Friday, November 6, 2015

Am I Twisting My Stitches?

It will be a few more days before all the ginkgo leaves drop.  I took this photo this morning in the rain which is why the colors are so muted.  I'll try and get one more photo when they all drop.

I've been receiving more lessons the past two weeks.  Keep up the good work!

I have been inspired to do this topic again by a question on Ravelry.  This comes up every so often with my Basics students and occasionally in Level 1 of the Masters Program.  I've run across many self taught knitters who twist their stitches and aren't aware of it.  As I've said before, most knitters look at their stitches on their needle and not at the work coming off their needle.  Depending on the project, twisted stitches can be subtle and if you don't know what a knit stitch is supposed to look like you may knit merrily along for years twisting all stitches or stitches every other row.  What is the problem with twisted stitches anyway?  Well, they are tighter and smaller and have a dramatic effect on gauge.  Knitters who do this will have difficulty reproducing a garment in a pattern.

When I get a lesson with twisted stitches the first thing I have to do is figure out where and how they are twisting the stitches.  There are several different ways this happens.  First, you need to know what untwisted stitches look like.  Here is a photo of stockinette stitch where I have stretched it. Notice that the stitches are open at the bottom.  They resemble "V"s.

The "traditional" way to knit is to wrap the yarn UNDER the needle for knit stitches and OVER
the needle for purl stitches and then to work those stitches through the front on the next row.  If a knitter reverses the way the yarn is wrapped AND works the stitch through the front, the stitches will be twisted.  If your knitting looks like the photograph below, you are twisting the stitches on either the knit or purl rows.  Note that not all of the rows are twisted.  I will get how you can tell whether it is on knit or purl rows a bit later.

If you are twisting stitches on both knit and purl rows, your work will look like the photograph below.  Notice that the column of stitches look braided and that there is a lot of space between the columns.  This photo demonstrates why you don't want to do this.  The resulting fabric will have very little stretch.  By the way, it is not that easy to knit this way.  Working those twisted stitches through the front requires some effort!

The fix for this is quite easy.  Just wrap the yarn the correct way OR work the stitches on the next row through the back.  A lot of knitters do this to solve tension problems anyway.

If you are twisting stitches every other row, work a small garter stitch swatch.  If it looks like this one, you are twisting purl rows.  None of these stitches are twisted.

If it looks like the photo below, you are twisting on the knit rows.

When I have students who twist stitches I find that it is an easy fix for them.  Often they are very embarrassed that they haven't noticed the issue before.  I have found that very few shop owners are willing to bring this up with the knitter even if they notice that the stitches are twisted.

Here is the video:  Twisted Stitches

I was teaching a gauge class at a conference a few years ago and I had a student who came in and was really mad.  The teacher in the morning class had told her she was knitting "wrong".  (I try not to use this term.)  She was twisting stitches on every row and she liked the way the fabric looked.  I just let her know that it was her decision but that she would have problems getting recommended gauge. I also told her that doing the Masters Program would not be a good idea.  Everybody is different...

Salon will be on Sunday from 11:00 to 1:00 pm.  I have to drive to the Louisville airport.

It was a close call but I got everything finished in time to send them up to Zanesville for styling.

Here are photos of the crop top.  It buttons in the back.

The little girl's dress took no time at all.  The Love Bird design is from Mary Beth Jacobs.  She designed this for a yoked sweater in the issue.  By the way, this dress, the skirt and crop top, the pleated linen shirt and the vest will all be in the Spring 2016 issue of Cast On.  The photo shoot is next week.

I finally have time to start Christmas presents and a few birthday presents.  Here is the first one.

1 comment:

  1. What perfect timing for this blog post! I had a student in a sock class just this past month that has been knitting for years and never knew she was twisting her purls. E-mailing someone about twisted stitches was on my to-do list today, and your post saved me a hunt for a nice explanation.