Wednesday, 12 August 2009

K1, P1, K2tog

This title has to be read phonetically - so that it sounds like ' kuh wun puh wun kuh too tog'. For the uninitiated, who have never even SEEN a knitting pattern, let alone attempted to read one, I'd like to give an idea of how fascinating they can become, when you view them in this light.

My cousin, Betty, introduced me to the noble art of pattern reading. Otherwise, I may have gone my entire life simply translating the abbreviations as 'knit one, purl one, knit two together'. This, no doubt, is the prosaic interpretation which many knitters may use. But once get into the habit of Betty's idea, and a knitting pattern will forever be seen in a new light.

When the garment being constructed has a lacy pattern produced by a series of holes, the reading becomes more and more interesting. K1, P1, K2tog, Wfwd, Sl1, K1, PSSO, P1, K1, for example. Wfwd = wool forward, Sl1 = slip one, PSSO= pass the slipped stitch over. So the line would read:-
' kuh wun puh wun kuh too tog, wuh fwud, sluh wun kuh wun, puh suh suh och' , as near as I can come up with relevant sounds.

Now you can all scurry away into a darkened room, armed with a knitting pattern, and practise the art for yourselves. Be prepared, however, for a visit from several little men in white coats, possibly bearing a straight jacket.

I dedicate this poem to my niece and sister-in-law, who have recently joined the ranks of knitters. Long may their needles twiddle.

Knitting Up A Storm

Knit one, purl one, knit two tog …
What an idea for my blog -
a knitter's poem! I declare!
I never thought to see one there.

Slip one, pass the slip stitch over…
knitters swoon in fields of clover
as pretty patterns soon ensue
with clever stitches, two by two.

Rib or garter, moss or plain…
a stitch can have a lovely name,
and lead us on to learn another,
till we join them all together.

Thus a garment comes to life…
occasionally with some strife.
Too large? Or just a little small?
Knitters need be on the ball!


  1. I thought I would learn to knit a sock by book.The heel was where it all went wrong.The pattern said take the stitch loose off.I did so and did so and did so,thinking maybe we are supposed to scoop them up somehow later.
    My aunt never stopped laughing when I showed her my problem.The pattern should have said take the stitch loose off and over on the next pin! (I think I said that so many times after that incident

  2. Mum's been hinting she'd like to take up knitting again, tho' she's not sure how well she can see to read the patterns, wot? I've done macrame but never knitted and still handy with needle and thread but....

  3. hi jinksy - i laughed and then grimaced as i read through. i have friends who are knitters. they bang out gorgeous pieces of art masquerading as clothing. my mum tried to teach me how to knit and it was an unparalleled disaster as i have the attention span of an inebriated gnat!! however, i do appreciate your poem! have a "purlescent" day!! steven

  4. Hello Jinksy,

    I'll have you know, I knitted mittens and bootees when I was 7, for my nephew! Was a dab hand at making bobbles too even though that's not knitting. That poem could grow on one!

  5. Mrs. RWP knits. Did you see my recent post "Knit 1, Purl 1, yo Adrian, I mean yo"?

  6. Jinksy, and you are too truly 'on the ball'!

    See you in two weeks, my poetic petal pal! Blessed be, Fhi x

  7. I knew there was a poem somewhere in the mutterings of my auntie under her breath, as she knitted away in her corner.
    If I'd only known you then it would have all made sense.

    Love Granny

  8. Love your poem, Jinksy, but all those instructions, plus the fact that I *cannot* seem to keep the yarn under the right tension, led me to abandon any attempt at knitting and, at age 73, take up crochet, which is a bit more forgiving. I'll never win any prizes for my crocheted prayer shawls, but they are made with love and serve the purpose for which they are intended.

    I'll venture to guess that your knitted work is lovely!

  9. :)
    It was fun reading it. I have never knitted but I had seen my mother knitting. She offered to teach many times, wish I had listened. :(

  10. I'm not a knitter my friend, in fact I am the least creative person who will ever read your blog I'm sure but I love the beautiful things others make. I follow Catsmum just to see the beautiful sweaters and other glorious things she makes....nothing she can't do. I find it fascinating, I'm afraid there is no end to my talent nor any beginning....but that's okay, gotta love this wonderful world any way. Oh yeah I do wear beaded dresses quite well. Have a great day Jinsky......:-) Hugs

  11. wow, you created music with words and the language of knitting...

  12. All knitters should hear your poem!

  13. I got it after a few attempts! Kinda of phonics and poetry incorporated into knitting? Who says it's boring....!?

  14. Thank you for the beautiful but undeserved poem. Applepip is the deserving one as she is very talented and a prolific knitter.
    xxxxxxxxxxxx M

  15. nice one Jinksy. me mum used to knit and purl so methinks you got the rhythm right. rather experimental style for you, though, isn't it?

  16. finding beauty and poetry and music in everything - I love this....

  17. Ha! brilliant. The only thing I ever knitted was a cardigan for my son, I began the minute I discovered I was pregnant but didn't finish it until he was about six weeks old and it was too small for him. Twenty four years later I still can't face knitting, though I'd love a hand knitted Aran sweater.

  18. You are truly taking blogging to a different level, now. Having no knitting skill or phonetic prowess, however, I'm afraid I cannot respond with any level of decent understanding...or rather: Ium afruh canut respuh denut.

  19. Knitting patterns - a blast from the past for me! It must be twenty years since I last did any knitting - a cabled arran sweater as I recall. No time to get bored when knitting one of those...

  20. All of a sudden I feel too old to learn a new language. But I do appreciate the translation.

  21. OOO fame! I'll have to k1 p1 you something in return for the dedication :) Still a relative newbie (ha! geddit?) but loving being a chick with sticks!

  22. Brilliant. I did know what it was - though I'm still not sure about the pronounciation!
    When I was a boy of tender years I spent a lot of time in bed. Mostly I drew to keep myself sane, but eventually that had to be augmented with other activities, notably knitting, french knitting and making stuff like dressing table runners from silk threads. (Was I the first gender bender, do you suppose?)

    To repeat myself: brilliant idea and brilliant execution. Wish I'd thought of it. Will you do some more? Develop it, perhaps?

  23. I crochet, but I think things that are knitted (or should it be 'knat' :)) ) look so much better... could it be because I don't knit? :))
    You knit words always.

  24. I had no idea that K1 P1 was/could be pronounced that way. Of course I don't knit so I was impressed that I even recognized it as "knit one, purl one." I'm also impressed by your poem.. as always. :)

  25. What a great poem, when I see those instructions it always reminds me of my father. When we each started to knit, he used to chime in 'knit one, purl one, drop one, start again'. LOL.

  26. I don't get it but that's ok, I liked the poem a lot. I probably don't get it because I don't knit.


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