep angle (as in the swatches above) you just work to one stitch before the last turning point every right side  row. If you do this for every stitch, you will end up with this:

To avoid holes, you…well, it’s better to look at it:

 The trickiest part to this is identifying the third stitch down from the needle. Cat Bordhi (a knitting genius and one of my knitting idols) calls this stitch the “grandmother stitch”. That is, the stitch on the needle is the “daughter stitch”, the one below it is the “mother stitch” and the one below that is the “grandmother stitch”. In step two, you insert the tip of the left hand needle, from back to front, into the grandmother stitch and then knit it together with the next stitch on the needle. I may be biased (this is my short row method of choice) but I really think that this one looks the best. Of course, I might just be better at it.

So there we go. In a later post (later just like those other “Ways of Knitting” posts are coming later) I will go into doing short rows from the wrong side. Fun times! Note, the short rows in these swatches are pretty noticeable because I have worked them on every row, which drastically changes the direction of the knitting. Worked every two or four (or more) stitches, they would be far more subtle.

Of course these are not the only short row methods out there. The Japanese Short Row method is quite popular and produces lovely results. It requires the use of a safety pin, however, and once there a whole other tool involved, I’m pretty much out.

So, we go to all this trouble to prevent holes where the shore rows end. Sometimes, however, it’s just not such a big deal. For example, in the “Bathtime Blossoms” washcloth pattern set by Evelyn A. Clark.

Each of these decidedly round washcloths is actually knit back and forth using short rows. There are no wraps, however, and no YOs. There is no special picking up of stitches. It is so cleverly written, in fact, that you hardly realize you are knitting short rows at all. If all of the above futziness makes you a little nervous, this is actually a pretty good place to start (plus they make great gifts!).

So there you go. Short Rows. More on that later, until then, go get started on your holiday projects!


1AM in the Abundant Yarn Household May 21, 2010

Filed under: designs,Yarn Pics,Yarn review — Hannah Cuviello @ 8:26 am

Getting ready for the cotton-knitting season, I have been rephotographing most of our summer yarns. This last weekend was spent primarily on Cascade Sierra. For those of you who may not have worked with this yarn before, it is a worsted weight  80%cotton/20%wool blend from Cascade, most notable (in my opinion) for its wide range of colors and satisfying, weighty drape. Having immediate access to all these pretty colors means playtime for Hannah.

Fast forward to 1 in the morning on Saturday, with me sitting on the floor, quite happily arranging colors and imagining the afghans and sweaters I could knit. At least it’s cheaper than going out to a movie, and it provides infinitely more entertainment. I am fairly certain that, if there were a job called Professional-Afghan-Color-Picker, I would be perfectly content working at it  40 hours a week. If I didn’t have roughly 4 dozen other projects in the works, I’m also pretty sure I would be casting on an afghan right now.

Oh yeah, I took pictures too.


The thing I love most about Sierra is how subtle the color variations are. Most people I have met have at least one of those chevron afghans that go through a gradient of a particular color (most often Green or Brown, I think). That is what I kept seeing in my head when I was playing with the Sierra.

Sierra Blue

I probably shouldn’t include all the pictures, because it would reveal to the world just how much time I spent on the floor playing with yarn, but I figured that I should at least pick my favorites. Who knows, maybe someone out there is struggling with just the right color combination and these pictures will help. I might mention that I am always both willing and available to offer my opinions on yarn combinations. Of course, asking me to spend more time looking at yarn is some kind of enabling, like asking a chronic gambler which horse to back.

Sierra Greens

Sierra Yellow-Orange-Brown

Well into the evening, I came up with a fun little game for myself; I pick two colors from opposite sides of the color wheel and transition from one to the other. For example, I would start with Orange and Purple…

Step 1 of game: Orange and Purple

And then pick colors that blend from one to the other.

Orange to Purple

Or…I would start with Sherbet and Olive (two fairly light colors)…

Sherbet and Olive

Olive to Sherbet transition

I think that I actually will be making an afghan out of this one. Mitered Squares, I think.

Olive to Sherbet afghan

Is that a bit dated? I think it’s dated to a time I never actually experienced, which means that I never got sick of that combination. Good to know; I guess that’s why we plan these things out. I may still go for it. Although I was also really fond of the Black to Olive transition.

