Linkety-link, part 20

It’s been a while since I did a link round-up!

Knitted Borders and Corners – some different ways of approaching corners when working a knitted-on border.

Learning, Practicing, Perfecting – Sara Lamb writes here about the learning process in respect to weaving and leatherwork, but the process itself is universal to handcraft. Well worth reading.

Non-roll Stocking Stitch Edge? – well, not exactly. This post tells how to use twined knitting to make what looks like a stockinette hem that won’t curl.

Bunny ears decreases– I’ve talked a little about the 3-to-2 decrease I like to use, that some people call Bunny Ears Back. It produces a symmetrical single decrease that doesn’t appear to lean to either side. They are now accounted for in Stitch Maps, which makes me happy. The linked blog post also shows a couple of stitch patterns making use of them – I really like Little Hearts a lot and am planning on making use of it. A more complex stitch pattern of mine that uses them is Beloved – and I can see that I’ll need to go edit the stitch map!

Taming long floats via the STUART method for color-knitting – an intriguing trick from TECHknitter (so many of her tricks are intriguing) for dealing with long floats. This looks like it might be the key for knitting more of my code grids as colorwork even with long floats. Hm!

Stitch markers, double decreases, and reading your knitting

reading knitting to see where to place a line of double decreases

I’ve been writing a lot about how to keep track of where to place a line of double increases. The flip side of the problem is keeping track of double decreases, which is to say,  three stitches worked together together to make one stitch.

Without a certain amount of care, the location for a given stitch marker will be eaten up by the decreases. Alternately, a locking stitch marker can be placed in the base of a decrease. Another way to cope is to read your knitting and see where to place the next decrease. This blog post will discuss all three methods.

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Some knitting experiments are only successful because I learn from them.

A while ago I was trying to improvise knitted netting, and was only half successful. (I’m still quite happy about even that level of success.) I’d been thinking for a while of trying out the decreases I’d improvised there for use in regular knitting, and this week’s post is about the resulting swatch.

Learning from experimentsI am reluctant to call this effort a failure even though I won’t be using these decreases for plain knitting: too many people think failure is bad and a waste of time. But I don’t think this experiment was a waste of my time: I’ve learned that the decreases won’t work for this purpose, I know why, and now I won’t waste any more time wondering about it. I learn from failure. Mistakes are a good thing, especially when it’s just a swatch experiment.

The nifty thing about these decreases is that they sit horizontally because a stitch or stitches from the previous row is passed over a single stitch before that stitch is worked. This is what makes the decreases sit flat in a way that works quite well for the netting.

The other thing that’s good about them for  netting is that some of the yarn in the stitch that is passed over slides into the stitch that’s worked. This is how the open spaces end up so square –  the stitches between spaces get taller. The problem is that it makes the stitch worked at the decrease point in regular knitting loose and floppy – not even as tidy as a slipped stitch.

I hope to inspire people to be more willing to swatch, experiment, and be willing to make mistakes. Have fun!

An even better symmetrical lace chevron

An even better symmetrical knitted lace chevron.

A bit over a year ago, I posted a way of making a lace chevron with completely symmetrical decreases, followed shortly thereafter by an improvement based on a reader suggestion.

Apparently I was still unsatisfied, however, because last week a thought popped into my brain: yes, use the three-to-two single decrease to compensate for the single yarn over at the bottom of the chevron, but not on the same row as the yarn over.

And it was good. The bunny ear decrease I talk about in my older post is what I now prefer to call a 3-to-2 decrease (because it’s descriptive of the action). Here’s the instructions for how to do it.

Yes, this makes the stitch count vary.

If doing the more densely packed chevrons, end after a row that has a 3-to-2 decrease if you want to end with the same number of stitches that you started with.

