Experiment conclusion: Russian grafting for joining motifs

Last week I shared the beginning of my experiment in joining motifs with Russian grafting. My conclusion? That after steam blocking, it looks a hundred times better than I was afraid it would, but that I’m still not entirely certain that I would actually use it for a finished object, at least as I’ve done it here.

Regardless, I consider the experiment a success, because now I know what things look like. I have learned something, and that’s to be desired.

More details below.

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Using Russian grafting to join knitted squares

Knitted squares attached to each other with Russian grafting.

Christine Guest recently made an interesting post about joining knitted motifs, and it reminded me that I’ve been meaning to try using Russian grafting to join motifs together.

This is just a preliminary experiment; I’m not sure yet that what I’m doing would work particularly well. Someone else might have already worked out a better way to do it – if you know of such, please link in comments!

See this post for my final conclusion!

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The naming of knitting techniques is a difficult matter

I have a long-term project in the works that will involve a range of stitch maneuvers beyond decreases and increases. As a result, I’ve been thinking a lot about names for categories of stitches. This is not helped by the different names given to these categories by different knitting authorities. It’s even worse when you realize that different people use the same word for different maneuvers!

You might think you know what is meant in knitting by a twist, a cross stitch, a cluster, a wrap, or a knot, but I have seen each of these words used to refer to multiple techniques. It’s enough to make me mutter about the utility of controlled vocabulary. But never mind, I can’t make other people be consistent. I can only settle on a list of what I want to call these categories of methods for my project.

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Beads and pairs of stitches

I was having a conversation with a knitter in my Ravelry group about the difficulty of figuring out where to place beads symmetrically when all the stitches come in pairs. That is, there’s a lot of pairs of knit stitches, or a lot of double yarnovers. That conversation led to some experimentation on my part based on her ideas, my thoughts about them, and on my knitting reference books.

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Étude no. 22: Tunnel Eyelet

Three Tunnel eyelet variations

Periodically I like to try out techniques I haven’t used before and experiment with them. When I write about this, I call the posts my études, because they’re somewhat like the exercises musicians do for practicing.

I was browsing through my copy of Barbara Walker’s Second Treasury when my eye lit upon the Tunnel Eyelet stitch. I hadn’t really noticed it before, and when I read the instructions I was a little confused about how it worked. With many knitting instructions, I understand them better if I try them, so I did just that.

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1/1 Cable Crosses

I use 1/1 cable crosses fairly frequently in my lace design. Sometimes they help me continue a decrease line where there isn't a corresponding increase. Other times they make a nice closure at the top or bottom of a motif. In any case, here's a brief guide about how I work them without a cable needle. I'm pretty sure the 1/1 right cross method is pretty standard (I think I learned it from Barbara Walker's books); I don't know about the 1/1 left cross.

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Tinking a centered double decrease

If you haven’t heard the term, tinking is the process of undoing knitting, stitch by stitch (tink is knit spelled backwards). While I like the effect of various double decreases, I have to admit that they can be kind of a pain to tink, because of the way that the stitches are out of order. I recently noticed a trick for tinking my CDDs, and so I thought I’d share it just in case it’s useful.

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Swatch blocking experiment

You might have noticed that I knit a lot of swatches. I’ve been getting fussier about how carefully I block them, and have been getting more consistent about using a short blocking wire (or skinny metal knitting needle) along each edge. Recently I’ve been pondering my swatch selvedges, and thinking about how to make it easier to thread the blocking wire through them. I remembered coming across a selvedge that uses yarnovers at the very edge, and decided to try that, at least for swatches.

It does make for easier blocking; I’m not yet convinced I like the look of it, though that doesn’t matter so much for swatches. I might try the yarnovers on every other or every third row instead.
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