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How to Become an "Expert Knitter"   *Buy this book on CD for offline reading!

table of contents Ľ chapter 11 (of 29)

11: Shaping (cont.)

The effect of shaping on edge stitches

Shaping makes an outline, influences the fit of a garment and adds the visual effect of sequences of holes, sloping stitches or bars, but it also has another very important effect. Shaping alters the angle of adjoining stitches by creating a slant, either towards or away from an increase or decrease.

As the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, a slant means that a sloped stitch is longer than a right angle stitch.

If the shaping has been worked some way along a row, the stitches worked on either side will minimise the effect of the slope, but when the shaping occurs near an edge, the slope elongates the side of the stitch at the edge of the row. When there are a sequence of sloped stitches, as along the edge of a number of rows with a series of shapings, all the stitches are longer than the stitches where there are no shapings, and the edges are a right angle. The extra stitch length can be quite unimportant when shapings are worked many rows apart, but when the shapings are closer together, the extra length adds up to a big difference.

The fact that sloped stitches are longer than stitches with a right angle edge becomes very important when picking up stitches along the side of a slope. The usual ratio of three stitches being equal to four rows doesnít apply, because the elongated stitches become closer in measurement to the normal width of a stitch. Extra stitches will be needed so that the added knitting or band will fit correctly to the number of rows. If there are not enough stitches, an added trim like a neck or a band will gather in the knitting and make the edge into a bowed shape.

The number of rows between decreases or increases has an influence on the size of the edge stitches. When the shapings are worked on every row, the shaping rows are close together. Because the angle of the slope is very pronounced, the slant of the stitches at the edge will be longer than ordinary stitches. Remember to knit edge stitches loosely to allow for the stretch.

If the shapings are worked on every second row, the rows are further apart, the angle will be less sharp and the stitches will be slightly shorter.

By the time you are shaping six, eight, ten or more rows apart, the sloping stitch edge difference to a right angle edge has all but disappeared [pic 22,23,24,25].

22: A long slanted edge stich formed by increasing on every row contrasts with the shorter right angle edge stitches.

23: Because the increases have been worked on every second row, the slope is less pronounced, and the stitches are shorter.

24: When the increases are four rows apart, the sloped edge stitches are only slightly longer than the right angle stitches.

25: Increases worked six or more rows apart have little or no influence on the length of the stitches on the sloping edge.

If itís difficult to see the difference, measure a length along a sloping side and count the stitches. Measure the same length against a right angle side of the knitting and then contrast the stitch count. The greater the slope angle, the closer the stitch size at the side of the row is to the width of a stitch. You will need to skip or miss less rows when picking up or joining stitches to rows.

When a skirt, a sweater or a jacket or any other garment is increased or decreased at each side so that it is wider at the hem, the sides will hang in a point. This is because the side seams are longer than at the measurement on the straight at the centre of the garment. Shaping has elongated the side stitches. This can be a wonderful design feature, or a problem. If you want to eliminate the points, you will have to divide the number of shapings and distribute them evenly along rows, instead of just increasing or decreasing at the side of the garment.

Picking up stitches on necklines, around armholes, adding bands or trims on a slope and attaching added on pieces are all areas where you will encounter sloping edge stitches. Dealing with them seems complicated at first sight, and you may think there is too much to remember, but as you knit and try it out, you will find that there are really not a lot of variations. It all works like clockwork.

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