I’ve been told this process is easier if I blog about it on the way. One of my friends once said that I was the kind of person who, when doing something for the first time, I invite an audience along for the ride, even though what I do might be utter crap. This is completely true– I believe in the process of learning and try/fail so much, that I’m willing to fall flat on my nose in front of a crowd (and I have!)
Anyway, here’s the progress so far:
I knitted Swatch #1 and 2. Swatches 1,2,3, and 14 are supposed to be knit with the same yarn and needles. The only difference is in the stitches, so you can compare them and see “why is stockinette different from garter?” Swatches 1 and 2 are garter and stockinette, respectively.
Swatch #1: Garter Stitch
Swatch #2: Stockinette Stitch
[Please ignore how crappy Swatch #2 looks– neither one has been blocked yet.]
Now, allow me to ramble about what has been going on with these two swatches.
First, I started Swatch 1 and knit the ribbing. I noticed something that I had noticed on the sweater I made, the sweater I failed to make, the socks I was knitting at the moment– in fact, everything I make that isn’t in lace gauge. I have “bumps” or ridges in the back of my stockinette. In other words, when I try to knit a flat piece of knitting, there are ridges in the back:
Rrrruffles have rrrridges!
I learned, from reading about tension problems in the many useful resources on the TKGA web site, that knitting is not supposed to have those ridges. I was shocked. I thought they were decorative. I thought they were why people complain about purls. I thought…
Well, anyway. Never mind what I thought. Knitterly denial is a powerful thing.
The problem was, the TKGA web site discussed lots of ways to fix your stockinette, assuming your purls were looser than your knits. Looser? I looked at my stitches. Only if being looser meant they were smaller, tighter and more cramped looking. In some places, my purl stitches disappear they’re so much tighter than the knits.
I knew I was in trouble.
I turned to Ravelry. And here, let me state, again, that there’s no resource in the world that’s been as helpful to me as Ravelry. I’m going to have to figure out how to cite Rox on Ravelry in my references when I do them, because she’s the one who led me to this information:
Until a week ago, I was a Combination knitter. This means, in essence, that although I knit normally for an English-style knitter, I wrap my purls around the needle backwards, and this means that not only don’t they have enough yarn to form an even tension with the knits, but they’re also a bit twisted from the knits.
Well, probably people in my knitting group, but when you crank out projects anyway, nobody cares about how you did it. The truth is, in knitting, this little difference doesn’t mean all that much (if you swatch correctly, you will adjust for tension problems as you knit your garment to fit– this is why my sweater fits even though it has uneven tension). Except in two places: the depth of my heart, and the TKGA Master Knitting program.
So for the last week or so, I’ve been wrapping the purls the other way. Two things happened when I did this. First, I found it very hard to switch. I mean, you try doing something so much it becomes muscle memory, and then change it!
Second, magically, my purls had the same tension as my knits.
Anyway, I’m going to re-do my Swatch 1, because I also went back and re-read the directions. As it turns out, I didn’t weave the ends in correctly, so I want to re-do the swatch with the correct weaving-in.