I recently have become interested in the exact form that increases and decreases take.  I’d like to build up a better understanding, so that I can choose the best increase or decrease for a given situation, and get the effect that I desire.  So I’ve been swatching a bit.  This first swatch shows paired decreases.  In this swatch, I’m just looking at the way the fabric looks when you decrease with right-leaning decreases (K2tog) or left-leaning decreases (SSK) or with a symmetrical central decrease (Sl2-K1-P2sso).

This one is the result of a left-leaning decrease, knit stitch, then right-leaning decrease.  It was created by doing: SSK, K1, K2tog, which I repeated every right side row.  I think it is interesting to note that the K2togs (on the right side of the central knit stitch) are much more invisible/integrated into the fabric than the corresponding SSK decreases, which do not seem to lie as flat.

This one is the result of the opposite – a right-leaning decrease, then knit stitch, then left-leaning decrease.  It was created by doing: K2tog, K2, SSK, on every right side row.  Instead of being quite flat, this pairing of decreases creates a dominant line which actually stands proud of the adjacent knit fabric.

The third section is a symmetrical central double decrease; Sl2-K1-P2sso.  This is worked by slipping 2 stitches, knitwise, at the same time (as if you were going to K2tog), then knitting the next stitch, and then passing the 2 slipped stitches over the knitted stitch and off the needles.  It is similar to the previous swatch in that it is a strong vertical line which stands proud of the surrounding fabric.  In this case I have worked the Sl2-K1-P2sso decrease every right-side row.


Pattern: Monkey by Cookie A., published on knitty.com winter 2006 issue
Yarn: Plymouth Yarn Happy Feet – 75 grams used
90% superwash merino wool / 10% nylon, 50 grams / 192 yds / skein
Needles: US0/2.0mm Knitpicks circular (47″ length)
Size: women’s 8.5-9
Started: December 31 2008
Finished: January 11 2009

The fact that I’ve knit 2 pairs of the same socks in such a short amount of time testifies to the fact that this is a GREAT pattern.  It is the right size, and it’s fun, and not boring to knit.

As for the yarn, Happy Feet is soft and pleasant to work with, and the subtle variegations allow the lace pattern to show through beautifully.  It is a 2-ply, and I didn’t have any problems with splitting.  I believe it will fuzz and pill relatively quickly, but I don’t really have a problem with that.  I am also pleased that this pattern, with such small needles, makes perfectly fitted socks for my feet, and since I used slightly less than 75 grams, and have ~26 or 27 grams left, I will be able to get another pair of socks out of the yarn if I buy 1 more ball, which will make the projects quite affordable.

Pattern: Monkey by Cookie A., published on knitty.com winter 2006 issue
Yarn: Fibranatura Yummy – 100 grams used (284 yds)
100% superwash wool, 130 grams / 370 yards / skein
Needles: US 1/2.25mm Knitpicks circular (47″ length)
Size: women’s 8.5-9
Started: December 16 2008
Finished: January 21 2008

This pair were knit first, and I loved knitting them so much that I had to knit the second pair!  The yarn is lovely, plump and seems very hard-wearing and durable so far.  I’ve worn and washed them at least 5 times, and with use they become a little fuzzy, but still look and feel really good.  I love how the yarn is plumper than the average sock yarn, which I found more pleasant both during the knitting process, and as it creates a slightly heavier, dense sock.