Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Tutorial: Picking Up From Garter Stitch

In need of some relaxing, as opposed to taxing, knitting, I'm working on a version of Madder's Uniform cardigan. I refer to  "a version", because I'm knitting the pockets into a deeper garter stitch border and making a few technical changes such as knitting the sleeves in the round, using my own preferred buttonhole method, and knitting the top down pockets following my own approach, among other things. I'm following the instructions to pick up 2 out of 3 stitches along the diagonal front edges, but I'm NOT doing that for the garter stitch portion of the body. For picking up stitches in general, see this blog post, in which I explicitly left the subject of garter stitch to a later time. That time is now.

First off, when you are working in garter stitch it is an excellent idea to slip the first stitch of each row KNITWISE. I learned about this decades ago from a now rather ancient video of Elizabeth Zimmermann's PBS knitting show. I hardly ever hear or read this advice from other sources, which surprises me because it is such a simple, neat, and elegant solution for three reasons.

1. It produces a lovely little nub at the edge of each garter stitch ridge (remember, in garter stitch two rows make one ridge) that makes for a very tidy stand alone finish. If you just knit the first stitch of each row as usual, you're in danger of a rather wonky, kindergartenish edge, even if you're an experienced knitter.

2. If you eventually intend to seam the edge, all you need do is draw a blunt sewing needle back and forth through the nubs on each side for a gorgeous, completely flat seam. The way the two sides interlock together is like magic, and the reason why I have no objection at all to working garter stitch pieces flat.

3. To pick up (really, knit up) for a border, all you need do is knit into the little nubs. An easy way to accomplish this is to thread a smaller size dpn through the nubs first (see the needle on the left),

then knit into the back of each of those stitches, like this.

 If you've made Harriet's Jacket (below), you'll have encountered these techniques before. 

Some news:

1. I put together Ikea's Norden table, so now I have an actual sewing table in an actual sewing room (courtesy of James moving out last December).

2. Spring is here.

3. I had my first Pfizer dose yesterday. Only a very slightly sore arm. Yay. Hoping that Canada's vaccine supply continues to improve so that we don't have to wait months for the second dose.