Knitting: August 2012 Archives
One of the first tools you will learn to use as a knitter is the stitch marker. They come in many shapes, sizes, colors and designs. You can purchase them inexpensively, have them custom made or make them yourself. In the course of your knitting career you will use many different kinds of stitch markers depending on your yarn and needle size (Remember my mohair blog post, I recommend not using jump ring based stitch markers). Fortunately all stitch markers will work the same when it comes to using them in your knitted projects. There are basic uses and creative uses as well as desperate uses. I will cover all the basic uses and attempt to cover all the creative uses. As far as the desperate uses, I can simply recommend that you carry plenty in your notions bag. To move a stitch marker as you knit simply slip it as you would a stitch; don't work it just slip it (pass it from your left needle to your right).
Basic uses of Stitch Markers:
The most common and basic uses of stitch markers are to mark your stitches so you do not have to count every row or count to where your pattern changes every time. If you are knitting in the round you will place a marker between the last stitch of the previous round and the first stitch of the new round so you will know when a round has been worked and you can count how many you have worked. You can also use it to highlight where a pattern change is occurring such as a sleeve increase, bodice decrease or cable pattern. Place the marker at the beginning of this change and at the end so you will know where to work your changes and when to stop. This helps so you don't have to count over to a certain spot on every row. You can just work to the marker then work the change to the next marker and then continue on your way.
Markers can also help you count rows. I love to use them when working cables. With cable you must work the twist after a certain number of rows. With the stitch marker I count the number of rows from the marker up and then move the marker up when I work the next twist. The twist of cables can skew the rows a bit making it difficult to determine which row the twist was worked on and then throwing off the size of your cable. Using the stitch marker eliminates the guess work. You can also use them when you begin a decrease or increase and then count the rows since the marker instead of searching your project for signs of the beginning of the increase/decrease.
Creative uses of Stitch Markers:
I have been known on occasion to use my stitch markers to hold dropped stitches in check until I can repair them with my crochet hook. The stitch marker keeps the stitch from unraveling more and holds it in place if I don't have time to address it at present. I can also use my stitch markers to plan changes in my project before actually making the changes. If I am working on a sweater and I want to insert a dart or increase/decrease for shaping, I can slip in some stitch markers where I think the change should be made and then I can step back and determine any pattern disruptions, determine how the placement will look or try it on to see if the placement sits on my frame where I anticipated that it would. Also, when finishing a hat and I have gotten to the last few stitches and just need to weave in the tail and pull it tight, if I find myself without a tapestry needle I will slip the stitches to a stitch marker until I find a needle to finish.
My last and most creative use of a stitch marker is as a sock monkey earring for this great Sock Monkey Hat!
For years, I knitted under the delusion that many other knitters share: that Moss Stitch (in Peacock above) and Seed Stitch (in Blue Icing above) are the same stitch. It was only recently, within the last few years, that I learned to my shame that they are not the same at all. These two stitches are similar, yes, but different. Enough so to give a different drape and texture to your knitted fabric. Let me educate you if you share my former ignorance. Seed St. is a texture stitch that alternates knit and purl (in this it is the same as Moss St.) but it looks like tiny little seed bumps on a smooth field. It gives more drape because the tiny bumps allow more movement and it has a more subtle texture than Moss St. Both stitches are reversible; they work well on scarves, blankets and turned down collars. Any project that can be seen from both sides would benefit from Seed St. or Moss St.
Moss St. is an elongated version of Seed St. and has less drape and more structure due to the elongated stitch. I feel it has a more dramatic texture that is more visible than Seed St. I love them both but feel that though they are similar, these two stitches should be applied in different capacities. I love Seed St. as a companion or background stitch. Because the bumps are so tiny, they blend well with other, bolder stitches like cables and bobbles. Seed St. would work well on button bands, sleeves, collars and hems but not as the main texture of a sweater. It needs something to work with and complement, like a micro dot with a bold print. Moss St. being elongated and more dramatic can work as the main stitch of a project but not so well as a complementary stitch. I love its application in the Cardigan Bay Jacket by Carol Feller where it is center stage. It is a structured stitch so it works well on a jacket body. Moss St. is much bolder than Seed St. and gives a nice even texture to the jacket.
Worked on an odd number of stitches: *K1, P1; repeat from * to last st., K1. Repeat this row on both sides. You will see alternating knit stitches with purl stitches on RS and WS creating the "seeds"
Worked on even number of stitches:
Row 1 & 2: *K1, P1; repeat from * to the end.
Row 3 & 4: *P1, K1; repeat from * to the end.
Repeat Row 1-4 and you will see elongated bumps 2 rows high on both the RS and WS.
My swatches were worked with Martha Stewart Crafts Cotton Hemp Yarn in Peacock and Blue Icing
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