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Wednesday, June 03, 2009

kitty: working on a new sweater

I for one love Faggot Stitch Patterns, there is something always so rewarding when you are doing a complicated knit pattern to come to a few simple rows of YO and K2Tog. It may be my absolute favorite stitch. They are open, easy, and don't require a lot of thinking.

So when I saw this sweater in the Spring Phildar magazine I was really excited about the pattern. I though the faggot stitch with its vertical lines could be slimming on me and it was a fresh and cute look. So while M, read saturday night I started swatching for the sweater, only to find out that the faggot stitch pictured I am pretty sure is not the one given in the instructions. I swatched the stitch that was given and it didn't have the strong heavy line in the finished garment. it had a thin line. Also the instructions say odd no. of stitches where as you are left with an even no. when you decrease. Something is obviously wrong here.

So I did a little swatching and picked a new stitch variation that had the strong vertical lines I was after in the design. The other problem obviously was to find a stitch that had the same gauge as the pattern. Below is a little bit of my research.

Here are the stitches that I tested for the front insert of the sweater:

I ended up using No. 3

Example 1: Multiple of 2 sts, plus 2
Row 1: K1, *YO, P2Tog*, K1
Example 2:Multiple of 2 sts, plus 2
Row 1:K1, *YO, P2Tog*, K1
Row 2: K

Example 3: Multiple of 3 sts, plus 4
Row 1: K2, *YO, K2Tog, K1*YO K2Tog
Row 2: P2, *YO, P2Tog, P1* YO P2tog
Example 4: Multiple of 2 sts, plus 2
Row 1: K1, *YO, SSK* K1
Row 2: P1, *YO P2Tog* P1
Example 5: Multiple of 2 sts, plus 2
Row 1: K1, *YO, SSK*, K1
Row 2: P1, *YO, K2tog*, P1
Example 6: Multiple of 2 sts, plus 2
Row 1: K1,*YO, SSK*, K1
Row 2: P
Row 3: K1, *K2Tog, YO*, K1
Row 4: P

As I was Googling, I found that there were two common questions that kept coming up

What is a Faggot Knit Pattern?

Faggot Patterns: A mesh stitch that has one of two vertical columns of eyelets separated by adjacent columns of decreases.

Where does the term Faggot Pattern come from? OED

"The term faggot stems from needlework techniques in existence before the development of lace knitting, principally the deflected-thread and drawn-thread laces and embroiders of western Europe, where narrow insertions of twisted and gathered threads resembling herringbone stitch were used to seams and between larger patterns."

Knitting Lace (Susanna E. Lewis, pg 143)

Mary Thomas's Book of Knitting Patterns also goes into other definitions and historical significance of Faggot Patterns and has it dating back to the 15th & 16th century knitters. Click here to read the Google Book Search page

Other References: KnitWiki - Dummies.com

MG also found an amazing online reference for the definition of the word "faggot" for the Oxford English Dictionary. Click Here

  • joining of fabric that is jointed with an insert that is faggoted together to make kimono's for morning wear
  • the use of a figure of a faggot, which heretics wore on there sleeve after they recounted
  • a filling stitch in needlework
  • the use in lace to join two pieces of canvas
and so many more. It really is amazing the uses of the word historically. (Thanks for the link MG)

So where does the word Faggot stitch actually come from may be a little harder to define than one might think. But like many things in history it is hard to determine the first use of the word or technique. It obviously has references to the 15th and 16th century in many walks of life.


  1. Lovely new blog! And a lovely sweater, too :)

  2. It's really a beautiful pattern stitch. The Phildar top I made last year originally used one variant of the faggot stitch, but I liked stockinette better. Anyway, Phildar designs such great patterns!

  3. I'm impressed with your determination to swatch so many patterns to find just the right one! I can't wait to see how it turns out.

  4. Hi! In examples 1-6, do any of them end up pulling to one side or the other (despite blocking)? It looks like 2 has that potential, and I'm trying to pick a stitch for as scarf. Thanks for the article above!!

  5. Hi Jessica.. Sorry I couldn't reply to you directly. I hope you come back. Are you trying to get it to pull to one side or the other. The ones up above are pretty balanced except really for 6 on pulling one direction or the other. When they have the strong vertical rib there is less pulling in one direction or another.

    If you can be a little more specific what you are trying I will happily try to help.

    Happy Holidays.

  6. what type of yarn and size needles did you use for example 2?

  7. Thank you for posting these. I have been looking for number one for about four days now. It has been driving me nuts and my husband insane. lol.
    Thanks again,

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