Combined knitting

KenInMaine's picture

A day or so ago, 'kiwiknitter' posed a question about PK (Portuguese knitting). This led me to recall that at one point I had not only read about PK, but also 'combined/combination knitting.' Combined knitting is something that looked very interesting to me at the time but I was a newish knitter and got scared away after reading about how the stitches end up mounted differently with the leading 'leg' of the stitch being in the back. This seemed confusing at the time, but I think I may be ready to dabble with it a bit now.

Does anyone on here have any experience with it? If so, is it the way you always knit, or only in certain situations or for certain types of projects? I would love to get some advice as to what things I should know and any tips or tricks that you may be able to share. Thanks in advance, guys!


kiwiknitter's picture

Since reading this post,

Since reading this post, I've been thinking about combination knitting. In the recesses of my memory I recalled having looked at this when I first began to knit but I couldn't get my head around "stitch orientation" on the needles. Many knit/purl stitches later I now understand all this. I decided this week to have a go at combination knitting, often called "eastern uncrossed knitting" and found it very nice to use. I think the purl stitch is much easier to make than by either the English or continental methods and knitting into the back of the stitch (to prevent twisting) is not difficult. I am currently knitting flat which obviously requires back and forth rows. I always knit continental. In comparison, I don't think there is any increase in speed or a difference in the appearance of the stitches but the purl is easier to do and consequently it may be a bit ergonomically friendlier. My guage is bigger with combined than continental. I think it's a technique worth knowing and understanding.

Never trust a man who, when left alone in a room with a tea cozy, doesn't try it on.  ~Billy Connolly

Joe-in Wyoming's picture

Another resource for

Another resource for combined knitting [if memory serves] is Mary Thomas's book of knitting. It is published by Dover and was written in the 1930s. Still, for a description of all types of knitting styles - and clear drawings - it is quite handy. I've never used combined [that I remember] but had to work at getting my tension pretty consistent for front and back. Lots of luck. -- Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.

kiwiknitter's picture

The book you'll enjoy is

The book you'll enjoy is "The Knitting Heretic" by Annie Modesitt. It was one of the first knitting books I read, having been attracted by the title. She discusses the combination method. I use it from time to time, mostly after I've done a second colour trapping and the stitch is oriented backwards. It saves me having to remove the stitch, reorient it and replace it on the left needle. If you do a search here on MWK you'll read what others have said about the book.

Never trust a man who, when left alone in a room with a tea cozy, doesn't try it on.  ~Billy Connolly

KenInMaine's picture

Thanks very much Michael for

Thanks very much Michael for sharing your experience with combined knitting. I think at the very least I may try to do something fairly straightforward like a small dishcloth using this method to give it a try. I'll let you know how it goes and as suggested, I'll drop you a line if I have any questions on it! Thanks again!

mrossnyc's picture

A dishcloth is a perfect

A dishcloth is a perfect item to try with this method. Good luck!

mrossnyc's picture

When I first started

When I first started knitting, the tension of my purl stitches was much looser than my knit stitches. This was really only noticeable when I knit in stockinette. So, I read that the 'rowing out' or wider horizontal spaces between the bumps on the purl stitches could be remedied via combined knitting. PGR mentions this in Knitting in the Old Way, diagrams are on P.46, description of combined knitting is on P.48. BTW, it's a great book besides the description of combined knitting.

Anyway, by using combined knitting, it alleviated the problem. BUT, keep in mind that combined knitting can lead to slightly tighter rows than back and forth stockinette. This would only be a problem if you are knitting in the round, then have to work back and forth in combined knitting. Best thing to do is swatch to see if you notice a difference.

I have since learned how to tension my knits and purls evenly and don't use combined knitting anymore, but it was a huge help the first few years I was getting the hang of it.

If you have any other questions, feel free to ask!