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Monday, May 16, 2016

Mini Tip Monday - Slipping Stitches

Today's Mini Tip is about slipping stitches, particularly slipping edge stitches to create a really neat edge. But I'll also talk briefly about slipping stitches mid row too.

You can see previous Mini Tip Monday blog posts here (scroll down a bit). 

First let's look at the difference slipping the edge stitches makes to the look of the edge. Below I've slipped the stitches on the right side and knitted or purled the stitches on the left side. The difference is most obvious in the garter stitch which is the bottom and top section of the swatches. From the bottom, I've worked a few rows in garter stitch then stocking (stockinette) stitch then reverse stocking (stockinette) stitch and finally a few more rows in garter stitch.

 Knitted/purled stitches this side.Slipped stitches this side.

 Let's look at the rules.

  •  When you're working in stocking (stockinette) stitch or reverse stocking stitch (ie knit one row, purl one row) you will slip the first stitch knitwise if you're on a knit row and purlwise (with the yarn in front) if you're on a purl row.
  • When you're working in garter stitch (knit every row) you will slip the first stitch purlwise with the yarn in front.
It's when working in garter stitch that I see the mistakes in how the first stitch is slipped most often.

When deciding how to slip an edge stitch, it depends on how you worked that stitch on the row before. The first stitch of any row is the last stitch of the previous row:
  • If you knitted the last stitch then you will need to slip it purlwise with the yarn in front on the next row. 
  • If you purled the last stitch, then you will need to slip it knitwise on the next row.
When you work in garter stitch, you knit every stitch. Therefore, you will slip the first stitch of the row purlwise with the yarn in front.

On shawls, scarves, button bands, or any piece of knitting which is not going to be seamed, I prefer to start the row with a slipped stitch. Most of my shawls have two or three stitches at the beginning and end of every row in garter stitch.

Please note: if you're going to be sewing up the edge, then knit or purl the first stitch depending on whether you're on a knit or a purl row. Don't slip it as it'll make doing mattress stitch more difficult.

I did a Periscope tutorial on slipping stitches and you can watch it here. 

Let's look at how to slip the first stitch if you're working in garter stitch. Its difficult to show this in photo form. It'll be much clearer on Periscope.

First, let's look at how you do it if you knit English style - please remember that I'm not very good at English style knitting.

Insert the right needle into the first stitch purlwise but make sure that you hold the yarn in front.



Slip the stitch off to the right needle then take the yarn BETWEEN the needles to the back. This is important and where most knitter make mistakes. It's very tempting to take the yarn around the side to the back but if you do that, it'll look like you haven't slipped the stitch at all.

You're know ready to knit the next stitch.



Let's look at how you slip the first stitch if you knit continental. Take the right needle under the working yarn then insert the right needle into the first stitch purlwise.



Slip the stitch off onto the right needle, then take the right needle under the working yarn so that you're ready to knit the next stitch (I struggled to take a photo that showed this clearly but I show how to do it on the Periscope tutorial).



Let's briefly talk about what to do if you're slipping stitches in the middle of a row. Whether you slip the stitch purlwise or knitwise depends on why you're slipping it. 

If you're just simply moving the stitch from one needle to the other, as in wrap and turn short rows, slip stitch patterns and slip stitch colourwork, you slip the stitch purlwise.

Slipping a stitch knitwise in the middle of a row will twist it. If you're slipping a stitch as part of a decrease, you will normally slip it knitwise, unless otherwise stated.

If you have any questions, please ask in the comments and I'll do my best to answer. Make sure you watch the Periscope video for more information.

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