Weird Wool Wednesday: Mother of Purl

I’m knitting Narcissus pseudo-narcissus Cuff by Hunter Hammersen:

I’m using left over Wollmeise twin in Mauseschwanzchen because it’s a beautiful colour and Wollmeise gives great stitch definition.

My first cuff wasn’t that good. I had split the yarn a bit with my needle and Wollmeise didn’t forgive me so things look a bit ratty here and there. There’s some cat hair in my knitting. The cuff is a bit snug and “a bit snug” is enough reason in real life not to wear a handknit.

But mainly there’s a huge difference in width between the two columns of purl stitches:

In the middle, right between the columns of slipped stitches the knitting reads:

“k, k, k, purl, Ktbl, Ktbl, Ktbl, purl, k, k, k,”

The left column of stacked purls is way wayyyy wider than the left one, nearly twice as wide.

Obviously this is caused by a difference in tension.

So I cast on and solved for all my problems: used a slightly bigger needle; watched out not to upset the splitty yarn; kept away from shedding cats; and paid especially attention to every purl stitch and its neighbours:

Same problem?!?!

Of course I was checking nearly every row and the more I knit, the more I corrected for tension. The last 15 rows are knitted with tension so tight it really hurt my hands and nearly bend the tips of my needles. The column on the left was done as loosely as possible.

That’s right, the yarn-snapping tight stitches are the wide ones on the left, the loose flapping loose stitches are on the right of the middle.

???

It’s a puzzle. And it’s not caused by a difference in tension.

The only thing I can think of is that I’m knitting continental combined which leaves stitches in a certain way on the needles. Typically my k stitches have their right leg in front and the left leg at the back of the needle. Ktbl rotates a certain way: mine take the yarn from the previous stitch and drag it along the front to the left, leaving a looser previous stitch possible?

Just making the movement from k to p to ktbl must require more length of yarn than going from ktbl to p to k? Could be. When my Ktbl release their yarn for a new stitch, say a purl, they do so from the back, it has to peek out from under its collar and travel to the new stitch. This makes for a longer travel, especially towards a purl stitch which requires the yarn to be in the front?

??? Nah… this all should be corrected for when I tightened some stitches beyond reason and left other dangling in the wind.

I’m stumped. Which makes me dislike the cuffs. Dislike is a good enough reason in real life not to use a thing so I know better than to just soldier on. I’m very miffed at my cuffs!

Then, just I pasted the pattern picture in this post, I noticed something:

There’s some mighty difference between your purl ladders too, matey!

Looking at the various projects when people are wearing them I see them everywhere: two different purl ladders. Everyone has them and they’re never the same width. It must be the particular sequence of stitches.

I can’t unsee.

What to do….

  1. pretend I never wrote this post, knit cuffs blindly and only wear them under long sleeves
  2. see the assymmetry as a design feature and tell everyone about it when out in public
  3. fire up the brain cells and rewrite cuff part into a less offending stitch sequence

 pic by Svilen Milev

4. have a piece of pie

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2 thoughts on “Weird Wool Wednesday: Mother of Purl

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