When the test knit for Tru Wuv started, I mentioned that I knit “different”. One of the test knitters became curious, so I made another video showing how I knit and purl:
I’ve also made a few more showing how I do some common decreases, but I’m still working on editing those. Hopefully I’ll be able to upload them this week and share them with you.
I like my cast-ons and bind-offs to be as non-intrusive (read almost invisible) as possible, so I learned a few different methods to do both. My reasoning is that you don’t see sewn garments that are finished with just a zig-zag st, then why should my knitting have edges that don’t match? Now, when knitting swatches or something where the top and/or bottom edge won’t make a difference, I do my “default” bind-off: k2tog, slip the st just made back to the left hand needle, knit it together with the next st, repeat until you run out of sts.
This bind-off is fast and a no-brainer. Since I found out that my cast-on was kind of unorthodox, I decided to check my bind-off also, because, chances are, it wouldn’t be what the examining board calls “basic bind-off”.
Not only the bind-off I described above isn’t the “basic”, I couldn’t find any references to it anywhere…I’m going to get some more books from the library to check them out, since I don’t think something this simple wouldn’t be described somewhere. I know, for a fact, that I’m not the only one who binds-off this way, but the fact that it isn’t described in the books I have at hand right now makes me scratch my head and wonder what else I do differently from people in the Northern hemisphere…
The most common bind-off I could find tells me to k2, pass first st over the second,knit one more, pass first over second, so on and so forth. It makes for a smaller chain at the top edge which I like and takes as little time as the one I’m used to. It is also stretchier(? more stretchy?) than my default one. There is only one little caveat: the last stitch comes out too long.
I’ve tried to knit that one stitch tighter to no avail and then, last night while doing yet another pre-swatch, I decided to pass the stitch over without knitting the last stitch. Voilà! Problem solved.
Actually, no, I’m not. I just do it differently. For years I’d wondered why some patterns tell you to do a long tail cast-on and purl the first row. Many times I came across an item that I wanted to knit exactly the way the pattern described it, because I didn’t want to mess up; and most of the time I came across this cryptic set of instructions – some variation on “the first row will be a WS one”. I didn’t get it, why would the designer want the bumpy side of the cast on to show? Then, I’d check for images of the edge, and whenever there was one available their edge didn’t have the bumpy side showing.
In my head there were two explanations for that discrepancy: either the designer/knitter used a different type of cast-on or, more likely, I was doing something wrong which I couldn’t find a way to fix. Over time I decided to just shrug and move on, ignoring that first WS row.
A few months ago a light bulb finally lit up in my head (because I’m obsessive like that and will wonder about the whys of things for a long, long time) and I figured out that all those designers and I were doing the same cast-on, but using different hands. Was that what the fight about left – handed vs. right – handed knitting was all about?
The long tail cast -on is still one of my least favorite ones to do. Ever since I began knitting, until the day I left my parents’ house, I’d have my mom do it for me – it was boring, I could never keep an even tension and it took forever. Once I moved out of their house (and out of town), I couldn’t use her “services” anymore, so I had to bite the bullet and do it myself. I learned to do it the same way I did with most other fiber activities : by turning whatever magazine I had at hand upside down and following the illustrations in it. This is how I ended up doing the long tail cast-on holding the needle on my left hand and manipulating the yarn with my right hand.
When I started doing the swatches for the masters’ program I found out that the way I cast on is called Reversed Long Tail Cast -on. Hmmmmmmmm…I had to learn to do the “proper” long tail cast -on, so I can show I’m able to follow instructions – which has one holding the needle on the right hand and manipulating the yarn with the left.
One of the reasons I don’t care for the long tail cast – on is the fact that mine always turns out too tight, but not when I do it with my right hand. 😀