Yarn Over Season: Turkish Stitch

Turkish Stitch post

The last post defined the thing knitters do to make holes in fabric on purpose (“yarn over”) rather than by accident (“oopsie”). Via  words and animated gifs, it showed how to make them between different types of stitches as well as with yarn held in the left hand and yarn in the right hand. Now, those are my left and right hands, and the way you hold yarn and needles may not look exactly the same. As long as whatever you do gets the yarn from where is after making the first stitch on the right needle, over the right needle to make the yarn over, and to where it needs to be to make the next stitch!

A yarn over adds a stitch to your total stitch count. Much like wine goes with cheese, a yarn over goes with a decrease, and keeps the stitch count constant. Which decrease and its placement, before or after the yarn over, determines the overall look in the fabric.

In this post and the ones that follow we’re going to look at several easy-to-remember stitch patterns containing little else but pairs of yarn overs and decreases. All have a mesh-like appearance, and can be used as overall fabric, in panels, and as horizontal and vertical insertions in other fabrics. As a class they are sometimes referred to as faggoting.

Yarn Over Plus Knit Two Together

The first stitch pattern we are going to look at pairs the yarn over with a knit two together (k2tog) decrease. It’s known as Turkish Stitch. The yarn over is worked first and the k2tog follows. As a right-slanting decrease which puts the left stitch of the pair on top of the right, the decrease points toward the yarn over. If the pair were isolated in a ground of stockinette stitch, the stitch in the “hole” column disappears behind the decrease column and is a very unobtrusive pairing.

There is only one row, comprised of our yarn over/decrease pair repeated between a knit selvage stitch at each side.

Turkish Stitch (mult of 2 sts +2)

All rows k1, *yo, k2tog; rep from * to last st, k1.

Cast on 20 or so stitches, and work a couple of rows in stockinette stitch  to give yourself a nice base. Then work the first row as written above. Regardless of which hand you hold the yarn in, it can be helpful to pull the fabric below the first two stitches on the left needle down; it can make it easier to insert the needles into the two stitches. When you get to the last few stitches, remember to end “k2tog, k1!” It’s all too easy to continue the rhythm of yo between knits, and add an extra yo before the selvage stitch. And that will completely mess up what follows!

 

After the first row, when you turn the work you’ll see the stitches on the left needle are, from right to left: a purled selvage, a right-slanting purled decrease stitch, and then the yarn over strand. After working the selvage stitch, you begin the “yo, k2tog” repeat again. Notice what this means: when you work the k2tog, you insert the right needle into/under the yarn over first, continuing into the k2tog stitch. The yarn over ends up on top. Continue across the row, again remembering to end with k2tog, k1.

The fabric produced by working successive yarn over / k2tog pairs  in this way is wonderfully elastic. At rest the dominant feature of the fabric is its diagonal lines, created by yarn over strands  and k2togs of the front that slant in the same direction. Pull it open even slightly, and the yarn over strands from the back show through. You see a zig-zag lattice of yarn strands, as well as zig-zag columns of decreases.

Turkish Stitch, unstretched and stretched

Project

What better way to take advantage of Turkish Stitch fabric’s stretchy nature than to use it in one of my favorite shawlette shapes?! I’ve also used a tape yarn with some stretch, an oldie but a goodie from Colinette.

You’ll use a slipped-stitch selvage instead of the k1s at each side as above. This gives a nice edge, and it makes it a bit simpler to seam: 1 slipped edge stitch to 1 stitch at bottom or top (depending on which edge you fold!).

Finished measurements 12 x 40 inches [30.5 x 101.5 cm]

Collinette Tagliatielli (90% wool, 10% nylon; 175 yds/3.5 oz [160 m/100 g]): 1 skein
US 15 [10.0 mm] needles or size to get gauge
Tapestry needle

Gauge 10 sts = 4 inches [10 cm] in Turkish Stitch, slightly stretched

LOOSELY cast on 30 stitches; knit 1 row.

All rows slip 1 purlwise with yarn in front, *yo, k2tog; rep from * to last st, k1.

Work as above until there is approximately 9 feet [ 2.75 m] of yarn left. Knit 1 row; bind off loosely. Fold one end to one side as shown in this post and seam.


Back in the day I was obsessed with faggoting stitches, as well as capelettes. And Colinette yarns. My Delores Cape pattern uses all three, naturally. Read more here or on my Ravelry pattern store.

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