Friday, November 10, 2006

Are your purl stitches too loose?

Well, I finished one sock, and I'm into the second. My husband has tried it on and declared it to be warm and cozy. And yes, he will wear my socks around the house...

Neither of us mentioned the obvious loose ribbing. The problem seems to be that I form my purl stitches too loosely. A common problem for a lot of knitters. So, as an experiment, I'm using a variation of the Eastern Combined method of purling for the ribbing on the second sock.

Eastern knitters, those in Asia, Africa, and some Islamic countries, wrap their yarn around the needle in the opposite direction from Western knitters. There are myriad versions of this, two of which we call Eastern Crossed and Eastern Uncrossed.

Wrapping in the opposite direction uses a smidge less yarn and creates a stitch which appears to be more neatly formed. However, the resulting stitch has a left slant versus the normal Western right slant. To avoid a plaited, or twisted stitch, the left slant stitch must be worked through the back loop on the next row.

To adapt this technique to purling in the round (for the ribbing), I enter the twisted purl stitches through the back loops and wrap the yarn clockwise. The knit stitches are not affected.

I'll let you know how it turns out.

Yours in knitting,

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