Since I wrote about the stitch mount last time I received a few questions about the topic. I’ll try to answer some of them here.
Stitches are mounted in the two possible ways, Eastern or Western, regardless what type of stitch is being used. Whether it is knit, purl, right side, wrong side, lace, cables or any other stitch type, you can mount your stitches on the needle in only two ways.
Here is a row of the stick people stitches mounted Western.
Put down your work in front of you on flat surface. Look at the left needle – stitches mounted Western will have their front (leading) leg in front of the needle, closer to you. I cast on the chunkiest yarn I could find on size 15 mm needles to show, as requested, how the Western stitches look like in knit and purl.
Stitches mounted Western on the knit side:
Stitches mounted Western on the purl side:
Here are my stick people mounted Eastern.
Again, put down your work in front of you on flat surface. Stitches mounted Eastern on the left needle will have their front (leading) leg behind the needle.
Here are examples of the knit and purl sides of stitches mounted Eastern:
Eastern mounted stitches on the knit side:
Eastern mounted stitches on the purl side
I also want to show you an example of how work looks like when stitches are mixed – here every second stich is mounted Eastern, every second – Western.
Usually when I teach I put together a row of stitches, exactly like the one above, and ask the knitter to pick up the front (leading) leg of every stitch. People who haven’t knitted before, kids and crocheters (no clue why the last!) tend to pick it up after looking at couple of stitches. People who have repeatedly been told an Eastern stitch is twisted and wrong, usually find it a little harder to start reading knitting stitches.
This last example of mixed stitches above is something all knitters have to deal with sometimes – after correcting mistakes, ripping, tinking or transferring stitches from the stitch holders. Therefore it is important to know how to deal with stitches mounted differently than what we usually do. The main thing to remember is that as long as we work the front (leading) leg of the stitch, regardless where it is in relation to the needle, there is no twisting of anything.
I prepared the sample knitting and purling very loosely using both Eastern and Western mounts in various combinations. Here is how it turned out – apart from silly loose tension due to needle size I usually wouldn’t use with this yarn, there is not a single accidental twist in sight and noone, including myself, could tell which stitches were worked Eastern and which Western.
The question I hear frequently regarding the stitch mount is “Why?” Why some stitches pop up Western and some Eastern during “normal” knitting? Why some people end up with certain mount more than the other? It’s very simple. It depends in which direction you wrap the yarn around the needle when you knit and purl. It does not matter how you hold the needle or whether you hold/ wrap/ pick/ flick the yarn to get it through the loop.
I’d encourage any knitter to play around with their work and see how it feels to wrap the yarn in the other direction when pulling it through the loop on the left needle. When I knit in plain stocking stitch what feels most intuitive and comfortable to me is to place the yarn under my right needle. This means that when I want to switch off, knit something very simple, not look down and watch some TV I usually knit Western but purl Eastern. One of my friends (and my very talented knitting student) however, prefers to do exactly opposite – she knits Eastern and purls Western. She chooses to do so because this is what feels right to her, which is exactly every knitter should be able to explore and choose themselves.
*The previous post on the stitch mount is available here.
Thank you for visiting me. If you like, agree, disagree or think it’s all wrong, if you think it’s in any way useful to your own knitting – I’d love to hear from you. Happy knitting!