Black to Olive

Black to Olive Transition Afghan

Well, um…maybe I will make them both.  I think I had better stop now. As much as I may have time to sit on the floor and play with yarn, I just don’t know if I have time to knit much more than two afghans. Besides, I still owe everyone two entries in my “Ways of Knitting” series. I am, in fact, working on swatches for it. I promise that I am not sitting idle (except for the playing with yarn thing). You see, I am just trying to placate you all with pictures of pretty colors. Ooooh… look at the pretty colors…..


Ways of Knitting: Part 2.2 Twist and Shout (cont.) April 4, 2010

Welcome back, friends. I have had a few days respite from our good friend stockinette stitch and am ready and excited to tackle our last eight swatches.

Remember that we had just finished a series of swatches in which we knit into the front leg and wrapped clockwise. Now we move on to the third column of the chart, for which we will be knitting into the back leg and wrapping counter-clockwise. Here is another look at the chart, just to jog our memory:

1. Columns 1 and 2 complete. Half-way there!

Now, without further ado…

Swatch 9:

Looking at the chart above and remember what we learned about what affects stitch mount, we can predict that the stitches on the knit row will be mounted as they were in swatches 1 and 5, with the Right Leg in front.

Knit Side: Knit into the Back Leg, wrapping Counter Clockwise.

In this tutorial, we have yet to encounter knitting into the Back leg, so here is a picture to put us all on the same page.

2. Knitting into the back leg, wrapping counter-clockwise

Because the Back Leg, in this case, is also the Left leg (although it is, admittedly, very difficult to see that from the picture), we know that we will be twisting the stitches on this row.

Since we were wrapping counter Clockwise on the knit row, we also know that the stitches of the purl row will be mounted with the Right leg in Front.

Purl Side: Purl into the Front Leg, wrapping Counter Clockwise.

I won’t say that this particular purl row is unexciting, but we have certainly seen it’s like before. We end up with a swatch that is twisted every other row (remember that we twisted the stitches we were knitting into).

3. Swatch 9: Knit into the Back leg, wrapping Counter Clockwise, Purl into the Front Leg, wrapping Count Clockwise

Ooh…new post, new color of yarn for the swatches. Just changing it up a bit.

Swatch 10 (this one is exciting):

You will begin the knit row with the Left Legs in front of the needle.

Knit Side:Knit into the Back Leg, wrapping Counter Clockwise.

Unlike Swatch 9, the knit stitches of Swatch 10 will not be twisted. This is because we are now knitting into the Right leg of the stitch, rather than into the Left Leg.

4. Knitting into the Back (Right) Leg, yielding untwisted stitch

You can see in picture 4 that, even though we are knitting into the Back leg, the legs of the stitch are not crossed at the bottom.

Purl Side: Purl into the Front Leg, wrapping Clockwise.

Although we have seen a picture of this before, I think I will show it again:

5. Purl, wrapping Clockwise

You see, many people really prefer to purl this way, rather than wrapping Counter Clockwise. Looking at the picture, it is pretty easy to see why. There does, in fact, seem to be very little wrapping involved at all. Rather, the needle can just sort of hook the yarn and pull it through. Compare this to wrapping Counter Clockwise…

6. Purl wrap, Counter Clockwise

…where the yarn comes from the front of the needle, over the top, and down behind the needle. The Clockwise wrap does indeed seem to be the simpler option.

In the end, Swatch 10 looks like this:

7. Swatch 10: Knit into the Back Leg, wrapping Counter Clockwise, Purl into the Front Leg, wrapping Clockwise

Interesting, no?   Generally referred to as Combination Knitting (I know, I wasn’t going to get into those kinds of labels until Part 4, but I just couldn’t help it) this is, in fact, an extremely popular technique, especially among people who don’t prefer to wrap their purls Counter Clockwise.  As you can see, the end result is the same as Swatch 1 (and Swatch 7). There are, in fact, many well-known knitters who knit this way, perhaps most notably knitter/designer/author Annie Modesitt. In fact, she travels, speaks, and teaches all over the country, encouraging those knitters who do not necessarily knit in the fashion prescribed by much of the knitting media. If you happen to knit like this, know that you are not alone.

Swatch 11:

The knit stitches of this swatch are mounted with the Right Leg in front.

Knit Side: Knit into the Back Leg, wrapping Counter Clockwise.

Since the Left Leg is in back and we are knitting into it, we know that we are twisting these stitches.

8. (repeat of 2) Knitting into the back leg, wrapping counter-clockwise

Because we are wrapping Counter Clockwise, we know that the stitches of the Purl Side will be mounted with their Right Legs in Front, just as the knit side was.

