Monday, June 19, 2006
An Answer from the KnittingGuru ------------------ How to Knit Half-Linen Stitch
Recently Linda wrote to Ask the Guru:
"I am trying to find instructions for a "half linen stitch". Have you heard of it?"
The KnittingGuru answers:
I am familiar with this stitch. It isn't always called Half-Linen Stitch, however. Barbara Walker calls it Woven Stitch, for example. Most knitting stitches have numerous names and sometimes this causes problems when we try to research them.
One thing that's important to be aware of is that this is a very dense stitch. It belongs to the category of stitches called Slip Stitch and as such it involves slipping certain stitches over two (or more) rows. This is sometimes called Mosaic Knitting and it's an interesting technique in that you can knit fabrics that have patterns without using two or more colors in the same row. You are always knitting with only one yarn at a time for the whole row. The slipped stitch can be made with the yarn in front of the work or behind it. This gives two very different textures.
I knit the samples using sport weight wool (DK weight) with size 8 needles and then with size 10 needles. If you were knitting stockinette, you would probably use size 4 or 5 needles with this yarn. With Half-Linen Stitch, the size 8 needles yielded an extremely thick fabric with no drape. Even with size 10 needles the fabric is quite thick. You will also find that compared to stockinette, all slip stitch patterns have a gauge with many more rows per inch and often with many more stitches to achieve the same width. Be on guard about this! You cannot substitute slip stitch for plain knitting in a pattern or you will end up with a VERY SHORT garment and maybe a very narrow garment, too!
This is how the Half-Linen Stitch is knit:
Cast on an odd number of stitches.
Row 1 - Knit 1, *slip 1 stitch with yarn in front, knit 1* repear from * to * to end.
Row 2 - Purl.
Row 3 - Knit 2, *slip 1 stitch with yarn in front, knit 1* repear from * to * to end.
Row 4 - Purl.
Here are photos of the Half-Linen Stitch shown on both sizes 8 and 10 needles. I have also shown the "slip with yarn in front" component of the stitch. By the way, this is a very simple stitch to knit.
This photo shows the yarn in front of the slipped stitch.
Now the yarn is placed behind the needle in preparation for knitting one stitch.
This photo shows the Half-Linen Stitch done on size 8 needles with sport weight yarn. It would be suitable for a very heavy and warm winter jacket with no drape.
This is the same stitch and yarn knit on size 10 needles. It is still thick, but has a softer, more open texture. It would be suitable for a warm sweater.
This is the Half-Linen Stitch knit on size 10 needles with two colors. Rows 1 & 2 are knit in light gold and Rows 3 & 4 are knit in black. Doesn't this make a great tweed? Can't you see this as a fabulous fall jacket?
Here's my swatch with one of my KnittingGuru Swatch Cards attached for my records. I know never to trust to my memory about these statistics and so I always use a card. You can buy these in the KnittingGuru Boutique.
I hope that Linda and the rest of my readers found this discussion to be clear and helpful, and that you'll try this stitch next time you want something really warm to wear or use as a blanket.
For other interesting Knitting Articles please check out KnittingGuru. I am always happy to answer your questions at Ask the Guru.