Glossary of terms

Cables: Cables are made by slipping stitches onto a cable needle, knitting some stitches from the main needle, and then knitting the stitches off the cable needle. The number of stitches depends on the size and type of cable.

Chains: In knitwork, chains can be a variation on a cable pattern, but can also be knit as alternative horizontal bands of purl stitches.

DPN (double-pointed needle/s): Knitting needles with a point at both ends to allow working in the round. May also be referred to as pins or wires.

Ease: It is used to describe the fit of a finished garment. Positive ease refers to a finished garment measurement that is larger than the body measurements of the wearer, allowing room for comfort, movement and/or drape. Negative ease refers to a garment that is smaller than the body measurement, creating a tight, close-fitting garment.

Faux seams: Ganseys are generally seamless garments. However, faux seam stitches are often incorporated into the pattern, and are used to differentiate the front and back sides from each other.

Gusset: A shaped piece, generally a diamond, found in the underarms of the ganseys; triangular gussets are sometimes found in the neck and shoulder area. Ganseys were traditionally close fitting; gussets helped to give ease of movement.

Knitted in the round: Knitting a tube without a seam. In order to knit a tube that has no seam you must join your cast-on into a circle to form the base of your tube.

Motif: Describes individual patterns that are used as design elements within a garment. Motifs many be repeating, horizontally, vertically, or used in isolation.

Pins: See DPN.

Round/s: Describes a knitted row when worked in the round (on DPNs or a circular needle) with the right side always facing the knitter, rather than worked back and forth with right and wrong side rows.

S and Z yarns: All yarns are either spun in an S or a Z direction. The difference between the two is the direction in which the fibres are twisted as the thread is spun: S twist is to the left, and Z twist is to the right. Compare the angle of the plied twist with the centre bar of the letters – if it slopes from upper left to bottom right it is S,
upper right to bottom left is Z.

Stitch/row count: The number of whole stitches or rows over a given measurement, usually expressed as the number of stitches/rows per inch or 10 centimetres. A numerical representation of knitting tension.

Tension: An expression of the effect of the individual knitter’s hand on the knitted fabric. You may be a loose or tight knitter, or somewhere in between. Can be measured by stitch/row count (see above) and adjusted by changing needle size.

Tides: Alternated horizontal bands of stockinette and motifs.

Welt: The welt is the lower edge of the gansey.

Wires: See DPN.

Woollen spun: These yarns are carded to separate the fibres into a web, or a roving/rolag for hand spinners. So the fibres are spread out evenly in order to make a yarn of even thickness along its length, but they remain scattered in all directions in the yarn.
The resulting yarn has air trapped between the fibres, so is light and warm, but less hard wearing than worsted yarn.

Worsten spun: These yarns are part carded (scribbled) before coiling into a can and then passing through gills, which align the fibres, and combs, which remove short hairs, coarse hairs and vegetable matter. The result is tops, which are then re-gilled, auto-levelled and split for worsted spinning. The resulting yarn is smooth, firm and hard wearing.

Yoke: The yoke of a gansey is the section that goes over the head and sits above
the underarms.

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