Yarn Over Season: Basic Faggoting

Basic Faggoting post

Yarn over season continues with Basic Faggoting, in which the knit two together (k2tog) decrease is swapped out in favor of slip, slip, knit (ssk). The name would seem to imply it is the fundamental stitch; personally I find it harder to work, and Turkish much easier for first-timers. Get the hang of Turkish stitch, your hands figuring out the necessary micromovements, and the other patterns will be easier. (Need a refresher on yarn over basics? See this post from a couple of weeks ago).

So where does the name come from? Faggoting is a type of needlework in which vertical groups of threads are tied decoratively in bundles. It is often used to join hems together. A quick search for “faggoting needlework” returns some examples. The Victorian Embroidery and Crafts page has some nice diagrams of how the needlework is done. Compare our knit Basic Faggoting fabric to the images and diagrams: pretty darn similar, with threads twisted around each other. So let’s see how our knit version is worked.

Yarn Over Plus Slip, Slip, Knit

As with Turkish and all other patterns of the category, the yarn over is worked first. In this case it is followed by a left-slanting decrease. The decrease points away from the yarn over. If the pair were isolated in a ground of stockinette stitch, the stitch from the “hole” column is on top of the following stitch, visually breaking up the neat column of stitches.

Basic Faggoting (mult of 2 sts +2)

All rows k1, *yo, ssk; 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. When working an ssk, I find I often use my left thumb and forefinger to pull the fabric down when inserting the left needle back through the two slipped stitches, and to hold the stitches in place when pulling the yarn through . When working with the yarn in my left hand, I use my right index finger to hold the yarn over in place as I work the ssk. These micro movements work for my hands; your hands may require different ones. Give them (your hands) time to figure out what will make them happy—they are smarter than our brain much of the time!

When you get to the last few stitches, remember to end “ssk, k1.”

 

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 left-slanting purled decrease stitch, and then the yarn over strand. After working the selvage stitch, you begin the “yo, ssk” repeat again. Notice what this means: when you work the ssk after the yarn over, you slip the decrease stitch, then the yarn over. The decrease stitch ends up on top. Continue across the row, again remembering to end with ssk, k1.

The fabric produced by working successive yarn over / ssk pairs  in this way is by nature open and flat. The difference between unstretched is barely noticeable. The zigzags in the column of decreases are in the same plane. In Turkish stitch they are just slightly in front/back of each other. The same is true of the zig-zagging lattice of yarn overs. And the yarn overs appear twisted around each other in Basic Faggoting, while in Turkish they simply cross over/under. Fascinating.

Basic Faggoting, unstretched and stretched

Project

Basic faggoting fabric is naturally open, rather than collapsible like its sister Turkish fabric. I choose another Colinette yarn, this time a wool and cotton twisted together, Prism.

Use a slipped-stitch selvage instead of the k1s at each side in the swatch instructions. 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 approximately 12 x 40 inches [32 x 103 cm]

Collinette Prism (90% wool, 10% nylon; 126 yds/3.5 oz [115 m/100 g]): 2 skeins
US 15 [mm] needles or size to get gauge
Tapestry needle

Gauge 10 sts = 4 inches [10 cm] in Basic Faggoting Stitch

LOOSELY cast on 30 stitches; knit 1 row.

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

Work as above until piece measures approximately 40 inches [103 cm]. Knit 1 row; bind off loosely. Fold one end to one side as shown in this post and seam.


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