There are few things that give so much novelty and originality to a hand-knitted garment as the interplay of contrasting colors. Yet the patterns in this section are easy to work—almost effortless, compared with some other knitting techniques. The reason for this is simple: all of them, excepting only the last two, employ the delightful and infinitely adaptable slip-stitch method of color knitting.
The last two patterns, "Fair Isle" Pattern and Houndstooth Check, are done in quite a different way. Instead of using the same strand of color all the way along any given row, these patterns change color from stitch to stitch. This type of knitting is generically termed Fair Isle knitting, although such a general application of the term is decidcdly inaccurate. True Fair Isle knitting has its roots in the Spanish tradition, and uses only certain definite patterns which are based on the Armada Cross. Therefore "Fair Isle" is put in quotes to indicate that it really is a misnomer.
Actually, "Fair Isle" knitting does not belong in this book, because it is not a stitch pattern at all. It is all done in plain stockinette stitch, the right-side rows being knitted and the wrong-side rows purled. But these two patterns are included just to give you an idea of it. The knitter can invent any sort of pattern for this kind of knitting, simply by marking the colors on graph paper, each square representing a stitch, and then knitting plain with her own "art work" as a guide. There are only two rules to follow: first, the unused strand is carried lightly across the back of the fabric; second, the new color is always picked up from under the one that is being dropped, in order to avoid leaving holes in the work.
Slip-stitch color knitting is easier to do than the "Fair Isle" type, and its patterns arc true stitch patterns. The colors are changed only at the end of a row. Unused strands are carried up the side of the piece from row to row, where they will be concealed in a garment seam. To make the neatest possible edge, remember to drop the strand just used on the right side of the fabric, and pick up the new strand behind it, on the wrong side. In this way the strands will be woven tidily around each other up the edge, all being drawn from the front to the back of the fabric. In circular knitting, it makes little difference whether the new strand is picked up to the left or to the
right of the old strand at the end of a round, as long as all are done the same way. This will make a continuous spiral of strands running up the inside of the garment from round to round. Care must be taken not to pull the strands too tight, as this might cause a vertical pucker.
Directions for slipping stitches specify "with yarn in front" (wyif) or "with yarn in back" (wyib). These are directions for straight, not circular, knitting, and do not refer to the right or wrong side of the fabric, but rather to the fabric in relation to the knitter. "Front" is the side of the fabric that is toward the knitter, and "back" is the side that is away from the knitter. Whether the knitter is looking at the right or wrong side of the fabric does not matter. After the stitch has been slipped, the yarn is returned to position for knitting or purling, whichever the following stitch calls for. Thus if a stitch is slipped with yarn in front, and the next stitch is to be knitted, then the yarn is put to the back again to be in position for knitting. If, on the other hand, a stitch is slipped with yarn in back, and the next stitch is to be purled, then the yarn is brought forward again for purling. Remember that in slipping stitches the needle is always inserted into the stitch as if to purl, i.e., from the right-hand side, unless otherwise specified.
Not all of these patterns need be done in contrasting colors. Some give very interesting texture effects even when the yarn is all the same color; which clearly shows that they are stitch patterns and not just color patterns. Experiment with them. In knitting, experimentation is usually rewarded with novelty.
Simple Vertical Stripes
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