Do you want to spice up some plain ribbing, but don’t want to be bored to death with the bare monotony of alternating knit and purl stitches? What about adding some extra definition to it; giving a regal aire that normal ribbing doesn’t have? Or, to move away from ribbing, moving some plain stockinette swaths into a field of distinguishing, individual lines, without purling?
There is a technique that enfolds all of those options into one tiny difference in doing a plain knit stitch. The answer, ladies and gentlemen, is: to knit the stitch through the back loop, creating a twisted stitch. I tend to use these very often in designing, and I am drawn to them when simply picking out a pattern to knit. (NOTE: According to the author, this is not a bad thing.)
As described above, twisted stitches add definition, but how, and why? Well, when you knit a stitch through the back loop, it turns a normal knit stitch into a tiny “v”, and automatically tightens your work up slightly. When knitting these, don’t work extra stitches to make up for the draw-in, because, unlike cables, these can stretch out almost as much as a regular stitch. Also (normally) twisted stitches are worked in some sort of ribbing, instead of knitted all around/across.
Another use for twisted stitches is in cables, or twisted traveling stitches. When a cable is worked through the back loop, it makes a tighter line and adds definition, like in other types of knitting.
I love this little addition to vanilla knitting, but many knitters do not use them for this reason: Since they are twisted into little “v”s, they have a tendency to saw into each other, and when they do that, they are more likely to wear a hole in your knitted creation. Personally, I do not have a problem with this. They are generally not used on the sole of the sock, or the elbow of the sweater, or any hard-wearing areas of clothing. A few patterns that utilize twisted stitches:
Koolhaas by Jared Flood
Pomatomas by Cookie A
Ho’okipa Shawl by Paulina Popiolek
Semki by Natalia Vasilieva
Travelling Stitch Legwarmers by Lisa R. Myers
There are many more, but I could never put them all down!
In short, I love to use twisted stitches. If you haven’t tried them, do; you may be surprised at the substantial possibilities they hold. Happy Exploring!