Sunday, May 08, 2005

Trying something new

I love knitting cable patterns except one thing - the reverse stocking stitch background. I can say with confidence that I knit stocking stitches very evenly, but for some reasons unknown to me, my reverse stocking stitches are always the opposite. Here is proof:

Besides, the drape of the pieces in that stitch is always too floppy. So, I loathe knitting reverse stocking stitch as the right side ... and I finished the back of the cabled vest with this feeling.

As if in answer to my complaint, I stumbled upon Annie Modesitt's blog and read about her combined knitting page. The purling method is very different from mine. However, at that moment, I did not have a particular motivation to test that out ... because I knit fast enough for myself and I suffer no writst strain. It was until I read this post of Kathy's that I started to think otherwise:

If not for you, my purl rows would still be 50% bigger than my knit rows! I love to purl because of you!

I think this is some serious testimonial given to an instructor. So, I decided to try out Annie's purling method. I am now almost half way through the front of the vest and I can tell you that I am VERY satisfied with the result ... no, I can also show you:

The stitches are so obviously more even now! Besides, look at these:

The upper one is the back and the lower one the front. Feeling the 2 pieces in person, the drape of the front piece is definitely tighter and better. But the ironic thing is I knit slower and have some pain on my right upper arm (I hold the yarn using right hand). I hope the pain is only the result of my using a method I am not familiar with. I don't really mind being slower ... if I want something fast, I might as well go to the shops and buy something.

P.S. I forgot to mention this earlier. Kathy has a very comprehensive convertion table for combined knitting and video clips showing the various styles and methods of knitting. Go and check them out.


Kathy said...

Hi Agnes,

I'm so happy you discovered Annie's website and the Combined method! It is a life saver for so many knitters, although I must admit most of us carry the yarn in the left hand. Have you checked out my knitting webpage? ( I have a Western-Combined stitch conversion table and Combined knitting videos on there. Another thing I must admit to you is that I use both the Combined and Western methods, depending on the project and the yarn. Once I realized *why* Combined purls came out so much neater for me, I applied the correction to my Western purls and they are now equally neat. A learning experience through and through! Good luck, and let me (or Annie) know if you run into any trouble!

Lynette said...

Oooh. I will definitely check out Kathy's page. I like your before and after combined knitting examples. My purl stitches are pretty even but I've been interested in learning the combined method for a long time. Thanks, very useful information!