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Yarn Over Season: Purse Stitch

We’ve looked at the faggoting fabrics produced by the two knit decreases. Now it’s time to try a purl decrease: purl two together (p2tog). The yarn will always begin at the front of the work and go completely around the right needle to get where it needs to be to work the decrease. The resulting fabric is open, with much the same character as Basic Faggoting, and is known in most stitch dictionaries as Purse Stitch.

Yarn Over Plus Purl Two Together

Make a k2tog, turn the work, and what do you see? A p2tog, a right-slanting decrease made with purl stitches. As when a k2tog follows a yarn over, it makes a smooth eyelet, one in which the stitch in the yarn over column of stitches is hidden behind the decrease column stitch.

Purse Stitch (mult of 2 sts +2)

All rows k1, *yo, p2tog; rep from * to last st, k1.

Cast on 20 or so stitches again, and work a couple of rows in stockinette stitch as a base. Then work the first row as written above. I find this stitch pattern to be the easiest of the three to work: the right needle is inserted into the open right side of the first stitch on the left needle and simply continues through to the second. No fuss, no muss, no need to pull the fabric down to expose the holes in the center of the stitches.

Remember to end “p2tog, 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 right-slanting knit decrease stitch, and then the yarn over strand. After working the selvage stitch, you begin the “yo, p2tog” repeat again. In Purse Stitch you insert the right needle into the decrease stitch first, then continue through the yarn over. Because p2tog is a right-slanting decrease the yarn over ends up on top. Continue across the row, again remembering to end with p2tog, k1.

If you’ve been working swatches, you’ll notice the Purse Stitch swatch bears a striking resemblance to the Basic Faggoting swatch. Look at them up close. The structures are reflections of each other, yarn over strands and backbone decreases slanting  in opposite directions. Something to ponder as you make this week’s project!

Difference between basic faggoting and purse stitch

Project

Given its name, it seems like what one should make with Purse stitch is just that: a purse. Or at least a little project bag. I chose to use a bit of sport weight linen left over from a top I designed for Claudia Hand Painted Yarns. Leftover cotton or other firm fiber would work well too.

Finished measurements 16 around x 9 inches deep [40.5 x 23 cm]

Claudia Hand Painted Yarns Drama (100% linen; 270 yds/3.5 oz [247 m/100 g]): small amount of 1 skein (~40-45 g)
US 6 [3.75mm] needles or size to get gauge
Same size 24 inch [60 cm] circular needle for 3-needle join
F/3.75mm crochet hook
Tapestry needle

Gauge 12 sts and 30 rows = 4 inches [10 cm] in Purse Stitch, before blocking

LOOSELY cast on 26 stitches. Work in Purse Stitch until piece measures 18 inches [45.5 cm]. Bind off: k2tog, *k1, slip sts back to right needle, k2tog tbl; rep from * to last 2 sts, one on each needle; bind off 1 st, fasten off.

Finishing

Picking up stitches
Picking up stitches

With RS facing and circular needle, pick up and knit 1 st for every 2 rows along side edge to an even number of stitches.

With WS together, fold work at halfway point and pull out cable so needle tips face in same direction. Holding needles parallel,* knit 1 st through both front and back needle; knit second st through front and back; bind off 1 st; repeat from * until all sts have been bound off. Leaving tail, cut and fasten off. Repeat for other side. Weave in ends.

Joining the side edges

With yarn held double and crochet hook make a chain 30 inches [145 cm] long. Working about 1½ inch [4 cm] from top and beginning at side edge, thread drawstring through mesh, overlapping ends at side. Tie ends together.


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Yarn Over Season: Basic Faggoting

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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Knot On My Coasters

coasters in use

This series of posts began with a tutorial on the two ways to tie overhand knots, and how to tie the double and triple overhand knot variations: tie these knots in an I-cord or cast on/bind off cord, and you have an easy necklace or bracelet. The next post showed you some of my experiments with making these knots on knit fabric. And this post shows you how to use the knots on a project, a set of drink-ring-preventing coasters.

Design Decisions

I have quite a bit of odd balls of cotton in my stash, a good choice for coasters that will have cold and hot mugs and glasses on them. These are almost all worsted and sport weight, and there’s a nice variety of colors too: background yarn choice made.

For the embellishment, I wanted something close in weight to the background. The knots might stand out more in a heavier weight, but the resulting raised surface might be too irregular for some of my mugs to sit flat. I decided that the contrast for this project would come not from a difference in weight but in color. To mark the embellishing rows, I decided to use needle elongation to make those rows taller— I would work them with a needle 4-5 sizes larger.

