As promised, a tutorial on twisting stitches without a cable needle. This is my favorite way to do twisted stitches, but there are others. The other method that I’m familiar with is to use a combo of k2tog and then knitting into one of the stitches again. That just seemed too… let’s say “annoying” when there were going to be a lot of purl stitches to deal with. The following method is used by Nancy Bush in Folk Socks for her Chalet Socks and by Eunny Jang for her Bayerische Socks (both of which were inspiration for the Danubes.) I do my twists so that the loose stitch is always at the front of the work (I think it’s easier to pick them back up) but Eunny does her left twists slightly differently.
Like I said before, twisting stitches is very similar to cabling without a cable needle, so if you’ve done that before, this will be a piece of cake. (Here’s a different tutorial from Wendy.) If not, I suggest getting some chocolate and maybe some relaxing music- the first few times you do this it can be a mite stressful. 😉 I used some kitchen cotton in the pictures- don’t use that to practice! Use a nice wool, something that sticks to itself pretty well and doesn’t split a lot. (In other words, acrylic is not recommended.)
Twisting Stitches for Austrian/Bavarian Patterns
From the back of the work, insert the right needle into the back of the second stitch on the left needle.
Take a deep breath and pull the left needle out of the two stitches. The first stitch will be hanging free. Don’t worry, it’s not going anywhere.
Reinsert the left needle into the loose stitch. (Ah, safe again!) Slip the stitch on the right needle back to the left needle. Now you can knit both stitches tbl or purl 1, knit 1 tbl as the pattern demands. (Here’s a tip for the Left Purl Twists, because the stitches can get tight: Before twisting the stitches, bring the yarn to the front; when you slip the right stitch back to the left needle, don’t pull the right needle out, just purl from there. No pictures of that right now, sorry.)
Slip the next two stitches purlwise to the right needle.
From the back, insert the left needle into the back of the first slipped stitch.
Another deep breath and… Pull the right needle out of both stitches. The second stitch is waving in the breeze. Reinsert the right needle into the loose stitch (you can breathe again now)
… and slip the stitch back to the left needle. Now, knit two tbl or knit 1tbl, purl 1 as the pattern dictates.
(Another tip, which works for both right and left twists: If the first stitch is a knit, don’t pull the right needle out after slipping the stitch back to the left; rotate the needle to the back of the stitch and knit it tbl like normal.)