YO by Any Other Name ~~~ Technique Tuesday

YO – yarn overYarn-Over-Continental by Donna Druchunas
YRN – yarn ’round needle
YON – yarn over needle
YFWD – yarn forward

The YO stitch has more names that an English aristocrat!  And recently Twitter was all “atwitter” about it.   I admit to not reading each and every tweet that day, but my friend Donna Druchunas wrote a fabulous blog post the day after and has agreed to allow me to share it with you.

 Thank you, Donna

 

 

A yarn over by any other name…

Posted by on Feb 18, 2014

Yesterday morning Twitter turned into a major knitting geek fest as a discussion about yarn overs erupted. We were discussing the terminology used to explain the technique that makes an increase by wrapping the yarn around the knitting needle to form a new loop, which later becomes a hole in the knitting. (Creating holes in your knitting on purpose is how you knit lace, in case you might be wondering why you want to do this.) The designers, writers, and editors involved in this discussion were from the USA, Canada, the UK, and other places, making for a very interesting discussion and comparison of how patterns are written in different locations and even in different languages.

Here’s a summary of our conclusions about terminology in English-language patterns:

Yarn Over (YO)

All yarn overs are essentially the same: you are wrapping the yarn around the needle to create a hole and add a new stitch. The yarn goes from the bottom to the top in front of the needles. This creates a hole in the knitting which is made into a new stitch when you knit or purl into it on the following row.

Continental Yarn Overs

When knitting Continental style, carrying the yarn in the left hand, this is accomplished by simply scooping up the yarn with the right needle, creating a strand of yarn that goes over the top of the needle from front to back. When you knit continental, it doesn’t really matter if the stitches before and after the yarn over or knits and purls, because the scooping motion is the same in all cases, and the yarn almost magically goes to the back or front of the work as needed for the following knit or purl stitch.

English Yarn Overs

English knitters must pay more attention to the position of the yarn, particularly when the yarn over falls before or after a purl stitch. In the UK, different terms and abbreviations are used to indicate these nuances.

Remember, the key to making a yarn over is bringing the yarn from the bottom to the top in front of the needle, as shown in the picture above. This is the part that wraps the “yarn over” the needle and forms the loop that will be come a new stitch when you knit or purl into it on the following row.

When you are knitting English style, with the yarn held in your right hand, you have to manually move the yarn to the correct position, in back or in front, to work knits and purls. This makes the yarn over process slightly more complicated. Most American and Canadian books and patterns assume that you will know how to do this, and they use the term “yarn over” for all instances of making a new stitch and forming a hole in the knitting. English (UK) and Australian books and patterns use different terms for a yarn over depending on whether the stitches before and after the yarn over itself are knits or purls.

  • Stitch before is knit, stitch after is knit (yfwd – yarn forward): Bring yarn from back of knitting to front between needles, then, in order to knit the next stitch bring the yarn over the top of the right needle to the back again.
  • Stitch before is purl, stitch after is knit (yon – yarn over needle). Bring yarn from front to back over the right needle.
  • Stitch before is knit, stitch after is purl (yrn – yarn ’round needle). Bring yarn to front of work between needles, then wrap yarn completely around the right needle to the front of work again.
  • Stitch before is purl, stitch after is purl (yrn – yarn ’round needle). Bring yarn from front to back over right needle, then wrap yarn under the right needle to the front again.

If these alternate abbreviations confuse you, feel free to substitute “YO” for “yarn over” in your head as you read patterns. Just remember that you have to get the yarn into the correct position for knitting or purling, which should be somewhat automatic to you once you get beyond the beginner stages of knitting.

Want to learn more about the nuances of lace knitting terminology, techniques, and charts? Check out my books Arctic Lace and Successful Lace Knitting. As a bonus, you’ll get fabulous stories about Native Alaskan knitters who make lace from musk ox wool and one of America’s lesser known knitting pioneers, Dorothy Reade.

