Tuesday, January 16, 2007

What is your favorite stitch?

Every once in a while, on a knitting BB, someone will post the question:
What is your favorite stitch?

For me, the answer is always changing!
I love slip stitches, and lace, and edging and… well, the truth is, I don’t have 1 favorite stitch.
Still the list of favorites isn't endless either!

One stitch that makes the list, is a rather simple, but very interesting stitch:
The Continuous Cross or ‘Chain stitch’

This stitch results in a raised, horizontal chain. It's not that hard to do, though you do have to take a bit of care since it is easy to work it too loose
--and just to be persnickety, when worked too tight, it restricts the nature stretch of knit fabric.

Still it's not so hard that most knitters can’t get the tension right after a few tries.
Here are 2 examples of finished objects that made use of the stitch.

On the left, a small purse, on the right, a throw pillow back.


The Continuous Cross or Chain Stitch
This stitch is similar to a simple ‘crossed’ stitch, which is really just a simple 2 stitch cable-one that is worked with out a cable needle, by working stitches, while still on the needle, out of order.
This stitch can be worked over any number of stitches, straight or in the round.
It creates a horizontal ‘chain’ across the front of your knitting. It's surprisingly stretchy, and very decorative.
Foundation row-Purl (or some rows of stocking knit stitch)
Row 1: K2 (selvage) then, Make 1 by picking up the bar between the last stitch knit and next stitch, twist it, and place on LEFT needle.
(this is a pretty standard style of Make1) This new stitch is the C stitch.

Make a crossed stitch—(2 stitch cable)
Knit into second stitch on left hand needle (going through back loop), then knit the C stitch, then let both stitches drop off needle
(this is standard cross stitch)

**Move the C stitch (the last stitch on RIGHT needle), back onto LEFT needle, and make crossed stitch, again.
Repeat from ** across row till 2 stitches remain.

The C stitch will cross (continuously cross) every stitch in the row, creating a horizontal ‘chain’.

When 2 stitches remain, DO NOT move the C stitch to left needle
Knit the next stitch, pass the C stitch over that stitch—in a standard ‘bind off’ style.
(this ‘binds off' the C stitch and returns stitch count to original number.)
Knit the last stitch.
Row 2 to X: stocking knit stitch, (purl/even numbered rows, Knit/odd numbered rows.)

This stitch can be done in round—just eliminate the 2 selvage stitches at either end of row.

Make 1 as first stitch, at beginning of round marker.
At the end of the round, ‘bind off’ the C stitch onto the Make 1.

This stitch looks great on socks, but practice it first, since it is especially important to have it stretchy if used in a sock!

You might also think about how to position the C stitch on the left needle.
You'll find it a bit easier to work if the C stitch if, when returning it to the left needle, you mount it backwards, and knit into the back loop.
The backwards mount, combined with knitting into the back loop will result in a NON-TWISTED stitch, and will be easier to knit.

This cross stitch looks best IM(NS)HO when done in rows separated by 1 inch or so of stocking knit.

But, I also have used it, combined with Latvian type braiding, to create an interesting texure--as seen here, where you can see the front (and solid colored back) of throw pillow cover when under construction.
A reminder: stitch patterns, like recipes, can't be copyrighted, but the exact wording of the directions can be, and are. You can use these directions to create your own designs.
But you can not reprint or reproduce these directions, as written, in patterns you might write, with out express permission.

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