Stitch pattern: stockinette makes a nice smooth surface for both coasters and embellishments. Since I wanted the coasters to be flat, that meant I needed to experiment with border patterns that would counter the curl of stockinette at both bottom and sides. What about dropping stitches at the sides to form fringe, which would be tied with oh, overhand knots?! Thumb’s up—choice made. What to do at top and bottom, thought—Garter? Seed? Reverse stockinette?

My first swatch was an experiment with all these elements, gauge and coaster size, and embellishing spacing. The coaster depth was ok, but it wasn’t quite wide enough. I liked the fringed edges, but decided I wanted a little more spacing at the side edge, so if I added a couple more border stitches what would also fix the width issue. The embellishing spacing was ok, I did NOT like the garter stitch at top and bottom.

In my next swatch I added the width stitches at the sides, used reverse stockinette stitch as a bottom and top border, and tried spacing embellishments farther apart. This swatch was closer to my vision, but ended up being taller than I wanted—I wanted coaster, not mug mat.

My final swatch gave me exactly what I wanted. I had my pattern, and could begin with “project yarn” and needles!


Coaster

Materials

10 g of sport weight cotton yarn
US 4, 5 and 10 needles
tapestry needle, scissors, crochet hook or your fingers for fringe!

Four stitches either side will be dropped for fringe. One stitch on the other side of the marker from them is worked through the back loop throughout to help hold dropped fringe in place before knotting, and one st in from it is purled as spacer.

Instructions

coaster with knitting completeWith US 4 needle, cast on 30 sts.

Next row (RS): k4, place marker, p1 tbl, purl to last 5 sts, p1 tbl, place marker, k4.
Next row (WS): k4, sm, k1 tbl, knit to last 5 sts, k1 tbl, sm, k4.

Slip markers as you come to them from this point forward.

Row 1 (RS): with US 5 needle, k4, k1 tbl, p1, knit to last 6 sts, p1, k1 tbl, k4.
Row 2 (WS): k4, p1 tbl, k1, purl to last 6 sts, k1, p1 tbl, sm, k4.
Row 3: k4, k1 tbl, p1, knit to last 6 sts, p1, k1 tbl, k4.
Row 4: with US 10 needle, k4, p1 tbl, k1, purl to last 6 sts, k1, p1 tbl, sm, k4.

Repeat Rows 1-4  four times, then Rows 1-3 once.

Next row (WS): with US 4 needle, k4, sm, k1 tbl, knit to last 5 sts, k1 tbl, sm, k4.
Next row (RS): k4, pm, p1 tbl, purl to last 5 sts, p1 tbl, pm, k4.

Bind off row (WS): k4, remove marker, bind off until 4 sts rem on left needle, fasten off, leaving a 4-inch tail. Slip needle out of 4 fringe sts on each side. Do not unravel fringe.

Knotting

Cut five 20-inch lengths of contrast color yarn. *Thread one strand on tapestry needle. working from left to right in one of the rows of elongated stitches, and leaving 4-inch tail for fringe, insert needle from front to back under the twisted stitch, in front of purl stitch, and under next knit stitch, returning the needle to the front.

coasters tutorial 1

[Strand across three stitches, insert needle from front to back, then right to left under 2 stitches and up between stitches 1 and 2 of the three, making sure needle is ABOVE the horizontal strand. Pull gently, and holding strand taut with left index finger, tie a triple overhand knot with needle around the strand (see last post for details).  Dress the knot.] 5 times across row.

coasters tutorial 2

Finish by stranding across one stitch, under one stitch, over purl column and under the twisted stitch. Repeat from * for each elongated row.

Fringe

Beginning at bind off edge on one side, **gently unravel several rows of fringe stitches. Smooth yarn loops out to side; cut each loop at its midpoint to form individual strands. Starting at the top, gather 3-4 strands (tails too, where they exist) and tie them in an overhand knot (tip: insert a tapestry or knitting needle in the center of the knot, hold it near fabric’s edge, and tighten knot around it first; when tight as possible, remove needle and cinch down until it is flush with the fabric edge). Repeat from ** for remaining rows of the side. Repeat for other side. Trim fringe to desired length.

coasters tutorial 3

coasters tutorial 4

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The Sand and Dot Stitch Cowls

In this series of posts, I began with a stitch pattern, thinking about its qualities and how they would result in fabric. Then I made a swatch to see if I liked working the stitch pattern and see if I was right about what it could do. With that information in hand I decided on a project, and made more swatches to explore how to put the stitch pattern to work. Now we’ll bring the series to a conclusion with the projects themselves.

Cowl Calculations

I measured the stitch and row gauge of Swatch 1: 13 sts and 20 rows / 4 inches [10 cm]. To get the number of stitches in 1 inch, I divided 13 by 4 to get 3.25 stitches per inch (SPI). I have 126 yards of chunky weight yarn; not enough for a long cowl but I can probably get a short one of decent width with that amount.

