In my Introductory post I mentioned that knitting with some yarns can contribute to gutters or rowing out in the work, which is more visible on the purl side of the work.
It appears from the research I’ve done that knitting with acrylic yarns, as well as linen and cotton can sometimes result in rowing out problems in your fabric. Even some wool yarns contribute to this more than others.
Working with Cotton
During the summer of 2014 I found the Begonia Pullover by Cassie Castillo on Ravelry and decided to knit it.
It had been knit with cotton. Even though I’d never worked with cotton, other than for dishcloths, I ordered some in the same pretty Peony color as the photo.
I loved the pattern. It had an interesting ribbing at the bottom of the sweater, at the sleeve cuffs, and at the neck. It was a knit-from-the-bottom sweater. I had worked about 4 inches of the body before I noticed I had a serious problem with gutters.
It had been quite some time since I’d solved my problem with rowing out while working with wool. I frogged the work down to the ribbing and put it aside. With another ball of yarn I started experimenting with different ways of knitting to eliminate the problem.
Past experience told me the problem was likely the tension while purling. I knit English style—yarn held in the right hand (yarn over the little finger, under the next two, and over the pointer finger). I finally solved the problem by making one wrap around the pinky finger when working the purl row.
Something to Keep in Mind
While knitting a swatch for a new project—especially with a yarn I haven’t worked with before—I always watch for gutters in my work. If I see a rowing-out problem, I experiment with various ways of tensioning my yarn until the problem goes away. I can usually solve the problem with another wrap of the yarn around a finger … and somethings eliminating the wrap entirely. Each person is different. Each yarn is different. Trying different things will nearly always solve a rowing-out problem
I hope some of these solutions might help other knitters who struggle with gutters in their work.