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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From Stitch Pattern to Project Swatch

Coronado Cardi

In the last post I talked about Sand and Dot stitch, stitch patterns that are simply two sides of the same fabric. When you fall in love with a stitch pattern in a book or magazine (or website ;), the first step is to make a swatch to a) see how your fingers like making it, and b) see what the resulting fabric feels and looks like. Once you’ve decided you want to move forward with the pattern, the next step is to swatch for using it in a project.

Above you’ll see the swatch, design inspiration photos, and rough schematic which I included in my design proposal for the Coronado Cardi. When I made the swatch, I was testing the idea of beginning with a Sand stitch border, which would curl just slightly toward the body. Above the border, the body in Dot stitch would allow the multicolor yarn to take center stage, with just a smattering of purl bumps to tie the textures together. The swatch shows where I tried a buttonhole band in Sand stitch to see what that would look like.

I used the same size needle throughout. Note how on the  right edge of the main fabric the border appears just a tiny bit wider than the Dot stitch main fabric.  Since I didn’t change needles or stitch count, shouldn’t the fabric be the same width on both sides??

The top of the loop and running threads are the dominant feature of any purl-based fabric like Reverse Stockinette or Sand stitch. The width-wise character of these “frowns” and “smiles” cause the curl at top, bottom, and sides of these fabrics. Perhaps it is simply the curl that we see, making Sand stitch appear wider, or even measure as being a fraction of a fraction of an inch wider, than Dot stitch. When designing, the best you can do is make a big swatch and trust your measurements (taking the average of several).

A Simpler Project

Let’s use our base stitch patterns to make a simple circular cowl. I’m going to use the Faux Channel Island cast-on from a few weeks ago as a bottom border, and a flat edge of some kind as a top border. Looking in my stash, I found three skeins of Jamieson’s Chunky Shetland (126 yds/100g; 15 sts and 22 rows for 4 inches/10 cm on US 10), each in a different color. In Swatch 1 (amethyst), Swatch 2 (aster), and Swatch 3 (north sea) below I explored ways to vary the stitch pattern(s) that would be appropriate for my project.

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Swatch 1

The simplest thing to do? Begin with my chosen bottom border and jump right into the stitch pattern. End by working in stockinette to create an edge that rolls away from the Sand Stitch face of the fabric and toward the Dot stitch face of the fabric.

I love the way the cast-on edge works with the fabric itself. The bottom is curling up slightly, something I will need to consider as I make final decisions about the cowl I’m creating.

Swatch 2

Welting is the horizontal equivalent of ribbing, usually worked by alternating rows of Stockinette with rows of Reverse Stockinette. Here I’ve alternated a full repeat of Sand (+1 balancing row) with a full repeat of Dot (+1 balancing row), creating a reversible fabric with a three-dimensional character.

Rows 1-4: Dot Stitch.
Row 5: Knit.
Rows 6-9: Sand Stitch.
Row 10: Knit.
Repeat rows 1-10 twice, binding off on last row.

Swatch 3

In this swatch I’ve brought together features of Swatch 1 and 2. The swatch has a large middle area of Dot/Sand stitch, and borders of the same. But I’ve interrupted the patterning with 3 rows of Reverse Stockinette on the Dot stitch side, Stockinette on the Sand stitch side. The two sides of the fabric are decidedly different, with welts that pop up out of the Dot side and receding valleys of knit stitches on the Sand side.

Rows 1-4: Dot Stitch.
Row 5: Knit.
Rows 6, 8: Knit
Rows 7: Purl.
Rows 9-20: Dot Stitch.
Row 21: Knit.
Rows 22, 24: Knit.
Row 23: Purl.
Rows 25-28: Dot Stitch.
Bind off, purling.


In the final post of this series I’ll go over the process of writing up a simple cowl pattern worked in the round for each of these swatches as well as show you the results of knitting them.

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Maker Faire Bay Area Time!

Edit: See the bottom of the post for a short recap of my sessions in the NeedleArts Zone, and some links to weaving references for teachers and parents!

It’s Maker Faire Bay Area weekend! And Maker Faire has its very own NeedleArts Zone, sponsored by TNNA, The National Needlearts Association. The NeedleArts Zone provides opportunities for makers small and large to learn how to knit, crochet, spin, weave, needlepoint, and cross-stitch. Supplies and teachers are provided FOR FREE: show up, sign up, and you’ll get to try something new. I’m excited to be teaching weaving on little looms, one of my new favorite things to make with!

Maker Faire has something for every kind of maker, as well as makers of all ages. 3-D printing, alternative energy, rockets, robotics, VR, woodworking… the list is endless. And if you’re not sure you want to MAKE, it’s a great place to people watch.

Here’s a few photos from yesterday’s set up. You can find the NeedleArts Zone in building 2, Craft section. We’re right on a corner!


Maker Faire Recap

Stitchers on Friday morningIn addition to helping set up on Thursday, I worked Friday afternoon and Sunday morning/early afternoon in the NeedleArts Zone teaching weaving, my current fiber-related new hobby. Here are just a few thoughts and photos on the experience!

Friday was student day at Maker Faire. When the gates opened, the first students into the Needlearts Zone swarmed the needlepoint station. SWARMED, truly. Every time I looked over from the weaving station, the needlepoint tables were full of stitchers. How wonderful is that?!

My tables quickly filled up with new weavers ranging in age from eight to 18. I had some great conversations with parents, who wanted to know where to get the looms so their kids could keep weaving at home. Teachers can incorporate making a loom out of cardboard into their class activities, getting kids to practice measuring and cutting skills before moving on to weaving itself (see these free patterns from Red Heart for instructions on making a cardboard loom as well as the basics of weaving: LW4978, LW4979, LW4918).

Sunday was equally busy, but with adult learners as part of the mix. Many went beyond the basics of plain weave and tried more complicated basketweave and tapestry techniques. While we had warped the looms for students ahead of time, each student learned how to take their piece off the loom and finish the ends so they had something to take home as a reminder of what they learned.

It was exhilarating to be part of creating so many new weavers, spinners, knitters, crocheters, and stitchers!

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And the Craftsyversary winner is…

CraftsyLogoBellaterre! Congratulations, and enjoy your free Craftsy class!

I’m looking forward to seeing all of you who signed up in class, answering your questions, and seeing your projects. Color work is some of my favorite knitting, and just getting this celebration together is nudging me back toward it as I try to restart my own independent pattern line. One of my older patterns that I still love making is the Triangle Man Pillbox. I wonder if the class color patterns could be adapted to the hat stitch counts… ;-)

Modern Stranded Knitting Techniques classFor those of you looking to expand your knowledge of stranded color knitting, I’ll point you at Mary Jane Mucklestone‘s new class, Modern Stranded Knitting Techniques. She has still more motifs for you to work up while practicing your technique, and you’ll get to make the cool cowl you see in the picture at right. Each of us has our own bag of knitting tips and tricks, and Mary Jane brings a lot of great ones to this class!

Check it out using my affiliate text link or the one on the photo, and you can get 50% off the purchase price.

Until next year!

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