16 July 2009

Knit One Below or Estonian Patent?

In the gap since my last post, I have been catching up around the house and around my life. I've found some time to get back to the projects and classes I took in April at STITCHES South. One of the classes was Merike Saarniit's Estonian Patent stitch class. Of course, you also remember that my Think Outside the Sox contest socks were in the column pattern from Elise Duvekot's Knit One Below book. So I've been playing around with both ways of making stitches.

What I have noticed is that both Knit One Below and Estonian Patent stitches make the same structural change to the fabric. They cause the yarn in a row of knitting to be carried and interlocked across more than one row. When you work these stitches, you'll discover that many stitches are linking two rows of knitting instead of just one. These changes tend to produce fabrics that are thick and warm and sometimes also very elastic. But what's been really interesting for me is discovering that the Estonian Patent stitches I learned in class can be made using the knit one below technique. And in some cases, I think it may be faster and easier using knit one below.

I'm not going to get into too much detail about Estonian Patent stitches because I believe Merike Saarniit is working on a book which will hopefully be out in 2011. So, first up, everybody go buy her book when it comes out because she is a wonderful teacher and I am sure her book will have great stuff in it. If you get a chance to take her class at STITCHES, do! Also, Nancy Marchant has a brioche stitch book scheduled for January 2010. And I don't know if Elise Duvekot will write another book about knit one below stitches, but I do know there is a great deal of unexplored territory. Her initial offering is worthwhile, but it really merely grants you passage through a gateway arch into a wide area waiting to be discovered. Some of what I'm writing about here might be covered by these other ladies.

Today I'll write about Pearl Patent stitch. In most of the patent stitches I learned in class, there is a row of alternating (yarn over, slip 1) knit 1. The yarn over is formed so that it lies across, above, or on top of (pick your descriptive term) the slipped stitch, rather than before or after the stitch as in either lace knitting or a plain yarn-over increase. On subsequent rows, the yarn-over and the slip stitch are either knitted or purled together. It is these two loops together that form a patent stitch. So in the Estonian way of doing things, it takes two rows to complete a patent stitch. The first row sets it up by forming the yarn-overs, and the return row works the yarn-overs together with their "mates." The picture at top is Pearl Patent stitch worked in the Estonian method.

Knit one below accomplishes the same thing but in one movement -- the movement of poking the needle into the stitch below and knitting (or purling) into the middle of it. So, if you want to translate some of the simple Estonian patterns into knit one below, you substitute knit one below for where the yarn-overs and mates are worked together. The (yarn over, slip 1) knit 1 set-up row can be worked as plain knitting. Much easier. Much faster. Same result. Glee!

In this swatch, the bottom part is, I think, exactly the same as the Estonian Pearl Patent stitch. I also believe this may be the pattern used in the Parisienne jacket on page 25 of Elise's book. It is a little hard to tell because I couldn't find a close-up view of the fabric. My swatch was worked as alternating knit 1, knit 1 below on right side; knit all on wrong side. So rows 1 & 2 used the dark yarn. For rows 3 & 4 I changed to the lighter yarn and alternated knit 1 below, knit 1 on the right side (i.e. staggered placement from the previous RS row); and knit all on the wrong side. The upper part of the swatch was worked the same way, except I purled across on the wrong side rows instead of knitting them. I haven't included a chart for it because I like the greater texture of the garter-based fabric rather than the stockinette-based.

And for fun, I tried working the same pattern in the 2-color mode. Work both right side rows, then turn and work both wrong side rows. You'll need to use either a pair of long double-pointed needles or a circular needle. Written out, the pattern is:
Row 1 (RS) dark yarn: alternate knit 1, knit 1 below
Slide stitches to other end of needle
Row 2 (RS) light yarn: purl
Turn work
Row 3 (WS) dark yarn: alternate knit 1 below, knit 1 (staggered placement)
Slide stitches to other end of needle
Row 4 (WS) light yarn: knit
Notice how the exact same arrangement of stitches produces a small net pattern instead, simply by changing the color of two rows!

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