20 Dec 2017

Super Stretchy Stitches

Have you ever knitted an item first in one yarn then been disappointed when you reknit it in another? I have a favourite shawl that I made some years ago which is colourful, lightweight and warm. Every time I put it around my shoulders I feel cozy. Some while later I reworked the exact same shawl in an acrylic yarn and it was such a disappointment! The shawl was heavy and clammy. The yarns sounded as though they were comparable in all but yarn content, but the results proved how different they were.

I've said it before, but wool is a remarkable fibre. It is warm, lightweight, absorbs dampness without feeling cold and is immensely stretchable. Some super-crimpy wool fibres such as merino can stretch as much as 25-30% in length and spring back into shape time and time again.

This makes them eminently suitable for jumpers and cardigans which can suffer severe tugging and stretching, especially in the hands of small kiddies as they pull them on and off. So the choice of yarn can make a big difference to how the final article fits and how stretchy it is.

The same is true for knitting stitches. Some stitches, such as Garter Stitch, expand widthways while other contract up, giving extra elasticity to the final fabric. The stitch I featured yesterday was one such example, gently clinging to the shape of the hot water bottle and forming a soft, insulating layer.

In this series of 12 blogposts, I am looking at 12 different stitches, one from each of the chapters in our book, Reversible Knitting Stitches, and highlighting an article that has been made using the stitch. Today, I'd like to look at a super-stretchy stitch, Single Rib, and a cozy, comfy hat made using it, the Carey Beanie Hat.

Single Rib has a number of different names including 1x1 Rib, K1 P1 Rib and Plain Rib. The stitch is fairly easy to work and results in tightly-packed columns of knit stitches with the purls buried deep inside the structure. Indeed the knit stitches can sit so closely together that the fabric can resemble Stocking Stitch! It is only when you gently pull the material widthwise that you then see the ribbing structure.

Beginners can sometimes find the stitch a little tiresome to work as the yarn has to be taken backwards and forwards before each new stitch, so it can take some time to work. It does speed up once you get into the swing of things though. You also have to maintain a good tension on the yarn or the knit stitches can spread a little.

However, it is a wonderful stretchy stitch, especially if worked in a soft wool mix yarn.

In the Carey Beanie Hat, a chunky yarn has been used to make a warm hat which is just right for a chilly winter. The hat has a deep brim to keep your ears warm and a lovely spiral detail to the top which gives a fashionable touch. The hat can be worn with the brim turned up or with it opened to give a long, ski-wear look.

There are two styles of hats with different colour banding: the first has a striped brim, while the second features a broad colour band on the hat.

For more details about the Carey Beanie Hat, please click here.

Please click here to read the first in this series of blogposts, then follow the links at the bottom of each post to see all the stitch patterns featured.

To read more about the Reversible Knitting Stitches book, please click here
The book is available as an E-Book, a Print book, or a Print and E-Book Package.

I'll be back tomorrow with news of a stole pattern worked in a lovely block design.

Until then,

Happy Reversible Knitting!


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Anna's Website: www.kikuknits.com

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