Purl side: Purl into the Back Leg, wrapping Counter Clockwise.

Since the Purl stitches are mounted as they are (Right Leg in Front) Purling into the Back (Left) Leg will also yield a twisted stitch, giving us a swatch that looks like this:

9. Swatch 11: Knit into the Back Leg, wrapping Counter Clockwise; Purl into the Back Leg, wrapping Counter Clockwise

I think that I have mentioned before that I really like to look of twisted stitches. Whenever I happen to decide that my knitting needs a section of twisted stitches, this is how I choose to achieve it. Both the knits and the purls are wrapped Counter Clockwise, which is how I wrap when I am knitting (see Swatch 1), and the only difference is which leg I knit into. I, personally, find it much easier to adjust which leg of the stitch I work into, rather than which direction I wrap, to achieve any short-term changes in the look of my knitting.

Swatch 12:

The only element that is changing between this swatch and the previous is the direction in which we wrap our purl stitches. This, we know, is going to change the mount of our knit stitches, which will now be sitting with the Left Leg in Front of the needle.

Knit Side: Knit into the Back Leg, wrapping Counter Clockwise.

Since the Right leg is now in back, knitting into it will give us an untwisted stitch, as it did in Swatch 10.

10. (Repeat of 4)Knitting into the Back Leg, untwisted

Our purl stitches will be mounted as they have been since Swatch 9 (the direction of wrapping on our knit stitches has been constant, remember), with the Right Leg in Front.

Purl Side: Purl into the Back Leg, wrapping Clockwise.

While we have had to purl into the Back Leg recently (Swatch 10) and even into the Back/Left leg, purling into the Back/Left leg and wrapping Clockwise (which we haven’t had to do since Swatch 4) is probably my least favorite combination. It represents the opposite of everything I naturally want to do. Oh, the sacrifices I make in the name of education!! (umm…just kidding)

Anyway, here is what we get for out troubles:

11. Swatch 12: Knit into the Back leg, wrapping Counter Clockwise; Purl into the Back Leg, wrapping Clockwise.

But not only that! We also get this:

12. Three columns (12 swatches) down!

As I have mentioned before, there will be a much better, clearer chart at the very end.

Lucky Swatch 13:

We start out this new column just was we have started every column (because we are always purling the same way in the first swatch of a column), with our knit stitches mounted Right Leg in Front.

Knit Side: Knit into the Back Leg, wrapping Clockwise.

This way of knitting (and consequently this entire column) constitutes the exact opposite of the way I naturally knit. (Just wait until we get to the last swatch!).  Let me stress again, that there is absolutely nothing wrong with knitting this way; it just happens to be counter intuitive to me and consequently more likely to spark a bout of whining.

At any rate, we will be twisting these knit stitches, as we have in the first swatch of every column, so that the Right Leg crosses over the Left Leg:

13. Right Leg crosses over Left Leg (or Left leg crosses under Right leg)

Since we are now wrapping Clockwise, our Purl stitches will be mounted withe the Right Leg in Back of the needle.

Purl Side: Purl into the Front Leg, wrapping Counter Clockwise.

While I find the knit stitch in this swatch unwieldy, I find the purl stitch perfectly natural, if somewhat more difficult than it normally is. Because I am now purling into the Left leg, I know that I will be twisting the stitches of this row.

14. Left Leg crossing over Right Leg

You can see in Picture 14 (repeated from…ooh, somewhere, I’m sure) that the Left Leg of the stitch is about to cross over the Right Leg. Note that we just crossed our knit stitches in the opposite direction, meaning that our swatch will look like:

15. Swatch 13: Knit into the Back Leg, wrapping Clockwise; Purl into the Front Leg, wrapping Counter Clockwise

I still think this is very pretty; just as pretty as it was in Swatch 4. Maybe even prettier.

Swatch 14:

We are changing the direction of wrapping on out purl row, and thus the mount of our Knit stitches. These are now sitting with their Right legs in Back of the needle.

Knit Side: Knit into the Back Leg, wrapping Clockwise.

No twisting here; we are knitting into the Right leg, so our stitches are untwisted.

Since we are wrapping Counter-clockwise on both our knit and purl rows, our purl stitches will be mounted just as our knit stitches were, with the Right Leg in Back.

Purl Side: Purl into the Front Leg, wrapping Clockwise.

This is not nearly so easy to do as it was in Swatch 10, because of the stitch mount. The end result, I’m afraid, is also not quite as exciting. As we se so often, the stitches are only twisted every other row.

