The Versatile Duplicate Stitch

Each swatch seems to be taking me forever, because there seems to be so much to look up for each one.  I’m questioning every basic thing, trying to find out if there’s a better way or ways to do it.  I’ve been reading a lot of those “On your way to the Master’s” articles, they are wonderfully helpful, and often their bibliographies point me to other good resources.

How to get the tension on the edges of a piece correct?  -It turns out that when you end a row, the last stitch always seems kind of loose.  The solution is not to tighten the last stitch on the row, but the first stitch on the next row.  Just a little extra downward tug and that excessive loopiness disappears.  I never even paid attention to the tension on my edges before!

How to keep the first knit stitch of a 2×2 (or greater) rib from looking looser than it’s next knit stitch neighbor? -Tighten the purl before it.  It seems that a lot of tension issues go back to unsnugged purls.

But here’s the most wonderful revelation so far… how to “secure all ends”.  I have never understood why a 6 inch tail is needed for every project (it seemed like a lot), and how best to hide it.  Patterns are so vague about it.  But now I have tried the duplicate stitch, and I may never go back to anything else!  I thought the duplicate stitch was just for making little lines or doing fake intarsia, but it’s so perfect for hiding the end of the yarn!  It doesn’t add much noticeable bulk, it flexes and stretches the same way the knit does and the ends are less likely to work loose!

I think the duplicate stitch will have my vote when it comes to the thin lines on the argyle sock in Level II as well.  I’ve been looking forward to doing an argyle sock for some time, so I’ve been doing a non-TKGA related practice argyle piece in intarsia.  I have to say it is very difficult to work with the thin single-stitch diagonal lines using intarsia, they keep wanting to disappear into the back even though I have tried very hard not to over-tighten.  I have read that for the argyle sock in Level II, they do not care if you do the lines in intarsia or duplicate stitch, so I think I will save myself the headache and go with duplicate stitch which has a whole new luster to my mind.

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