Monday, January 13, 2014

Fair Isle Knitting -- the purl

You have two reasons for needing to purl when you make a sweater.
First, every knitted edge will curl up, even after blocking, without a ribbing or something else to keep it straight.  When I use up waste yarn I will sometimes single-crochet the edge, but for clothing, you want to use ribbing.
Second, unless you are knitting in the round, knitting every row produces something called garter stitch.  It's fine when you want a specially thick piece of clothing; I have a coat pattern that uses garter stitch.  But for sweaters, tees, and polos, you want to use stockinette stitch on some parts and that means knitting one row and purling the next.

THE KEY TO PURLING is that the yarn comes in front of the needles before you make the new stitch. 
Put the point of the right hand needle through the stitch on the left hand needle from right to left, top to bottom.
Now use your left index finger to wrap the yarn under the point of the right hand needle and around it toward you.
Now with the yarn loop around the needle point, move the point right and behind the lefthand needle point carrying the yarn loop with the right needle point making a new stitch.  This video shows what I'm talking about.
Push the right needle point slightly to the left, then tilt it down to catch the yarn and pull it in a loop to the right and back through the old stitch.
IF you are holding the yarn close up to the needles as Ann showed you in the video last week, the second technique will work.

Now work several rows of ribbing: knit two stitches as Ann showed you, then purl two.  It may be difficult to tell what you're doing on the first row if you chose a dark yarn to practice with, but stick to it.  A number of Fair Isle designs use a dark background yarn and it starts the ribbing.  Eventually you will be able to tell by the look of the stitches which are knitted and which are purled.

I know your sample will look odd with rows of curled up knitting and then rows of flat ribbing.  The practice bag will look much better.
We're getting ready to use our second color so learn how to join it in next week.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

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