Wednesday, March 26, 2008

kwise or pwise?

OK, I'm getting a little geeky here. Feel free to skip straight to the pretty picture at the end.

The pattern for the scarf in progress uses a double decrease frequently found in lace patterns: Slip one, k2tog, pass the slipped stitch over (a left leaning double decrease). So, slip knitwise or purlwise?

The rule of thumb is that when used as part of a decrease, stitches should be slipped knitwise. This is done to prevent them from twisting, thus making a smoother decrease. On the other hand, I find it just a bit quicker and easier to slip that stitch purlwise. So how much of a difference does it make?



The decrease on the right used a stitch slipped knitwise. The decrease on the left used a stitch slipped purlwise. The one on the right is just marginally smoother. Really marginally. In the left hand sample, the twist in that passed over stitch lifts the front leg of the stitch slightly, making it a bit more prominent. On the other hand, that lift exposes just a tiny bit more of the underlying k2tog. Does this make the whole decrease look more centered? I'm not sure.

At any rate, when worked in the lace pattern, the differences to my eye are almost imperceptible.



Stripe on right worked with stitch slipped knitwise. Stripe on left worked with stitch slipped purlwise. Close enough that I'm taking the easy way out and slipping purlwise.

I'm not saying that under different circumstances I might not choose differently (bulky yarn? a different pattern stitch?) I'm just saying that for this project the choice that isn't technically "correct" works for me.

If there is any moral here at all, it is that the question of "What is the right way?" doesn't necessarily have only one answer. In knitting, you can do things any damn way you want, as long as you get results that please you and as long as you understand why you are doing what you are doing.

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Now the pretty picture



My snow babies opened up.

5 comments:

MollyBeees said...

Good to know! I've always wondered what the difference was but didn't have the wherewithall to knit up my own swatch to find out. Beautiful babies!

magnusmog said...

lovely sunny flowers :)

Linda L. said...

In knitting, you can do things any damn way you want, as long as you get results that please you and as long as you understand why you are doing what you are doing.

Yep! Which is why, when I get to a stitch-to-be-slipped-and-then-passed-over in the (wrong side) row before the decrease, I wrap it backwards. Same with SSKs (both wrapped backwards). Then when I decrease I can just fly right through it, and avoid BLSS (Big Loose Slipped Stitch) syndrome.

I love that about knitting.

YarnThrower said...

Interesting notes about the decreases! Thank you for working through all of that.

Your flowers are lovely! A true, true indicator that Spring is Springing! Perhaps today's predicted snow will miss them! I hope so!

kmkat said...

I hope your pretty babies are not suffering under today's snowfall. I love crocus.