So how many inches around IS a short cowl? Adult heads are usually between 18 to 25 inches around, with necks being of course a lot less. I settled on a number approximately twice around the head: 40 inches.

To find out how many to cast on, I multiplied the SPI of 3.25 by 40, the number of inches I want. 3.25 x 40 = 130 stitches. Like its Seed stitch parent, Sand/Dot has a repeat of 2 stitches when worked flat. Since I wanted to work in the round, I needed to consider whether the stitch pattern needed any modifications.

Flat to Circular in Seed Stitch Patterns

Seed stitch patterns are like checkerboards with alternating red and black squares: purl stitch above knit stitch, knit stitch above purl stitch. If a round begins with a knit stitch, the first stitch of the round above needs to be a purl, and vice versa.

Round 1: [k1, p1] to end of rnd.
Round 2: [p1, k1] to end of rnd.

However, working in the round is not truly working in a circle, but instead is a spiral. The last stitch of a round butts up against the first stitch of the next round, not the current round. Over an even number of stitches, the repeat of Round 1 would end with a purl stitch and the first stitch of Round 2 would begin with  one, putting two purl stitches next to each other. What to do??? Work over an odd number of stitches instead.

Seed Stitch in the round is thus said to be a repeat of 2 stitches, plus 1 stitch. While Sand/Dot stitch has rows/round “between” the seed stitch portions that might visually disguise the purl-next-to-purl problem, I decided it would help me stay in pattern to work over an odd number of stitches, and added 1 stitch to my 130-stitch calculation.

Working Method

I like the look of both stitch patterns, but I do like knitting a bit more than purling. For this double-sided cowl, there was no reason not to work Dot stitch, with its easier-for-me Rows 1 and 3  of knitting. If I want the Sand stitch side as the RS, I simply turn the cowl inside out!

Below you’ll find the line by line instructions for each cowl, with commentary about some choices I made for each. I hope you’ve enjoyed this glimpse into the design process, and give it a try yourself. I’d love to see the results!


Pebbles on the Beach

This cowl was derived from Swatch 1. On it you can see the fabric curls slightly to the Dot stitch side. To counter that curl I decided to purl the first round after the cast-on. Since there isn’t a bind off with the same baby picot look as the cast-on, I opted for the opposite texture and used a rolled stockinette top border.

Using  US 10 [6.0 mm] circular needle and Faux Channel Island Cast-On, cast on 131 stitches. Join for working in the round, making sure the work is not twisted. Purl one round.

Rounds 1 and 3: knit.
Round 2: *k1, p1; repeat from * to last st, k1.
Round 4: *p1, k1; repeat from * to last st, p1.

Repeat Rounds 1-4 seven times. Knit 3 rounds; bind off.


Pebble Pathways

This cowl was derived from Swatch 2. Since it alternates Sand and Dot, thus curving slightly from RS to WS in welts, I decided it didn’t need any special border treatments.

Using  US 10 [6.0 mm] circular needle and Faux Channel Island Cast-On, cast on 131 stitches. Join for working in the round, making sure the work is not twisted.

Rounds 1 and 3: knit.
Round 2: *k1, p1; repeat from * to last st, k1.
Round 4: *p1, k1; repeat from * to last st, p1.
Round 5: knit.
Rounds 6 and 8: purl.
Round 7: *k1, p1; repeat from * to last st, k1.
Round 9: *p1, k1; repeat from * to last st, p1.
Round 10: purl.

Repeat rounds 1-10 twice, 30 rows total. Bind off.


Lines in the Sand

This cowl was derived from Swatch 3. It features a central panel of Sand/Dot stitch, and has symmetrical borders top and bottom, albeit with slightly different looks top and bottom. As with Pebbles on a Beach, I chose to work with the Dot stitch side facing me. For the bottom border I used the same cast-on and purl round combo as for Pebbles on the Beach, plus one repeat of the Dot stitch before a 3-round band of purls (knits on the other side). For the top border, I worked another 3-round band of purls, then one repeat of Dot stitch, and bound off purling.

Using  US 10 [6.0 mm] circular needle and Faux Channel Island Cast-On, cast on 131 stitches. Join for working in the round, making sure the work is not twisted. Purl 1 round.

Rounds 1, 3, 5: knit.
Round 2: *k1, p1; repeat from * to last st, k1.
Round 4: *p1, k1; repeat from * to last st, p1.
Rounds 6-8: Purl.

Repeat Rounds 1-4 three times, then Round 5 once. Repeat Rounds 6-8 once. Repeat Rounds 1-5 once. Purling, bind off.

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