January 4, 2009

Horizontal cables

Posted in patterns, stitches tagged , , , , , , at 1:23 pm by Pink

So what have I been working on madly the past day or so?

Cabling. Horizontal cabling, to be specific.

Vertical cables–which make up 99.999999999999% of what you’ll ever see–are done by literally rearranging stitches on the needle to cross columns over. The most basic cable is two sets of stitches interchanged–the result line slopes at 45 degrees, since you move one stitch over one (or two stitches over two, etc.) A single cable motion in a row has a height of one, so the farther over you move it, the flatter the slope gets (closer to 0). So one stitch moved over two stitches would create a “line” of slope 1/2 (rise over run, remember?), etc.

For example:

Every single cable there is vertical.

Now, although you could theoretically/mathematically move a stitch over an infinite number of stitches, you can only go so far in reality without causing crazy things to happen. If you could move it over an infinite number of stitches, you’d be able to get a horizontal cable, since 1/∞ = 0, more or less.

Well, I don’t know about you, but I sure as hell can’t move a stitch over an infinite number of stitches, especially since one doesn’t usually want the stitch to move WAY the hell to other side of the room!

Horizontal cables represent a limit. They just aren’t done. However, if you’re doing a circle, or any sort of curve that starts off going up then begins to go down, you’re going to have to do something for the part where the very top/bottom of the circle is flat. (If we were crocheting, this wouldn’t be an issue!) The issue is, of course, that knitting is worked almost wholly unidirectionally, so barring magical entrelac-ness and the ability to rearrange ROWS of stitches, you can’t cable horizontally.

You can’t cable horizontally: unless, of course, you’re DragonCrafter, whose LJ I’ve referenced about ten million times. She not only explained the magical SSP decrease I wanted so badly, but she has crocheted River’s vest from “Objects in Space,” and is overall just freaking INCREDIBLE. Being brilliant, she came up with a method to cable horizontally.

Her directions work for one direction, one row of cabling. I’ve played with them and worked on how to expand it into multiple rows to match a multiple-stitch cable, but all the original credit goes to her. I just ran with it.

Here’s what I ended up with:

What I did to create the extra rows of horizontal cables was a lot of trial and error. First, I tried just purling across the WS then doing the horizontal cables on the RS, but that didn’t work (unsurprisingly).

I tried then to replicate it on the WS by purling, but I’m really, really, REALLY bad at rotating things in my brain.

It occurred to me, then, that the answer was glaringly obvious: just reverse all the directions and knit backwards! DUH! I also played with the original directions–instead of KFB, I do a M1T when I’m knitting normally, and a M1A when I knit backwards.

In my opinion, it also looks best if you start the cable with a backwards row, end on a normal row, and then do… something on the next WS. I haven’t determined what. (The “top” horizontal cable is an example of my variations.)

So, there you go. Horizontal cables! Still haven’t cracked how to do the WS row after it, but that’s my next project.

ETA: Figured out how to do the WS and other stuff! More is posted in part 2, here.

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December 30, 2008

Increases and decreases

Posted in math, stitches at 7:01 pm by Pink

For my own (and other knitters’) reference:

So, as most of you have probably figured out, purling is literally the same thing as knitting, just from the “wrong” side. (You can, in fact, just learn to knit with the needles opposite–not quite the same as knitting left-handed–and never need to turn your work.)

In order to get that smooth “v” stitch that everyone thinks of when they think of knit, you actually need to alternate rows of knits and purls (assuming you’re doing this flat). So a knit/purl combo (and I’m talking a knit row then a purl row, not a knit stitch next to a purl stitch) is essentially (or is, really) a bunch of intertwined loops–knit pulls the loop up from the back, and purl pulls the loop up from the front, so if you do one on each side, the loop gets pulled all one one side and is nice and smooth like one usually thinks of knitting.

Since knitting is done down one row and then back along that same row–and, sorry lefties, but we’re assuming that we’re right-handed here for the moment (your yarn hand doesn’t matter–if it’s in your left hand that’s Continental/German, right hand is English/American, the needle that is doing the “active” knitting is always the right one)–decreasing stitches, since you’re eliminating one, are going to slant. They just are, it’s part of their nature. Since stitches are moved from the left needle to the right needle, if you decrease by doing a straight up knit-two-stitches-together (K2tog), you’re going to end up with a stitch that slants to the right, since you’re coming from the left and pulling the loop towards the right.

Now, to REPLICATE that stitch on the “wrong” side–the purl side of stockinette–it’s easy to know what to do. You purl-two-stitches-together (P2tog), since purl is the same as knit and you’re going the opposite direction so it ends up. Purl decreases are weird, because they slant one way as you watch, but appear on the “right” side the opposite way since they’re just knitting backwards.

So what I’m trying to say is a K2tog = P2tog, and you get the same thing–it’s fabulous and looks lovely and they match up quite well. These are your most basic decreases. If you’re doing it in the middle of a piece, it doesn’t matter too much–if you’re decreasing on edges, though, it gets really obvious and really important really fast.

So, K2Tog and P2Tog slant to the right. Awesomesauce! The obvious question is this: how do we slant to the left?

For knitting, there are a number of options–the most standard is SSK, which is slip two stitches as if two knit, then pop the left needle in front of those stitches and knit through the back loop. (I prefer SSK-improved, which is the same, except for the second slipped stitch you slip purlwise. It lies a little flatter.)

Now, how does one replicate this on the purl side? The literal answer is that since we want to do the purl/backwards version of a SSK, we want to PSS–which would be purl, then… slip two stitches with… absolutely no consequence. It doesn’t work. All you’re doing at that point is passing stitches back and forth and not decreasing at all. You can purl 2 together through the back loop, but that twists the yarn and it gets fucked up and messy and I don’t like it as a match for SSK since, well… it just doesn’t match!

In my anal retentive quest for symmetry and obsession with topology as it relates to pretty fiber, I went in search of its match: and, through the wonders of Google and LJ, I found it!

The match to SSK is SSP tbl–slip slip purl through back loop. Slip two stitches knitwise, insert left needle as if to SSK, remove right needle, then purl those two stitches through the back loop. Since we slipped them first, it twists them correctly, and we get a stunning opposite. WHOO! GO Dragoncrafter