Wednesday, January 12, 2011

When Less is More ....

If you've looked at the pattern for Squeeze Me you'll see that each section has a DECREASE by Knitting 2 stitches together to make a single stitch.  BUT, did you know that there are several options for Decreasing and that there are reasons and choices for considering them?


in the early days of knitting i learned to decrease out of necessity - - i simply had too many stitches at the end of the row, and rather than rip them out i just decided it would be better to knit 2 together and eventually get back to my initial stitch count.  Pure genius on my part - - or atleast so i thought!  But over the course of time i've discovered positive and legitimate reasons and examples of decreases as part of the design process ... decreases that compliment and mirror one another, decreases that are functional AND decorative at the same time!   Who Knew?

The K2tog direction is probably the most common option to consider when decreasing stitches .. and depending on where it occurs, the yarn you are using and the frequency with which it is called into play, it will serve the purpose of combining stitches in a most average sort of way.  HOWever, have you ever looked at a sweater with raglan sleeves set in - - you know, the ones that have sleeves that look like a sweatshirt rather than a dress coat?  Or what about a V-neck cardigan or sweater?  Clearly each side of the neckline is loosing stitches and yet the knitting seems to lay consistently and complimentary to the slant of the line.

Knit 2 Together (k2tog)
Once again, call out your good friend the K2tog and use That decrease for anything that requires a RIGHT slant.  [This is the point at which you grab your knitting, cast on 10 stitches and work in stockinette for a couple of inches and then TRY this out to see what i'm talking about!]  Now, do you see it?  By inserting your left needle into TWO stitches and knitting/treating them as you normally would a single stitch, the 2nd stitch is actually the one that shows or is distinguishable and is leaning towards the Right! 

slipping KNITwise
But now you have to think about the other sleeve, the other side of the neckline .. or even the other side of the heel of a sock.  Meet the Twin:  SSK.   If you'll slip the next 2 stitches on your left needle individually to the right as though you were going to knit them you will find yourself ready to create the slant.    It's important to slip them KNITwise soe that they will lay smoothly when this is all said and done.  Knitwise would also indicate that your yarn stays in back and well as the needle motion being 'front to back'. 

Left needle is inserted
into both stitches
Once slipped, insert your LEFT needle into the FRONT of the 2 slipped stitches.  You'll notice that your right needle tip is sticking out the back of these 2 stitches and is just waiting for you to knit them together.  See it?  And once you've complete the step, you'll see that these 2 stitches are now leaning to the LEFT.  You can breathe easier now because your neckline won't be wonky, your sleeves will feel MUCH more comfortable because they are set in equally and your socks will no longer look like spirals or tube socks, but have simple little heels that just  hug your feet and remind you all day long that you followed the instructions and that it actually worked!  

i LOVE to learn new things, especially when i can see how it works - - how it affects things - - just exactly how, when and where it is applicable and/or justifiable for me to go to the trouble of learning AND remembering it!  Decreasing my stitch count seems easy enough to understand .... however, transferring that thought process over to myself personally is a bit harder to swallow!  Based on the size of my clothes lately i most definitely need to be applying the "Less is More" option to my diet and food choices!  Not much fun, but seems like my wallet already knows the less is more theme and new larger clothes would only eat into my yarn budget, so ... diet/decrease here i come!  How can i apply that same mindset to my spiritual walk and inventory as well?  Less of Me?

In order to achieve less of me it would mean allowing More of Him!  and just what exactly would happen if i acquiesed to such an idea? Perhaps my Decreasing would be mirrored by His Increasing Presence in my every day, in my every step, in my every stitch.  Perhaps my decreasing would allow Him to minister in and through me to others . . perhaps my decrease would be just the thing He's been waiting for so that He can spend time with me and i can actually sit STILL and know that He is God .. to HEAR His voice and be fully aware of His heartbeat as His love grows within me and Increases and blossoms and blooms and soon becomes evident to others that i belong to Him.

John 15:4-5 reminds me  "Remain in Me, and I will remain in you.  No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine.  Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me.  I am the vine, you are the branches.  If a man remains in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit;  apart from Me you can do nothing."

I guess you could say that a good decrease is like a clinging vine . . you can't really tell where it stops and starts but the blending process leaves a beautiful and fragrant finished product, well thought out, skillfully executed and pleasing to the eye .... and the heart of the Lord!

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