Sacred Stocking Stitch

November 20, 2012

 There is something about stocking stitch.

Complain as we may when I project has what feels to be miles and miles of the stuff, it is oddly soothly and reassuring. 

Row after row of knit or purl (or in the round, just knit), it's the perfect stitch for tv watching, or talking with friends, or daydreaming. mostly because it's pretty hard to mess up. 

While knitting away at the sunshine yellow cardigan I got to thinking how easy it is to get obsessive over a project that is mostly stocking stitch. 'One more row' easily turns into ten, and there's something soothingly rhythmic about the whole thing. A long row of knit, a long row of purl, turn, repeat, over and over. 

The Sunshine Celestite Cardigan in progress

I know there's a bit of history behind stocking stitch (the English is Stockinette, but stocking is so much simpler to say), so I decided to hunt out some tidbits of info.

Each column of stitches on the right side of the fabric is a 'wale' - which I love. Except I keep thinking of actual whales. Also, the bumps on corduroy fabric are also called 'wales' (hooray for old fabric store know how!).

Knit and Purl stitches are asymmetrical (I didn't know that!) which is why stocking stitch fabric curls at the sides and ends.

The path that your yarn takes is called a 'course' and each loop is called a 'bight'

Knitted garments can stretch as much as 500%! Holy moly!

When we knit by hand we are 'warp knitting' as we are creating wales that run perpendicular to the course of the yarn (hooray for putting terminology together!)

Feel smarter about your knitting? I do. Feel smug because I should have known all this stuff already and you totally do? Yeah, that's cool.

Happy knitting!

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