Just the Basics Please! Knitting in the Round vs. Knitting Flat

What is the difference between knitting in the round and knitting flat? How does it affect my stitch patterns?

Knitting flat is your basic knitting. Once you cast on you knit a row turn your work and knit another row until your work is the size you want. With this technique every other row is worked from the wrong side of your fabric. Knit and Purl stitches are mirror images of each other. A knit stitch knitted on the right side of your fabric looks like a knit on the right side and purl on the wrong side. Where as a purl stitch knitted on the right side looks like a purl on the right side and knit on the wrong side, to achieve a stockenette stitch (while  knitting flat)which from the right side looks as though every row is knitted one must knit the right side rows and purl the wrong side rows.

Knitting in the round is different, once you cast on you join the work into a circle and start knitting and continue knitting. The work continues up in a spiral much like that of a parking garage. The work is never turned, which means you are always working on the right side. Therefore to achieve a stockenette stitch you must knit every round. If you were to knit one round and then purl the next you would end up with a garter stitch.

Just the Basics Please! Learning New Stitches

I am sick of garter stitch. What’s Next?

Congratulations you have learned to knit and you have knitted lots of scarves with just the knit stitch. But you want to do more. Next you need to learn the purl stitch. Knit and purl stitches are mirror images of each other. A knit stitch knitted on the right side of your fabric looks like a knit on the right side and purl on the wrong side. Where as a purl stitch knitted on the right side looks like a purl on the right side and knit on the wrong side. Because purl is the mirror of Knit if you just purl your next scarf the wrong side will look identical to the right side of your knitted garter stitch scarf.

Once you have mastered both the knit and the purl stitch it is time to start combining them. There are a vast range of patterns which you can create with just these two stitches.

Tip: Make sure to move the yarn to the front of your work, between the needles when changing to a purl from a knit and to move the yarn back to the back when going back to knit. If you pull the yarn over the needle and not between the needles you will end up with extra loops on your needle.

Here are a couple basic knit and purl stitch patterns to try.

Stockinette Stitch:

Cast on a multiple of 1

Row 1: Knit.

Row 2: Purl.

Repeat rows 1-2

 

1X1 Rib:

Cast on a multiple of 2

Row 1: *K1, p1; rep from *.

Repeat row 1

 

Seed Stitch:

Cast on a multiple of 2+1

Row 1: K1, *p1, k1; rep from *.

Repeat row 1

Just the Basics Please! How to Read a Pattern

A very simple pattern, such as a stitch pattern, will tell you how many stitches to cast on, and then tell you row by row what you need to do to achieve the pattern. A Stitch pattern is slightly different than a pattern for say a scarf. With a scarf pattern you will most likely be given additional information. There will probably be a suggested yarn, finished dimensions, a gauge, scarf instructions, and likely a stitch pattern. We will go over all the these in a later post. For now we will stick to a simple stitch pattern.

Let’s use a seed stitch pattern as an example.

Seed Stitch:

Cast on a multiple of 2+1

Row 1: K1, *p1, k1; rep from *.

Repeat row 1

Now let’s take this line by line.

Cast on a multiple of 2+1 – this means that you need to cast on a multiple of 2 (Ex, 2,4,6,8,10…) plus 1. Therefore, you could cast on (3,5,7,9,11…) for this example let’s cast on 11 Stitches

Row 1: K1, *p1, k1; rep from *.  – K stands for knit and the number following the k tells you how many stitches to knit. In this case we will knit one stitch, then p stands for purl so we will purl one stitch, and then knit 1 stitch. We then see rep from * which stands for repeat from * all this means is that we go back to the first * and start from that point. So we will purl 1 stitch and knit 1 Stitch and continue to repeat between the * until we have knitted all the way across (unless it tells you to stop repeating earlier). This row will look like this K1, P1, K1, P1, K1,  P1, K1,  P1, K1,  P1, K1

Repeat row 1 – this row tells us to repeat row 1, what is really means is that you will continue to knit this row until you have your desired length.

