As I mentioned yesterday, the pattern for the lacey cardigan I'm knitting for the Tyger is full of 'knit into back of stitch' and 'purl into back of stitch', and those two pesky techniques are seriously impeding my knitting flow. After all the work involved in the green dress, all I want is a fast speedy knit that I can have dashed off in a couple of weeks (if such a knit for me exists!) Instead I'm being bogged down with the ol' K1B and P1B.
So after I did my swatch, using the K1B and P1B, I had a cunning idea - maybe I should do another swatch, and sub the behind the stitch knitting with regular knit and purl. "Jorthy!", I said to myself, "you are a knitting genius! I bet it turns out just as well, and you won't need to faff around with the written instructions. Let's crank up the music and get knitting!"
Let's just say that it's just as well I did that swatch. The original swatch, featuring the K1B and P1B is on the left, and the other, where I just did knit and purl, is on the right.
Oh dear. Would you just look at those flabby, lacklustre stitches? What a mess! Even ignoring the fact that I was so busy rocking out to Hot Hot Heat whilst I was knitting that I accidentally added another pattern repeat, those stitches are ghastly. They're wonky. And messy. And loose, in a most unattractive way, whilst their behind-the-loop counterparts are as neat as neat can be.
So it turns out that if you want lovely neat stitches, particularly in a lace pattern, behind-the-loop knitting is the way to go. I did a bit of ye olde internet research on the matter, and discovered that this technique results in a twisted stitch, and twisted stitches result in a tighter, firmer piece of knitted fabric. And, as in this case, a much nicer looking piece of lace.
Ah, knitting. As always the truths of knitting match up to the truths of life. You can't have it all (super speedy knitting flow) but every cloud has a silver lining (neat stitches! and new techniques learnt!)