June 22, 2014

Misadventures in Shawls, Part 3: The Pitfalls of Combined Knitting and Stitch Markers

I have to say, despite my semi-laziness in devoting time to working on this, I've gotten pretty far.  Things are speeding up a bit, as I'm well into the part where there's a lot of decreasing going on:

On row 81 yay.

When you hit chart C and beyond, though, it may lose stitches but it gets way more fiddly for a good section of it.   Unfortunately, my tension during that part was shot to hell, and there are stitches and yarn-overs that are small, and others that are huge.

Also, I have two running problems with my stitches at the moment:

1) The markers denoting the repeats are after a purl stitch, which means my purl stitch there is waaaay to loose, as it's eating the slack going around the stitch marker (this is not the first time I've had this problem, but I haven't figured out how to correct it yet other than taking out the stitch marker, which isn't an option here):

This is the back of the work, if you're wondering.

2)   My usual knitting style is a combined style. For me and many combined knitters, this means I knit 'normally', where I twist my yarn around the needle so the right leg is facing the knitter, but I purl in a manner that results in the right leg facing away from the knitter (I've talked about this before).  There turns out there's one issue with that.  When you yarn-over counter-clockwise after or before a stitch that was knitted or purled clockwise, the yarn-over pulls the other stitch down, and makes it really hard to find the right leg of either one.

It took me more than a few rows to realize why my stitches looked screwed up, or where my 'missing' yarn-overs went.  There is several places in the shawl where I knitted the stitch wrongly by working the wrong stitch or side of the stitch.  Luckily, since this always happens near a yarn-over, it just looks a bit messy and the yarn-over is a bit smaller or bigger than normal. I might have ripped it all out when I realized I had been reading those stitches wrong, but I don't have the patience or time for that at the moment.

So, how do you read this mess to work it correctly?

If you have a stitch with the right leg out before a yarn-over, you'll usually see it as this:

Ignore my lovely pajama pants; it might have been around midnight when I took these

The first stitch you need to work is not that string that looks like a loop below the weird twist (that's the stitch below your last one), it's the outer loop tilted away from you here:

Green arrow, not the red

There's the right leg...

So just work that loop as instructed:

Once you drop the stitch, you should be able to see the yarn over much better: 

Work it as instructed, and then you're done with that.

On the other hand...

If you have a stitch with the right leg out after the yarn-over, it'll look like this:

The difference to the set above is that the first stitch you see there is longer and usually angled more to the left, and the twist where the two stitches meet is more towards the knitter (this is because the YO is pulling it down towards the knitter, vs above where it was pulling it away).  Also helps to know where you are in the pattern.

The yarn-over is actually the yarn bar slightly below the needle towards the knitter:

Use that loop to work as instructed:

Once you slip the yarn-over off, then the other stitch will look like a normal stitch (for combined knitters at least).  Work that as instructed.

And that's it.  Now, if there were some easy way to correct those darn huge purl stitches.

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