Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Snow Day Knitting

Yes, sunny Southern Oriental looks like this today:
Everything is cancelled in this kind of Southern weather, so we are indoors.
Julia did play with the puppies a little until Bo decided he did not appreciate snow in his face.

I'm sitting inside knitting (of course) and listening to my Pandora station, "Bossanova." If you're wondering what Bossanova music sounds like, give it a listen:

The knitting. Hmm. I was making a scarf with some luscious lavender variegated yarn from "Red Heart Soft." I love the look of solid knit -- you know, all knit on one side, all purl on the other. But when you make a scarf with that stitch (called Stockinette), it will invariably roll itself up along both edges and turn itself into a pool noodle. If you've ever had that experience, you know what I mean.
The expert knitting blogger at Techknitting addresses this dilemma thoroughly in several posts. I know I've looked at her three solutions before to solve this same problem on another project, but I didn't possess the adequate nerve to choose any one of them! This time, however, I knew I had to do something if I didn't want a pool-noodle-scarf :( I chose her option #2, "forming ribbing." Basically you intentionally drop stitches off your work, run them all the way down the scarf to nearly the bottom, and rework them back up the scarf with a crochet hook, changing the dropped stitches from purls to knits. That's what I did:
This was the back of the work, and it was all purling before. Every fourth row, I dropped a whole "column" -- basically like putting a run in your pantyhose all the way down! -- and reworked knits.
Meanwhile, the top of the work is secured by a stitch holder. You can see here where I've already reworked a few rows, and I'm on the last one.
This is the scary chaos that results when you drop a stitch! But never fear; your scarf will not fall apart in your hands.
You rework the column one stitch at a time using a crochet hook to reach through each stitch-loop, and snatch up the next stitch-yarn above it. I'm telling you -- an exercise like this will quickly teach you exactly how a stitch is constructed, and it will vastly improve your ability to spot trouble in your knitting and repair it.
If you look at your own knitting and feel rather like it's a foreign language you don't understand (even though you just made it!), a project like this will improve your language skills :) See the loop above? Below, you reach through and secure the next stitch -- the yarn pieces that are going straight across and need to be transformed back into real stitches again. (Sorry about the camera strap photobomb.)
Here's how it looks now that I've fixed it. It still looks like a knitted scarf, with just shadows of purl rows. But those rows of purl will keep the scarf flat when it's finished, especially after I give it a good wet blocking.
See the purl rows, hidden in between?
I have a long way to go on this scarf, and I'm glad I decided to fix this problem before I was at the end of it. Those dropped columns would have been much more laborious by then! As it is, I have to switch back and forth from knitting to purling as I go, but ... oh well! That's the life of a knitter!
Are you having snow days? Ours has just turned to a sleet and frozen rain day, heading into night.


  1. Knitting is a good thing to do on a snow day. We have a slight warm up today, but are braced for more snow on Thursday. Weep.
    I like your scarf! Pretty stitches and pretty color!

  2. I gave up halfway through. My brain's too small and my skills are too inadequate!

  3. Careful in that slippery stuff! Now, you've confused a new knitter. Don't you usually do the stockinette stitch purposely to cause it to roll up like that? And can't you just use a different knitting pattern to keep it from doing that in the first place instead of all of the repair work? (I really don't know the answer. I'm not being a smart aleck!) I've only done straight knitting so far. You advanced gals make me nervous about my ability to learn trickier stuff! ;)

    1. Yes, Lisa :) It would definitely have been better to have started using a different stitch from the beginning - haha! This "correction" is for those of us silly enough to start with stockinette and then realize later that we'd been silly to do so. The irony here is this: the "solution" is for those beginning knitters who do this (and perhaps make the WHOLE scarf this way!) because they didn't know any better. But the "solution" she gives is honestly too difficult for a beginning knitter to do! Ah well. Hopefully, I won't do this type of error again. We can hope? :)

  4. Hello!
    It's good to visit with you, and wow look at your snow! You just as well enjoy it. :-)
    Those are beautiful colors you have combined in your lovely scarf. I admire those of you who can do such work.

    Blessings, Debbie


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