A large number of very attractive designs can be worked with no more knowledge of knitting than how to form knit stitches and purl stitches. In such designs one type of stitch is played against the other to make embossed patterns on the surface of the fabric.
It is a basic principle of such combinations that knit stitches, worked vertically, will tend to stand up away from purl stitches (forming ribs) and that purl stitches, worked horizontally, will tend to stand up away from knit stitches (forming ridges or welts). Thus one type of stitch is often used as a background for the other. Cables, being worked usually with knit stitches against a purled background, constitute another illustration of this principle.
In the purely embossed type of knit-purl pattern, the two types of stitches are scattered or grouped more or less evenly over the surface of the fabric, so that a subtle design is formed which neither "takes in" like ribbing nor "takes up" like welting. This kind of pattern is usually interchangeable with stockinette stitch as far as gauge is concerned, and may be used in any garment calling for "plain knitting" with delightful effect.
Knit-purl combinations should be worked with solid colors. They are not suitable for yarns dyed in variegated color, as the alteration in color detracts from the pattern. Nor are they usually suitable for stripes of contrasting colors, since the color-change rows give a "wrong side" appearance to those stitches which are purled on the right side.
Many of the patterns in this section do not have specified right and wrong sides. This means either that they look the same on both sides, or that it does not matter which side is shown as the right side and this is left to the option of the knitter.
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