Thursday, November 08, 2007

Combination Knitting Quagmires

Do you knit strangely? Do you change the way you knit depending on the type of project that is in front of you? If you answered yes, then we may have been separated at birth.

I'm a combo knitter. I fell into this quite accidentally. I thought that I was teaching myself Continental style knitting. Not so. I screwed that up royally. I had finished two sweaters before I realized that I had twisted all the stitches. So, I did some research and found that I combo knit. I'm a hybrid knitter. Hmmm, could I call myself an eco knitter? a green knitter? anyway, back to my point.

I find that thanks to the hybridness that is combo knitting, that I can't knit exactly the way that I'm supposed to. Here's some examples:

- when I knit stockinette in the round, everything's just peachy.
- when I stockinette flat, things start going wrong.

Why? You can put the blame on Purl. Let's see if I can possibly explain this. I don't have any visuals, so bear with me.

I take my right needle and insert it into the first loop on the left needle as if to purl. I then take the yarn in my left hand and wrap it around the right needle back towards me in a clock-wise fashion using my thumb (the thumb reference is really irrelevant, just thought I'd share.) Basically it's wrapped the short way around.

So say I've done an entire row of purls and then turn the work. Now what's wrong with this you ask? Well, the loops are set up wrong for doing a proper knit stitch. The correct way, the side of the loop closest to your body should be just ahead of the back loop so that your loop is slightly angled to the right. right? still with me? So, on my needles, it's backwards. The back side of the loop is just slightly ahead due to the way that my purls were done.

Now, if I were to go ahead and do a knit stitch in the front of the loop, it ends up being twisted. But if I knit from the back of the loop, it knits up just fine. By the way, this really messes up patterns where the directions say "knit through back loop" because the designer wants you to twist that stitch. I then have to knit through the front. Can get a little confusing to say the least.

Here's where my quagmire comes in. I refuse to change the direction of the purl just to make the knits happy since I can purl much, much faster this way. But, I want to knit the correct way. I like sliding that needle in through the front leg of the loop. It's fun.

On my current project calls for a Moss stitch. Oh boy. K1, P1 across the first row, P1, K1 across the next. This really messes me up. If I knit the way I always do, I'll have "loop legs" going in every direction. But I'm stubborn, I found away around the dilemma. This is where learning to "read" my knitting has completely paid off. All I've done is to purl through the back loop while still wrapping the yarn towards me in a clock-wise fashion. It's worked beautifully. My loops are all turned the correct way for the knit stitch and I'm now a happy camper.

Make any sense at all? Leave a comment, I'd love to hear from other knitters about this kind of thing. How do you change your knitting depending on what project you're working on?


  1. I don't change my knitting all that much from project to project. I'm way to lazy of a knitter for that.

    Thanks for explaining combo knitting. I always wondered what that meant...

  2. GRRrr..

    combo knitting isn't wrong.. its just not the commonest style knitting in ENGLISH SPEAKING countries (and western european countries.)

    WORLD WIDE is VERY COMMON.. but world wide, most knitter don't use written pattern to learn to knit or to knit things! world wide, knitter s knit with out being literate.

    there are rants against history complaints that is all about DEAD WHITE MEN.. well i rant when PROPER KNITTING is defined as THE WAY A BUNCH (but not all!) EUROPEANS KNIT.

    Sure germans and the French knit in the same style as all the british isles, but Greeks, and Slav's, and Latvians, and Lithuanians, and russians and whole bunch of other eastern europeans knit in the combo style.. and so do some spanards, and the portuguese and lots of people who live in places where spanish or portugues is spoken!

    You knit, in an international style, (and live in western european centric world!) and you are surround by those, who are so used to being in charge, they think they can define PROPER KNITTING.

    When, in reality, Knitting is measured not by process, (how you hold needle, or what kind of needles or other process details.) but by the finished product..

    you know how to create finished products that are second to none!

    More over, your process has taught you things.. that you are capable, and that you can accomplish things, even when hampered by being surround by those with tunnel vision, who want to make up rules, and dictate every little thing.. and think they have the power to do this.

    Yes, the pen is mighty sceptor than the sword, but all the words in the world are going to change how you knit!

    You have the power to govern yourself, and your knitting, you have POWER TO.. when others want POWER OVER. and with each stitch you knit, you are taking a stand to be your self, to live by your own rules..

    YOU KNIT, and by knitting you create.
    YOU KNIT, and each stitch is small testiment to your self will, and empowerment..

    (damn that's good, I'm going to publish this little essay on my own blog!)

    i hope you're not sorry about asking now!

  3. *sigh* I love OfTroy.....

    This article is fabulous. I don't think I've ever deen combo-knitting defined so nicely. I have to echo OfTroy that the finished product is what counts. I have never been able to knit from a pattern. I only use them as starting boards, but I usually end up with something close, and it's always something I love.

  4. Thanks for the comments! I love oftroy too! And I am definitely not sorry I asked! Perhaps my word choice could have been better. I know my style is different, not wrong. Just different or strange in the eyes of the U.S. folks. I'll try and do better next time, I promise! :)