May 21, 2012


With several more practice blocks completed, I want to go back to my first block and take a closer look with you and share a few things I've learned along the way.

First, what is knitting? Wikipedia says knitting turns thread or yarn into cloth or other fine crafts. Knitted fabric consists of consecutive rows of loops, called stitches. I'm using Knit and Purl stitches to create blocks and scarfs.

First Knitting Block

Starting at the bottom the first section is in Garter Stitch, all rows and stitches are knit. The next section is the Stockinette Stitch where you alternate rows of knit and pearl stitches. If you look closely, you can see that many of the the stitches are twisted which can be a design feature but in this case I was still learning how to hold the yarn and was wrapping the yarn around the needle in the "wrong" direction.

Close-up showing twisted stitches and uneven tension.

pick on photo - and delete the other

Close-up showing twisted stitches and uneven tension.

I figured out how to wrap the yarn "correctly" and the twisted stitches disappeared. More practice and confidence as my skills improved smoothed out the yarn tension.

Stockinette Stitch using size 8 needles.

Time to play a bit and I used different sized needles with the same yarn to see how needle size effects the pattern.

Stockinette Stitch - Same Yarn - Size 13 Needles

The next photo shows the difference a needle can make. Both blocks are 20 stitches wide but one block stitches up to be 4 inches wide while the other is almost 7.5 inches.

Stockinette Stitch Blocks

Garter stitch is usually the first pattern taught since every stitch in every row is the same stitch. It is a good practice block because you can do all knit stitches or if you are having trouble with the pearl stitch you can start another block and do all pearl stitches.

Garter Stitch

Ribbing is most often used for cuffs and collars because it naturally scrunches up and can be stretched quite a bit to fit over your wrist or head then return to the smaller cuff or collar size.

Ribbing K2P2 - naturally scrunched up - about 2.5 inches wide

Ribbing K2P2 - Stretched to nearly 5 inches

With my developing skills, I decided to try my had at the scarf pattern that I mentioned in my last article. This is about 25 stitches wide and the cravat lenght scarf is about 70 stitches. I had some trouble making the eyelets - I twisted the stitch again so I got to practice undoing and correcting a few stitches. I think it turned out great!

Pattern Block 2

I put my skills to the test and created a crabat length ribbon scarf out of a bulky yarn available at the craft store. I wanted to get some practice and develop some muscle memory before I work with roving - unspun wool.

Practice Scarf - Cravat Length

I've also spend time perusing the library and have some great books to read more about hand spinning and weaving. My goal is to take a shearing (raw wool) and create one of these scarfs. I also realize that I could easily get distracted by all the neat books I've been finding and may explore other fiber arts as well.