Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Increasingly: which way's best to add a stitch?

Since working on the fingerless gloves and the thumb gusset for which one must increase from time to time, I have been pondering - again - which increase technique I really like best.

The one voted least likely to leave a hole is the raised increase, whereby you lift the loop of the stitch below the stitch you want to work (or, in the case of a left-leaning increase, below the one you've just worked) and knit into that.  Yep, you can have symmetrical versions of this technique and, as I say, it doesn't leave a hole.  That's why I use it for toe-up socks, even though it drives me crazy that the left and right versions of it look a little different as you work the heel gusset:

H'mmm.  Okay, evidently what looks terrible while you're knitting disappears after a couple of washes. 

There is one other downside to the raised increase, though (apart from the obvious point of requiring at least one knit stitch between increase rows or rounds): you can't get both a left- and right-leaning increase out of one stitch, as you can when you put a yarn over on either side of a stitch, or a 'make 1' increase. 

The fingerless glove pattern starts its gusset from one knit stitch, and therefore uses 'make 1', whereby you lift the bar that runs between two stitches and work into that.  I didn't know until I knit Clockwork that there are left and right leaning versions of this increase as well - how clever! - which as it happens are used in the glove pattern.

In the straight garter stitch of Clockwork it didn't show, but I don't love the way it looks here with its zigzaggy line, even though I've been able to manage not leaving a hole underneath each new stitch.

So when I started reknitting the frogged glove yesterday (cough cough) I used the raised increase once I'd got past that first solitary gusset stitch:

I think it could be even better in another pair, maybe by working the increases one stitch in from the edge? but I like the smooth line.

(and today I am totally getting back to the Secret Pattern full time. More or less.)


Kate/Massachusetts said...

I just learned an increase variation last week that I like...not sure it's the answer to everything but you could try it and see if you like the looks. It is a 2-row increase. First row, do the classic knit-in-the-front-and-back-increase. Second row, knit in the back loop of the increase you just made - that's the stich that resulted from knitting in the back of the stitch in the first row. I hope this isn't too much of a word salad explanation! It really is just twisting the new increase stitch on the next row which tends to eliminate the looseness at the base of the increase. Does this make sense?

Mary Keenan said...

That is a cool idea! I just did another version tonight myself, doing a purl-into-front-and-back into the wrong side of the piece, just above some horizontal welting where it really didn't show (as opposed to waiting for the next right side row by which time it would have.) The bar was just evident enough though to make it easy to count up to the next increase row ;^)