Varying your stitch pattern

Stitch patterns can affect the way your stripe pattern (or color change) looks. In stockinette stitch, if you knit a row in one color and the next row in another color, from the right side the line where the rows meet is sharp and clean. From the wrong side, the line is broken into dots of color by the purl bumps — different effects, different design possibilities. In ribbing or other stitch patterns where purl bumps show on the right side of the fabric, striped patterns show the dots of color unless both the row of the old and the row of the new show the knit side of the stockinette on the right side.

"Knit" refers to how you make a certain kind of stitch and how a stitch looks from the right side of a fabric. A knit stitch is a smooth V on the right side, even if you make it by purling on a wrong-side row.

If you want a sharp no-dot line between your colors and you're working a pattern on which the right side shows the purl bumps, simply work knit stitches for the first row of the new color. For example, if you're knitting a ribbed pattern, work the last row of the old color in the knit/purl pattern you've established. If the next row is a wrong-side row, purl; if it's a right-side row, knit. Then continue on in your pattern stitch in the new color. Hard as it may be to believe, as long as your stripes are several rows deep, the knit row is almost undetectable in your pattern stitch, and you have a distinct transition between stripes.

Making waves

To make wavy stripes, knit a chevron stitch pattern at the same time you work your stripe pattern (see Appendix A for a chevron stitch pattern).

■flV ^ If you've found yourself a good basic sweater pattern and want to add a wavy striped border to the bottom and sleeves, sample the chevron ■ Foil stitch on different needles until you match the gauge given in your sweater pattern. Then work the border on the body and sleeves as deep as you like before switching to stockinette stitch for the sweater body.

Stripe any which way

You can also break up the strong horizontal feel of stripes by knitting randomly striped strips and sewing them together. Or you can work mismatched stripes in vertical panels by using the intarsia method of color knitting. (We cover intarsia in Chapter 13.) Breaking up stripes prevents them from traveling across the width of the entire piece. Finally, you can make patches of stripes (lots of gauge swatches!) and sew them together at 90-degree angles for a patchwork effect.

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