Swatching Walker – post 1

A Treasury of Knitting Patterns, Volume I, Chapter 10 – Lace
Basic Faggoting Stitch
Turkish Stitch
Purse Stitch
Feather Faggot
Ms Walker starts the Lace chapter by introducing us to Faggoting, which I’ve generally seen used for separating patterns or as an edging stitch.  Sometimes it’s a main feature. 
The Basic Info: I’ve used a double strand of lace weight merino to cast on, then dropped the extra strand and knit four or so rows of garter stitch, continuing garter stitch borders on each side of the main body of the swatch.  On this swatch the lace stitches are executed on both side of the knitting without using “rest rows”.  Needle size 4US.
The first (top) section Ms Walker calls the Basic Faggoting Stitch.  Simple and straightforward as were the Turkish Stitch and Purse Stitch (middle and bottom respectively).  All of these were neat, tidy and very similar in appearance. 
“Easy enough,” I thought as I worked each one with a few rows of garter stitch between the sections.  Then I began the Feather Faggot, the fourth stitch in the swatch.  This is when I discovered that being a self-taught knitter hell-bent on cranking out lace shawls has its downfall.  Most of the first five years of my knitting life was done here on the farm, before the new house, without Internet access, or knitting help of any kind.  So when I encountered a new stitch, or combination of stitches, I either had to soldier through the best I could or put the knitting away until we went back into town on the weekend and I could check Ravelry, usually the former. Thus I have discovered I haven’t learned the correct way of executing a yarn-over before a purl.
I’d simply been creating a yarn-over (yo) with the yarn on the backside of the needle and allowing it to stretch over the needle as I purled the next two stitches together. A rookie mistake that hasn’t been overcome in how many years and how many shawls?  Embarrassing to admit, believe me.  Doing it this way caused a wicked rolled stitch that didn’t sit correctly on the needle.  Obviously, something was wrong every time I did this stitch and I’d been either too lazy or too focused on finishing the row to stop and really concentrate on what was wrong and how to fix the problem.  But working an entire four-inch swatch in one pattern makes you step back and analyze the situation.  There can be no ignoring the problem – I had to face that I was doing something wrong.  I frogged back and tried several different things before binding off and walking away.  Sometimes regrouping and looking at the problem the next day allows for a clearer vision.  Last night I cast on again to knit only the Feather Faggot swatch.  What I realized when I did the yarn-over before the purl was there simply was not enough yarn from the yarn-over to allow it to sit properly, so I tried wrapping the yarn around the needle completely before purling. (yeah I know everyone else probably already knew this) Eureka!  The entire look of the Feather Faggot changed and was suddenly as lovely as what was in the book.  The garter stitch sections between the yo’s lined up, the yo’s had a nice little accentuated rib between them like the thin stem between alternating leaves on a vine.  Waxing poetic am I?  Sure – it’s the euphoria of learning how to do something correctly!  And I’m just going to enjoy it because I’m now madly in love with my little Feather Faggot swatch. 
It’s only my first swatch and I’ve already learned something.  How is that I knew how to make a complicated nine-stitch nupp but not a basic yarn-over before a purl?
Next up: Herringbone Faggoting.

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2 thoughts on “Swatching Walker – post 1

  1. Oooh lovely!
    I, too had a heck of a time figuring out the yo before the purls, I think I found a video online that straightened me out…
    Your swatches are lovely!!

  2. Oh man… now I REALLY wanna join you in the swatch fest.
    I'd learned that about yo's and purls, and have come to decide that it all depends on what else is going on. Sometimes I still just bring the yarn forward over the needle and purl is. Sometimes I take what seems like the longer route.
    .
    .
    Off to ponder faggoting.

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