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Today is World-Wide Knit in Public Day. To celebrate, one of our readers, a dear friend and an avid knitter, has gathered up a skein of knitting terms into a theme for us. I’m editing somewhat, but will let her voice ring through.

Over to you, CW!


There are a lot of interesting terms in knitting, as in any hobby. I’ll do my best to define some of the terms we use in my groups. Some are common, official vocabulary, and some are the adopted vernacular of rabid knitters of the 21st Century.

First, I’ll define the basic knitting stitches, Knit and Purl.

The knit stitch is often the first stitch knitters learn. It is what I always consider the “front-wards” stitch. The needle goes into the front of the next loop, and it forms a stitch where the “nub” of the former loop ends up on the back of the knitted work. A purl is the opposite of the knit stitch. It is what I consider the “backwards” stitch. For a purl, you put your needle into the loop from the back, and the “nub” is left on the front.

An interesting note: if you turn the work over after knitting a row, it looks like purl stitches from behind. And the corollary is true; if you turn over a purled row it looks like knitting from the back.

The word knit is related to knot; purl comes from an old word meaning “twisting”. (True, a purl produces a nub, facing you, which looks a bit like a pearl. But that’s coincidence, not the root of the word.)

For a very nice set of video clips demonstrating the stitches, check out knit and purl.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: wordcrafter,
 
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It's funny that you would mention the "front-wards" and "backwards" moves because that's exactly the name of those stitches in French. Knit is "maille à l'endroit" and Purl is "maille à l'envers". Then again, if knitting is your hobby, you probably know this…
 
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Welcome, Hélène! I believe that knitter CW is on vacation now, but you can expect to hear from her when she returns.
 
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Welcome to the board, Helene! Glad to have you with us. I'm assuming you're a knitter, too?


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"Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.
~Dalai Lama
 
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Welcome, Hélène! Nice to see a newby. Please check your personal messages (PMs).

CW, I am excited for the words this week. My mom and grandmother used to knit, and I remember their saying, "knit one, purl one." It's nice to hear what it is.
 
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Knitting and purling can be mixed up with one another in a nearly endless variety of ways to create varying patterns in the fabric. Today, I’ll share some of the most commonly seen patterns of knitting and purling stitches.

Stockinette or Stocking Stitch is a pattern that is very smooth and even. All of the “nubs” are on one side of the fabric (generally used as the back). When knitting back and forth on straight needles, you need to knit one row, turn the work, and purl the next row to achieve this pattern.

Garter Stitch is a rougher fabric, with ridges on both sides. It is the same texture on both sides of the fabric, and is created, when knitting back and forth on straight needles, by knitting every row, regardless of direction. Because it only requires knowledge of one stitch, it is often the first stitch pattern beginners use.

Ribbed for your Pleasure? Ribbing is often taught very early in a knitter’s education. Ribbing is formed by alternating knit and purl stitches in a steady pattern, maybe 1x1 or 2x2 or sometimes 3x1 (3 knit, 1 purl), repeated across the garment. Stockinette curls easily, and ribbing on the edges will allow the fabric to lie flat. It’s also a springier fabric, and works well for the cuffs of socks or sleeves, and necklines and hemlines.
 
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<CW still speaking>

I’ve talked about all of the positives of knitting, but today I will talk about the down-side. What do you do when you make a mistake? Ack! You’ve just spent 8 hours knitting up a sweater for your Sweetie, and you see that you’ve made a mistake in the pattern, say, 20 long rows previous to your awakening. Horrors! You need to either decide that it is a design feature, or you need to go back and fix the problem. Today’s terms deal with this “going back” process.

Tink – Tinking is when you un-knit. It is when you go, stitch by stitch, backward through your fabric, carefully taking each stitch back. It is time-consuming, but if you fear that you’ll lose control of your pattern otherwise, or if you only need to go back part of a row or just a few rows, it is worth it for the control you have.

Frog – Frogging is when you have made a very big mistake (like, for instance, knitting a sweater that turns out to look like it was designed for some mutantly-shaped alien) and you need to rip out most or all of the garment. This term comes from having to say “Rip it! Rip it!”

This term has also spawned (pun intended) variant phrases such as “frog-free zone” for people who hate to rip things out, and “go to the frog pond” for when you must intervene in a friend’s knitting. When you need to frog, it’s best to have a friend with you to wind the yarn back into a usable ball so that you don’t end up with a mass of knots.
 
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Interesting. Stockinette is also a word used in orthopedics.
 
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When yarn sticks together

felting – Have you ever washed an all-wool sweater in the machine by mistake? You go to the washing machine or dryer to discover that your 2X sized sweater is now better suited for a toddler. That is what felting is. You knit the fabric, sometimes into the basic shape that you desire, and then you wash it until it shrinks and loses it’s stitch definition. Sometimes you want yarn to be loopy, with the strands to smoothly pass one another, stretching or relaxing to keep the wearer snug. Sometimes, however, you want the yarn to stick together, creating a solid fabric that will keep out the wind, or will keep the small bits with-in the bag from falling out.

