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FUN FACTS

Here is a list of fun facts and odd little bits of information that might be helpful. If you have something you would like to see added, please email Deborah at DeborahKnits@gmail.com

 

  • M1 explained, sort of
    The first mention I found of the term M1 is in Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Knitting Without Tears, which was first published in 1971 She wrote that M1 was “not too widely recognized.” She said to twist the loop one way or the other to obtain a nearly invisible increase.

    I became aware of this term in the early 2000’s, when I first read her book. Then along came the abbreviations M1L (left leaning) and M1R (right leaning), along with M1 which could be either a twisted increase or no twist.

    (The Family Knitting Book by James Norbury, which was first published in 1971 defines M1 as left leaning and M1K as right leaning.)

    Sometime in the 2000’s the abbreviation “M1o” appeared. The 2010 and 2014 Level 1 Master Knitting Program by TKGA included in its instructions for increasing
    Note: This increase is made by lifting the strand between the two stitches. There are three versions of this increase: open, right-slanting and left-slanting. Use the rightslanting M1 at the right selvedge and the left-slanting M1 at the left selvedge. This “mirrors” the increases.
    Yet the mitten pattern used the abbreviation “M1o.” This stands for “M1 open” and leaves a hole smaller than a yarnover.

    To further muddy the waters, the July 2016 issue of Simply Knitting magazine devotes a page to M1 yet notes that it is also referred to as M1L. Its instructions make a left leaning increase.

    As of July 2016, the Craft Yarn Council's page of abbreviations includes only M1 as make one stitch.

    Here are the instructions for all of the M1 decreases I know about.
    —revised July 17, 2016

  • Garter Stitch is square; stockinette stitch is rectangular. The reason stockinette stitch curls is because most people's purl stitches are looser than their knit stitches.

    It is this same reason that garter stitch is square. Take a look at the first row of garter stitch and you will see V’s which indicate knit stitches. Mark this as the right side. Now look at the second row. It results in purl bumps on what you have indicated is the right side.

    A 15 stitch by 15 row garter stitch swatch will be square. If you decrease one stitch at the beginning of every other row, you will have a right-angle triangle.
    —added June 26, 2016


  • A moebius scarf is a knitted moebius ring. The moebius ring was first discovered by the German mathematician August Möbius. Often, a moebius scarf is knitted and then the cast-on and bound off edges are grafted or sewn together. Unless the knitter uses a provisional cast-on and grafts the ends invisibly together, in my opinion, the scarf is just a rectangular with the ends sewn together.

    Another type of moebius is created when the knitter casts on the required number of stitches on a circular needle and twists the row before joining. This is not a moebius strip because the resulting twist is 360°; a moebius strip is 180°. It also has two edges, the cast-on and bound-off edges. These edges are usually distinctively different, though there are matching cast-on/bind-off methods.

    A moebius cast-on creates stitches 2 at a time on both the upper and lower parts of the cable and results in an 180°. The cast-on is buried in the center of the scarf.

    Here is an excellent explanation of the moebius by Cat Bordhi.
  • —revised March 22, 2014


  • Tink is a verb that means to unknit by taking out a stitch at a time. You will not find this in a dictionary, though (yet).

  • In the United Kingdom, double knitting yarn is what we Americans refer to as worsted yarn, according to Jean Greenhowe. Lucy Neatby, in the video Double Knitting Delight, states that double knitting yarn is the equivalent of sports yarn. To further muddy the issue, Simply Knitting, August 2014 states that what we Americans call worsted is Aran in the UK. Fingering (sock) yarn is 4-ply and sport is heavy 4-ply. Also light worsted is DK in the UK.
    —updated August 1, 2014

  • Crochet terms in Britain are not the same as in the United States. Click here to see the differences.
    —added April 24, 2013

  • No-dye-lot yarn is simply yarn that is not marked with a dye lot. It does not mean that the colors will always match. Just take a look at a Red Sox afghan I made for my husband. I ran out of Red Heart Super Saver Soft Navy so purchased another skein. It certainly looked the same to me and to the sales associate. When the afghan was spread out and we were admiring it, that line that marked the color change popped out at us. A huge disappointment but I should have been forewarned when several years ago I saw two skeins of Soft White sitting on a store shelf and they were distinctly different. Be aware! Always purchase a sufficient supply of yarn from the same lot. (Even no-dye-lot yarns have lot numbers.)

