When I started learning to knit, my mum gave me this huge book she had when she was a knitting revivalist in the 80s and used to knit jumpers in complicated patterns while standing up in the tram on the way to work. Now, there is a difference between me and my mum when it comes to these things. She has patience. Some at least. And, when it comes to knitting, I apparently have very little. So, as you can imagine, I’ve spent a fair bit of time flicking through the book scanning the patterns and trying to find the easiest, most impressive, least complicated, least in need of brain power, thinking and counting. I’m terrible with losing count while I knit. I’m usually far too busy watching TV, listening to a podcast or trying not to elbow the person in the train seat next to me to worry about counting.
So the first one I discovered was moss stitch. It’s just so genius. This one looks great, has the same appearance on either side, and doesn’t require any counting. The only trick with moss stitch is that you have to switch the wool between the front and back of your work on every stitch.
Cast on an odd number of stitches, then the rest is easy. It’s knit one, purl one, knit one, etc. But I’m not talking about knit one row, purl one row – I’m talking knit one stitch, purl one stitch. This is why you have to bring the wool to the front (before purling) or push it to the back (before knitting) after every stitch. Each row looks like this:
Row 1: KPKPKPK
Row 2: KPKPKPK
I was able to master moss stitch so effectively that I even made this lovely scarf for Dan’s mum, Justine. She loves it!
Then I had an amazing discovery that rib stitch uses the same technique as moss stitch but with only a slight difference. The easiest way to do this is to follow exactly the same technique, but with an even number of stitches instead of an odd number. Just go with the KPKPKP pattern and you’ll be amazed how different it looks!
The reason it looks so different is because in rib stitch every knit stitch on one row corresponds with a purl stitch on the following row. This is as opposed to what happens in moss stitch where all the knits line up with each other and all the purls line up with each other.
I was for a while, but it doesn’t take long to work it out.
Before I go, I’ll just take it one step further in case you’re interested – if you did happen to have an odd number of stitches but wanted to knit a rib pattern, all you’d need to do would be start every second row with a purl:
But that requires too much concentration for me for now, so I prefer just to have an even number of stitches and do the same thing on every row.
For all you knitting enthusiasts out there – or knitting cheats like me – I will post more about my discoveries from this book as I work my way through it.