Monday, October 29, 2007

Life on the edge--stitch patterns that can take it and not curl up (shown in pictures, knitting shorthand and diagrams)

Today's post reviews different kinds of knitted fabrics--ribbing, garter stitch, seed stitch, moss stitch-- which are adapted to life on the edge. These stitch patterns won't curl up when unsupported along one or more edges.

This post contains further review of reading knitting shorthand and charts, a subject raised in the previous post. It is followed by a whole series of posts about knitting better bands.(Link takes you to blog index.)


Stockinette curls. Ribbing doesn't, and neither does seed stitch, moss stitch, garter stitch. For a full explanation of why this should be, click here.

Non-curling fabrics are traditionally used at the edges of garments. Below is a review of these different non-curling fabric which are usually used as bands (bottom bands, front bands, neck bands and cuffs, also hat bands). These stitch patterns are also used as the "frame" around a flat item, such as a scarf or afghan.

1. Garter stitch (below)
(below) To knit garter stitch flat: knit every row. You will note that on this chart, the row numbers appear on opposite sides of the chart. This indicates that you are to knit flat (back and forth) because you can see that you are to start at a different edge for every row.
(below) To knit garter stitch in the round: *knit one round, purl one round* repeat.You will note that on this chart, the row numbers all appear at the same side of the chart. This indicates that you are to knit circular because you can see that you are to start every row at the same edge--a thing only possible if you knit around and around, coming back to the starting place with each round.

2. Ribbing (1x1) (below)
(below) To rib flat: on an odd number of stitches,
row1: *k1, p1* repeat until last stitch, k1
row 2: *p1, k1* repeat until last stitch, p1
repeat rows 1 and 2.
(below) To rib (1x1) in the round: every round on an even number of stitches, *k1, p1*

3. Seed stitch (below)
(Seed stitch is sometimes called single moss stitch)
(below) To seed stitch flat: every row, on an odd number of stitches, *p1, k1* repeat until last stitch, p1. A 4-row repeat is shown to give a bigger sample of the overall pattern.
(below) To seed stitch in the round: on an odd number of stitches,
round 1: *p1, k1* end with p1
round 2: *k1, p1* end with k1
rounds 3 and 4 are simply repeats of rounds 1 and 2, and are shown only to give a bigger sample of the overall pattern.

4. Moss stitch (below)
(Moss stitch is sometimes called double moss, Irish moss and small broken rib)
(below) To moss stitch flat: on an odd number of stitches,
row 1: *p1, k1* repeat until last stitch, p1
row 2: *k1, p1* repeat until last stitch, k1
row 3: same as row 2
row 4: same as row 1
repeat these 4 rows
(below) To moss stitch in the round: on a even number of stitches,
round 1: *p1, k1*
round 2: same as round 1
round 3: *k1, p1*
round 4: same as round 3
repeat these 4 rounds.
Do you see a pattern? Each of these stitch patterns puts a nearly equal number of knit and purl stitches on each face of the fabric. With knits and purl equally distributed on each face, there is no tendency for the fabric to curl. (Again, for more information stitch distribution this, click here.)

The next post (first of a long series) turns to the very edges of all these non-curling fabrics, and find out why the edges of your cuffs and collars, bottom bands and front bands are splayed out, or tight or just so darned WONKY!


PS:  If your problem is that your bands are flipping back, here are two different posts with ideas for you:
Non-flipping (zig-zag) bands (shows how to knit non-flipping bands by the zig-zag method)
Taming garter stitch band-flip (two parts: first part about setting up to knit non-flipping bands by a different method, second part about fixing garter stitch bands, already knit, which want to flip backwards).
(You have been reading TECHknitting on "four non curling knitted fabrics--pictures, charts and diagrams")


sharonmattnadia said...

I'm modifying a baby sweater pattern that calls for a border attached after knitting is complete. Instead, I did a knit-on 4-row garter stitch border. The border itself doesn't curl, but it flips straight over at the join to the stockinette. How do I keep this from happening?

--TECHknitter said...

Ah ha--stay tuned!! for further installments in this series!!

Anonymous said...

This is going to be interesting. I will be waiting to hear how to resolve this. I did 3 scarves. Two of them with a 5 stitch seed stitch border, one with a 5 stitch garter stitch border and in all cases, the entire edging flips. The body of the scarf is an asymetrical cable, so there is a lot of reverse stockinette.


Marjorie said...

I've used these border stitches for ages without really figuring out why they lay flat. I'll look forward to the rest of your posts on edging. I haven't had any problems (that is, curling) with lace edging, but if you have similar reasoning that a knitter could use to select one over the other, I'd love to know what it is.

bibliotecaria said...

I will be greatly looking forward to the answer to the flipping question, since it just frustrated me in a scarf.

nancy said...

I think your garter stitch knit-flat chart is in error. You're not showing the right side of the work on this one, you still need to show the shaded purl rows, but with the row numbers alternating right side/left side. The rest of your charts looked correct.

It's an interesting topic, and I will look forward to reading more!

Dixie Ipsit said...

I noticed that you covered 1x1 ribbing as an edge. Is there an appreciable difference between 1x1 and 2x2? I'm about to start a hat and I thought I would use 2x2 for the whole hat, but now I'm rethinking it ...

Thank you!

Jen said...

I just discovered your site through recommended feeds by Google Reader. You are my new favorite site, bringing sense and clarity to my knitting woes.

Elizabeth H Jones, SRES said...

Great information, thank you!

mygarfield said...

Thanks for the great info. A new knitter, your information will come in very handy.

Great illustrations.

Hot Tin Roof said...

Thanks so much for the lovely clear instructions! I'm knitting a gorgeous pair of men's socks in Mini Mochi by Crystal Palace and I thought it would be attractive to knit the leg and the top of the foot in moss stitch which I've knit dozens of times. Somehow I just couldn't get my head around knitting it in the round. Your diagram set me straight!