09 May 2010

New Day, New Phrase

One of the joys of knitting is that there is always something to learn. Yesterday, for instance, brought along the term "rowing out". I knew of the situation, but not the term. If you look at the top rows of this swatch you will see that my rows of stockinette are lumped in pairs of rows. Two rows, gap, two rows, gap. Rowing out:

What a great term! I read that Priscilla Gibson-Roberts coined that phrase. (That may or may not be so. You know, don't believe everything you read!)

It's most apparent on the purl (usually the WS) side, but is also visible on the knit (RS?) as uneven-looking stitches:

Unforgiving fibers, such as cotton, really make rowing out apparent, though it can pop up any time. The trick is to keep your tension even with your knits and purls. TECHknitting has some great tips and strategies here, and Janet of twistedknitter.prettyposies.com has written about rowing out here.

Instead of reinventing the wheel, sliced bread, and seamless gutters, let me tell you that if you use a search engine of your choice and look up "rowing out knitting" you will find many articles and blogs on the subject. For me, I've solved my conflicts with rowing out, more or less, by knitting a row with Continental knit, and then purling a row in the English, or throwing style. My usual Norwegian purl will stretch the purl stitch too much, especially when working on cotton stockinette.

One final website of note is Annie Modesitt and her article on Combined Knitting, or as I've heard it called - Eastern Uncrossed - here. I'm thinking I might want to practice this technique.

Here! Here!


  1. Happy Mother's Day!

    I'm actually very comforted to know that rowing out happens to you too. I love the TECHknitter's different solutions. For me, swatching and purling with a smaller needle are the answer. Luckily, I enjoy swatching. When I first became aware of my rowing-out problem, I attempted Annie Modesitt's combined knitting, but as I'm not a Continental knitter, I couldn't get past the learning curve - I was trying to learn to hold the working yarn in my left hand *and* how to knit and purl a different way. Also, I didn't know enough at the time, to intuit how to accomplish increases, decreases, etc. while combination knitting.

    So regardless of what it's called or who coined the phrase, in my opinion, the most awesome thing ever invented for knitters who tend to row out are interchangeable needles! I can knit and purl happily with less rowing out (still evident on the edges of my work though) and now, NO switching of needles. I used to use an Addi Turbo to knit and a Clover bamboo in a the next size down to purl. It was annoying!

  2. The best (okay, one of The Best) things about knitting is that it really comes down to "Whatever works best for you, do it." I'm glad to know of someone who uses interchangeable needles this way! It adds to my repertoire of, "i know someone who..."

  3. I completely agree . . . I probably sounded a little too enthusiastic about my way being "the" way. But yes, I agree that whatever works best is the way to go! After I commented, I remembered that I also tried Portuguese knitting to compensate for the rowing out. It worked well for me but I forgot how to do it when I didn't have a project to use it on right away.

  4. I just discovered your blog via Ravelry, and I love your posts. I'll check back frequently!