While on my summer travels, I eyed this super cool Splattershot yarn from Lorna’s Laces. Yes, we did actually show up at yarn market and didn’t just eat ice cream. Naturally, we couldn’t resist.
This machine wash wool is super soft, and the Splattershot colors are lots of fun!
While great for all ages, I couldn’t resist working up a design for a baby set. A perfect baby gift! Why trudge away at a big blanket, when you can really shine at the shower with an adorable sweater set. It will take less time than a blanket, and a lot less yarn.
This design is worked in one piece, with no finishing. In order to incorporate the band into the design, I called for a slip stitch edge so that it would look nice and polished.
As an added treat today, I am going to demystify the slip stitch. While it seems so simple at first glance, slipping stitches can be rather complex.
First Rule of Slipped Stitches
Always slip purlwise UNLESS the slipped stitch is part of a decrease OR the pattern instructs otherwise
Stitches that are slipped knitwise twist the stitch. When worked as part of a decrease, they become untwisted as the decrease is worked. Slipping otherwise will result in a twisted stitch. So if your instructions read; K1, Sl1, PSSO – this slipped stitch is part of a decrease and should be slipped knitwise. Same goes for SSK, SSP, double decreases, etc.
Slipping Edge Stitches
Slipping the first stitch of the row makes for a nice edging, or makes for a smooth pick up on a sock heel and such. These stitches are always slipped purlwise, per our rule above
When you are working in stockinette stitc, slipping edge stitches is pretty straightforward. On knit rows you slip the stitch, the yarn comes up from the back to knit the next stitch. On purl rows you slip the stitch, the yarn comes up from the front to purl the next stitch.
It is more tricky when you get into garter or knit/purl stitch patterns. In order to figure out how the yarn will travel you have to consider what the first stitch would be if it weren’t slipped. Let’s look the baby sweater above. It has a K1, P1 ribbed band worked into the pattern:
The right side rows, if the edge stitches weren’t slipped, would start with K1, P1. Since we are slipping the first stitch, it is slipped purlwise (as always) then the yarn will travel between the needles to the front of the work to form the next purl stitch – just as it would travel if the first stitch had been knit.
The wrong side rows, if the edge stitches weren’t slipped, would start with P1, K1. Again, the first stitch is slipped purlwise (as always), then the yarn will travel between the needles to the back of the work to form the next knit stitch – just as it would travel if the first stitch had been purled
It becomes even more complicated when it comes to garter stitch. Even though you are knitting garter, and all stitches are knit you have to treat the beginning stitches as if they were purls. That doesn’t make any sense, does it? If you treat the slipped stitches as if they were knit stitches, you will wind up with a bumpy, garter edge. When you look at the first stitch in garter stitch it appears as a purl. Therefore you treat it as a purl, and work the row as follows:
Slip 1 stitch purlwise (as always), the yarn travels between the needles to the back of the work to form the next knit stitch.
Slipped edge stitches on garter stitch are a bit different. The edges are slipped on garter stitch when you don’t want a garter stitch edge. We’ll get to the reasons to do it this way in a minute. If you treat the edge stitches like knit stitches, you get a slipped garter edge and that doesn’t look right. The beauty of a slipped stitch edge is that the stitches look like a smooth chain of stockinette stitches along the edge. So technically you are treating the edge stitches as if they were stockinette stitch, even though the rest of the pattern is garter.
Garter is a great stitch pattern for unfinished edges in that it doesn’t curl, lays flat and the edge stitches aren’t an issue. So why slip the edge stitches? Maybe you are going to pick up along that edge. Sally Melville’s Einstein Coat comes to mind. The bottom skirt is knit in garter, with slip stitch edges. To attach the upper part of the coat, you simply slip these edge stitches onto a needle and take knitting off from there. It makes for a beautiful, seemingly seamless joining of the pieces. But if the edge stitches aren’t slipped property, it will not look good.
Unfortunately many patterns will not give you any instruction further than SL1. If you don’t bring the yarn around properly, you will get a bumpy edge. On the upside, it is super easy to fix! Simply unravel the edge stitch back as far as you need to go (yes, even to the cast on stitch if necessary). Insert a crochet hook in the last stitch, and pull each unraveled loop through the stitch on the hook. And it is fixed – easy as pie!
Hope this little tutorial on slipping stitches is helpful for you!