Friday, April 4, 2014

Twisted Stitches

I am very excited.  I spent the week working on the Yarn Tasting event which will be Saturday night of the TKGA conference.  It will be hosted by StevenBe and Stephen West.  I have been contacting yarn companies to provide yarn for the tasting and the response has been fantastic.  So far Miss Babs, Redfish, Blue Moon Fibers, Shibui, and Anzula have committed to provide yarn and I am just getting started.  There will be three stations for the yarn to be for worsted, one for DK, and one for sock/lace.  There will be enough yarn to knit a small swatch--approximately 20 sts by 26 rows but the best part will be the goody bags.  There will be wine and cheese and conversation.

I finished up the revisions for the Basics class and quite a few students (and former students) have asked for the materials.  I will be changing how I process the lessons.  Instead of including the next lesson with the swatches, I will email it, along with my letter, as soon as I review the lesson.  This is what I have been doing for my non-US students for quite some time now.  If you want the revised lessons, send me an email with your full name and I will get it to you.

As I revised the lessons, I realized I have never discussed twisted stitches.  Every once in a while I get a lesson where all of the swatches have twisted stitches.  Generally this happens to self-taught knitters.  What amazes me is that many times these knitters show their work to others, generally yarn store owners, and no one comments on it.  Twisted stitches should be avoided unless you are doing it on purpose, say for Bavarian Twisted Stitches patterns.  The main reason is that twisted stitches have a very different gauge and they can make it difficult when using patterns.  There are several ways stitches can become twisted.

The most common way is to wrap the yarn the opposite way (under the needle for purl stitches and over the needle for knit stitches) and then to work those stitches on the next row through the front.  This twists the stitch towards the right.  (If you work those stitches through the back, they resulting stitch will not be twisted.  Combination knitters do this.)  The next way to twist a stitch is to work the stitches through the back.  This is easier for knit stitches.  You really have to work at this to do it for purl stitches.  This twists the stitch towards the left.  The photo above shows the difference.

I have reviewed swatches where every other row is twisted.  In the Basics class, the first swatch is a garter stitch swatch.  If those stitches are twisted I know the problem is with the knit rows.  If those stitches aren't twisted, it is the purl rows.  My experience has been that this is an easy problem to fix.  Once the knitter realizes their mistake, they solve it.  Twisted Stitches

Once when I was teaching at a conference one of my students was very defensive about their twisted stitches and they preferred the look of twisted stitches.  That is fine as long as the knitter is aware of the difference this can make to gauge.  The only other issue is that when the fabric is stretch, there is much more space between the columns of stitches which can be a problem as well.  The photograph shows the swatch where it has been stretched.

There will not be salon this week as the opera is Saturday (La Boheme) and I have friends in town from Utah.  They have picked a crazy time to visit as UK is in the Final Four.  I suspect that on Sunday I will be going on a Bourbon Tour.  There will be salon the next weekend.

I finished up the argyle vest samples for the Fall issue.  They are sized to fit a 9 month old baby and a 5 year old. I think they are sweet.

I finished the back of the Wasp Wing tunic.  It went very fast.  The front and back are the same.  There will be ballerina length sleeves.  Obviously it is to be worn over something.

 I'm hoping to finish the front this week.  I still have two more things to do.  We are adding a new feature to the magazine called Confident Beginner.  The project will be a slouch hat & scarf.  There will be lots of videos associated with it.  Since the magazine is going digital soon, there will be lots of video links on how to do things for every pattern I write.

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