  • According to Wikipedia: “A few manufacturers produce yarn without a dye lot designation by dyeing fibers before spinning.”

  • Frog is a verb meaning to rip out. So if someone is frogging her knitting, she is ripping it out. “Rip it” sounds a lot like "ribbit,” the sound a frog makes.
  • —added September 30, 2012


  • What is sock yarn? Sock yarn is any yarn that is blended to make it more durable. It is usually lightweight and small needles (sizes 0 - 3) are used, though it can be heavier. Generally, sock yarn is equivalent to fingering weight yarn.

  • What is a nupp (rhymes with soup)? It is an Estonian knitting technique that results in a small bobble. Increase 1 stitch to 3, 5, 7 or 9 stitches, turn and knit those stitches together. Here are the directions for knitting a 5-stitch nupp.
    —revised April 27, 2013

  • The US dollar is 6.1" long. This is a handy fact when you need to measuring your knitting and have no ruler available.
  • I-cord is short for Idiot cord. This technique was so named by Elizabeth Zimmermann because it is so easy even an idiot can do it. I-cord was originally called “stay-lace” and used in corsets. Read the history of i-cord.

  • There is a difference between “lace knitting” and “knitting lace.” Lace knitting has a row of plain knitting between each pattern row. Knitting lace has patterning every row. A knitter can use either technique to create exquisite fabric.
    —added April 3, 2012



  • The many names of long-tail cast on.
    Long-tail cast on is probably the most popular cast on. Though it may be accomplished in different ways, the results are the same. Here are some of the names: Continental cast on, German cast on, double cast on, finger cast on, Y cast on, two-strand cast on, one-needle cast on, single-needle cast on, twisted cast on, half-hitch cast on, two-tail cast on, Italian cast on, English method and thumb cast on.
    Its sister is twisted long-tail cast on and its many names include: Other names for this cast on are German twisted (twisted German) cast on, twisted ast on, elastic long-tail cast on, elastic cast on, Old Norwegian cast on, Old Norwegian sock caston, English cast on, twisted half-hitch cast on, twisted-loop cast on and Maine cast on.
    —added January 10, 2017
  • Moss v. Seed Stitch
    • Seed stitch is worked over two rows by working purl stitches over knit stitches and vice versa.
    • Moss stitch is worked over four rows creating alternating two-row columns of knit stitches and purl stitches.
    • Double seed stitch is the same as moss stitch.
    • British moss stitch is the same as seed stitch, hence the confusion.
    • June Hemmons Hiatt, in her highly-regarded book Principles of Knitting, does not use the term “moss stitch.” (A search in the electronic version yielded no results for the word “moss.”) To further muddy the topic, she does describe double seed stitch as forming “little four-stitch blocks of alternating Knit and Purl.” (pg. 264).
    • Montse Stanley, in her highly-regarded book Knitter’s Handbook, describes what Hiat refers to as seed stitch as Moss Stitch on page 95 , but a check of the index for either seed stitch or double seed stitch found no mention of these terms.
      —revised November 30, 2012
  • Vistors' Countries
    Most of the vistors are from the United States, with the United Kingdom and Canada distance second and third. It is fun, though, to see where visitors are located and I hope they were all looking for knitting!
    —updated June 17, 2013


  • Bead Knitting vs Beaded Knitting
    There is a difference! The simpler method is Bead Knitting. The beads lie between the stitches. In Beaded Knitting the beads are in the stitches and the fabric is covered by the beads. Click here for an extensive discussion of the differences.
    —added January 17, 2013

  • Woolen-spun and Worsted-Spun Yarns
    Worsted-spun yarn has the short fibers removed before spinning. These fibers are combed to ensure that they lie parallel to each other. The fibers are between 4" and 11". Woolen-spun yarns are spun from shorter fibers and are carded before spinning.

    Woolen-spun yarn has a greater tendency to pill; worsted-spun yarns smooth and more durable but woolen-spun yarn is the better insulator.

    Worsted-spun yarns contain a lot more twist than worsted-spun yarns; therefore, they feel harsher against the skin.

    The term "worsted" is derived from the town of Worstead, England, a manufacturing center for yarns and cloth in the 12th century.
    —References: Janet Szabo, Cables: Volume I and Wikipedia "Worsted" and "Woolen
    —added February 7, 2014