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 Learning the Art of Knitting Stitches

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John Alexander
Embroidery Top Dog
Embroidery Top Dog

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Join date : 2014-04-11

PostSubject: Learning the Art of Knitting Stitches   Sat May 31, 2014 5:52 am

Mastering the two types of knitting stitches - the knit stitch and the purl stitch - opens up a world of opportunity for would-be crafters.
The Knit Stitch
The knit stitch is the first stitch an aspiring knitter should master. There are various ways to hold the yarn and needles, depending on the teacher and your personal preference. Continental knitters will hold the yarn in their left hand, while English-style knitters will hold it in their right. Regardless of the way that the yarn and needles are held, the knit stitch is performed in primarily the same manner
Ultimately, the right needle is placed through the yarn loop on the left needle with a front to back motion. With the needle placed on top of the working yarn, the yarn is then pulled through the loop from top to bottom, conversely described as the yarn being wrapped around the needle in a counter-clockwise fashion. The loop on the left needle is then pushed off the top, and only the new loop on the right needle remains.
Though written descriptions are helpful, watching someone perform a knit stitch firsthand is invaluable for a new knitter. Videos of demonstrations can be found online at various knitting sites and boards. Despite its simplicity, mastery of the knit stitch is a requirement for knitters. All other types of knitting refers back to this basic stitch. Rows upon rows of the knit stitch are called garter stitch, and garter stitch scarves, dishcloths, ties, blankets and sweaters are excellent projects for beginners.
The Purl Stitch
The purl stitch is the second stitch that a knitter must master. In fact, the purl stitch is the opposite of the knit stitch. Rather than place the right needle through the loop from front to back, the needle enters the loop from back to front. The yarn is still wrapped around in a counter-clockwise fashion, and then the loop on the left needle is pushed off so that only the new loop on the right needle remains. Again, it is essential to watch someone perform this stitch in order to confirm that it is being done correctly before practicing bad habits.
A row of the knit stitch combined with a row of the purl stitch creates stockinette or stocking stitch. This pattern of V-like shapes is often used for sweaters, skirts or other machine-knit items.
Additional Stitches
Though people often refer to cable stitches and lace stitches, these terms are incorrect. Cable work involves using a needle to reorganize and knit purl stitches. Lace work involves yarn overs, the task of wrapping the yarn around the needle as in knitting, without actually knitting. Both are simple tasks, though they tend to daunt inexperienced knitters. Again, with an understanding and proper use of the knit stitch and purl stitch, additional tasks in knitting are actually quite easy.
Casting On and Binding Off
Though not exactly knitting stitches, casting on and binding off are necessary components of creating any hand-knit item. The simplest cast-on technique starts by placing a slipknot on the left needle. Then, with the right needle, create a knit stitch. Instead of then slipping the loop off of the left needle, place the new stitch on the left as well. Repeat until the appropriate number of stitches are on the needle.
Binding off also closely relates to casting on. Knit the first two stitches of the row as usual, and then, using the left needle, take the first stitch on the right needle and pull it over the second stitch. Repeat until there is only one stitch left, and then pull the remaining yarn through. This will create a simple bind-off edge.
Though knitting appears a daunting task to the untrained eye, the craft is actually quite straightforward and simple. The types of knitting stitches aren't in the thousands and from two basic stitches, an entire garment can be formed.
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