Nanette's Needles

The Cropped Cardi and the Skewed Panel

Posted on: January 11, 2011

Here’s the thing – when you put a stockinette stick and a garter stitch in the same row they don’t take up the same amount of vertical space. You can’t tell that right away but after several rows you can see that the stockinette stitch is a vertical stitch and the garter stitch is more of a horizontal stitch. That is, you can see it if you’re looking for it. Otherwise, you won’t realize it until you go to measure – and only if you measure both sides of the panel.


Example of skewing when stockinette and garter stitches are used in same row.

In 18 rows the stockinette stitch half is ¾" longer than the garter stitch half.

I think I found out because of two separate measurements, several rows apart, that didn’t show any progress. I must have measured opposite sides of the front panel I was working on. I’m not sure how long it took me to realize what was happening, but I remember the shock – followed closely by panic as I realized the Nimbus pattern didn’t address the problem. And, as I mentioned in an earlier post, I’d never run into this problem before.

Years ago I decided I should never stop knitting in the middle of a row. On more than one occasion I would pick up my knitting backward and blithely continue knitting along the row I’d already knit (or purled, as the case may be). I probably did it more times than I’m aware of because the only times I would know about it was if I was working a pattern with well defined stitches. Then I’d see it about 10-20 rows later. (Indulge me. This relates to the skewing …)

I had no idea people actually did that kind of thing on purpose. Shortly before running into my skewing problem I’d been reading something about using short rows to create smoother shoulder seams and I realized my mistake had a name: short row.

Once I got over my panic and started examining the skewing problem I remembered short rows. (See, I told you it was relevant.) It took a bit of trial and error but I worked out how to use short rows to bring the short garter stitch section of the panel into line with the stockinette stitch section.

Basically, I started measuring length every few rows and as soon as the two ends started getting out of sync I’d add a short row. (Yes, it can be worked out mathematically. No, I didn’t.) Practically speaking, I was adding two short rows to the garter stitch section each time. Once just across the garter stitch section, turn it around and back just across the garter stitch section for two short rows. Then back across the garter stitch section again, and at the last garter stitch perform a sort of k2tog (or p2tog). I say sort of because I would knit the last garter stitch along with the horizontal thread immediately beyond it – which is two rows down. This kept a hole from forming due to the short rows. It worked quite well.

In my next post I’ll tell you about the final problem.


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