Mindful Knitting Series: Seeing Our Stitches

Have you ever taken pause and watched how loops pull through the other loops on your needles? How wrapping your stitches a different way affects what appears in the fabric? Where does the yarn move between stitches? How combining two stitches together in different formations creates different leaning stitches?

This week’s blog post is about applying the mindfulness concept of being present and aware to seeing our stitches. It’s not about understanding them, it’s simply observing what is happening on our needles.

The best way to learn how to see your stitches is to practice watching while knitting. Notice the little details that are easy to overlook, and take time to savor the mechanics of transforming that string into a beautiful work of art.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself the next time you’re knitting to practice seeing your stitches. Notice that this week we aren’t concerned about why these things are the way they are, we’re only creating a habit of focusing on our stitches and the actions that we’re taking to create them and manipulate them.

#1: Wrapping The Yarn

· Which direction do you wrap the yarn around the needle for a knit stitch?

· Which direction do you wrap the yarn around the needle for a purl stitch?

· Are they the same or are they different?

#2: Stitch Direction

· After you’ve knit a stitch, how is the resulting loop situated on the needle?

· After you’ve purled a stitch, how is the resulting loop situated on the needle?

· Is the working yarn for the next stitch coming out from the front or back of the loop you put on the needle?

#3: Stitch Characteristics

· When you remove a stitch from the needle, is the top of the loop from the stitch you’re removing falling to the front or the back of the work?

· Is the loop from the stitch below combined with another stitch?

· Did this stitch create a stitch not connected to the row below it?

#4: Yarn Placement

· When you start a round, is the yarn on the left or right of your project?

· When you start a row worked flat, is the yarn on the left or right of your project?

· Where is the cast on tail when you work a right side row versus a wrong side row?

o Is this different when you use different cast ons?

· When you are in the middle of a row and you’ve completed a stitch, is the yarn coming from the stitches on the right needle or the stitches on the left needle?

#5: Needle Area

· When you’re inserting your needle into a stitch, how far do you insert it? Just on the tip? All the way past the tip? What happens to the stitch below? Does it stretch out?

· Does this differ when you’re creating different stitches?

· When you have created a new stitch, when do you pull the yarn tight? Is it when the stitch is on the needle tip, or on the widest part of the needle?

Starting to gather this information while knitting equips us with the data that we can use to adjust tension, see how stitches interact, and use that information to help us understand and really grasp the nature of how stitches connect and interact.

In next week’s blog post, I’ll discuss how we can take the data we gather through observation and apply it to identify issues in our knitting as we go along and fix mistakes as we come to them.

Next week Monday I’m kicking off the Knit Inspector Workshop – a free, online, 5-day event dedicated to helping you decode and decipher your knitting. I’m very excited to share what I’ve learned over two decades of knitting regarding reading stitches and identifying trends in stitches so you don’t have to be tethered to crossing off each stitch and row on your pattern.

I’d love to see you there, and you can sign up at bit.ly/knitinspector or at the form below.