16. Swatch 14: Knit into the Back Leg, wrapping clockwise; Purl into the Front Leg, wrapping Clockwise.

As I have mentioned before, I see this result fairly often “out in the field.”  I don’t think, however, that I have ever encountered someone who achieved it in quite this way. Of course, there are certain combinations of knitting that just aren’t very prominent where I happen to live.

Swatch 15: (Can you believe it?)

Our knits are mounted with the Right Leg in Front…for the last time!! Bwah Ha Ha!!

Knit Side: Knit into the Back Leg, wrapping Clockwise.

With the right leg in Front, and knitting into the Back Leg, we know that these stitches will be twisted.

The purl stitches, again, are mounted with their Right legs in Back.

Purl Side: Purl into the Back Leg, wrapping Counter Clockwise.

These stitches, as you know, will be untwisted.

Do I seem like I’m hurrying? Maybe I am.  It’s all pretty redundant at this point, as I’m sure you have noticed.

In fact, you just saw something very similar to this:

17. Swatch 15: Knit into the Back Leg, wrapping Clockwise; Purl into the Back Leg, wrapping Counter Clockwise.

…with the stitches twisted in the opposite direction, of course.

Oh my goodness, it’s…

Swatch 16!!!!

Well, here we are. Before we proceed, notice that this elements used to create this swatch are in every opposite of what I naturally do (that is, what we started with in Swatch 1). We are working into the Back leg of both purl and knit stitches and wrapping Clockwise in both cases. I can’t wait to see what it looks like!

As I’m sure you have guessed (or figured out based on past experience), both the knit and purl stitches of this swatch are mounted with the Right leg in Back.

18. Knit and Purl stitches of Swatch 16: Right Legs in Back

Knit Side: Knit into the Back Leg, wrapping Clockwise.

Purl Side: Purl into the Back Leg, wrapping Clockwise.

What do we get?

19. Swatch 16: Knit into the Back Leg, wrapping Clockwise; Purl into the Back Leg, wrapping Clockwise.

And so, we have come full circle. If there are any combinations that I have neglected to address, by all means, please let me know. When I set out to do something, by golly, I want to do a thorough job of it. Redundancy just helps cement it in the brain, right?

Finally, here is the much-nicer-looking-chart that I promised you:

20. Final Chart

There we go. It’s been a trip. It still is, actually; remember we are only halfway through the “Ways of Knitting” series. Coming up is the really reason I undertook this whole line of explanation. In Part 3, we will talk about why it is important to know how you knit in relation to how patterns assume you knit, specifically when it comes to matters of decreasing. All of this was just build-up, really. So, I am off to knit more swatches and take more pictures. I will be back with you shortly, but in the meantime…

Happy Knitting!

21. The Swatch, itself


Interlude April 3, 2010

Filed under: designs — Hannah Cuviello @ 6:50 am

I have been very seriously thinking about beginning the next eight swatches for my “Ways of Knitting” post. Very seriously. Actually, the swatches themselves are all knit; just have to sit down and talk about them. To be entirely frank, though, I have gotten just a wee bit tired of looking at stockinette for the moment, and I can only assume that some of you have as well. Here, then, is just a brief interlude of Other Projects that I have going on. I hope you enjoy.

You’re Smocking Me…

Normally, before I begin the process of sweater design, there is a certain amount of planning that goes on. A notable exception to this rule has been my current little sweater project. In this instance I said to myself one morning,  “Hey, I’m going to knit a sweater with some smocking on the yoke.” I dug out my Blue Barbara Walker, A treasury of Knitting Patterns, (Book 1), dialed up smocking and cast right on at the neckline.

Smocking Stitch

I have been trying to do a lot of designing lately, which has included sketches, swatches, schematics, but has yet to yield a finished garment. I think that the minimalist process approach I have to this sweater is something of a reaction to that; I just want to knit and have a sweater.

With this no-designing design approach, stylistic elements just sort of happen. Some of them turn out to be good. Some of them…not so much. Several inches in, it turned out that I was knitting a square neck. This is good. I like square necks.

Square neckline

A little bit of garter edging there and I’ll be good to go.

The next thing to happen was the addition of a second stitch pattern, just below the bust. Again, the deciding element was “what do I feel like knitting?” It turns out that I felt like knitting mistake rib on the bias, in four sections.

Ribbing on the bias

This, it turns out, was not so good, for several reasons.

