Slipping Stitches - WYIF or WYIB?
Hello knitters! *imagine a gigantic arm wave*
Remember when slipped stitches were just slipped stitches and you simply moved a loop from one needle to the next? I think that was at least 15 years ago... wait, 18? 20? How many years ago did I start knitting?
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Anyway! I seem to recall when I started knitting, a while back, that a slipped stitch was just a slipped stitch - you move the first stitch on the LH (left hand) needle to the RH (right hand) needle purlwise (without twisting it). But these days, slipped stitches have become a lot more decorative - they're slipped knitwise, they're slipped with yarn in front, they're slipped in multiples. The worlds gone mad! So today I thought I'd take a little time to talk about some abbreviations, share some skills and even give ya a little video to help put it all into perspective for you.
This little abbreviation simply means "with yarn in front", or "with working yarn in front" - which in my mind should be WWYIF. But I digress.
The most common mistake made when knitters see WYIF is they assume that "front" means the same as "RS" (right side). That isn't the case. Just in case you needed one more thing to remember about your knitting, its that Front and Back are separate entities than Right Side and Wrong Side.
The Front, in terms of WYIF, means that you want the working yarn to be on the side of the work that's facing you AT THAT TIME. So if the RS is facing you, that's the front. If the WS is facing you, that's the front.
Let's break it down into whether you are knitting or purling, and how to work the stitch.
If you are knitting: the working yarn is in the back as you knit each stitch. To sl1 wyif (slip 1 stitch with yarn in front) you need to move your working yarn to the front (i.e.: the side facing you) between the needles. Slip the next stitch purlwise from the LH to the RH needle. To resume knitting, you will move the working yarn to the back (i.e.: the side of the work you cannot see, facing away from you) between the needles. You'll see a little horizontal bar in front of the stitch that you just slipped.
If you are purling: the working yarn is already in the front as you purl so there's very little work that has to be done here. To sl1 wyif on the purl side, you'll leave the working yarn in the front and simply slip one stitch purlwise from the LH to RH needle. You'll still see a bar in front of the stitch that you slipped.
I'm pretty sure you can figure this out based on the above, but, just to spell it all out, WYIB means "with yarn in back" or "with working yarn in back".
Just like above, "Back"does not mean the WS, it just means the side you aren't looking at, the side facing away from you.
If you are knitting: the working yarn is already in back. To sl1 wyib(slip 1 stitch with yarn in back) you will simply slip the next stitch from the LH to RH needle purlwise without moving the working yarn between the needles. If you were to turn your work around you would see the bar behind the stitch you slipped. From the front it looks like an elongated (taller) stitch.
If you are purling: this is the opposite of slipping wyif on the knit side. When purling your working yarn is in the front. To sl1 wyib on the purl side, you will move your working yarn to the back betweenthe needles, slip the next stitch purlwise from LH to RH needle, then move the working yarn to the front again between the needles to carry on purling.
Slipping Multiple Stitches
There are times when we are told to slip multiples stitches. This is most commonly used when creating i-cord edges as you work. There are other times, of course, but we'll save that for another day!
The most common version of this that you'll see is sl3 wyif (slip 3 stitches with yarn in front). This typically happens at the end of a row where 3 stitches will be left unworked. It can be more stitches, or fewer stitches but 3 is the most common.
If you are knitting: the working yarn, as we established above, is in the back. To sl3 wyif you will knit to the last 3 sts on the row, then bring your working yarn to the front between the needles, and slip all 3 remaining stitches from LH to RH needle, and turn your work. You can slip them one at a time or all 3 at the same time. Since you're not twisting them, it doesn't matter.
When you turn to work the other side of the project, the working yarn is 3 stitches back from the edge. That's ok! When you begin knitting it pulls that first stitch backwards a bit and creates a tube of knitting, the i-cord (this sounds crazy but you'll see it in the below video).
If you are purling: the working yarn will be in front so all you will need to do is purl to the last 3 sts on the row and, leaving the working yarn in front, slip the remaining 3 stitches from the LH to RH needle.
Slipping Stitches 101
The question I am most often asked when a new knitter tackles slipped stitches is whether to slip the stitch knitwise (inserting the RH needle into the stitch as if to knit) or purlwise (inserted the RH needle into the stitch as if to purl).
Answer? Always purlwise unless told otherwise.
Not all designers include in their abbreviations whether to slip purlwise. This may be an error, or it may be because they use both methods of slipping in their pattern. If it is not specified, always always always assume purlwise.
There's a Video For That!
Of course there is! I know not everyone is comfortable reading instructions and that visual can go a really long way (yep, my hand is totally raised). So I created a video for you showing how to work a sl1 wyib, how to work a sl1 wyif and how to create an i-cord edge by sl3 wyif.