Ask Patty: Grab Bag

March 25, 2020

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  • Patty, thanks for being here! I love your style AND your math. Just what I needed this morning.

  • As a spinner-and a self taught spinner- I learned the lesson of knitting with single ply the hard way! Now I’m wondering now much of a difference spinning woolen verses worsted makes. Any insights to share?

    • I’m a spinner too. Garter stitch and singles go together for me. For stockinette, use long staple fleece, underspin the fibre, just enough to create a continuous strand (like Lopi yarn).

  • Absolutely love Patty’s description of single ply yarn: “…not unlike what would happen if my sarcasm were let loose on the world by itself…” !!

    • Just what I was going to say. ♥️ I actually spit coffee when I read that bit!

    • Me too! Patty, love your sarcastic-humorous way of looking at all of life.

  • My Mom used to say that about the horses and beggers too !

  • Just curious, why not pin out a stockinette swatch? I always do, without stretching it. Should I be wetting it and just let it lay out to dry? Or?

    • Yep. Just lay if flat and let it be. When knitters pin out a stockinette swatch, they can usually get a false gauge. Even if you try to not stretch it out, it’s hard NOT to stretch it accidentally. Many fabrics will slightly tighten up as they dry, if you pin it out when it’s wet, you are forcing it to not go to it’s normal shape. So, if you measure a wool right after it’s dry, you’ll get one gauge (a false one), go back to that swatch 3 hrs later, 8 hrs later, it may be a different gauge. Remember, being off by 1/2 a stitch in a measure of 4″ can be off by a LOT in a sweater.

      • Thank you so much for your answer. Another question: I have knit a few swatches and wet them and pinned them out. Can I rewet them, not pin them out, and re measure? Or just need to start over with fresh yarn?

  • On swatching and the need for more yardage: I have been known to cheat and knit a half-size swatch either through sheer laziness or being in a hurry to Get Knitting On The Project. Sometimes because my yardage is tight. I have also been known to rip out and reuse my swatch.

  • Thanks for the well explained advise! Also, “beggars would ride”….A beggar wishes for a horse so he doesn’t have to walk everywhere. Of course he doesn’t get one! The rest of the thing…If turnips were watches I’d wear one by my side. (you likely knew that, but I just couldn’t help myself. My Danish Gran used to say this to me every time I would say “I wish…”

    • Wow, the timing on the cable suckage issue was perfect!! I recently saw a pic of someone wearing a store-bought cabled pullover I’d love to try and replicate using a non-cabled pattern, but I knew I’d somehow have to account for the “suck factor.” Thank you, Patti and Patty!!!

    • Also, there’s so many wishes out there that even beggars would have horses to ride if there was a horse for every wish.

  • Thanks Patti, knowing the whys helps me to remember the other parts!

  • Is it only me who swatches, doesn’t cut the yarn, wet blocks with the spray bottle, then once measured frogs the swatch for use of the yarn in the project??

    • You’re not alone. If I swatch, I frog. What’s the point of keeping one once you’ve measured it?

  • Your photos of the bias single ply make me feel so good: I had the same twisted frustrating result using a steel and silk yarn some years ago. Try as I could, nothing would make that very fine yarn, knitted on large needles, look like anything but a tank top full of mistakes. Unseen dropped stitches added to the dismal effect. The bias twist was several inches off to one side, and the hem was uneven as well. So now I know it probably wasn’t me.

  • Thank you so much for the easy to understand problem solvers. You are making me a better knitter.

  • Surely enjoyed this article. Thanks for your expertise. Knit on and stay out there for us.

  • I’m a bit of a meany! I always fix the last stitch of the cast off of my swatch with a lockable stitch marker. I pop it in a jug of water, lie to dry, measure it then unravel it straight back onto the ball of yarn!!

  • I wish I was as good a knitter as you all. I wish your field guides had tittles as to what the subject matter is so I knew which book to get. Unless I missed it. Be safe. Psalm 91. God bless. Gloria

  • Help with pesky moths….PLS

  • Patty – The photo that accompanies the picture above “How to Tidy Up That Bind-Off” would cause my mother, who taught me to knit (Continental and knit-in-the-back stockinette), to rip it out and make me start over again. I’ve seen this so many places, the knitted stitch, instead of being a ‘V’ looks like a slash with a column of twisted yarn next to it. I once complained about this someplace else, and got a totally bogus reply about it being a design element, which I’m not buying. Why pretend this is acceptable, and what causes it?