While the result of this bias work would have been a nice scalloped edge to the sweater (well, two big scallops, anyway) there would also have been a certain amount of scalloping at the top, which I did not plan for. For several inches, I told myself that this was OK. I was knitting at a fairly loose gauge and it would all just mellow out with the blocking. Be that as it may, I decided it was time to draw a picture of what this sweater might ultimately look like.

sketch of potential sweater

Lesson learned: When you don’t put any planning into a sweater, your sweater may end up having zero sense of cohesiveness. It may end up looking like a costume piece from Star Trek (not that I have anything against Star Trek, but I’m not planning on attending any conventions in the near future, so I don’t need a Star Trek sweater).

Well, back to – or rather finally to- the drawing board. I think that with this sweater, simplicity is going to be the key. I already have a stitch pattern I like, I don’t need any more. Plus, I really had my heart set on pockets, and there was certainly no good place for pockets on that funny bias thing. So, what if I do something more like this:

Simplify, simplify

Just an all-over-smocked sweater with a square neck, 3/4 length sleeves, and garter edging. Very simple shaping at the back and sides will be enough. I guess I might as well go do some math, as long as I am planning this sweater anyway.

I will keep you updated.

April Showers

It is now officially April, and the month has started off just as the Nursery Rhyme prescribes, with heavy showers and grey skies. This, however, has never been enough to keep me from enjoying my morning knitting-on-the-porch-with-coffee time.

Porch Time (coffee not pictured, but ever-present)

Really, I think that the most important thing to note in this picture is that I have a new toy.


Grommet Bag!!

Now, it is important to remember that this is, in fact, a Store Blog, which means that I will be plugging our new products from time to time. It is important to remember, though, that I would only ever plug something that I absolutely love! (Well, I would only ever order a product that I absolutely love!) That said, I love my new grommet bag! It’s super thick vinyl, so none of my little pokies poke through, and yet I can see said pokies at all times, so that I don’t have to go reaching blindly for them.

And now back to your regularly scheduled blog post:

Today’s porch knitting, it turns out, is not knitting at all. As of yesterday, I am officially on a Tunisian crochet kick. What fun! So far, I have mostly been practicing different stitch patterns:

Flower stitch?

This is supposedly a flower stitch. It would look decidedly less sinister if I had made it in a different color.

Tunisian crochet cables

I have also been playing around with crocheted cables. Honestly, crocheting has never been my favorite way of making cables. I have to say, though, that with Tunisian crochet, they are a little more fun.

This will be an ongoing interest, I think. Expect to be notified when we get a new shipment of afghan (Tunisian crochet) hooks in the store!

Wink, wink!

Finally, one of my ongoing (read, never-ending) projects is writing the pattern for my “Wink” mittens. Every Winter, I make a little more progress. It’s one of those things that really shouldn’t take much time, but somehow seems to.

Wink-Right Hand

So… there’s a face there. Lot’s of people don’t see it right away.

See the face?

I kind of like that it’s not immediately obvious. It’s like a little secret (“wink, wink”).

Wink Palm

The pattern itself (which is primarily charts, of course) has been more or less done for about two years (ugh! am I that much of a procrastinator?!). The trick was to find exactly the right yarn. This exactly right yarn turned out to be Imperial Stock Ranch Sock. It is a sport, rather than fingering weight yarn, which turned out to be just what I needed for this pattern. It’s also just the right kind of wooly for a very traditional feel.

All that’s left now is to knit up the Left hand and finalize the pattern. Of course, we are fast approaching the end of mitten season for this year. I think I will release the pattern for our Christmas in July promotion, so the mittens can be made in time for the next bout of cold weather.

In the meantime, I have stockinette stitch swatches to write about. I feel like this little interlude has done wonders for my bank of stockinette stitch related words. Expect to learn about the last eight swatches any day now! (It’s so exciting!)

Until then, Happy Knitting, etc.


Ways of Knitting, Part 2.1- Twist and Shout! March 29, 2010

Filed under: how to,knitting theory — Hannah Cuviello @ 1:53 pm

Well hello again. Guess what! Here is another post in less than a month after the previous post. It’s unheard-of.

In this installment of my “Ways of Knitting” series, I intend to drone on and on about the way we can combine the knitting factors I discussed in Part 1. For a quick review, these factors were:

  1. Whether you enter the stitch through the Front Leg or Back Leg
  2. Whether you wrap your yarn Clockwise or Counter Clockwise

In this post, we will take it up a level and look at how these two factors combine when we are working with rows of Knits and Pearls, i.e. stockinette stitch (back and forth, rather than in the round – it’s more interesting that way).

