(Fogra 39) Job:02-28051 Title:RP-Textile Artist Handbook
#175 DTP:225 Page:54
050-069_28051.indd 54 3/6/12 7:53 PM
(Fogra 39) Job:02-28051 Title:RP-Textile Artist Handbook
#175 DTP:225 Page:55
050-069_28051.indd 55 3/6/12 7:53 PM
Spinning, Knitting, and CroC hett he t extile a rtiS t'S Studio h andbooK
Knitting Overview
The history of knitting is fairly ambiguous. Since wool,
silk, and cotton yarns degrade quickly, there are few
knit items that date very far back. And, unlike weaving
and spinning, which have very specific tools, knitting
needles are simply pointed sticks. In addition, be-
cause yarn was a commodity, knit items were usu-
ally unraveled and re-knit when the garment no longer
fit its owner until the yarn was no longer useable. No
mention of knitting or crocheting appears in literary
works until the fifteenth century, unlike weaving and
spinning, which date back to humanity’s oldest texts.
Though the history of knitting is a mystery, there is no
denying its cultural importance.
Flat knitting creates fabric with selvedges (edges).
One set of two needles is used to construct row upon
row of loops.
Circular knitting creates a tube, which can be used
for the body of sweaters, socks, ornaments, and much
more. Also known as “knitting in the round,” you can
Yarn is spun by twisting fibers together in
either a clockwise (S-twist) or counterclockwise
(Z-twist) direction. The twists per inch (TPI) de-
termine how tightly wound the yarn is. Single ply
yarns are created with a Z-twist. To create thicker
yarns, single ply yarns can be twisted, or plied
together, using a “S-twist” to spin two already
twisted yarns together. It is in the twisting to-
gether of different single-ply yarns that heavier,
thicker, and multicolor yarns with blended fibers
are produced.
Understanding Ply
“Gauge” refers to the number of stitches in
4 inches (10.2 cm) of knitting. In hand knitting
(and crochet), the gauge will vary depending on
the yarn weight, needle size, and individual knit-
ter. Always knit or crochet a swatch before start-
ing any project and make sure it measures the
indicated gauge measurements in the pattern.
To make and measure a gauge swatch:
1. Knit (crochet) a 4-inch (10.2 cm) square
2. Smooth out the swatch on a flat surface.
3. Use a tape measure to mark 4 inches (10.2 cm)
across and 4 inches (10.2 cm) down. Count
Understanding Gauge
the number of stitches across and the number
of rows down.
4. Compare your measurements to the suggest-
ed gauge measurements on the pattern.
stitches are too small. Try larger needles.
stitches are too big. Try smaller needles.
than suggested, you might want to consid-
er a different weight and/or texture of yarn.
Or make length adjustments by knitting
more or fewer rows as needed.
(Fogra 39) Job:02-28051 Title:RP-Textile Artist Handbook
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Spinning, Knitting, and CroC het
The TexT ile ArT isT 's sTudio hAndbook
use one set of circular needles, which are connected
by two ends by a flexible cord, or three or four double-
pointed knitting needles, which hold active loops as
you work your way around.
There are three very basic steps:
Yarn is classified by weight, which refers to its
thickness. There are bulky, worsted, sport, baby
or sock, and fingering weights. The thicker the
yarn, the fewer stitches it will take to knit 1 inch
(2.5 cm); this is called gauge and is usually
indicated on the packaging. If you have spun
your own yarn, you will need to do a gauge
swatch to determine how many stitches per
inch it will knit.
You’ll also want to try knitting projects with
different size needles. Needles come in vary-
ing lengths. Straight needles are 1014 inches
(25.435.6 cm) long; and connected circular
Yarn Weight and Needle Size
needles are much longer. Needles also come
in sizes like 0, 1, 2, 3, etc. The larger the needle
size, the thicker the needle. Thicker needles cre-
ated larger size stitches.
Needles are available in many styles:
end for knitting in the round
in the round, especially at a small scale
ABOVE There are two types of hand
knitting: circular and flat.
1. Cast stitches on.
2. Work the knit and purl stitches to create fabric.
3. Bind stitches off.
Cast On Every knit project is begun by “casting on,”
the creation of the first row of stitches. There are many
ways to cast on. A knitter generally sets the width of
the piece during casting on, but it can be made wider
or narrower by increasing or decreasing stitches.
Stitch Knitting This involves two basic stitches, knit
and purl, which create a wide array of patterns and
styles. These two stitches are formed through the
pulling of the continuous yarn through the front or
back of an active loop. Though it seems simple, knit-
ting can become quite intricate and detailed, as seen
in the processes of intarsia, cable, or Fair Isle. These
more intricate designs usually require a pattern, which
break down the knit into “pixels.” Patterns are also
used in knitting to create shaped garments that re-
quire increasing, decreasing, and picking up stitches.
Bind Off The piece is completed by “casting off.
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