I picked it…problem solved?

* A note before we begin. This post is supposed to have pictures of several blocked swatches. But it won’t…for a while as the hubby is on the poop list. You see he built me a new ‘puter last night and was so eager to show me the built in card reader. He kept poking around the tower until he found the slot and shoved my poor little memory card in, then he couldn’t figure out why it wouldn’t read the card. I figured it out this morning when I removed the card and tried to put it in the camera. He bent one of those teeny little plastic slats on the back. *grrrrrrrr* He’s been a computer tech for over ten years. Unfortunately, he’s been a man for a lot longer. Pictures to follow when thoroughly chastised hubby brings home his card for me to use while he sees if he can fix mine. Grrrr again.*

For nearly all twenty years that I have been knitting I have had a problem with purl. Oh I like purl well enough and when it’s just purl and me, we get along fine. It’s just that when knit comes along right before purl, well let’s just say purl doesn’t like to be that close to knit. So all of my ribbing has a weird laddery effect between the last knit stitch and the first purl stitch when ribbing. The rest of the ribbing looks great, even the last purl into the first knit, nice and smooth and seamless, but if knit gets to go ahead of purl…forget it.


I have even tried different things on advice from others, to pick up the slack between these two stitches, so to speak. Here is a swatch where I tightened up the knit stitch just before moving into the purl section. See? Big honky-wonky knit stitch and still some laddering.

In this swatch I tried tightening up just the purl immediately after the last knit stitch in a ribbing pattern. Again, wonky last knit stitch and some laddering.

At this point last night when knitting these examples of things I have tried in the past, I was near tears, swearing, and stabbing someone with my needles. Here in the last example I tried tightening up both the last knit stitch and the first purl stitch. Again, no improvement except that it really tightened up my knitting and threw off my gauge.

Somewhere between the second and third swatch a nagging thought started tickling my brain. Continental. “What? No way, I’m a thrower, shut up.” Continental. “Um, nope, tried it once, holy slow.” Continental, it takes practice to get faster dummy. “Oh for crying in the mud…FINE! I will try it.” So I did, and boy was it awkward. I felt and looked like a kindergartner just picking up the needles for the first time. The hubby was even laughing he said, “You look more awkward than I did when you had me try a few stitches! You should see the face you are making.” I resisted the urge to give him a good jab with my needle. Finally after consulting a book or two and just being frustrated to death I came to bed at 12:30 with a smallish swatch of continental in hand. Yeah, see? The ladder has definitely improved. *sigh* My only fear is that it has improved because I have that “I’m-still-learning-death-grip-gauge” going on right now. What if it slackens again once I get comfortable with Continental?

So? What’s a girl to do? I’m tired of my cabling looking crappy. I’m tired of weird laddery ribbing. I’m at my wits end? I have emailed a “knitting doctor” to see if they can help. Any suggestions here would be great. I’m willing to try anything at this point.


7 Responses to I picked it…problem solved?

  1. Chris says:

    There’s some tip for knitting that last stitch or purling that first stitch twisted, but I can’t remember the details…

  2. My purls are looser than my knits, so I have this problem too. Here’s a thread on Ravelry that might help you. (And if you want to purl Continental, do try and learn the Norwegian purl… much less awkward than traditional purling.) Good luck!

  3. 2trees says:

    I’m mostly a thrower, but use Cont. for seed stitch and single rib. The ONLY way I could get it to work for me was to learn Norwegian purling. You keep the yarn in *back* and the tension is much better. Videos at knittinghelp.com and youtube.

  4. Can you take a vid of how you knit? Stick it on youtube and then we can check it out.

  5. Brigitte says:

    I’ve never purled in continental…ugh, don’t know if I want to try! Hmmm… I too have read the Norwegian purling could help you avoid the laddering.

  6. amandacathleen says:

    urgh! Sounds very frustrating, silly purls. Give the Norwegian purl a try. And show us a video of how you knit!
    I’m still giggling over you hubby. I love the line “he has been a man for much longer.” hehehe!!! That sounds so much like my Mike!

  7. Cynthia says:

    ummm… so did he get it fixed?

    and did you get your purling going? I use continental when I’ve got seed stitch or something equally atrocious – love the way seed stitch looks – hate having to knit it.

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