(Part 4 will deal more with other terminology found in the literature and will refer back to many of the swatches in this post. If you are specifically interested in Easter vs Western vs Combined or Continental vs English, etc, check out part 4).

Here is the chart I will be using to guide my way through the exercise. By the end of this post, I will have filled this chart with pictures of swatches corresponding to the appropriate combinations of knitting techniques.  By the way, I have a life.

For example, to make Swatch 1, I will be knitting into the Front Leg of each stitch on the knit side and wrapping Counter Clockwise. On the purl side, I will also be knitting into the Front Leg and wrapping Counter Clockwise.

But I am getting ahead of myself. I will try not to talk too much at length on each swatch (try), since it is going to get rather repetitive by Swatch 8, however, I will point out some of the interesting things and may comment on the pervasiveness (from my experience) of that particular style. I will not be insulted if you skip all the “blah, blah, blah” and just look at the pretty pictures. Hint: there is a big, filled out chart at the end.

Some of you might also be big dorks. In that case, I highly recommend knitting along with your own swatch.

Swatch 1.

Knit stitches are mounted with Right Legs in Front.

Knit side: Work into the Front Loop and Wrap Counter Clockwise

1. Knit into Front Leg, Wrap Counter Clockwise

This will create a row of purls on the other side that are mounted with the Right Leg in Front (just like the Knit side).

2. Purls mounted with Right Legs in Front

Why is this? Well, when you wrap your working yarn around the needle, whichever direction you choose, the end of the yarn that is attached to the work becomes the Right Leg of the new stitch, then travels over the needle to become the Left Leg (look at your own knitting and try to visualize this). When you wrap Count Clockwise, the yarn travels from below the needle, up across the front of the needle, becoming a Right Leg in Front of the needle. The yarn then travels over the top of the needle and down the back, becoming a Left Leg in Back of the needle. When you turn your work around and look at the purl side, the perspective changes, and what was the Right (Front) leg of the knit stitch becomes the Left (Back) leg of the purl stitch (and vice versa).

Purl Side: Work into the Front Leg and wrap Counter Clockwise (this is square 1, remember).

3. Purl into the Front Leg and wrap Counter Clockwise

Purling a row like this creates a knit row (on the other side) that is mounted in the same way. It all ends up looking like this:

4. Swatch 1

Many of you are probably saying “Hey, that’s what my knitting looks like!” Many of you probably get it in the same way, too. Note: this is regardless of which hand you use to hold and wrap your yarn (that discussion will come in Part 4). Truth be told, most (but definitely not all) of the knitters I know knit this way. I will just stress again: that does not make any other method of knitting any less valid.

OK, moving on. Let’s change one factor and see how it affects the outcome.

Swatch 2.

The knit stitches for this swatch are mounted with the Right Leg in Back and the Left Leg in Front (we will see why later).

5. Knits mounted with Right Leg in Back and Left Leg in Front

Knit side: Work into the Front Leg and Wrap Counter Clockwise (as in Swatch 1)

If you are knitting along, you will notice that this is much harder to do (at lease I find it so) than it was in Swatch 1. The reason is that now we are knitting into the Left Leg, rather than the Right Leg. You may remember from Part 1 of the series that the Left Leg is further back on the needle than the Right Leg. Knitting into the left leg crosses that leg over the Right leg, twisting the stitch.

6. Left Leg crosses over Right Leg

You will end up with purls (on the other side) mounted as they were in Swatch 1. You see, the direction of wrap affects the mount of the stitches on the next row.

Purl side: Purl into the Front Leg and wrap Clockwise.

7. Purl in Front and Wrap Clockwise

Look closely. Remember from the Swatch 1 discussion that the end of the yarn attached to the knitting becomes the Right leg of the new stitch. In Picture 6, the yarn passes behind the needle first, so the Right Leg (of the corresponding Knit stitch on the next row) will be in Back. This is how we get the different and interesting stitch mount on the Knit Row (and why it is harder to knit those stitches through the Front Loop).

Many people actually find this method of purling easier (See Swatch 10 for a very common knitting method that uses this way of working purls).

I most often see this particular combination among newer or self-taught knitters who default to this method of purling without realising the difference. It generally comes to my attention when someone comes to me and asks “Why are my knit stitches so tight?!” Well, there is your answer.

