Change of heart mid-stream!
I hope I never grow too set in my ways to try something new. I’ve been finishing off a partly knit Paintbox scarf, in between real projects (it’s a fun carry-around once the pattern is established). There are those times you just have to have something to keep the hands busy, and this certainly does it. It’s double-knit (two-layer) knitting: one hand is purling stitches, the other knitting them, and periodically they switch functions. The conventional direction of yarn rotation around the needle involved in the left-hand purl is particularly tricky for normally right-hand yarn operators. I struggled with it intermittently for years, and it was not until I became addicted to DK that I mastered it. Sometimes you have to have a pressing need to act as a goad.
I have, especially when starting new knitters on this particular form of brain/hand coordination/stimulation/torture (delete as appropriate), suggested that the left hand could perfectly well, and more easily, make the purl stitch by rotating the yarn in the opposite direction. The main visible* effect of this is to have the resulting stitch mounted on the needle the opposite way to the norm. All that is required of the knitter is to recognize and handle appropriately these odd stitches on the following row, and to carefully consider their stitch manipulation when decreasing.
I’ve done small amounts of this to prove the point, but have been comfortable and satisfied with the results of regular purling and didn’t bother with it a great deal myself. Halfway through this scarf, however, (I the one who always counsels against mid-project change), I decided to switch to making all my purls alternatively regardless of which hand was purling. I’m rather pleased with the results: I believe the fabric is more even and it’s pleasing to work. Interestingly, my neatest and less neat edges seem to have switched sides too!
One has to be alert to stitch mount particularly at the top of each colour block, but it’s quite manageable. Try both; take your pick. No method is perfect, each will have both benefits and shortcomings. Don’t be too hard on yourself: remember that washing and blocking will cure a multitude of wobbly stitches.
Another point of DK interest is: in which hand to keep which yarn?… maybe we’ll get into that next time!
I’m still feverishly working on the new website, photograph replacements, skiing when possible, knitting new things, writing patterns and workshops and I’ve a quilt that just needs a bit of stitching….and so to bed! Sweet dreams.
*Other effects are the tendency for the rotation to unply a conventional S plied yarn slightly and to make your purls a better match with your knits. More on these another day.