Clue #1, at the beginning of our KAL, represents the beginning of the story – Creation. To replicate the look of a field of green grass, this clue utilizes twisted stitches and traveling twisted stitches. These techniques belong to a family of stitchery called “Bavarian Twisted Stitches,” and have been all the rage – both Cast On (most recent issue) and Interweave Knits (Fall 2010) have featured these techniques within the past year, providing excellent tutorials. However, these techniques are new to many, so I’ve provided below my own tutorial, photo-style, as I am wont. (For those of you still stuck on dialup, you have my heartfelt condolences.)
After demonstrating these techniques, I will also share detailed instructions on how to do the two other weird sequences in this clue.
NOTE: for this tutorial, I will assume you know how to do the following: K, P, YO, K2tog.
Any stitch in knitting consists of a loop with two legs: one hangs over the side of the needle closer to you and is called the “front” leg or front loop; the other hangs over the needle further from you and is called the “back” leg or back loop.
In normal knitting and purling, you always put your needle through the front loop. The picture below shows a regular purl stitch in process, going through the front loop of the stitch.
The most basic stitch of Bavarian Twisted Stitches is the K1tbl – Knit 1 through the back loop. That means you insert the needle straight into the “back” leg to knit it, twisting it. There are NO standalone K1tbl’s in Clue #1, so I’m not going to demonstrate that for you. There are, however, on most of the Wrong Side rows, P1tbl’s – Purl 1 through the back loop. This means that you have to reach around the back leg of the stitch to stick your needle into the back loop purlwise. In two steps, it looks like this:
When you then complete the purl the stitch, it looks fairly unimpressive. (By which I mean – normal.)
But if you flip your work over, you will see you have twisted a knit stitch on the Right Side. Twisted stitches take the two legs of a knit stitch’s “V” shape and cross them over each other, making them tighter. This is much better for making pictures out of single columns of knit stitches than doing so without twisting them, which ends up sort of floppy.
After K1tbl and P1tbl, the next tier of basic stitches in Bavarian Twisted Stitches is the C1LT and C1RT – Cross 1 Left Twist and Cross 1 Right Twist. These are single-stitch cables – a twisted knit over a purl – which makes the twisted knit travel to the left or right, respectively.
These can be done with a cable needle, which I will briefly outline (without pictures) below. Simply put, when you do the knit stitch out of the crossed-over pair, knit it through the back loop. However, since it is only a single-stitch cable – one over one – using a cable needle can be kind of clumsy, and doing without a cable needle is remarkably easy. Pick your poison, I won’t fuss if you choose to do it with a cable needle, or if you do it standing on your head while listening to Dostoyevsky on book tape. But I’d like you to have some good options at your disposal, so here we go.
There are several different ways to do these traveling stitches without a cable needle – refer to either of the magazines mentioned above for a complete tutorial of every kind of Bavarian Twisted Stitch in each of these methods. However, my favorite method is what the Cast On article calls Method B (And I think the Interweave Knits article calls the same thing Method C). It is analogous to my previous tutorial on cabling without a cable needle. The author of the article in Cast On has a video tutorial here. (This video covers both what I am calling C1LT an C1RT, in that order.) That video is great, but I know not everyone learns the same way, so I have demonstrated these methods below.
For the C1LT, you will be crossing a knit stitch closest to the tip of your left needle leftwards over the purl stitch second from the tip of your left needle:
To perform this with a cable needle, follow the directions in the clue: Slip the first stitch onto a cable needle and hold to front. Purl one, then Knit one through the back loop from the cable needle.
To perform this without a cable needle using my preferred method, first take your Right needle (aka your working needle), put it behind the first stitch on the left needle, and insert it purlwise into the purl stitch second from the tip of the left needle. (Note that in the picture below, the working needle is going behind, not through, the first stitch, and through the second stitch.)
Place your right thumb gently on the knit stitch to brace it against the right needle. Then slip both stitches off the left needle. Since you put the right needle behind the first stitch, it will now sit in front of the right needle, braced against it.
Next, insert your left needle back into the knit stitch that is hanging free. Both stitches are now secure.
Next, insert the left needle straight into the back loop of the purl stitch on the right needle. It will look like the picture below. In this position, the needles are already in the same position that they would be in if you were going to purl the stitch. So in order to purl that stitch, all you have to do is wrap your working yarn around the right needle and complete the purl. Then knit the next stitch (the one you crossed over before) through the back loop, and you will have completed a C1LT.
For the C1RT, you will be crossing the twisted knit stitch second from the tip of your left needle rightwards over the top of the purl stitch closest to the tip of the left needle. (Because the flash washed this picture out particularly badly, I’ve done you the service of labeling these two stitches.)
To perform this stitch with a cable needle, slip the first stitch (the purl) onto the cable needle and hold it to the back. Knit the next stitch through the back loop, then purl the stitch from the cable needle.
To perform this maneuver without a cable needle, using my preferred method, work as follows. The first step is to put your right needle in front of the purl stitch, then insert it purlwise into the knit stitch which is second from the tip of the left needle.
Use the index finger of your left hand to brace the purl stitch closest to the tip of the left needle against the right needle. Then take both stitches off the left needle.
Now slide that purl stitch hanging out in space back onto your left needle.
Next, insert the left needle straight into the front leg of the knit stitch on the right needle, so that the left needle crosses in front, as shown below.
In this position, the needles are already in the position they would be if you were knitting that stitch through the back loop. So to complete the knitting of this stitch through the back loop, all you have to do is wrap your working yarn around the right needle and complete the knit stitch.
Once you purl the next stitch, which you already crossed behind, you have completed the C1RT.
K2togtbl, YO, P2
This clue contains some yarn overs, adding what I think of as dewdrops to the end of the blades of grass. However, because these yarnovers are performed in between knit and purl stitches, and because they come before and after decreases, they are a little weird to perform. I will explain both in detail here.
K2togtbl means “Knit two together through the back loop.” The sequence “K2togtbl, YO, P2” occurs on row 9 (which is repeated 8 times) and row 17. You will just have completed a purl stitch, so the first thing to do is put your yarn in back.
To K2togtbl, insert your right needle directly into the next two stitches, almost as if you were putting the needle in purlwise, but with the right needle crossed behind the left, as shown below in two steps.
Complete the K2togtbl as you would any other knit stitch by wrapping and pulling through.
Next is the YO. It begins as any other YO does, by putting the yarn between the needles to the front, then overtop the right needle.
However, because your next stitch is a purl, you have to wrap the yarn all the way around the right needle and put the yarn back in front to complete the YO, as shown below. In other words, your YO just has an extra half-wrap at the end. You may now purl 2.
P2, YO, K2tog
This sequence of stitches – P2, YO, K2tog – occurs on row 13 (which is repeated 8 times) and row 21. This one is rather easier than the previous bit.
After completing the two purls, your yarn will be in front. Leave it there.
Knit the next two stitches together. Since the yarn is already in front, when you wrap the working yarn around the right needle to complete the K2tog, a YO will be made automatically, as shown below.
There you have it.
Any further issues will be discussed in the KAL’s Ravelry forum. If any issues are major or helpful enough, I will post them here.