287.--KNITTING, though considered to be an old-fashioned art, is
by no means so ancient as lacemaking. Knitting has never entirely
quitted the hands of English and German ladies; indeed, among all
good housewives of any civilised country, it is reckoned an
indispensable accomplishment. Knitting schools have been
established of late years both in Ireland and Scotland, and Her
Majesty the Queen has herself set an example of this industry, as
well as largely patronised the industrial knitters of Scotland. Of
the rudiments of this useful art many ladies are at present
ignorant; it is in the hope of being useful to these that the
following instructions are offered.
To knit, two, three, four, or five needles, and either thread,
cotton, silk, or wool are required.
Knitting needles are made of steel, of ivory, or of wood; the
size to be used depends entirely upon the material employed,
whether thread, cotton, silk, single or double wool, for knitting.
As the size of the needles depends upon that of the cotton, a
knitting gauge is used (see No. 287). The gauge is the
exact size of Messrs. H. Walker and Co.'s knitting gauge. Our
readers will remark that English and foreign gauges differ very
essentially; the finest size of German needles, for
example, is No. 1, which is the size of the coarsest English wooden
or ivory needle. Straight knitting is usually done with two needles
only for round knitting for socks, stockings, &c., three, four,
and five needles are employed.
This term is used for placing the first row or round of knitting
stitches on the needles--"casting them on"--and is done in two
ways--by "knitting on" the stitches, or as follows:--
Hold the thread between the first and second finger of the left
hand, throw it over the thumb and first finger so as to form a
loop, and pass the needle in the loop; throw the thread lightly
round the needle, pass it through the loop, and draw up the thread;
this forms the first stitch (see No. 288).
289.--To Knit On.
Take the needle on which the stitches are cast in the left hand,
and another needle in the right hand--observe the position of the
hands (No. 289). Hold the left-hand needle
between the thumb and third finger, leaving the first finger free
to move the points of the needles. (The wonderful sense of touch in
the first or index finger is so delicate, that an experienced
knitter can work without ever looking at her fingers, by the help
of this touch only--in fact, knitting becomes a purely mechanical
labour, and as such is most useful.) Insert the point of the
right-hand needle in the loop or stitch formed on the left-hand
needle, bring the thread once round, turning the point of the
needle in front under the stitch, bringing up the
thread thrown over, which in its turn becomes a stitch, and is
placed on the left-hand needle.
290.--Simple Knitting (plain).
Pass the right-hand needle into the 1st stitch of the left-hand
needle, at the back throw the thread forward, and with the first
finger pass the point of the needle under the stitch in forming a
fresh stitch with the thread already thrown over, as in "knitting
on," only, instead of placing the newly-formed stitch on the
left-hand needle, leave it on the right-hand needle, and let the
stitch drop off the point of the left-hand needle. Continue thus
until all the stitches are taken from the left to the right-hand
needle, and the row is then complete.
291.--To Purl, Pearl, or Seam.
Seaming or purling a stitch is done by taking up the stitch
in front instead of at the back, throwing the thread over
and knitting the stitch as in plain knitting; but before beginning
to purl, the thread must be brought in front of the needle, and if
a plain stitch follows, the thread is passed back after the purl
stitch is made (see No. 291).
292.--To Increase. Increasing or making a
stitch is done by throwing the thread once round the needle and in
the next row knitting it as an ordinary stitch.
This is done in two ways: firstly, taking up two
stitches and knitting them together as one; secondly, by
taking up a stitch without knitting it, called slipping, then by
knitting the following stitch in the usual way, and then slipping
the 1st (unknitted) over the 2nd (knitted) (see No. 293). When it
is necessary to decrease two stitches at once, proceed thus:--Slip
one, knit two stitches together, then slip the unknitted stitch
over the two knitted together.
To knit a round four or five needles are used; it is thus that
stockings, socks, cuffs, mittens, &c., are made. To knit with
four needles, cast on, say, 32 stitches upon one needle, insert a
second needle in the last stitch of the first, and cast on 30
stitches; proceed in a similar way with a third needle, but casting
on 28 only; when this is done, knit the two extra stitches on the
first needle on to the last; this makes 30 stitches upon each
needle, and completes the round.
Knit two stitches, and with the left-hand needle slip the first
stitch over the second; continue this to the end of the row.
Note.--The last knitted row, before casting off, should be
296.--To Pick up a Stitch.
This is done by taking up the thread between two stitches and
forming a stitch with it.
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