Over the last week or two I taught myself to knit. I’ve knit before, a little bit, a long time ago. I didn’t really like it. I managed to make half a scarf and then gave it up as too much hassle.

I’m left handed and last time I remember knitting left handed. I found this easier but it was very restrictive when trying to follow patterns – crochet instructions work pretty much the same left or right handed (except cables – still haven’t got the hang of crochet cables) but knitting was very confusing. So I stuck to just the basic knit stitch with a few flourishes, in a flat rectangular shape.

This time I wanted to explore the possibilities of knitting so I decided I really needed to learn to do it right handed to have half a chance at understanding the terminology.

To start with I mostly just made it up as I went along. Basic knit stitch at first (knit one row, purl the next) but I hated purling! so I figured you should be able to do purling by NOT swapping needles and just working the stitches back in the opposite direction (sneakily, this would then also be essentially left handed knitting again). I deconstructed the purl stitch to figure out how to do it ‘backwards’ and then I was away! easy peasy :)

after a few rows this get a bit dull still so I though what would happen if I changed direction in the middle of the row. how about multiple times. what would you get – something 3d I guessed, but would it be stable and would it look good?

turns out the answer to both those questions is yes:

first_swatches (7)first_swatches (6)

After this I tried to search for this technique online but it’s hard to find something when you don’t know the words for what you want to find. The easiest way was to follow the right kind of knitting images down the rabbit hole of Pinterest until they led to some articles that explained a little of the techniques. Turns out that the back and forth way of knitting I’d come up with was a thing (of course! nothing is new under the sun) and was often used by people who wanted to work lots of “short rows”, which, I think, is the correct terminology for changing direction in the middle of the row. usually, this is used for subtle shaping of garments rather than the surface texture / sculptural way I was playing around with. Armed with some better terminology my search then brought more interesting articles and images.

Mostly they were concerned with achieving 3d effects via machine knitting and all the discussions of technique were completely undecipherable to me but the images were fantastic and I had a go, with some success, at replicating them in my new way working:

first_swatches (9)


From here I ventured into the world of creating ‘bubbles’, again as a machine knitting technique:

I couldn’t really see how this might have been created, but then I managed to find an article on that talked about how to hand knit these shapes and I had a few goes, with varying success:

first_swatches (5)


From here I stumbled into the world of dropped stitches and ladders:

I tried to follow this chart but it was a disaster – something to revisit when I know a bit more perhaps:

first_swatches (1)

and then onward to knitted lace, making your own stitch patterns and secret codes:

The String Geekery site is way waaay over my head but it’s so interesting and a fun way to learn how to increase / decrease etc. Just so you understand how little I know about knitting, it was at this point I realised I didn’t actually know how to cast on so had to go look that up on YouTube! until this point I’d just been sort of wrapping the wool around one needle and awkwardly knitting the first row into a loose strand.

This didn’t stop me from having a go at the lace though – just some very very simple, tiny swatches:

first_swatches (11)

first_swatches (12)

The two above are the same little chart but in the bottom one I only followed the chart on knit rows and just purled (fake backward purled) every other row. The top image is trying to follow the chart on all the rows.

first_swatches (3)

My aim now is to pick a simple but interesting stitch and create an actual finished knitted thing.

10 thoughts on “swatch

  1. For some reason I can’t see the end of your post. However you have done so much exploration so congrats to you. Did you check out Ravelry (It’s very dangerous), I suspect you would find lots of left hand stuff there.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had a little look at Ravelry (already use it for crochet) and it’s full of beautiful things but I don’t think I’m at a point were I could follow a pattern yet (unless it was very boring!)

      I’ve downloaded some patterns for when I’m ready :)


  2. Well done! I love seeing people just make stuff up and try things to see what happens. You’ll understand your knitting so much better this way.
    You’ve invented “backwards knitting” (working alternating rows without having to purl, by knitting in the other direction). You might also want to look up “bobbles”, though I’m not sure they’re the same thing as your interesting bumpy knitting.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Yes, although I’m making lots of rookie mistakes I think it’s good to experiment before you know too much otherwise you can get unconsciously constrained by the unwritten rules of whatever art/craft you’re doing. I’ll learn things the proper way at some point


    2. I just realised who you are! Thank you for coming to look at my rubbish little swatches :)

      Your knitting is so beautiful and inspiring. Your explanation of knowing only vaguely what a design will look before you try it and the process of working from words to end design rather than trying to create a specific end result reminds me very much of why I love watercolour painting.


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