Inversions

One week into Spring now and, what can I say, it does not feel like Spring at all. We have all the summery yarns you could want, and yet the weather really does nothing to tempt us into Summer knitting, does it? I am stubbornly knitting away on my linen sweater, just because I know (I just have to, otherwise hysterical cackling will set in) that the warmer weather is just around the corner.

There might have been a slight possibility that my husband heard me mutter (as it sometimes happens on Wednesday evenings) “I have no idea what to write about on the blog tomorrow.” In an effort to be helpful he suggested I talk about the ‘inverted garter stitch’. I do not think he was let down by the fact that such an animal does not exist, you should be rather impressed that he actually knows about garter stitch at all. However, his remark got me thinking. Inversion, aversion, reverse…

What follows is a conversation that could have been. It never happened this way, but all of the arguments I have heard, and often:

Me: “Look, this is the sweater I am knitting. I like it a lot.”

Imaginary person: “Ick. Reverse stockinette knitted in the round? That’s way too much purling for me.”

Me: “No, no, you knit it inside out…”

IP: “Jeez, that is way too complicated and difficult for me.”

Me: “Really, it is easy. You knit it in the round, all the decreases are done as usual, meaning knitwise.”

IP: “I don’t get it.”

Me: “The trick is to turn it inside out once you’re done. Then the purl side is on the outside. Cool, eh?”

IP: “I really don’t like the purl side of knitting…”

Me – thinking about slapping my forehead.

What is it that makes knitters dislike the purl side of knitting? Granted, with all the Stockinette Stitch designs out there it does get treated like an unruly stepchild, undeservingly, I might add, but the pearly, mingling colors, with stitches that are not v-shaped side of knitting can be just as appealing as the jersey we are so used to. At least I do think so.

That is just the reason I knitted Flore by Julie Hoover. Pleasant knitting with a lovely yarn (Manos Silk Blend – we have it available in many, many colors) and the surprise of turning it inside out. (I got asked a lot “why?” and have to say: “because it is fun!”) I am not sure why the purl side is usually so unexpected, since it is always there. Neglected, mostly, but always there.

FlorePicture from here.

 Cottesloe in the latest Rowan Magazine is another example. Knit in the new Pure Linen (we do have it in store!) it makes use of the fact that when you change colors, they intermingle on the purl side, meaning half of the row is one color the other half another.

Cottesloe 1Picture from here.

I am also knitting on a Habu design, which comes in a kit (there are still some left at the store!) with three cones of really thin yarn combined into one. Design No 117 means a lot of knitting – and when done it is meant to be worn with the purl side on the outside, however this one is reversible and could be worn the ‘usual’ way. Guess which way is my ‘outside’?

kit-117_2Picture from here.

Now I ask you: Have you ever put a thought to the ‘wrong side’ of your knitting? Or are you a staunch lover of the knit side? I bet if you find the right project you’ll come over to the ‘dark side’, too.

Happy Knitting, as ever!

– Mona

4 thoughts on “Inversions

  1. gnochistickate says:

    One thought about why people shy away from the “inverse”: a lot of knitters have trouble with their reverse stockinette rowing out, especially when working flat, because their purls are worked at a different tension from their knits. So, while the knit side looks nice and flat, the purl side can have uneven horizontal banding.

    A nice solution for people with this problem, though, is to try purling with a different size needle (usually smaller…the purls are often too loose). Interchangeable circulars make this super simple, you just stick a smaller tip on one end, so when you purl back, you’re making smaller stitches! It helps to swatch out to make sure you’ve got the sizes right for your desired gauge, but it can really help take care of uneven rowed-out purl sides!

    • Mona says:

      Indeed, the ‘rowing out’ can be a problem and using a smaller needle is the trick. Good tip! I used to do it, too. And, I do think you can see it on the Stockinette side also…if not as pronounced!

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