Felting is a great process for re-using unwanted sweaters, too. You can felt (a.k.a. ruin) the sweater, then cut up the new, thicker fabric and sew it into something new, like a hand bag or a hat.

spit-splice – usually, a knitter needs several balls of yarn to complete a project. When one ball ends and another must be added, we often will use a splice to join the ends of the yarn, eliminating the need for either knots (NEVER!) or having to weave in the ends of both strands later (boring!). This works best with 100% natural fiber, preferably wool. After fraying both ends, the crafter will put both ends into her palm, facing one another, spit into her palm, and then rub the ends together until they are conjoined or felted. If you’re really good, you can achieve this and knit on, making the fabric look as if it’s all one enormously long strand instead of several distinct balls of wool.
 
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What happens to wool fibers when a garment shrinks? Do they get shorter? Crinklier?
 
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They get thicker, more "sticky" with one another, and they bond, making a firmer fabric. I obviously don't know the technical/chemical side of this, but I do know how it makes it look! Yes, they shrink, too. Haven't you ever washed a sweater accidentally?


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"Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.
~Dalai Lama
 
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Haven't you ever washed a sweater accidentally?

Is there any other way?
 
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The yarn in a knitter’s life tends to accumulate. We love the feel of the fibers, and we have a tendency to buy more than we will actually knit.

stash – this is what we call our extra yarn. My stash is kept mostly in neat plastic bins with snap-on lids. Some folks keep their stash in bags, in the closet, in dresser drawers or other obvious storage places. Some, however, are completely out of control in their consumption, and will end up hiding yarn in every spare bit of space, including cooking pots and inside hats.

There are many related phrases, including:
stash enhancement – shopping and buying more yarn
stash diving – finding yarn in your stash for the new project instead of purchasing new yarn
souvenir stash – yarn you bought on vacation that reminds you of the place, but which you can’t knit because, well, it reminds you of your vacation

Knitting rock-star Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, a/k/a the Yarn Harlot, talks a lot about stash yarn and what to do about having such a big stash. One of my favorite books by her is Yarn Harlot: The Secret Life of a Knitter.

P.S. by Wordcrafter: The above was CW, but I'm interjecting a comment. According to her link, "More than 50 million people in America knit." Personally, I'm skeptical.
 
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Perhaps, rather than 'Knitting Lingo', a better title for this topic would be 'Knitting Yarns'? Smile


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
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lmao arnie! Big Grin
 
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Stockinette or Stocking Stitch... When knitting back and forth on straight needles, you need to knit one row, turn the work, and purl the next row to achieve this pattern....


A strain of dyslexia runs through a segment of my extended clan, which is sometimes accompanied by the apparently related feature of ambidexterity. Family lore has it that the second feature was discovered in a cousin when she was about 8 and learning to knit. Her mother investigated how it was her daughter was producing stockinette so rapidly, and was surprised to observe her knitting continuously, simply reversing direction at the end of each row!
 
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Commonly used acronyms:
Knitting, like nearly everything else, has become a very web-friendly art. There is a large, worldwide online knitting community, and, like other online communities, we’ve got our own alphabet soup of acronyms. Sometimes we will pronounce these as if they are words, and sometimes we will say the letters. Today, I give you a smattering of knitterly snippets.

UFO – unfinished object – those projects that are languishing while you work on other projects (similar to BUFO – boring UFO)
FO – finished object – we celebrate these with great glee! Some of us who are short-attention-span knitters will have many UFOs on the needles at one time, and then suddenly, in a spurt of “finishitis” will achieve several FO’s in one weekend.

WIP – Work In Progress
SIP – Sock In Progress
KIP – Knit In Public – National KIP day is June 14, 2008 – this is used like its own word, as in, “Anyone want to KIP with me tonight?”

KAL – Knit ALong – this is when a group of knitters will all choose the same pattern to knit simultaneously and share their progress and challenges with one another along the way, often on a dedicated website for the purpose
LYS – Little Yarn Shop, or Local Yarn Shop
 
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knitting continuously, simply reversing direction at the end of each row!

I just took a class last week on how to knit backwards! Some people do this naturally, but I can tell you that I need some more practice. Cool that you know someone who just did it!


*******
"Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.
~Dalai Lama
 
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quote:
quote:
Haven't you ever washed a sweater accidentally?

Is there any other way?

As far as I can figure out, felting requires 3 things: water, a little soap, great agitation. So throwing the fabric into a washing machine wiht a little soap and other clothes, or an old pair of jeans, or something else so it'll rub up against other things, is the quickest/most efficient way to get all of that.

