Thursday, February 10, 2011

Horizontal fold lines in knitting, part 2: purl sides out, knit sides in the fold

As shown in the previous post, it is easy to make a stockinette fabric fold along a horizontal line so the smooth knit side of the fabric is out and the purl sides of the fabric (the reverse stockinette) are trapped inside the fold. This is done by simply making a row or round of purls on the smooth stockinette face of the fabric, and voila: the stockinette then folds smoothly at the purl line, smooth knit side out; bumpy purl sides, back-to-back, inside the fold.

As strong as this structure of this fold is, however, no immediately obvious counterpart exists to make a fold line on the purl side, so that the bumpy purl sides face out and the knit sides are trapped, back-to-back, inside the fold.

Here is a little "unvention," the result of fooling around over a couple of years, which I believe does fit the bill.  It is WORKED from the smooth (knit) side but, when FINISHED, causes the fabric to fold so the purl (reverse stockinette) fabric faces out while the knit side of the fabric is trapped inside the fold.

Step 1: On the stockinette fabric, with the smooth (knit) side facing you, locate the stitch TAIL, illustrated in RED, below.
Step 1

Step 2: Draw the tail up and place it, right arm forward, on the tip of the left needle.
Step 2

Step 3:Insert the right needle tip into the next ordinary stitch on the left needle (illustrated in dark green), then into the loop made by the tail (red), as shown below.  Knit the two loops together from this position using the running yarn which is shown in lighter green.
Step 3

Step 4: The final result will be an assembly of two loops worked together, looking remarkably like a k2tog (Knit 2 together). If you look at the below illustration and all the previous ones, there are several stitches already worked according to this trick, with the tail-loops being illustrated in pink, the main stitch in green and the running yarn in lighter green.  The upcoming tails to be worked in this trick are also illustrated in pink.
Step 4

Here is a photo of the finished product, as seen from the purl side, with the fold line at the bottom of the photo.

The finished result

I think it makes a pretty nice fold, especially for a purl fabric.  Try it, and see what you think! 

* * *

big thank you! to the three test knitters: Anonymous (you know who you are!) Christina and Tatterbat, not only for trying this out but thanks, too for your ideas: one test knitter plans to use this for the hem of a reverse stockinette sweater, and another mentioned a set of square baby blocks--some to be made knit-side-out, using the ordinary purl-on-stockinette fold of the previous post, some to be made purl-side-out using this new technique. 

Good knitting! --TK


Cheryl S. said...

That looks lovely! What a great tip, thanks!

JelliDonut said...

That is absolutely brilliant!

CraftyCripple said...

How clever. I am in awe of your knowledge and look forward to your posts so much. I feel like I am always learning something new.

-- Jolie said...

Without swatching it, my initial reaction is, "Doesn't that row get too tight?" I find that if I do a lot of make 1s in a row, they eat up too much of the running threads and the whole row becomes tight. Or is this tightening precisely what causes the fabric to fold?

TECHknitter said...

Hi Jolie--I haven't found that the fold is particularly tight, even though it looks like it would be. Also, none of the test-knitters mentioned this as an issue. It's evidently one of those mysteries of knitting, but if you try it, let me know what you think, too!

C said...

Maybe the row just gets shorter instead of narrower? (My totally pulled-out-of-the-air explanation is that the normal width rows above and below would help keep the fold row the right width so the only way for the yarn to smush in is vertically.)

TECHknitter said...

Makes sense to me--the yarn has to go somewhere, so if it folds, that row probably did get shorter.

twinsetellen said...

I had to go take a look at this idea of the shortened row. I did a little swatch with the instructions you provide and then did one where instead I simply changed to a much smaller needle (dropped from 4's to 0's). Result - a pretty darned good fold. I believe the method you give yields a fold with slightly more edge to it, but the smaller needle method is more invisible. One could choose whether one wants the knitting to flow over the fold or be interrupted by the sideways movement of the stitches caused by knitting them with their tails, which could be a nice design element.

I am thinking this shouts sideways knitted pleats! Thanks for expanding our knitting knowledge.

TECHknitter said...

Sideways knitted pleats, yes! And stay tuned for vertical folds... (and some day, a system for BOX pleats even...someday.)

=Tamar said...

Oh yes, please, vertical folds.
That would make facings much easier.

Brenda said...

That is fabulous - thank you!
I would love to see a method for pleats. I have been dreaming of a design that uses pleats but can't figure how to deal with a triple layer of fabric.

Kathryn said...

Oh, good grief! I came to your blog to re-read about avoiding the knipple at the top of my hat and saw this. I wish I'd seen it two days ago when I was at the point where the folded-up band and the crown come together! Timing was never my strong suit. Better late than never, I guess. You are, as always, brilliant.