Wednesday, September 30, 2009

maple leaf knitting pattern charted

I developed this charting method in 1978, but haven't done much with it lately.

Edit: Thanks to Fleegle, I looked this up, and it's actually called "Ivy Leaf," on page 298 of Barbara Walker's A Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Filling stitch for colorwork knitting

This is from the book mentioned earlier:

It's the diagram for a satin weave, but it would make a good pattern for a Fair-Isle-technique sweater's "lice stitch." The pattern does have symmetry, but it's confusing enough to the eye to look somewhat random. Also, since long floats in weaving are as undesirable there as they are in knitting, the maximum space between black squares is 5 white squares, which works well for Fair Isle.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Knit-purl patterns

A nice weaving book with lots of illustrations is a great source of inspiration for knitting patterns of the knit-purl variety. Here is one, "A Handbook of Weaves," published in 1915, so in the public domain (in the USA anyway) and available in many places. You can find it in Google Books, and as a free download at The Internet Archive. I bought the book at Powell's the other day and have been soaking in all the cool illustrations and trying to imagine which patterns would work well as reversible, non-curling fabrics. The one above looks interesting. Some more:


Arrows show the direction in which the individual squares are knit. The numbers show the order of knitting the squares. The number's placement in the square shows in which of the two lower corners the square begins.

Friday, September 11, 2009

24-square cabled entrelac cube with connectionlines

This is one of the simpler ways of showing the connections between squares in the 24-square cabled entrelac cube. In this type of cube, each square is attached to 6 others: the 4 that are adjacent on each side, and the 2 that are on the lower right and upper left corners of the square as knitted. Each square has a cable that runs from lower right to upper left, and joins cables on two other squares. This is shown with thicker lines

Saturday, September 05, 2009

12-square cabled entrelac cube

More-detailed diagrams of the entrelac cube made up of 12 squares.

Posted via email from fuzzyjay's posterous

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Grappling with knitting nomenclature

Sometimes, the ambiguity of knitting terms bothers me.

The word "stitch," for example, means different things depending on context:

  1. A length of yarn being held on a needle.
  2. A minimal piece of knitted fabric.

I don't know why this particularly bothers me, but it did confuse me for a while when I was trying to figure out a way to model knitted fabrics using a computer program. (I still don't know how to do the data structure.)

Now, when I'm thinking of knitting, I'm more inclined to use "stitch" for only the second meaning, and to use "loop" for the first.

So, what is a stitch, in terms of loops?

A stitch is an interaction of loops. The simplest stitch-operation, a knit stitch, consumes a loop from a course previously worked. (A course is a row or round produced from a length of yarn.) A knit stitch supplies a loop to the course currently being worked.

What about yarnovers? A yarnover consumes no loops from the course previously worked, but contributes a loop to the current course, and, usually, to the next row or round of stitches. (It might be dropped, in which case it usually enlarges the stitches on either side of it.)

How does a knitted stitch differ from a purled stitch? It doesn't, without an observer. Both are single loops pulled through single loops. If I hold up a piece of stockinette fabric between us, what I call a knitted stitch will appear to you to be a purled stitch.

If I pulled the loop towards me while creating the stitch, I call it a knitted stitch. If I pushed the loop away from me while creating the stitch, I call it a purled stitch. Again, it's in reference to the observer, in this case, the knitter.

Here's another ambiguity: when I refer to a stitch, am I referring to structure or operation? Am I referring to how it appears, or how it was made?

So, what is a loop, in terms of stitches?

A loop is a length of yarn, fixed at its base, connected with running-threads to other loops in a course of yarn.

A loop participates in two rows of stitches (usually).

A row or round of stitches consumes loops from the course below and contributes loops to the course above.

A loop, in isolation, has no stability. It becomes part of a stable fabric when it's held together by subsequently formed loops, participating with these later loops in forming stitches. Loops that haven't fully become part of the fabric are held on needles, "stitch" holders, scrap yarn, etc., to keep them from unraveling until they can be used to create part of the knitted fabric.

A knitting needle doesn't hold stitches, it holds loops. The stitches that produced the held loops sit below the needle. That's the distinction of nomenclature I find useful. It makes a little more sense to me to say "2nd loop from the end of the left hand needle" rather than "2nd stitch".

Stitches and stitch-operations

A stitch is a minimal piece of knitted fabric. A stitch-operation is what you do to produce the stitch.

This yellow rectangle delimits what I mean by a stitch, as opposed to a loop:


Assuming that we're looking at a piece of knitted fabric that has been worked from the bottom up, the stitch within the rectangle could have been formed by any of these stitch-operations:

  1. Knit 1, from the left or from the right, done on the facing side.
  2. Purl 1, from the left or from the right, done on the back side.

This stitch consumed a loop from the red course, and provided a loop to the black course.

Look at the boundaries of the stitch. From the sides, the stitch is attached to other stitches with running-threads. From above and below, the stitch shares loops with the previously and subsequently worked rows.

In conclusion

I'm pondering the best way to be more precise about hand-knitting terms. I'm an INTP—I can't help it! I'm not there yet, but here are a few of my ideas so far.

  1. A stitch is the minimal unit, an atom, if you will, of knitted fabric.
  2. A stitch-operation is a method of forming a stitch.
  3. A stitch, by itself, gives no definitive clue to which stitch-operation formed it.
  4. Loops are units of a course (length) of yarn that have been pulled through other loops, or otherwise fixed on a holder.
  5. Courses are comprised of alternating loops and running-threads.
  6. Loops interacting with other loops produce stitches.
  7. Generally, a stitch is formed from more than one course of loops.
  8. A yarnover is a special case, since it is not formed with loops from a previous course of yarn. I think of it as an enlarged running-thread. It needs a needle or other holder to be created (between other loops in a course).
  9. When grafting two pieces of knitting together, you are actually forming two rows of stitches at the same time, using one course of yarn. For example, in grafting garter stitch, you're creating a row of knits and a row of purls.

Tell me what you think.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009


24-square-cabled-entrelac-ring, originally uploaded by fuzzyjay.

I may try this next. It would make a doughnut shape out of entrelac squares, with 6 continuous cables wrapped around it.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...