Some fibers are much more sensitive to being felted, and will felt if you just wring them out too rigorously (alpaca has a tendancy to do that). Some newer yarns are now called "super wash wool" which means that the fiber has been treated so that it is less likely to felt by accident.

Anyway, you could felt things w/o a washing machine, but unless it's one of those snarky fibers, it'll be a lot more scrubbing that I would want to do.


*******
"Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.
~Dalai Lama
 
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P.S. by Wordcrafter: The above was CW, but I'm interjecting a comment. According to her link, "More than 50 million people in America knit." Personally, I'm skeptical.

Well, here are a few more stats:
According to Ravelry, an online social network for fiber artists, there are currently 140,988 people registered, and that is a very small group - knitters who also use and are savvy with the internet.

The Knitting Convention I just went to last week, Knitter's Connection, over 650 people attended classes last year, and it was even bigger this year. This is just people from Ohio, too - or mostly. There are lots of people who can't go, for whatever reason, and I'm sure lots and lots of knitters in Ohio who don't even know about it!

I would not be at all surprised to find out that S. P-M's estimate of 50,000,000 was true, and possibly even conservative.


*******
"Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.
~Dalai Lama
 
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I think 50 M in the US is not accurate when you know that there are 301,000,000 people (as of July 2007). Half of them are men, and while we know some men do knit, I'd say it's uncommon. Some of them are babies who don't knit. While 13% are 5-13 year olds, I suppose some of them knit, though not that many. Of course millions of Americans are just too ill to knit. Nope. I don't think those statistics are correct.
 
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World Clock has 303,737,508 as of today ... more or less ....

It's a usually reliable source of info but unfortunately has no data on knitting or knitters.
 
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We'll finish the knitting theme with terms for starting and finishing a knitting project.

cast-on – this word can be a verb or a noun. Casting on is when you put all the original loops onto the needle at the beginning of your project. Your cast-on is that beginning row of loops. There are many ways to cast-on the yarn, including “long-tail”, “cable”, “single” and “knitting” styles.

cast-off (also known as bind-off) – this is how you get the loops off the needles at the end. Sometimes it means that your project is done, but often you will still need to do other “finishing”, perhaps even including picking up stitches, knitting or crocheting a border or edging, or sewing different pieces together for the final product. There are myriad ways to cast-off, including “knit”, “purl”, “suspended”, “crochet”, “three-needle” and lots of variations to achieve different effects (mainly stretchy or not).
 
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From The Craft Yarn Council of America (CYCA)
quote:
  • Knitting & Crocheting Are Hot!

    Julia Roberts does it, so does Vanna White, Cameron Diaz, Sarah Jessica Parker, Daryl Hannah, Hilary Swank, Julianna Margulies and many others. Knitting or crochet is one of their favorite hobbies, but these crafts aren't just for celebrities. Learn why 20 and 30 year olds are turning on to crocheting and knitting, joining the 38 million consumers who enjoy doing these crafts.

  • A summary of CYCA's 2004 consumer research follows.

    CYCA Study Shows
    Younger Women Fuel Yarn Evolution

    Gastonia, NC - Young women ages 25-34 are the secret spark that's fueling knitting and crochet yarn sales across the country, according to research commissioned in Fall, 2004, by Craft Yarn Council of America (CYCA). Since 2002, participation in these crafts increased more than 150% in the 25-34 age category, jumping from 13% to 33% and representing 6.5 million. The 18-years-and-under age group increased 100%, growing from 8% to 16% or 5.7 million women. Women ages 55-64, followed by a 74% increase in participation, or 7.8 million. Overall, 36% of American women--53 million-know how to knit or crochet, a 51% increase over the past ten years. Coincidentally, 13% of those surveyed can do both crafts.


I think the 38 million figure is old, as evidenced by the following links. The 53 million figure is from 2004. That's combining knitters and crocheters.

This Sept. 3, 2004 article cites 38 million
quote:
Nearly 38 million men, women and children knit or crochet, many of them converts or returnees to the craft.

So does this one

quote:
New York, N.Y.: May 16, 2004: Klutz, creator of innovative kids’ activity products, today announced its new Fall 2004 books at the 2004 National Stationery Show in New York City. Leading the line-up is Knitting by Anne Akers Johnson, award-winning author of Cat’s Cradle and Handmade Cards. If you think knitting is for great aunts and grandmas, think again. This time honored craft is cool with teens. No other craft has such a “dual appeal.” With more than 38 million knitters in the U.S. – according to the Craft Yarn Council of America (CYCA) – Klutz strikes a chord with Knitting. It is the easiest how-to-knit kit you’ll ever find and offers everything you need to start knitting now.

And this is from Jan. 1, 2003
quote:
One out of three women knows how to knit or crochet. The number of women who knit or crochet increased from 34.7 million in 1994 to 38 million in 2000.

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