Thursday, October 9, 2014

Saturday Knit Natters Club

Our Austin/Central Texas machine knitting group, Knit Natters, is meeting on Saturday.  We can’t meet in the usual church building, which is unavailable this week, but are carpooling to Mary’s ranch in Burnet.
Barbara’s doing a Passap demonstration, but sorry, I don’t have details yet.

I am planning to teach grafting (Kitchener stitch)of ribbing.  Why would you want to do that?  Well, it comes up commonly with button bands and edgings, and I’ve seen it in circular sweater patterns recently.
This demo will be for knit one, purl one, ribbing, “bottom to top,” and I’ll explain a little later about the “bottom to top” business.  I do my grafts using waste knitting, not the typical knitting needle method, because I can get the tension so perfect that the grafts vanish.  I have some video plans in mind, and have been working through different ways to teach it.  The club ladies are going to be my test audience, and we’ll see if they like my method, what the typical questions and issues are, and how I can improve the teaching of this rather tricky technique.
Not only do other knitting teachers teach needle grafting for ribbing, they usually provide lists of what to do for each stitch, sew knitwise, or sew purlwise, or slip off, or leave on…that’s all fine, but I’m trying to teach the underlying concepts so you can SEE what to do next without following a detailed cheat sheet.  At least, you can visualize the procedure after some practice. 
Now about the “bottom to top” business - Grafting ribbing is a tricky business.  If you graft the open stitches at the tops of two pieces of knit one, purl one ribbing, you get a very unsatisfactory result with a definite demarcation row and all the stitches in the graft row off by a half stitch.  That’s because graft stitches – Kitchener stitches – put the two pieces together offset by a half stitch.  This doesn’t show a bit with stockinette or even garter stitch, but with ribbing, it’s a problem.  There’s another way to graft two tops that looks fine, though.  It’s not what I’m teaching this weekend unless things go swimmingly and we have lots of time to do a second activity.
However, if you graft the open stitches from the top of a piece of ribbing with the loops at the bottom of a piece of ribbing, everything can match up beautifully for an invisible graft.  This is true whether it’s knit one, purl one, or knit three, purl two, or any other combination of knits and purls. 
Last night, I knitted a pile of swatches of ribbing for Saturday’s workshop.  Everybody gets a swatch, 20 rows of the main yarn, 10 rows of scrap, then 20 rows of the main yarn, some yarn to sew with, and a yarn needle.  I knitted it all in a long strip with a single row of contrast yarn in between the swatches that I ripped out later to separate the pieces.   There was no blocking to do, because it’s ribbing!  I have my dozen swatches done, and asked for RSVPs so I can have enough, but in a big pinch, I could run some more at Mary’s house, I suppose   I need to tuck a few stockinette swatches in the bag in case we have someone who needs to learn ordinary Kitchener.  It’s going to be great not to have to lug a machine to knit club!  All I have is a small bag of samples.
November will be different – Barbara and I are demonstrating at the Kid ‘n Ewe all day Saturday, and we usually have members who go and check out the shopping, demonstrations, classes, and animals. 
December’s meeting is different, too – our annual Christmas party.  Everyone pitches in, and we have wonderful parties.  I imagine we’ll do some planning for that this Saturday.

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