Kiwiyarns Knits

A blog about New Zealand yarns, knitting and life

Twisted stitches


I love it when things go as expected. 

I finished the seaming and buttons on the baby sweater yesterday (will write about that in another post). The kid’s jacket, which hadn’t been touched since the hospital episode, is a heartbeat away from completion. The light went from the day as I started knitting the collar, and as I haven’t yet got around to fixing up the lighting in the living room so I can see what I’m doing with dark yarn in the evenings, I decided to instead reward myself by casting on for the alpaca project that I’ve been eyeing ever since I got Flagstaff Alpaca’s Blue Gum). 

Next project - Garden Jumper, Knitting mag, May 2010


I have a bit of a fetish for alpaca at the moment. 100% alpaca doesn’t have the spring and bounce of wool, which means you do need to be careful about what project you use it for as it will drape on, rather than hug the body, and not be as forgiving of small errors in your knitting. But it’s just sooo soft! It’s denser than wool, which gives the knitted fabric a texture that has me wanting to caress and stroke and squeeze it at every opportunity, all very distracting when one is trying to knit with it! I keep thinking of kitten fur. 

Anyway, Blue Gum is as divine knitted up as I imagined it would be. I’m so happy with this outcome: 


The Garden Jumper’s interest factor is that half the jumper is in purl and the other in knit.  But I started to get a little annoyed with the way the changeover was happening between the purl and knit stitches. 

Knitting magazine’s instructions were to slip the last knit stitch purlwise, and then purl the first purl stitch through the back loop. According to the instructions, if you did not do this, and instead merely switched straight from knit to purl stitch, there would be a great deal of rollover at this point. I know this is right, because that’s what happened in an experimental swatch I knitted some time ago: 

Supposed to be neat squares of knit and purl - note the rollover!


However, the suggested fix wasn’t doing anything. I looked at my progress in dismay. I kept telling myself that it would block out nicely. But at the back of my mind, I knew this wouldn’t be so. 

This jumper is supposed to be something I can wear out. As in, proudly swan down the street in a pretty, swingy, tres chic jumper with just the right fit, and not feel like someone will look at it and titter about homemade knits. 

But the way things were going, this changeover point was going to ruin the entire project and it would end up stuffed at the back of the drawer and never worn. Not a desired result. 

I read, and re-read the instructions. I was doing it right. But why did I need to slip the stitch? The slip was creating something quite horrid.  And the fabric was rolling over dreadfully. 

I figured that the intent of the pattern was to create two twisted stitches at the changeover. So I decided to try out my hunch rather than plough on with something that was not making me happy. Instead of slipping the last knit stitch purlwise, I knitted it twisted. I also twisted the first purl stitch as per the pattern. And presto! Purrrrr. A perfect, crisp changeover that sits flat, and that doesn’t look loopy. 


Reverse side showing the slipped stitches. Twisting the stitch instead also creates a lovely double-sided fabric with no ugly side.


As a side-benefit, I’ve also finally got my head around the phrase “knit (or purl) through the back loop”. I’ve never been able to figure out what that means and have knitted more by instinct to get the right stitch effect, rather than understanding what I was doing, despite staring at the tutorial for it in the magazine for a long time. 

Now, I understand that it means “twist the stitch” which is much easier for me to conceptualize. 

The way to do it is to flip the stitch you want to twist, so that the right needle goes through back, instead of the front leg of the stitch. If you’d like to know what that means in pictures, let me know and I’ll do a separate post, but for now I’ll assume you know what I mean… 

The slight inconvenience now is that I’m going to have to rip it all back to the beginning to fix up the bottom bit. But that’s fine. Better to sacrifice a couple of hours’ work and not top it with another 40 hours or so of knitting and then be unhappy with the project because of the crappy first 5 cm on the back. 

Happy, happy, happy!


Author: kiwiyarns

Welcome to my blog where I talk about knitting in New Zealand and the beautiful yarns you can find here.

2 thoughts on “Twisted stitches

  1. That is a big improvement – definitely worth ripping back (close your eyes, grit your teeth, and pull!!)

    • Hehe. There was definitely no hesitation on my part there – no way I could live with my project looking like that! This project has been a learning curve in more ways than one – I discovered something else tonight. On why one needs to use the right needles! I’ll do a post tomorrow when the light is good enough to take a picture.