Orange You Glad…

IMG_1910…I am!  

The orange stripe is knit and ready for welting! Along with the rainbow, the welts are the key design feature. What is a welt? I’m glad you asked!  In knitting, it can refer to two different techniques that both put 3d texture into your fabric.  The first method is simply knitting several rounds and then purling several rounds, resulting in a sort of horizontal ribbing.  The Welted Cowl by Jane Richmond is an example of this technique.  It creates a soft, flexible, stretchy fabric, exactly what you’d expect from ribbing.

The second welting technique, the one I’m using, physically pinches the fabric together and secures it. IMG_1911

This style of welt is more firm, it does not flex, it retains it’s structure (within the parameters of your yarn, obviously I’m still talking about wool, not a concrete block!).  It’s a true 3d fabric, rather than a fabric that may not lay quite flat.  I was introduced to this technique by Stephen West’s Batad.  If you check the sidebar, you’ll see I added an Instagram widget, new features all the time!  Yay! There’s a shot of me and my purple Batad.  It’s just about my favorite knit ever.  It’s a wardrobe staple for me, perfect layering piece for San Francisco weather!  I think everyone should have one!  That’s the what and the why of the welt, now…

How is this pinched welt made? 

IMG_1912

The first step is to create the fabric that will be pinched.  In this case, I am knitting six rounds of each color and joining the first round of color to the round of live stitches on the needle.  With the left needle, I am reaching behind my live stitches and picking up the orange bump at the bottom of the column, six rounds down.  I then knit this bump together with the first live stitch on the needle.  Your first column of stitches is now folded and secured!  Repeat the process for each stitch in the row, being careful to match up the live stitch with the proper bump below!

Connecting the top and bottom of the same column is the key to a polished welt.  Otherwise you end up with a lumpy, puckered welt…like this…

IMG_1914

You can see the red welt is laying smooth and even, while the orange welt is looking a bit cattywampus.  I would politely suggest that’s a “design feature” you want to avoid.

Now for the fine print:

One note about the ‘bump’ I’m picking up….technically speaking, it’s not the purl bump but rather the running thread between two stitches (aka the horizontal bar you’d pick up to M1).  I do this because it’s the easiest to see, the color change highlights it well.  Being easy to see means I’m always getting the next bump in the row, so while I do have a small half stitch jog, I’m still getting nice straight columns which is what I want.  The half stitch jog just means that when I get to my last stitch, I have no bump to pick up.  This happens because there is no running thread when I first join a new yarn.  I’m okay with one stitch not being secured.  I like to live on the edge.   I’m just mentioning it for the perfectionists.  You could actually match the purl bump to the live stitch, have a 1:1 stitch count and completely, totally straight columns.  It would take me 3x longer so I take the shortcut.  I’ve been daring The Knitting Police to come get me…maybe this will finally be the time!

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