Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Now this is interesting ...

Have you read Claudia's comment on my last post about the uneven stitches when knitting back and forth? (Thanks a lot for the advice, Claudia!) Reading that, I discovered something very interesting. In summer last year when I was knitting my Cabled Vest, I learned about Annie Modesitt's combined knitting (you can read about it here). Since then, from time to time, when I have to knit extensive stocking stitch, I would purl using the combined knitting way ... since I think I would get a better tension and more even stitches.

So, the unevenness you saw in the last post is actually the result of my purling that way. I suddenly got the idea of doing an experiment:

I hope the picture here can show you clearly the result. Underneath the red line, I purled in the combined knitting way. Above the red line, I purled my normal way. To me, it is very obvious that my stitches are a lot more even when I purled in my normal way!

This is indeed very puzzling ... as in the case of Cabled Vest, I found my stitches much more even using the combined knitting method.

There are two differences between these two cases, though:
1) Last time, I used sport weight yarn while the yarn now is bulky weight.
2) For the Cabled Vest, the right side is the reverse stocking stitch with the cables while the stocking stitch is the right side for Lace Leaf Pullover.

Isn't this interesting? So it seems there is no fixed rule what is the best. Next time, I should be smarter to observe the stitches early to decide how to knit. Does the "rowing out" bother me? It does a little bit ... but not so much that I feel I need to rip out everything and do it all over again. I always think that a little imperfection, as long as it doesn't develop into catastrophe or tragedy, can sometimes make life more interesting.

12 comments:

erin said...

That's some serious "rowing". Interesting that we all knit so differently, and yet there is a solution to them all.

Debi said...

I tried the combined method too and had horrible rowing out and couldn't maintain an even tension! I guess it works for some, not others.

I think the sweater is fine and a good soak and block will even everything out.

candsmom said...

That's interesting that there's no constant regarding which method of knitting will give you the most even tension for a project. I had just assumed that if you got more even tension by throwing in stockinette, that it would remain the same for reverse stockinette. Maybe I should try combined or continental knitting to see if it gives more even tension for some of my projects. Interesting post, Agnes! I always learn a lot from your blog. Take care! :-)

Siow Chin said...

That's really interesting findings. Thanks for sharing.

joy said...

Wow, what a difference! So far, I haven't found a reason to try different purling methods, but I'll certainly keep this in mind.

Lolly said...

I have never tried Annie Modesitt's method, so it was very interesting to see your notes and the side-by-side comparison. I love the Kool Wool.

Maus said...

I think its real hard to have an even tension with thick yarn, every little difference in tension will be exaggerated byt the large stitches. Also, lots of the uneveness will disappear after the first wash, so I don't think I would worry about it.
thanks for stopping by my blog, the machine I got is the Silver Reed 280 SK, regular (4.5mm) size needles.

claudia said...

All the more reason for knowing about alot of options, but not substituting the advice of others for experimentation.

Purly Whites said...

I tried knitting combined, and it looked just awful. I stuck with "normal" knitting. And I stuck with throwing. I get much more even tension with throwing. And no rowing out.

Heather said...

new methods are good to have...change is good...and it's amazing how different fibers react differently to needle type, tension and gauge..it always reminds me to recall Margene and say "it's the process"

Who knew sticks and string were so complex!!?

Liz said...

Wow! What interesting results! Thank you for posting such an interesting topic!

lori said...

Wow, that comparison is really revealing! I think my purling tension is wonky when I have long rows or long sections of just stocking stitch. I find that if I'm having wonky purling a switch to less slippery needles sometimes helps. Or maybe I just get too bored with all the purling...