The knitting looks like this:

8. Swatch 2: Knit into Front Leg, wrapping Counter Clockwise, Purl into Front Leg, wrapping Clockwise

Notice that every other row in this swatch is twisted, that is, the legs of the stitch cross each other. This comes from knitting into the Left (Front) legs. This way of knitting also sometimes pops up (without the knitter realizing it) when a person has been knitting in the round for a long time. If the knitter has been making many stockinette stitch bags or hats in the round, there may have been little or no occasion to purl. Any ribbing done in the round would not necessarily present a problem; the knits and purls stack on top of each other, and neither would affect the mount of the other. The purls would be twisted, but they would not be much harder to execute and they would only look different on the Wrong Side.

I worked with a lady once who did not discover that she was purling this way until half-way through a sweater, when she split for the armholes and started knitting back and forth. All of a sudden, ever other row was twisted. I was very excited. Incidentally, the sweater turned out stunning (she ended up altering her purling method for the rest of the project).

Swatch 3:

The knit stitches for this swatch will be mounted as they were for Swatch 1, with the Right Leg in front of the needle.

Knit Side: Work into the Front Leg and Wrap Counter Clockwise (as in Swatches 1 and 2. I know it’s getting tedious, but there is just one more swatch with this knitting method to go.)

The Purl stitches in this swatch are mounted as they have been in all the previous swatches, with the Right Leg in front.

Purl Side: Knit into the Back Leg and wrap Counter Clockwise.

Purling into the back leg is a little tricky, so here is a picture to with it:

9. Purl into the Back Leg of the stitch

I always struggle with how to describe this to people. Anything directional seems too subjective, and what makes sense to me will often not make sense to another person. I would describe the movement of the needle in this picture as starting behind the back leg of the stitch and coming out in front of the Front leg. I invite you to describe it in whatever way makes sense to you. However you describe it, it’s a little tricky to do.

Remember that the purl stitches in this swatch are mounted with the Left leg in back, so you are purling into the Left Leg. We have determined before that whenever you work into the Left leg, the stitches will be…

10. Swatch 3, Knit into Front leg, wrapping Counter Clockwise; Purl into Back leg, wrapping Counter Clockwise.

…twisted on every other row (the knit rows are not twisted).  Compare this with Picture 8 (Swatch 2). In Swatch 2, the stitches are twisted with the Left leg crossing over the Right leg; in this swatch, the Right Leg crosses over the Left leg. Actually, if you think about how this particular twisted stitch is formed, it might be better described as the Left leg crossing under the Right leg. I have never met anyone who actually knits like this. I have never even seen it happen on accident.

Swatch 4.

The knit stitches will be mounted with the Left leg in front. Since out knitting style has not changed yet and we are knitting into the Front (Left) leg, we know what the Knit rows are going to look like.

Knit Side: Work into the Front Leg and Wrap Counter Clockwise (this is the last swatch with this knitting style, so enjoy it.)

The purl stitches are still mounted with the Right legs in Front, as they have been all along. You can probably guess the generalizations that I will be drawing at the end of this section…

Purl Side: Purl into the Back Leg and wrap Clockwise.

I consider this the most unpleasant combination of knitting techniques. On both the knit and purl sides, you are working into the Left Leg of the stitch, twisting it. Let’s look at the swatch.

11. Knit into the Front leg, wrapping Counter Clockwise, Purl into the Back leg, wrapping Clockwise.

As you can see, the stitches are twisted on every row, but in alternate directions. It’s actually kind of pretty in person, although I would never consider it worth the trouble.

Well, column 1 (cells 1-4) of the chart is finished. It’s so exciting!

12. Column 1 complete

Hmmm… the picture in the final chart won’t be so smushed. What have we learned so far?

The mount of the purl stitches has remained the same through all four swatches, as has the method we used on the knit rows. The mount of the knit stitches, however, changed between swatches 1 and 2, as well as between swatches 3 and 4.

This is because the direction of wrapping determines the mount of the next row.

Knitting into the Left leg, however, affects the look of the row that has just been knit.

Column 2

Swatch 5:

Knit stitches are mounted with the Right leg in front

Knit Side: We are finally shaking the knits up a bit. Knit into the Front (right) leg as before, but wrap Clockwise this time. I know it’s been awhile since we wrapped any other way while knitting, so here is a picture:

Based on what we have discussed so far, you should be able to predict the difference this will make in your knitting.

Did you guess that your purl stitches will be mounted differently? You deserve a cookie! (hmmm…I think I deserve a cookie too…).

13. Knit into the Front loop, wrapping Clockwise

Your purl stitches will now be mounted with the Left Leg in front of the needle.

