Have you ever wanted to know how to tell you have twisted stitches?
I have been so busy lately and the only thing that I HAVEN’T stopped doing for myself is knitting (eating and exercise can go first, apparently). I just recently got an amazing book secondhand on Amazon – it’s “Knitting on the Road: Sock Patterns for the Traveling Knitter” by Nancy Bush.People, these are some seriously gorgeous sock patterns.
Nancy Bush makes beautiful mosaics out of stitches, and lots of the patterns involve knitting through the back loop (tbl) to create a particular effect. As I did this over and over I realized that what knitting (or purling) through the back loop does is makes the stitches twisted. I have been knitting for years but have never been able to tell when my stitches are twisted (which is a real pain when ripping out work and trying to pick back up again a couple inches down). I started paying closer attention and realized there is a way to tell when you’ve got a twisted stitch!
How can you tell?
Below is a photo of the Conwy sock pattern in progress. You can see that I have just made a knit stitch (right hand needle) and the next stitch I am about to knit is a purl stitch (on the left hand needle). Neither are of these are twisted.
You can see that, looking at it head on, the the right half of the knit stitch comes in front of the needle, and the left side comes around the back of the needle. You’ll note that on the purl stitch this is reversed, and the left half of the stitch comes in front of the needle.
You can see on the diagram that the right leg of the knit stitch comes in front of the needle, closest to you, the knitter. The acronym I use to remind myself is FLF (front leg first). This is what a knit stitch looks like when it’s NOT twisted.
The purl stitch, on the other hand, is the opposite. The back leg of the stitch (or left leg, if you prefer) is the one that comes over the needle and is closest to you, the knitter. This is a purl stitch that is not twisted.
It’s not all bad
A twisted stitch is not always a bad thing. It makes me think of the children’s book “A Weed is a Seed” – the moral of the story is that most of the time things are only bad when they’re somewhere they’re not wanted – but that same thing may be very much appreciated in a different context. The sock patterns in Nancy Bush’s book make beautiful use of twisted stitches to create stunning patterns. I have finished the Conwy pattern now, and have moved onto another!
While I learned the basics of knitting from my grandma when I young I am largely a self-taught knitter. Youtube tutorials have taught me a ton but sometimes I find they go too fast, and I’m constantly trying to pause them for the visuals. I love diagrams and hope you find this helpful too!