Are you a combined knitter?
Ok, so how exactly does one knit combined, and why doesn't everyone do it this way?
- Combined knitters always knit through the back loop
- Combined knitters purl the easy or "cheater" way by simply laying their right needle outside the working yarn and scooping it through the loop. This creates a twisted stitch. MANY knitting books and instructors will tell you this is wrong. It is not wrong as long as you also knit through the back loop. (The "Correct" way is to lay your needle on the inside of the working yarn and loop the yarn over the needle then pull it through. That's like a whole extra movement! Don't call us lazy knitters though, please see below for all the extra thought we have to put into everything).
- Knitting through the back loop without purl rows in between (like circular knitting or garter stitch) leads to tight twisted stitches.
- K2tog is the "standard" decrease method for most normal knitters. For us it is awkward. Our more comfortable decrease is a SSK which leans the opposite direction.
- Any pattern that reads "Knit through back loop" must be reinterpreted in our odd combined brain as "Knit through the front loop" What they really mean is "Knit through the wrong loop (the one that's not waving at you) in order to twist the stitch"
When most knitters attempt a right slanted decrease (SSK) their stitches are waving with the wrong hand. Their front loop is closer to the tip than the back and in order to achieve this decrease properly it needs to be the other way around. To achieve this, they slip the stitches to the right needle, slip them back twisted (so now the back loop is facing) and knit. Or they try to avoid it by doing a psso (slip one stitch, knit one stitch, then pass the slipped stitch over the knit stitch as if to bind off). As combined knitters, all our knit stitches are lefties (ok, you've gotta visualize a happy little guy hanging out on the needle facing the needle tip with his left hand in the back and his right hand in the front. He's a lefty because his back hand, the left one, is the one waving at us). They're already perfectly setup for a right leaning decrease, it's the left leaning one (K2tog) that gives us trouble. For that we have to get the waving hand in the front. Slip 2 stitches to the right needle. Slip them back one at a time by inserting the left needle tip through the stitch from right to left. This will turn your little guy around so the waving hand is now in the front.
As far as twisted stitches when knitting in the round or garter stitch are concerned, we combined knitters need to learn to knit through the front loop. Just knit all circular knitting and garter stitch through the front loop and your problem is solved. You don't even need to learn how to pearl "correctly".