Now let’s do a slightly more complicated stitch pattern.

Cast on a multiple of 4

Rows 1-2: *K2, p2; rep from *.

Rows 3-4: *P2, k2; rep from *.

Repeat rows 1-4

Cast on a multiple of 4 (4,8,12,16…) lets use 12

Rows 1-2: *K2, p2; rep from *. –  This means that both row 1 and row 2 are the same. You will knit 2 stitches, purl 2 stitches and then repeat from *  ending up with K2, p2, k2, p2, k2, p2.

Once you have knitted both row one and two you move on the row three

Rows 3-4: *P2, k2; rep from *. –  This means that both row 3 and row 4  are the same. You will Purl 2 stitches, Knit 2 stitches and then repeat from *  ending up with P2, k2, p2, k2, p2, k2.

You then repeat rows 1-4 until you project is the length you want.

Two full repeats would look like this.

Row 1: K2, p2, k2, p2, k2, p2.

Row 2: K2, p2, k2, p2, k2, p2.

Row 3: P2, k2, p2, k2, p2, k2.

Row 4: P2, k2, p2, k2, p2, k2.

Row 5: K2, p2, k2, p2, k2, p2.

Row 6: K2, p2, k2, p2, k2, p2.

Row 7: P2, k2, p2, k2, p2, k2.

Row 8: P2, k2, p2, k2, p2, k2.

Just the Basics Please! Knitting Notions

Join us for our Just the Basics Please! series where we will give you some beginning knowledge on knitting needles, yarn, and notions. This will get you started on one of the most relaxing, fulfilling and popular hand crafts.

In our last blogs we covered the basics of needles and yarn weight/needle size. In this segment we will cover basic notions that beginning knitters need.

  • cable needles – needle that you temporarily transfer stitches to, while knitting cables.
  • stitch markers – small circles that stays on your needles as you work. Used as a place marker.
  • stitch counters – used for counting rows.
  • darning needle – used for seaming or weaving in ends.
  • stitch holder – used for holding stitches that aren’t currently on your needles.

 

Just the Basics Please! Needles

You have never knitted before, but you really want to learn. If you are a beginner knitter, you know you need to start with the right tools. But while browsing knitting shops and the knitting section of stores you find tons of supplies and options. How do you know what to buy? What yarn, what needle types and sizes? And oh, all those notions!

Don’t let the abundance of choices stop you from learning to knit.  To begin knitting all you need is a pair of knitting needles, a ball of yarn, patience, and time.

Join us for our Just the Basics Please! series where we will give you some beginning knowledge on knitting needles, yarn, and notions. This will get you started on one of the most relaxing, fulfilling and popular hand crafts of all time.

In this segment we cover the three different types of needles: straight, circular, and double pointed needles.  Here are descriptions of each:

Straight Knitting Needles

Traditional straight needles-your traditional “chop-stick” needles

Flexible straight needles-needle tip connected to a cord with stoppers on the end of the needles

Circular Knitting Needles

Basic circular needles– two needles connected by a cord.  Can be used to knit almost anything: flat pieces like scarves as well as round pieces like a cowl.  However, the circle that you are knitting cannot be smaller than the size of the circle made by the cord and tips.

Fixed circular needles– these needles often provide a smoother transition from needle to cord than interchangeable needles, but this depends on the brand.

Interchangeable circular needles – with this type, you only need one of each cord length and needle tip size.  Both the needles and cords can be changed out depending on your project.  Some knitters find this set more convenient to work with rather than having fixed circular needles for each combination.

Double Pointed Needles (double points, DPNs)

Double points– short knitting needles that are pointed on both ends rather than just one end.  They come in sets of four or five. These needles are used to knit in the round, especially where you have a circle with a small diameter.

