Keeping it real . . . my loose purls
I spent some time with Montse last night and she confirmed what I already knew and have mentioned before -- my purls are loose. She says that I can prevent them in one of a few ways:
1. Practice tightening the purl and loosening the knit stitches
2. Purl with a finer needle than you knit. This only works with stockinette stitch
3. When purling wrap yarn under needle as in plaited purl stitch. On the next row, knit-back the resulting stitches to straighten them up. Again, only for stockinette stitch and a limited number of stitch patterns.
4. Adapt to circular knitting and avoid stitch patterns with groups of purl stitches on the right side -- the odd one is not likely to be a problem.
Thanks, Montse. I typically use methods 1, 2 and/or 4 to compensate for my issues. And while I know from experience that all these methods work, it doesn't help right now when it means I might have to rip back to the joining round on the sundress I'm knitting (and go up a needle size from the joining point) if I want it to look right. Since it's a shop model, I'm toying with the idea of leaving it as is . . . as an example of what happens when a loose purler knits stockinette flat with a cotton or cotton-blend yarn. In the round, my stitches are tight and even. And I find that my stockinette knitting is fine when I knit with wool. I don't have issues with garter stitch, ribbing, cables or lace (most of the time), but there's nothing less appealing than my "rowing out" issue on cotton yarns. For what it's worth, it's method 2 that works beautifully for me -- I just didn't do it with this pattern.
While Montse and I both agree that it's difficult to teach ourselves a new method of knitting, I have to say that this is beginning to look VERY appealing: