Knitting Techniques: Slip Stitch Colorwork Part I

Knitting Techniques: Slip Stitch Colorwork Part I

Let's talk about slip stitches. You might have noticed them in the Henning Cowl, Minno Cowl, Minno Hat, Arbutus Jacket, England Avenue Cardigan, or the Ferguson Cowl. It looks like I'm a little obsessed with them.

Confession: Way back in the 90s, when I was knitting Starmore celtic cables and Fassett colourwork, I didn't know about slip stitches. I didn't know about barbara walker knitting treasuries. I didn't even know about ssk. (Although I did unvent it for myself).

It wasn't until I started using Walker's Treasuries that the potential of slipping a stitch—either to emphasize it, twist it, or colour it—really sunk in.

So here's a little intro to using slip stitches in contrasting colours. In stockinette, it can give you a similiar effect to stranded colour work, but without having to carry two yarns at the same time. This is the key to the Minno Hat and Henning Cowl, and the upcoming Minno Cowl.

Let's try it out (Colour A is cream, Colour B is blue):

Step 1 (see the photo above): Work a few rows stockinette in Colour A. Then, join Colour B, and K1, slip 2 purlwise with the yarn in back, then k1, carrying yarn relaxed in the back when you slip. Keep going with this pattern of k1, slip2, til you reach the end of the row. (see below) I've found that you can safely slip up to 3 sts without the tension getting hard to manage.

Slip Three Stitches

Here's what it looks like on the back. Colour B strands are relaxed but not so loose that they hang down.

Sslip Stitch Purl

Step 2: On the wrong side, work the row by purling every B coloured stitch, and slipping every slipped stitch. The A stitches will stretch vertically to match the height of two B stitches. To really get a good look at the effect, work a couple of plain rows in colour A. See how there are two blue stitches vertically for every slipped cream stitch?

Slip Stitch Vertically

So that's it for today. For Part II, I've got some photos of how you can experiment with the basic technique by mixing purls and knits, and slipping the yarn in front of the work!
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