Thursday, March 01, 2007

CPH Friday

from Liz -- Notes on Ribbing Technique.

The Central Park Hoodie is the same as most sweaters in that it features a band of ribbing at the bottom edge of the sweater. Many knitters complain about the look of those loose knit stitches in their ribbing. One stitch is always looser, saggier, and looks distinctly bigger than its companions.

However, I recently discovered this bit of combined* wisdom from Nona and Priscilla Gibson-Roberts, and decided that the CPH was the perfect project to try it out.

Do take the time to read her whole post, but the basic explanation is that you get that loose knit stitch because a purl stitch uses more yarn than a knit stitch. The solution Nona offers is to purl using the same amount of yarn by wrapping the yarn clockwise rather than the usual counterclockwise manner.

Thus, when encountering a purl stitch directly after a knit stitch, wrap the yarn clockwise. On the following row, knit this stitch through the back loop to properly seat the stitches.

The difference is noticeable and really worth this little tweak. My ribbing has never looked so even, my knitting never looked so neat. It works beautifully on ribbing, and throughout the body of the sweater as well. I also never enjoyed ribbing quite so much as these little differences really break up the monotony of K2, P2.

For you CPH knitters, here's how to apply this bit of knowledge to your sweater:

Row 1 - * K2,P1 wrapping clockwise, P1, repeat from * to last two stitches, K2.
Row 2 - P2, * K1, K1tbl, P1 clockwise, P1, repeat from *to last 2 stitches, P1 clockwise, P1
Row 3 - * K1, Ktbl, P1 clockwise, P1, repeat from * to last 2 stitches, K1, Ktbl

Repeat rows 2 & 3 for 4".

I also applied this technique to the body of the sweater, so every time I encounter a purl stitch directly following a knit, I purl this stitch with the clockwise wrap, and then knit that stitch through the back loop.

My only concern is that my ribbing is so even that it seems a little tighter than it should be, and I am worried that it will pull in a little too severely. I am planning on blocking the back before proceeding and examining the results. I'll let you in on what I find next Friday!

* this is actually the basic foundation of combination knitting, which is famous for creating neat, even stitches without rowing out.

From Mo:

This old girl isn’t sure if her ribbing is sagging or not. I’m kind of oblivious to some details. I do use the continental method, so I’m not sure if that makes a difference or not.

Speaking of details, I’ve been won over by the wonder of stitch markers. I understand this is an everyday essential used by sensible detailed oriented knitters everywhere. Being that I’m neither, it never really crossed my mind. Plus, I generally refuse to keep notes in the margins or on sticky pads about those important details. You know, those things you think you’ll remember or will be able figure out by counting stitches or rows.

Now, I understand that stitch markers actually jive with my lazy ways. Mark it and forget it. For this project, they’ve been especially helpful with marking the 10-row cable pattern. One less thing one my mind.

Last night, I reached the sleeve caps, so I’m really trucking.


Anonymous said...

I was going to mention that this is combined knitting, but you knew that already :) When you posted about this last week I read Nona's explanation and immediately put the theory to work on the cuff of my Leyburn socks--it definitely does feel tighter and snugger, which is great for the cuff! Thanks for making sure more of us knew about this little trick. I'm also tempted to just become a combined knitter, as it really is faster . . .

Anonymous said...

Great tip! I'm not sure I could retrain my auto-pilot hands to wrap the stitch the other way, but maybe I'll surprise myself. It'll be worth it to make my ribbing look a little less like I did it drunk.

Dorothy said...

I really like my combined style of knitting. It makes it so much easier to tighten the stitches while knitting. Your ribbing and cables look great by the way.

Shar said...

I just learned this last weekend in a class at stitches. I plan to try the technique on CPH as well.

Anonymous said...

It does look great! I love this pattern. Maybe I'll knit another someday.

Dave said...

I'm going to have to try this -- thanks for the great post.

I've never seen anyone explain this for knitting in the round. Wold you still have to do round 2 in the back?