knit · left twist · twisted stitch

The Left Twist, Revisited

Today, my post will relate to knitting and, to be specific, twisted stitch knitting. I have often wondered how Barbera Walker and other master knitters have been able to make a perfectly alligned set of left twist stitches, as mine always fall short of my fastideous expectations.

A left twist is traditionally done by skipping the 1st stitch on the left needle, knitting the second stitch, through the back loop and then knitting the skipped stitch through the front loop and pulling them off at the same time. In this photo, you can see that the right twist stitches march very neatly and uniformly to the right, while the left twist stitches kind
of straggle off to the left. Do you see what I mean? I think this is because, the left twist stitches do lean
to the left, but on the purl back, those stitches sit vertically, which makes for more of a left leaning zig-zag than a neat diagonal line. However, I did discover an alternate technique as I was looking through Barbara Walker’s Treasury of Knitting patterns, Vol 2. In the instructions for the Twilled Stripe Pattern, she suggests the following…” LT as follows: skip one stitch and knit the 2nd stitch in the back loop, then slip the skipped stitch purlwise onto right hand needle, then slip the knit stitch also.” Here’s the result:
a vast improvement, to my mind, though I realize that the left leaning stitches are not knit every row, since one of them is slipped. Yet, the result is so much neater that I will be tempted to use this method regardless, hoping the difference will not be noticeable. If this slip stitch technique could be used on the right twist with equal effect, then there would be no difference. But I have yet to figure that out, maybe for another post. Meantime, this might be most useful in patterns that feature only a left twist. Like a standard twisted stitch cable, or the one mentioned above.

2 thoughts on “The Left Twist, Revisited

  1. I'm thinking of going off and experimenting now! It is always difficult to get left and right leaning stitches to look exactly the same, twisted or not. Even k2tog/ssk do not quite match to make a perfectly symmetrical V. I think you are right, the second method would be perfect if there is a way of slipping the right leaning stitch as well.

    Thank you for your comment on my blog. I hope you do make a visit to the UK one day – I made my first ever trip to NYC 2 years ago and it was fab.

    You have also been instrumental in introducing me to Zimmermania – I have asked to join!

  2. I know this is an old post, but I've been Googling about this without finding much so far! I was trying to make the Felix Blanket and threw up my hands in frustration because my left-leaning twists always always always look horrible. I've tried every method of left twist I could find, plus working it as a cable, and nothing helps! Have you found any more info on this? I hadn't seen the slipped-stitch method you describe, so I will have to try it and see how it looks.

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