How to Choose

Circular and flexible straights are easier on your wrists than traditional straight needles because some of the weight can sit in your lap while you work.  You might try out several different types of needles before finding what works best for you.

Also, new knitters need to be aware that needles are measured using two different sizes: US and millimeters (mm).  You will want to make sure to read your pattern carefully to get the correct size needle before you begin.

Types of Materials

Knitting needles are made out of lots of different materials (metal, wood, plastic, etc.) What is best depends on what works best for you. Metal needles are the most slippery and wood the least slippery. Many people find that they drop more stitches with metal needles, while others love metal because the yarn slides easily along it. It all depends on personal preference. The best way to decide is to buy several different types of needles and needles made out of different materials and try them.

Personally, I love Denise interchangeable needles. They are slicker than wood needles, but have enough drag to keep my stitches on the needles. They are available in sizes US#5-19 and they have lots of cord lengths available. For sizes which are not available in Denise needles I use bamboo needles. I always use Bamboo DPNs, but if Denise ever starts making double points this might change.

If you are interested in Purchasing Denise needles please stop by our store or order them online at: http://www.stitchamour.com/product-category/notions/

Just the Basics Please! Understanding Yarn Weight

Join us for our Just the Basics Please! series where we will give you some beginning knowledge on knitting needles, yarn, and notions. This will get you started on one of the most relaxing, fulfilling and popular hand crafts.

In our last blog we covered the basics of needles. In this segment we will cover yarn weights and needle sizes that will generally be used along with them.  Knitting is more of an art than a science. These are suggestions, but not the only possibilities!

As a general rule, if you want a looser fabric with more drape, go up in needle size. If you want a tighter stiffer fabric go down in needle size. They are listed from the finest to the thickest yarn weights.  Also listed are a few examples of what each yarn weight can be used for.

  • Lace weight –often knitted on a larger needle to give a very open look. Used for something light and delicate like a fine lace scarf.  Not a beginner yarn.
  • Fingering-US #1-2. Can be used for gloves or socks among other things. Also, not a beginner yarn.
  • Sport-US #3-5. Good for a light-weight sweater among other things.
  • Dk-US #5-7. A good beginner yarn. Can be used for a hat or scarf.
  • Worsted-US # 7-9. Best for a beginner. Very common yarn weight used for hats, scarves, sweaters, blankets, etc.
  • Chunky/Bulky-US # 9–11. Used for quick projects.
  • Super bulky-US# 11 and up. Used to make thick cold-weather clothes and other items.

Want to learn more about categories of yarn, gauge ranges, and recommended needle and hook sizes? This handy chart from the Craft Yarn Council is a great reference!

What is a Knitting Chart and How Does One Read It?

Have you ever bought a knitting pattern that has a chart on it? If so you might have wondered how to knit from a chart. This blog will give you the basics for reading a chart.

chart 1

 

A knitting chart will have two main parts: the chart and the key. The key will tell you what the symbols on the chart stand for. For example, an empty box is normally a knit stitch and a gray box is normally a purl stitch. The chart will then use the symbols to tell you when to knit the stitches.

 

A chart will look like a table made up of lots of squares. Each square is a stitch. You start at the bottom right and work across the bottom row (reading from right to left just like you are knitting from right to left across your work).chart 2

Once you finish your row you turn your work, but seeing as charts are printed on paper you do not turn your chart. To accommodate that your work is turned and the chart isn’t you will work the next row of your chart from left to right. In addition, because you are working from the wrong side your knits and purls will switch. On your key each symbol will tell you what stitch to do on the right side and what stitch to do on the wrong side. This will allow the stitches to line up properly on your work. Unless you are told differently in your pattern all odd numbers will be right side and all even number will be wrong side.

The chart will show you what the finished work looks like from the front. So I am sure many of you can identify this chart as being for the seed stitch.

Row1: K1, p1, k1, p1, k1,  p1, k1
Row2: K1, p1, k1, p1, k1,  p1, k1