Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Face Facts!

Do I need to say this? Stocking knit curls!

It is the nature of the stitch. It's not a fault. It's not a feature. It just is. Accept it.

Stocking knit will curl both lengthwise and widthwise--a conflict will sometimes keep the corners a bit flatter.. but stocking knit curls.

I could go into the science, but she did, and she did, and so did she --and so did many others.. a google search of “Why Stockinette curls” yields 20,000 + hits! If you want to better understand knitting, and the nature of stocking knit, you can read and understand why it curls. Or you could just accept the fact that it is the nature of stocking knit to curl.

This curling nature make stocking knit sweaters (held flat by seam) drape and conform to the human body. It makes socks and other items knit in the round (tubular knitting) fit well too.

You can fight it— But you'll lose.

Several recent threads on different BB's have knitters saying “I know stocking knit curls, but..
It doesn't seem to in this photograph --but when I try to knit the same thing, the stocking knit curls!?

It can be blocked away, right? --Even thought I am knitting with an synthetic fiber that can't be steam blocked.

What if I add a twisted stitch or a few garter stitches, or something else at the edge?

It won't curl if i knit it loose enough, right?

Forget it! Stocking knit curls!

Accept the nature of the stitch, and live with it.

Do you want a stocking knit scarf (a flat one?) Double side it--Like this one

You can knit the scarf in the round, or knit it flat and seam, or double knit it.

(You can block it from now till doomsday, and while you'll get a few hours of flatness, a single layer stocking knit scarf is going to revert to curling!)

If you don't want a double layer scarf, use a stitch pattern that has a balance between knits and purls.
Ribbing is one, garter stitch is another –but there are many options besides these two!
Waffle, Flag, basket weave, any stitch dictionary or collection or treasury is going to have dozens of stitch patterns that balance knits and purls and lies flat. And many of these patterns have the virtue of being identical on each side--some are different, but equally attractive.

Once you realize that the curl of stocking knits stitch is the nature of the stitch, it's a quick and easy step to begin to seeing the Curl as a FEATURE. A feature you can work with instead of a flaw that needs to be fought. Soon after that, you'll be thinking about how to make use of this feature!

There are some techniques that USE the very nature of stocking knit to curl-- Some designs and designers that cleverly use the nature of stocking knit to curl to their advantage.

The nature of the stitch hasn't changed. It is just being worked with—good design allows stocking knits nature to curl to work for the design, instead of against it.

Here are some examples of stocking knit stitches nature being used for good --
Amanda Brown's Ruffle scarf-(well, my interpretation of it..)
from Scarf Style.

Look at the lovely curled edges of the ruffle.. Remember stocking knit curls-- See how it accentuates the ruffle, softens it, and gives it depth!

Look at the lovely curled edges on this sweater neck or on the brim of this hat... in both cases the curling nature of stocking knit is USED to soften the edges.

Here is an other example.. the nature of stocking knit to curl created deep ridges, and make the color changes more dramatic.

Stocking Knit Curls—how cool is that?


Sarah Ditum said...

I love this post! My least favourite knitting instruction ever is block it flat (*cough*Picovoli*cough*).

sulu-design said...

Cool post indeed. I like the scarf and hat examples that illustrate how nicely stocking knit curls when you go with the nature of the stitch instead of fighting it.

Carla said...

I am loving that wonderful hat with the curling stockinette ridges. May I ask about the pattern, pretty please?

Unknown said...

Carla, the ridged hat is the SWS Swirl hat (well basicly that hat). there is a link in left column to this pattern, and the other free patterns i offer.

Its not a pattern, just general directions.. there ate details..
(i point out that the seam should be hidden in a ridge.. but i leave to to the knitter to chose the cast on.. provisional, simple (both invisible) or a standard cast on and hidden (in ditch) seam.