Process

There are many hundreds of different knitting stitches used by knitters. A piece of knitting begins with the process of casting on (also known as "binding on"), which involves the initial creation of the stitches on the needle. Different methods of casting on are used for different effects: one may be stretchy enough for lace, while another provides a decorative edging Provisional cast-ons are used when the knitting will continue in both directions from the cast-on. There are various method employed to "cast on," such as the "thumb method" (also known as "slingshot" or "long-tail" cast-ons), where the stitches are created by a series of loops that will, when knitted, give a very loose edge ideal for "picking up stitches" and knitting a border; the "double needle method" (also known as "knit-on" or "cable cast-on"), whereby each loop placed on the needle is then "knitted on," which produces a firmer edge ideal on its own as a border; and many more. The number of active stitches remains the same as when cast on unless stitches are added (an increase) or removed (a decrease). Most Western-style knitters follow either the English style (in which the yarn is held in the right hand) or the Continental style (in which the yarn is held in the left hand). There are also different ways to insert the needle into the stitch. Knitting through the front of a stitch is called Western knitting. Going through the back of a stitch is called Eastern knitting. A third method, called combination knitting, goes through the front of a knit stitch and the back of a purl stitch. Once the knitted piece is finished, the remaining live stitches are "cast off". Casting (or "binding") off loops the stitches across each other so they can be removed from the needle without unravelling the item. Although the mechanics are different from casting on, there is a similar variety of methods. In knitting certain articles of clothing, especially larger ones like sweaters, the final knitted garment will be made of several knitted pieces, with individual sections of the garment knit separately and then sewn together. Seamless knit ing, where a whole garment is knit as a single piece, is also possible. Elizabeth Zimmermann is probably the best-known proponent of seamless or circular knitting techniques. Smaller items, such as socks and hats, are usually knit in one piece on double-pointed needles or circular needles. Combined knitting or combination knitting is a style that combines elements of Eastern-style knitting with the Western techniques. The name was suggested by Mary Thomas in her 1938 book "Mary Thomas's Knitting Book", where she described the technique as "This is the better way to work in Flat Knitting. The resulting fabric is more even and closer in construction." By wrapping the yarn the opposite way while purling, the knitter changes the orientation of the resulting loops; then the next row's knit stitches can be formed by inserting the needle from the right (as in Eastern knitting), rather than from the left. The needle is always inserted from the right, whether knitting or purling. This technique is suitable for all knitted fabrics from the basic Stockinette stitch, to any other style, such as Fair Isle, circular knitting, or lace knitting. The basic adaptation necessary is to substitute "ssk" when directed to "k 2 tog", and vice versa, to orient the slant of the decrease correctly. Most American and European knitting patterns are currently not written to accommodate the needs of Combined knitters. The responsibility rests with the individual knitter to have gained sufficient working knowledge of the changes necessary to convert pattern elements before attempting the entire project, in order for the design to be knitted successfully. Knitting instructors unfamiliar with this technique will encounter difficulties teaching classes with students using this technique. Proper terminology is essential in assisting teachers to provide adequate instruction to these students. Teachers should familiarize themselves with the works of Annie Modesitt and Anna Zilboorg, among others. Other basic knitting techniques include English knitting (or "right-hand" knitting) and Continental knitting (or "left-hand" knitting).