Purl Side: Purl into the Front Leg, wrapping Counter Clockwise (as in Swatch 1).

Does it feel a little funny? You are now purling into the Left leg in front of the needle (which we have not done in any of the previous swatches, since the Left leg has always been in back of the needle).

(There is no picture here, because I couldn’t get this picture to upload. But you’re all knitting along, right? So you can just look at your own knitting.)

As you purl into the Left leg, notice how it crosses over the Right (back) leg at the base.

Compare this to Swatch 3 (Picture 9) where the Left leg crosses under the Right leg. Both stitches are twisted, but they twist in opposite directions. You can also compare end products, Picture 14 compared to Picture 10.

14. Swatch 5; Knit into the Front Leg, wrapping Clockwise, purl into the Front leg, wrapping Counter Clockwise. Twisted only on the Purl rows.

Swatch 6:

Knit stitches are mounted with the Left Leg in Front of the needle.

Knit Side: Knit into the Front (right) leg as before, wrapping Clockwise (for this and two more swatches).

This yields a different result than it did in Swatch 5, since we start out with differently mounted Knits. Knitting into the Front Leg here causes the Left leg to cross over the right leg, as it did in Swatch 2.

Purl Side: Purl into the Front Leg, wrapping Clockwise.

These purl stitches feel and look like the ones we just did (wrapping a different way, of course). As in Swatch 5, the Left leg of the Purl stitches cross over the Right leg, leading to…

15. Swatch 6, Knit into the Front Leg, wrapping Clockwise; Purl into the Front Leg, wrapping Clockwise

…a twist on every row, in the same direction. I think this fabric is lovely. One of my favorite aspects of this knitting is that, when stretched, the stitches pull tighter, rather than opening up, as untwisted stitches do.

16. Swatch 6, stretched

Many patterns call for a hem facing to be knit in twisted stitch (0r twisted rib) to help the garment hold its shape. It is important to note, though, that these stitches lie on a bias, though it is a little difficult to see in this picture. This is especially important if you are knitting in the round, since the beginning of your round at the bottom of your piece will not necessarily line up with the beginning of your round many rows later. (I have seen socks turn out very interesting because of this phenomenon.)

Swatch 7:

We will be wrapping counter clockwise on the purl side, which means that our knit stitches will sit with the Right Leg in Front.

Knit side: Knit into the Front Leg, wrapping clockwise.

So far, our knitting is not twisted, and the purls are sitting with the Right Leg in back and the Left Leg in front.

Purl Side: Purl into the Back Leg, wrapping Counter Clockwise.

We have purled into the Back Legs previously, in swatches 3 and 4, however you should notice that this time it is considerably easier.

17. Purl into Back (Right) leg

This is because, as you can see in the picture, we are purling into the Right leg, which is in Back, instead of into the Left leg, as we were in swatches 3 and 4.

Untwisted purls combined with the untwisted knits we just made give us…

18. Swatch 7; Knit into the Front Leg, wrapping Clockwise; Purl into the Back Leg, wrapping Counter Clockwise.

…totally untwisted knitting, like we had in Swatch 1. I have only met one person so far who knit like this, although it doesn’t seem at all an unnatural way to knit. It’s actually the opposite of Combination knitting, which we will see in Swatch 10 and discuss in Part 4.

Swatch 8:

We are now at the last swatch of column 2, our knits are mounted with the Right Leg in Back and I fear that our official half-way there swatch will be a little anti-climactic.

Knit Side: Knit into the Front Leg, wrapping clockwise. (For the last time…)

These stitches will be twisted, as they were in Swatch 6.

Purl side: Purl into the Back loop, wrapping Clockwise.

These stitches will be untwisted, as they were in the previous swatch.

19. Swatch 8: Knit into the Front Leg, wrapping Clockwise; Purl into the back Leg, wrapping clockwise.

As I said, a little anti-climactic. I have to confess, I always find the twisted-every-other row swatches a little less exciting than the totally twisted or totally untwisted swatches.

To make up for that, though, here is another chart!

20. Columns 1 and 2 complete. Half-way there!

We are certainly very much half-way there. At this point, though, I have been sitting at my computer for far too long a time and so, I imagine, have you. I am going to get up, have some supper and knit for a while. I will return “shortly” (for me, that is within a week) with Part 2.2 and the last 8 ways of knitting. I will also be changing yarn colors, because I am so very tired of blue stitches!

Take care, everyone, and happy knitting!