“Do you prefer the true Knit Stitch, the U-Knit Stitch, the Flat Stitch or the E-Wrap (Single) Stitch? I think I prefer the U-Stitch.”
it is often said in needle knitting that there are only two stitches: knits and purls. everything else is a variation on these two stitches. i contend something a little different: that there aren't actually two different stitches at all, but two variations on the same stitch: a loop.
further it is my opinion that the terms "knit" and "purl" are actually verbs, not nouns. i hope i can explain.
the only difference between a knitted stitch and a purled stitch is what it looks like on the front of the work. whether the head of the loop appears on the front or the back of the work determines whether or not it is called a knitted or purled stitch.
you can demonstrate this to yourself easily. when working in the round, if you knit every other round and purl the rounds in between, you end up with only purl bumps on each side of the work. you know you made knitted stitches at least half the time, but the surface is not flat, it is bumpy.
the product when knitting flat panels depends on whether you are knitting with needles, machine, or loom. when working on a flat panel on needles, if you knit every row, back and forth, the final product will be two sides with purl bumps on them. you didn't purl at all, yet you have only purl bumps showing.
when knitting back and forth on a loom or a flat-bed machine to make a flat panel, you will end up with one side of the work that is smooth, showing the knitted V's, and the opposite being bumpy, having only purl bumps. if using a loom, it doesn't matter if you make knitted stitches back and forth or purled stitches back and forth, you will always have one side flat and one side bumpy. (flat bed machines don't make purl stitches, but that is for a different post).
now to put this to a more strenuous test: knit 2 purl 2. when knitting this on a flat panel you have to purl 2 knit 2 on the back side in order to maintain the pattern. that's because when looking at the back you are presented with the purl bumps on the stitches you knitted and the knit V's on the stitches you purled. but the final result on the front will still be K2P2.
i bring this up because in my opinion all the talk about different knit stitches in the loom world is really not useful, and i'm hoping eventually the loom field will standardize the terminology so as to be less confusing. the method you use to create a stitch is really not critical except as it pertains to achieving the look you want. needle knitting patterns do not state "make this kind of knit stitch", they tell you to knit, and you then knit according to your preferred method—continental (this is the method i use), or english, or eastern/combined, or backward, or one-handed, or whatever. same with purling--a pattern doesn't tell you to form a purl stitch, it tells you to purl--verb, not noun.
rightly the term “stitches” should apply to the fabric created by knitting, such as stockinette stitch or basketweave, or cabled stitch.
the stitch most commonly used in loom knitting is referred to as the e-wrap stitch, but to needle knitters it is just a twisted knit stitch or KTBL (Knit Thru the Back Loop). the stitch that loomers call the flat stitch is just a plain knitted stitch as in all other forms of knitting. whether or not you create this stitch by flat wrapping, or U-wrapping, or some other wrapping method, what you end up with is a knitted stitch.
it is important for loomers to start taking charge of their knitting. i hope that patternmakers for looms will begin using the standard that needle patterns use, which will make patterns more concise and will also eliminate a lot of the confuse loom knitters seem to have about which "stitches" to use for their projects. the point of a pattern is not simply to dictate how things are made but to give a blueprint for creating a finished product.
*pretty much everything you could want to know about the technical aspects of knitting can be found at techknitting and its companion site, techknitter. loom knitters and beginning machine knitters might find the article about why some knitting curls and other knitting doesn’t.