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From the Design Desk

Thursday, June 26th, 2008
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Is this thing on?
Hi! My name is Kirsten, and I’m the design coordinator here at Webs. (Hi, Kirsten…)

Since I’ve horribly neglected my own personal blog, and since Kathy’s thumbs were getting sore typing updates on her PDA while she was on the road, we decided to kill two birds with one stone and swing the spotlight over to my desk every other week or so to give a peek into the Willy Wonka-like world of pattern wrangling. It’s true. I’ve been pressing Steve and Kathy to let me hire a staff of little orange dwarves, and they’re this close to caving. I figure if I don’t screw this blog thing up, I can get them and some lickable wallpaper in a two-for-one deal.

So, without further, silly ado, my first post is going to be about one of my latest designs that will be premiering in the Valley Yarns ’08 catalog, the 222 Chevron Tunic knit in Springfield. Springfield was a really surprising little yarn. A cotton bouclĂ©, you’d think it’d be hard and crunchy. But from the first time I felt it, I was very impressed with its softness, which is given body by its unusual texture. We knew that it was destined for number of very comfortable summer essentials, though it would also be perfect in all-seasons sweaters for the non-woolie crowd.

After a week or two of casting about for just the right thing, I became inspired by the image of a long, sleek, sleeveless sweater with a deep v-neck. It’s a classic pullover vest, but its length makes it new and feminine. A simple lace stitch at the bottom mirrors the v-neck on top and adds just the right touch of interest. It was important to make sure that the stitch had bold, clean lines that wouldn’t be obscured by the texture of the yarn, and I think this one really fit the bill.

It also serves as a good introduction to a very handy but lesser-known double decrease that has really grabbed my fascination. Unlike a k3tog, which slants to the right, and a sl1-k2tog-psso, which (sort of) slants to the left, the lace stitch here uses a sl2tog-k1-p2sso, which sticks the central stitch on top and points straight up. It’s a mystery to me why it’s not seen more often, since it’s no more challenging than the others and it doesn’t have the directionality of the other double decreases. And, if you have a series of them, they focus your eye a bit on that central stitch, making it almost look like a pole going straight up the knitting.

Since I’ve still got your attention (except YOU there, in the back. I see you back there, “texting” or “blue-toothing” or whatever it is you kids do these days…) I’ll show you exactly how it’s done.

First, slip 2 stitches as if you’re going to knit them together. You go up into both of them at once and slip them both off at once.You’ll see how they’re kind of twisted around each other on the right hand needle. That’s good.
Next, knit one. You know how to do this part.Then, take those two slipped stitches from before and pass them over the stitch you just knit. Just stick the tip of your left hand needle into both of them at once and pass them both over the knit stitch as if you were binding off.Et voilĂ ! A neat, clean little double decrease that doesn’t lean one way or another.In addition to lace, this would be great for waist shaping or a raglan seam worked in the round from the bottom-up, anywhere where you want a double decrease, really. It’s certainly not the last time you’ll see it in one of my designs. But if you have any problems with it, don’t despair, you can work a sl1-k2tog-psso if that’s more comfortable for you. Better to have a slightly different decrease than to give up on the whole project. And, as always, my email inbox (khipsky(at) is always open if you have questions or comments. I promise I won’t yell at you for getting fingerprints on the walls of the bubble chamber or stealing an everlasting gobstopper.