Techniques used in the book Socks of Iceland

Here you will find a list of the techniques used in the book Socks of Iceland, together with links to blogpost and/or videos showing how to work them

  • Afterthought heel: plain or in stranded knitting, a heel knitted afterward, also known as peasant heel.
  • Color dominance: in stranded knitting, let the color you want to stand out more (your dominant color) floating underneath at the back, whereas the recessive color floats on top of it. Be consistent. To prevent tangling, it’s a good idea to keep your skeins apart, one on your left, one on your right. It is usual practice to keep the dominant color on the left, but whatever works best for you is fine. See my youtube video Kristylopi KAL 3 on color dominance (33:36​).
  • Disappearing loop cast on: this cast on is used to start knitting in the round from the center out
  • Grafting (or Kitchener st) is used to join together 2 sets of live sts with a tapestry needle and create a row that looks like knit sts between them. It can be knit stitches but also purl or like in the Stroff socks, a mix of knit and purl. Alternatively, you can bind off on WS on 3 needles, or even bind off and sew.
  • Icelandic bind off: called garðaafelling (garter bind off) in Iceland. This technique allows the stitches to be bind off in an elastic way and does not add an extra row. Knit 1 stitch, bind it off over the next stitch that you knit itself through the bind-off loop, then the two stitches are dropped from the left needle together. This bind off has been known in Iceland since at least the end of the 19th century and was popularized by Sígriður Halldórsdóttir who describes it in his book Þríhyrnur og langsjöl (a book on traditional Icelandic shawls, translated in English) and the notably taught at Handprjónasamband Íslands (Icelandic Handknitting Association). The name Icelandic bind off probably comes from the fact that since 2010 I have been teaching the method during my knitting tours and it seemed little known outside Iceland. The participants in my trips will have popularized it under this name.
  • ISSK (improved or Icelandic ssk): no stitch is elongated when working this method, making the left leaning decreases more invisible. The name I gave to this increase is a play on ISK (Icelandic crown) and E. Zimmermam so-called improved ssk (it works differently but it also has a twisted st underneath).
  • Jogless join: when knitting in the round, we are in fact working spiral rows and a unappealing jog appears at color changes. It can be avoided by working a jogless join. There are different methods but this one can be used in every round.
  • Knit in the stitch below: insert needle in the st from the row below and knit it (the st below and the st are therow below and knit it (the st below and the st are thus knitted together).
  • Ladder back jacquard: another way to deal with the long floats in stranded knitting is to anchor them together with a ladder of knit stitches creating a web at the back of the fabric. This avoid having to trap them into the knitting fabric, making it both completely invisible and more elastic. For this technique to work properly, it is important to respect the color dominance.
  • Midwest CO (also called Tunisian CO): this is a variation of a provisional cast on that allows you to knit into two directions. I use it very often when knitting top down shawl to make a garter stitch tab cast on.
  • Old Icelandic cross stitch, also known as long arm cross stitch. You embroider one cross then go again in the cross before embroidering the next.
  • Old Norwegian purl: for continental knitting only. As an alternative to the short purl, the old Norwegian purl doesn’t distort the knit stitch as much because this way of purling is worked without having to bring the yarn to the front. The yarn stays at the back. The Norwegian purl is relatively common in Iceland.
  • Rounded cast on: also known as Italian cast on or ribbed cast on. It looks like a tubular cast on but is in my opinion much easier and far less fiddly.
  • Short purl: also known as tight purl. Wrap the purl immediately following a knit stitch the other way around and purl through the back loop in the next rnd to correct the mount. When working a purl st associated with k sts (for example in ribbing and cables), the k st immediately preceding the p st often looks a bit distorted with the left leg looser. This is because the excess of yarn when working the purl normally shows on the knit st. This can be dramatically improved by working the p st immediately following a k st shorter. In a motif, only the p following the k st needs to be worked shorter. The other sts can be worked normally.
    Whether you’re knitting English style (throwing) or continental style (picking), instead of wrapping the yarn around the right needle counterclockwise from right to left, top to bottom between the needles, wrap it clockwise from right to left bottom to top between the needles.
    This way of purling is tighter because it takes a shorter path around the needle.The finished st will however end up being twisted with the left leg at the front, so in the next row/rnd, it will have to be worked through the back loop to untwist it.This is especially true if you are a picker because the short purl is also faster.
  • Short row heel with yarn over: heel shaped with short rows using the yarn over method.
  • Stranded knitting is a colorwork knitting techniques that requires to carry along the strand of yarn not in use across the back of the work. It is referred as such because of these strands (or floats) left on the inside of the work. Keep a good slack on the strands to ensure an elastic fit, especially around the leg. You can eventually turn your work inside out with the floats on the exterior side. Make especially sure to
    not disturb the color dominance when trapping the floats: always twist the yarns in the same direction and untwist them after they have been trapped. In some patterns it is recommended to trap the CC yarn every 3-5 sts to avoid long floats. Make sure to not trap in the exact same place in each round so that it shows less on the right side.
    See the different ways to hold hands in my youtube video Kristylopi KAL 3: hold both yarns in the right hand or in the left hand or one yarn in each hand (17:08​), tension the yarns (25:26​).
  • Yarn over short rows: a short row is a row that is not fully knitted; the work is turned before reaching the end of the row. Holes form at the turning point that can be closed using different methods. The yarn over method is the one commonly used in Iceland. On the right side of the work, make a yarn over simply by bringing the yarn to the front; and on the wrong side by bringing the yarn to the back. Gaps are then closed by working together the yarn over and the stitch on both sides of the gap, making sure that the yarn over is underneath the stitch.
  • 2-color long tail cast-on: a long tail cast on worked with two colors.