Sunday, March 02, 2014

Reader question: for Barbara W.

A reader left a comment on one of my blog posts. It's possible that I'm missing out on a clever feature in Blogger, but I can't honestly figure out how to reply by email. Although my correspondent created an account for commenting, I can't figure out how to email her back. (If I am missing something, I'd love a pointer, please!)

So, a reply in a blog post instead.
how do you garter stitch in eastern knitting without getting tight twisted fabric if you knit thru back loop every row?
from barbara w

Back in 2011, I wrote about blog post about combination knitting, a method that personal-hero-of-mine Annie Modesitt espouses.

Combination knitting is blindingly fast and easy and creates a very even fabric, in stockinette stitch worked flat. The downside to this method is that it's not really well-suited for working in the round, or garter stitch. My reader is entirely correct, if you work garter stitch this way, you get a twisted fabric. For garter stitch, I work in the more "conventional" method, knitting into the front loops of the stitches.

UPDATE: A smart Combination knitter left a smart comment on the post - go read it! She's entirely correct in what she says. It's actually an interesting thing. Ultimately, you can do anything you want in anyway that you want. That's one of the reasons that I love knitting so much.

The answer to the question is both "yes" and "no" at the same time. If you work a straight, unmodified Combination knit - that is, always knitting into the back leg of the stitch, then your fabric is going to end up twisted, as Barbara states. If you work the stitches so that you're knitting into the right loop, regardless of where they are mounted, then the fabric ends up entirely the way it should be.

How that plays out in reality is that to make that work for garter stitch, you either end up working into the front legs of the stitches, or changing how you wrap.

(Too much detail? Try it!)

1 comment:

Zilliah Bailey said...

Combination knitter here! Combination knitting works just fine for garter stitch and in the round, thank you very much :)

Thinking about knitting into the "front loop" or "back loop" is not the most helpful way to look at it. I find that way of think often makes people confused, since which loop you knit into depends on what you did the row before. A better way to think of it is that you always knit into the RIGHT LEG of the stitch. That leg may be at the front or the back of the needle, but as long as you can recognize it as the right leg of the stitch, you'll be fine.

If you're ever stuck and can't figure out which is the right leg (it can get confusing around complicated cables, for example), pull the stitch off the needle with your fingers and flatten it out. Figure out which strand is the right leg, pop it back on your needle, and knit/purl into the right leg.