 Editor’s Note:  There’s even a step by step video!  Check it out –  http://youtu.be/a5zMoIQBAk4

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Turning the row – crochet

So, you’ve reached the end of your crochet row.  What now?

If you learned basic crochet as most of us did, you learned that to turn your work from one single crochet row to the next all you had to do is: chain 1, turn.  Off you go to the next row.  Indeed, that works beautifully and produces a nice even edge.  It’s easy to pick up stitches and add a border to your piece or even to seam one piece to the next.

SC Ch1 Edge 200 x 86Ch 1, turn.

Continuing on to double crochet rows, we learned to chain 3, turn at the end of the current row.  Our teachers told us that the chain-3 counts as the first double crochet of the new row.  We made the first actual double crochet in the next stitch.

This edge isn’t going to be a firm foundation for adding borders or seaming.  You could use it as a design feature if you wanted, but scarf crocheters, for instance, might prefer a more uniform look to the long edge of their scarf.

Ch 3 Edge  175 x 163Ch 3, turn.  Dc in 2nd stitch.

 I’m not a “follow the rules blindly” kind of crocheter – nor was my Grandmother who taught me to question and explore.  There came a day when the edge shown above just didn’t suit my project and off I went on another journey to find a different path.

Slip St. Ch 2 EdgeTurn, slip st to last st of previous row, ch 2.  Dc in remaining stitches.
On subsequent rows, the last dc is placed in the top of the turning chain-2.

The gap between the turning chain and first dc is virtually eliminated.  Were I to seam this edge to another piece, I would place the “sewing” stitches in the tops of the rows, thus straightening the edge even more to create an almost invisible line – but that’s another blog post for another day.

And so it goes, for turning chains on rows of treble crochets, the process is the same – Turn, slip st to last st of previous row, ch 3.

Happy Crochet Stitches everyone.  See you next time for Technique Tuesday.

Bobbi

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Technique Tuesday – Chinese Waitress Cast-on

knitting and yarn for Technique Turesday 200 x 200What’s your favorite knitting cast on?  If you’re like me, you have several methods in your “tool kit” – each with a specific purpose.   You may also be like me in that you are easily distracted by a reference to a “new” method.

That’s what happened recently.  While reading threads on Ravelry, I saw reference to using the Chinese Waitress Cast-on to begin a scarf.  The poster said it was the only obvious way to start a scarf and suggested that anyone/everyone should already know that fact.

Well, hurumpf – in nearly 60 years of knitting, I’d never come across anything as being the ONE, TRUE way to cast on scarves.   Of course I had to do my own experiment.

My first stop was the referenced online video:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nuTPAB7-Zao

The method looked rather fiddly to me and I couldn’t see how it was much different from my own favorite scarf cast on – the Crochet Chain Cast-on.  Next stop: the referenced book, which just happened to be on the shelf behind my desk:

Cast On, Bind Off – 211 Ways to Begin and End Your Knitting
Author:  Cap Sease
Publisher:  Martingale

The printed and illustrated instructions for both cast on methods are easy to follow.  This is truly a well done publication that should be on every knitter’s shelf.

Chinese Waitress Cast on   page 54
Crochet Chain Cast on   page 63

OBSERVATIONS:

There is definitely a structural and visual difference between the methods.

Chinese Waitress Cast On

Chinese Waitress Cast on

 

 

 

Crochet Chain Cast On

Crochet Chain Cast on

 

 

 

 

For everyday scarf applications, I’ll still use a crochet chain cast on, especially if the cast on and bind off edges will be fringed.  Under the fringe knots, the stitches don’t show and this method produces a firm edge that won’t stretch too much when pulling the fringe sections through.

I’d also likely use the crochet chain cast on for shawls as the cast on and bind off edges will “look” identical.

However, for a sweater or another garment that I might want a more decorative beginning or a firmer on that looks the same front and back – well, let’s just say, I’m more than a little tempted to give the Chinese Waitress Method a try.

Happy casting……..Bobbi

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