Slip-stitch Rib and the Graft: Still Spinning out of Control

Slip-stitch ribbing knit in the round with hand spun yarn.

So, I have begun the sweater I was thinking about when I wrote Norwegian Wool and the Magic Sweater  10 days ago, and my spinning has stabilized since I wrote Spinning Out (of Control) a week ago. My output of spun yarn has doubled to two-hundred yards this week and I have a good 7″ knitted. I’m in luck with this sweater both because my husband (who requested it) is slender – so I only have 36″ of ‘tube’ to knit for the body – and because I decided to knit it on U.S. #10 (6mm) needles! After working on my standard U.S. #2 (2.75mm) needles to make socks this sweater seems to be knitting up so quickly that I could finish it before the long Lombard winter actually ends.

I have learned two new techniques on this sweater. The first is the slip-stitch rib knit. I’ve found that it’s the perfect stitch to forgive the uneven quality of my different skeins of ‘beginner’s’ hand-spun yarn, the slipped stitches add density where the yarn is thin and at the same time allow enough openness to keep the thick spots from looking bulky…nice. If you don’t know this stitch, it’s easy and both the ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ sides look cool:

Row 1: K1, P1 rib until you reach the marker at the beginning of your round
Row 2: *S1 (purl-wise with yarn in back), P1* repeat these two stitches until you reach the marker
Repeat rows 1 and 2 for as long as you’d like.

The second technique is grafting. My wonderful (and insanely talented) mother, Sara, sent me this link for yarn grafting that I have adapted for my wool. Considering that both my spindle and the Andean plying that I’m doing, limits me to a maximum skein length of 50 yards, without grafting I’d have a whole lot of little ends to be worked back into the fabric. Grafting two or more skeins together has allowed me to make up much larger balls and just keep knitting. Once again, the very forgiving stitch hides the grafts well. Thanks Mom!

By bonniemcclellan

Mother, poet, american ex-pat from Texas living in Northern Italy.

2 comments

  1. Oh cool. I am glad you tried the grafting–the Russian one I assume? I tried it too and really like it although it takes a little longer then a knot! But knots are so \”knotty\”. Beautiful work as always. Isn't spinning fun? I knew you would like it.

  2. wow, bonnie. i do wish we lived closer. i would love to learn how to knit again. i di some as a kid. my mom still has a small blanket that i made using a patchwork kind of pattern…well, hope to see u soon.un abbraccio da qui..send me the info .i wrote u an emaillove jeana

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