Thursday, January 7, 2010

Yarn on Thursday: Stitch Edition! - Week One

The project: Knitting all the stitches in's Stitch Directory.
The yarn: Anything you want. I'm using a Phentex "Monster Ball of yarn" (32 oz. 100% acrylic), which won't block, but will give good stitch definition.

The needles: Again, whatever you want that goes with your yarn. I'm using my beloved Lantern Moon size 7s, because they're pretty.
Why this is happening: Because lots of people want to learn new stitches this year!
This week's stitches:
Seed Stitch (#37) (for the borders), Basketweave (#1) and Basketweave II (#2). (It's a two-day week!)

Now, since this is the beginning, I started out by casting on 30 stitches using a long-tailed cast on, because I can cast on snugly AND because by the time I've cast on, row one is finished! If you prefer a different cast on, that's OK, too. 30 cast-on stitches gives me 20 stitches of "pattern area" with five stitches on either side. Remember, the first row is finished as I cast on, so I'm actually just knitting five more rows in seed stitch (the "over an even number of stitches" version) - making sure to start that first actual row of seed stitch with a p1 - since it's the "wrong side" of my work. If you're doing a cast-on that starts you so your first row of knitting is on the right side, start with a k1. (Right side row: always starts with a k1, wrong side with a p1, that's one way to tell where you are if you get confused. Late at night, this can happen.) These six (total) rows will be roughly the same "width" as the five on-the-sides stitches of seed stitch. This will make a very nice, flat fabric for the borders on either side of the pattern area, since each knit stitch will be on top of a purl stitch in the next row. (Also, since the eventual blanket will be knit in strips, once the strips are attached to each other, there will be a lot of seed stitch between each horizontal pattern area.)

NOTE: This version of Basketweave is a stitch pattern that calls for "(multiple of 8) + 5". (2x8)+5=21, so I'm going to lose a stitch off one of the side borders! I elected to lose the stitch on the left side (of the "right side" of the strip - yeah, it gets confusing!), so I'm placing markers after the first five stitches (this will be seed stitch in the "over an odd number of stitches" version) for the right-side border , then doing 21 pattern stitches, then placing a second marker, then stitching the four border stitches (seed stitch in the "over an even number of stitches" - however, make sure to start that second border with a knit stitch, so the pattern continues up seamlessly from the bottom border!).
First row containing "pattern area":
   (right side) k1, p1, k1, p1, k1 (border); k across (pattern); k1, p1, k1, p1 (border)
Second row containing "pattern area":
   (wrong side) p1, k1, p1, k1 (border); k5, p3, k5, p3, k5 (pattern); k1, p1, k1, p1, k1 (border)
Third row containing "pattern area":
   (right side): k1, p1, k1, p1, k1 (border); p5, k3, p5, k3, p5 (pattern); k1, p1, k1, p1 (border)
So, here I am, about to start the first row containing a pattern area. The "right side" (pretty side/front side) of the strip should be facing me/you. Here I am at the end of the second row containing the pattern stitch:

Since I want this to look pretty, I need to pay attention to how many rows equals one full repeat of the pattern: in this case, eight rows. I'd like around 20 to 24 rows of pattern in each pattern area. That works out nicely, since 3x8=24. So, I'll knit a total of 25 rows (or three full repeats) of the pattern (and edge stitches!) plus an extra row of knit across, because this pattern depends on those knit-across rows to make the Basketweave "pop". Not all patterns will need this extra row, but I think this one benefits from it. Now, since there's an "extra" pattern row, my seed stitch starts on the wrong side again - so again, I'm only knitting another five rows of seed stitch for the top border of this area (which will also be the bottom border of the next area).

Here's what it looks like once the top seed stitch border is finished:

Close-up of knit row, so you can see how it helps make the top of the pattern pop.

The current wallpaper on my desktop computer.

Things I noticed about this pattern: It's flat, but still has a lot of dimension, which shouldn't be harmed if blocked, due to the illusion of woven strips. Having that extra final "knit across" row really makes a difference! My first sweater ever was knitted entirely in Basketweave (see below). I ended up giving it away, eventually!

On to Basketweave II! This pattern works over a multiple of 10 stitches, so the first pattern row is 5 stitches in seed stitch, place marker, 20 stitches in pattern, place marker, 5 stitches in seed stitch.

Since this stitch works over a multiple of 12 stitches, I've got a winner - since 12x2=24! But again, it really wants that extra knit-across row - so, 25 rows later, I knit another five rows of seed stitch, and this is what I've got.

Things I noticed about this pattern: It's reversible, it's quick, and it lies flat on its own. Also needs that extra final "knit-across" row to pop. I'm pretty familiar with a variation on it, as it turns out: I thought I was making it up when I knit up my Checkerboard Headscarf!
A note on the whole project: Since there are 139 stitch patterns (some are listed under multiple headings), plus 7 different edgings in's Stitch Directory, I'll be trying to do two to three stitches a week, minimum. This should get everyone a goodly number of new stitches by the end of the year, and hopefully get me a blanket. No worries if you "fall behind" or "start late" - this is for fun & education, there isn't *really* a time limit of any sort on it. Just knit on, and have fun!
From 2006:

This is the first sweater I ever finished. I had started one other when I was about twelve, but never finished it. Next time I do a first something, I'm not going to use something on the level of a BASKETWEAVE as my first-try pattern!! I took the picture because, as you can see, it doesn't fit really well. It's almost a kimono... so it's donated. Hopefully, someone will like it!


  1. I can't remember the last time I did basketweave pattern, but I do like how it looks

  2. You know, Nancy Bush talks about how in Estonia families pass patterns around in just this manner. They have long samplers of patterns. If you want to learn one of your neighbor's patterns you borrow their sampler. In return, you knit something new onto the end so they get a new pattern too.

    I was so impressed that it stuck with me.

  3. Thanks for stopping by and commenting on my blog. I love that pattern for quilts which is why I have used it so many times and even though they all come from the same pattern each one is so different!


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