Thursday, August 21

Focus on: Stocking stitch

Well, it's always best to start at the beginning, so why not the plain bread-and-butter of all knitting known as stocking stitch? Called stockinette in the US, this is the familiar smooth lines of Vs on the front, and staggered "bricks" or purls on the reverse. When you create it with a knitting machine, the purl side is visible to the operator, which confuses new users sometimes.

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On its own, it's not very exciting I suppose. However, it has its uses. For a start, any variegated or textured yarn is wasted in a fancy pattern. You just won't see it. So stocking stitch is the way to go. Reverse stocking stitch works well as a background for cables, it makes them pop out of the knitting.

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It's also useful in partial knitting techniques, such as the Lizard Ridge pattern above, which is a series of small staggered sock heels across the work.

It drapes well, although it has a tendency to curl inwards vertically and outwards horizontally. The first is useful for clothing; the latter is combatted with other stitches such as rib.

Stocking stitch is also the basis for simple lace patterns - the body of the fabric in between the holes. In fact it's often the base for other patterns too. A very versatile stitch, and easy to produce!

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