And here’s the chart and written instructions for my swatch above. better symmetrical lace chevron Row 1 (RS): *k5, yo, k5.* (11 sts)
Row 2 and all even rows: purl.
Row 3: *k3, k2tog, yo, k1, yo, ssk, k3.*
Row 5: *k2, k2tog, yo, 3-to-2 decrease, yo, ssk, k2.* (10 sts)
Row 7: *k1, k2tog, yo, k4, yo, ssk, k1.*
Row 9: *k2tog, yo, k6, yo, ssk.*
Row 11: *k5, yo, k5.* (11 sts)
Row 13: *k3, k2tog, yo, k1, yo, ssk, k3.*
Row 15: *k2, k2tog, yo, 3-to-2 decrease, yo, ssk, k2.* (10 sts)
Row 17: *k1, k2tog, (yo, k2) x 2, yo, ssk, k1.* (11 sts)
Row 19: *(K2tog, yo, k1) x 2, yo, ssk, k1, yo, ssk.*
Row 21: *k2, k2tog, yo, 3-to-2 decrease, yo, ssk, k2.* (10 sts)
Row 23: *k1, k2tog, (yo, k2) x 2, yo, ssk, k1.* (11 sts)
Row 25: *(k2tog, yo, k1) x 2, yo, ssk, k1, yo, ssk.*
Row 27: *k2, k2tog, yo, 3-to-2 decrease, yo, ssk, k2.* (10 sts)
Row 29: *k1, k2tog, (yo, k2) x 2, yo, ssk, k1.* (11 sts)
Row 31: *(K2tog, yo, k1) x 2, yo, ssk, k1, yo, ssk.*

Use this chevron variation wherever you’d like.

This sunny-colored yarn brought to you by a sweater my great-grandmother knit for my mother. It wore out in spots, and  I unraveled it for the yarn at a time when I needed yarn and had no money for it. It’s been cloudy and cold; I needed something bright. Also I’m a bit sentimental about it.

Easier decreases for tight knitters

If you knit loosely, you only need to read this post if you might help someone out who knits tightly or if you want a hint for making knitting through the back loop easier. If you’re a tight knitter like me, you might have worked this out already. In any case, it seemed worth mentioning.

Tight stitches are usually fine to knit individually, but as soon as a “knit 2 together”, or worse, a “knit 3 together” comes along, it can be hard to get the needle to go in all the way. Decreases which involve slipping and passing slipped stitches over are not so hard because the yarn gets loosened up, but k2tog can be a struggle.

Well, somewhere along the line, I picked up a trick that helps me. (I’ve also loosened up a little over time, but still need this trick occasionally.)

Easier decreases for tight knittersStart by inserting the active needle purlwise into the first stitch on the inactive needle.

Leaving it inserted in the stitch, slide the needle up over the top of the inactive needle and around to the back as if to knit through the back loop. (Stopping here is a trick that makes knitting through the back loop easier.)

Easier decreases for tight knittersThe first stitch on the needle is now slightly looser because some of the slack from the previously-worked yarn has been pulled up.

Easier decreases for tight knitters

Flick the active needle forward and under the inactive needle as if to purl two together, and then stop moving it. (Unless knitting three together, in which case slide it around the needle one more time, ending as if to purl three together.)

Easier decreases for tight knitters

Press index finger against the back of the stitches to be knit together—this will make the stitches stay loose for the rest of the decrease.

Remove the active needle from the stitches, bring it around to the front, and knit 2 (or 3) together.

If knitting 4 together (it comes up occasionally), there’s a slightly more tedious method that is nonetheless better than struggling with trying to force the needle through:

Knit the first stitch, slip it back to the inactive needle, pass each of the next 3 unworked stitches over it, and then slip it to the active needle again.

Eno Twist – an unusual decrease

eno twist

Here, at last, is the unusual double decrease I unvented for a shawl that I’m in the midst of writing up. The shawl is called Eno River, and so I called this the Eno Twist, because the abbreviation got a little unwieldy otherwise: SSTSKPSSOYO2K3tog? Yeah, I don’t think so.

This is not a usual sort of double decrease. A normal double decrease takes three stitches and turns them into one. This one takes six stitches and turns them into four. Only two stitches are decreased, though perhaps I shouldn’t really call it a double decrease.

You won’t see this decrease in its original habitat until the Eno River shawl pattern is available, but it looks pretty nifty in a column as shown above, so maybe you’ll want to play around with it and use it for your own devices. Raglan decreases, maybe? Go for it!

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for combination knitters: Double decreases

Or any other knitters whose stitches often sit like this on the needle:

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All the stitches here assume three stitches sitting on your needle like this:

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I’m going to put them in the same order as my previous post, but with different names. Be wary! If you’re looking at a pattern you got from someone else, you need to pay attention to the definitions used. Charts will be easiest to figure out, since you’ll see which way things are supposed to lean.

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Double decreases, common and less so.

A double decrease is a technique used in knitting to knit three stitches together to make one; two stitches are decreased. There are six possible permutations of the three stitches involved; I’m only going to describe five, as the sixth is indistinguishable from its mirrored stitch.

If your stitches usually sit like this on the needle, wait for next week to avoid unnecessary frustration!
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All the stitches shown here assume a starting point of three stitches like this:

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