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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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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Yarn Over Season is Coming!

Yarn over and basic faggoting stitch patterns

In this final weekend of April, I’m looking ahead to May and spring knitting. Warmer weather (for many!) means lighter knits, such as those incorporating lace patterns. If you’re a beginner (and a Monty Python fan) that statement may have you thinking “Run away! Run away!” In this post I hope to remove some of that fear with an introduction to one of the main maneuvers of lace knitting, the yarn over, known in knitspeak as a “yo.” In the rest of May we’ll look at some of my favorite easy lace stitch patterns, the faggoting stitches—how to work them, and what you can do with them.

What IS a Yarn Over?

A yarn over is, simply put, a strand of working yarn laid over the right needle. The instructions after “yo, ” anchor the yarn over, but are not actually part of the yarn over. This confused the bejesus out of me when I first attempted lace: I wanted a yarn over to be more, to be harder than it actually was!

What you have to do to make a yarn over depends on two things: where is the working yarn as you start and end the yarn over, and which hand holds the working yarn. When knitting, the working yarn is held at the back, on the far side of the needles; when purling, the working yarn is held in front, on the near side of the needles. The path of the working yarn may be the same regardless of which hand holds it, but the moves for getting it there are different when it is held left than when it is held right.


Between Knit Stitches

Between two knit stitches.If the last stitch before the yarn over is a knit stitch, the yarn begins at the back of the work. If the stitch(es) following will be knit (or knit together in some fashion), the yarn needs to be in back after the yarn over is made.

First the yarn comes between the needles, then it is laid across the right needle, then it needs to get to the back in preparation for the next stitch(es), the anchor stitch. For left-hand holders, taking the right needle under the working strand completes the yarn over, preparing for the anchoring stitch at the same time. For right-hand holders, bringing the yarn between the needles gets the yarn in the right place for the yarn over, and the motion of working the knit anchor stitch creates the yarn over.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Between A Knit and a Purl

Between a knit and a purl stitchIf the last stitch before the yarn over is a knit stitch, the yarn begins at the back of the work. If the stitch(es) following will be purled (or purled together in some fashion), the yarn needs to be brought to the front after the yarn over is made.

The yarn at the back is brought to the front between the needles in order to be laid over the right needle. Then it comes around again to the front for the following purl stitch(es). Left-hand holders take the right needle under the working strand (or lay the strand across) then bring it between the needles again (or lift it over the left). Right-hand holders bring the yarn between the sticks once for the yarn over, then again in preparation for the anchor stitch.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Between Purl Stitches

Between two purl stitches.If the last stitch before the yarn over is a purl stitch, the yarn begins at the front of the work. If the stitch(es) following will be purled (or purled together in some fashion), the yarn needs to be in front after the yarn over is worked.

The yarn begins at the front; the action of getting the yarn in place for the purl anchor stitch creates the yarn over, Left-hand holders lift the working strand over the left needle to get it in place for purling. Right-hand holders take the working yarn between the needles, and your hand position brings it around, ready to purl.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Between a Purl and a Knit

Between a purl and a knit stitch.If the last stitch before the yarn over is a purl stitch, the yarn begins at the front of the work. If the stitch(es) following will be knit (or knit together in some fashion), the yarn needs to be in back after the yarn over is worked.

The yarn begins at the front and ends in back. Left-hand holders lift the work strand over the left needle (or take the needle under) to make the yarn over; with the yarn in the left hand it is naturally in back, ready to knit the anchoring stitch. With the yarn already in front from the previous purl stitch, right-hand holders can create the yarn over in the same motion they use to bring the yarn to the back and knit the anchoring stitch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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