Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Today's Lesson

Strand or Lifted Increases

I thought I'd show the exact method I've been using for my increases in the toddler poncho. Montse Stanley in The Handknitter's Handbook (my knit technique bible) calls them "strand" increases but I like to call them "lifted" increases. Or more precisely "lifted-twisted" increases because if you just lifted the strand between the stitches and knit it normally it would leave a hole (which Montse calls "pinhole" increases). Are we all confused yet? Wait, there's more! There's a left and a right lifted increase. And of course the front leg of the twisted stitch slants in the opposite direction to its name. However, I've been working the right increase on the right side of the marker and the left increase on the left side of the marker so it's not too hard to remember. Once you've done it a hundred thousand times.

The increase that most knitters are familiar with is the right one. The left one is a bit more annoyingly tricky to work, especially if your needle points aren't very sharp. First you pick up the strand backwards to the way you usually do it — left needle going from back to front under it. That's the easy part. Now to knit it. The lovely arrow I've drawn in the above photo shows where you have to put the needle and the direction it goes in: through the front leg as if to knit. Sounds simple but there's no space between the left needle and the yarn to poke the right needle into. Try it and you'll see. Or maybe (probably) you're a better knitter than I am.

Well I've pretty much come to the place where I want to stop with the multicoloured garter ridges. But I'm not finished yet. Back up a minute. Did I mention that I changed needles yet again? You might have noticed that in the photo. Not the bamboo dpns I started out with, not the grey Aero circular I carried on with when there were too many stitches for the dpns, but my rare Addi Turbo circulars, 24" long and ostensibly 3.25 mm. I'm beginning to not trust the sizes either printed on the needles or my needle gauge. There isn't any such thing as the same size needles. Kind of like trying to buy a pair of shoes size 8. The reason I'm using these particular needles isn't just because they're longer than the Aero's 16" but because they are slightly smaller. I changed over at the point where I started the multicoloured garter stitch because I noticed (before I frogged it) that the previous version was waving in the garter area. Probably because a) the variegated yarn is slightly thicker and b) because garter stitch is wider than stockinette. I actually went back to the needle size that I started with except that they're nickel plated so I knit tighter than I do on bamboo. Anyway it's working out OK.

Oh yeah. I was going to discuss The Plan that I have percolating in my brain for the finish to this poncho. I can't just bind off and let that be it. No. I have to do something knitterly! I want a pointy edge back in the plain yellow yarn. Haven't quite figured out how to do that yet but I'm researching. Right now there's a couple of good bets in Nicky Epstein's Knitting on the Edge. I let you know how it goes. Eventually when I'm finished I'll put the whole pattern all edited and spiffed up here on Damsefly's Delights.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Louisa! Great explaination of the increases. Look forward to reading more of your blog, and seeing the finished poncho.