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 tbl vs. tfl

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Ceil Posted - 01/13/2013 : 7:33:51 PM
("tbl" = "through back loop" and "tfl" = "through front loop")

Well, I'm scratching my head about these terms, because tbl in particular doesn't make sense. I mean, I see that I need to do ktbl, yet the entire knit stitch is facing my head (the leading side is behind the left needle). I have to stick the right needle in from FRONT to the back. How can THAT be tBl?

And what about ptfl? When the purl's leading edge is behind the left needle, I stick the right needle in from BACK to front. How can that be tFl?

How did these terms become backwards? Discussion, please! It's hard to write instructions that use these terms, because I'm bound to write the opposite of what everyone has been taught!

(Ravelry: ceilr)
Time is never a factor when joy is involved.
7   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
Ceil Posted - 01/17/2013 : 08:59:26 AM
Originally posted by Eleanor

...If your sts are positioned correctly (not twisted) and the instructions tell you to knit through the back loop, you will be twisting the stitch that you are knitting....

I'm a >Combination< knitter and so "correct position" of stitches on the needle doesn't factor in: the leading side CAN be either in front of or behind the needle, and I don't knit them twisted (unless I choose to ).

When I consider the term "ktbl", I'm generally going to do this with a stitch whose leading side is behind the needle. To knit it, I insert the R needle into the stitch from front to back. Knowing how the needle enters the stitch is useful.

So my question: HOW did the leading side (really the leading half) of the stitch on the back of the needle get to be called the back of the loop? It's not. Look at any knitted piece with the right side facing. Here are the fronts of all those loops. Turn the piece over to look at the wrong side, and here are the backs!

This is why "tbl" should tell us how to insert the R needle into the stitch: into the back of the entire loop to the front! (Which of course brings up another problem: what do we call it when knitting a wrong-side row. Yikes, the story never ends!!)

(Ravelry: ceilr)
Time is never a factor when joy is involved.
emmyc Posted - 01/17/2013 : 05:41:14 AM
I didn't quite understand why I was knitting and purling through the back loop until I knitted a scarf called "Drifted pearls" that had a K1P1 rib undulating up the front. The effect of knitting on the right side through the back and purling the same stitch through the back in the wrong side gave the ribbing a different definition than standard k1p1 rib. The fully twisted stitch pops out, almost like a cable on the front.

I'm with Donna on the ptfl...

winchester ma
Eleanor Posted - 01/17/2013 : 02:48:40 AM
I personally think that Shalee has the answer! If your sts are positioned correctly (not twisted) and the instructions tell you to knit through the back loop, you will be twisting the stitch that you are knitting. If your stitch is already twisted (on your left needle) you would just knit through the "front" loop of the stitch that is on the left-hand needle. It all depends on what method of knitting you are doing. If you're normally knitting through the back loop and then when you do the purl row you're wrapping your yarn and pulling it through differently than "normal" you will have a twisted stitch when you go to do the knit row.
(There is a video on YouTube that explains this method of knitting and unfortunately I can't remember the name of it, but when I do I will forward it to the group.)
I hope I haven't confused you, but I think I know what your dilemma is.
ikkivan Posted - 01/15/2013 : 08:22:31 AM
I personally cannot see a reason for ptfl, since that is the way my purl stitches are done, anyway. Now, ktbl I can understand for twisted stitches, since I normally do not knit through the BACK of the loop, but the front. I have done the ptbl, though, to continue a twisted stitch pattern.

I was always taught that the leg of the stitch facing me (the side I'm looking at) is the FRONT, and the side away from me (actually, the side facing the same direction I am looking, the side someone sitting opposite me would see) is the BACK. That explanation has always helped me trememdously to keep things straight.

Donna, with intentions always bigger than her available time. (OkieDokieKnitter on Ravelry)
Shalee Posted - 01/14/2013 : 1:20:58 PM
The reason for a twisted stitch, as I understand, it to both tighten the knitting and give a decorative aspect to the knitting.

Because I purl, what I think is called Easter Cross, my leading leg on the knit side is behind the needle. I have to reposition that stitch to knit through the back loop. When I'm doing a ssk I don't have to change the stitch because it is already sitting properly for that. If I will need to do a k2tog I have to either reposition the stitch to do it, or on the purl side I have to wrap when making the purl stitch in anticipation of the k2tog on the next row.

It really isn't hard to understand once you realize that instructions are written to conform to an unworked knit or purl stitch, sitting on your left needle, with the leading leg of the stitch in front.

Maybe, to understand better, you could make a swatch using worsted weight yarn. Cast on about 10 stitches and knit across and purl back for about 4 or 5 rows. Then remove the needle from the stitches. Now lay the swatch down, live stitches at the top, and flatten out the stitches that are live. See how the yarn connects from stitch to stitch. The last live stitch you knitted has it's tail attached to your ball of yarn. The next to the last stitch has it's leading leg attached to the last live stitch. Thus, the leading leg is on your right. Now, using an empty needle, pick up the stitches, one at a time. With your needle, enter the loop of the stitch from back to front put it back on the needle. Once you have the stitches all back on the needle, take a look at them. All of the leading legs are on the right and in the front of the needle. Now, leaving the needle in, turn the swatch over and look at the purl stitches. All of those stitches are sitting on the needle with the leading leg in front of the needle, leading leg on the right.

It doesn't matter how you knit, it is the end product that counts. There is no wrong way to knit. Once you understand what the pattern wants you won't have any problems.

Sharon in NW PA
I always wanted my own library but I didn't realize it would be all knitting books!

socks4all Posted - 01/14/2013 : 09:49:17 AM
If you are knitting so that both your knits and purl present the yarn (going from right to left - all one stitch) as yarn close to you- yarn over top of needle- yarn away from you, then the terms make sense. I think of the leading edge as the "front loop" whether it is in the front of the needle or the back, and the trailing edge as the "back loop" whether it is in the front or the back. To knit or purl in the the back loop, you may have to reposition your stitch so that the leading edge is the front loop. Ceil, does your k2tog lean right or left? if it leans from bottom left to upper right then you are k2tog through the front loops. If they lean from bottom right to upper left, then you are k2tog through the back loops. Personally that is how I'd like to see decreases noted, right leaning decrease (abbreviated rd) or left leaning decrease (abbreviated ld). If what the pattern calls for is a twisted stitch, then tsk would be a twisted stitch knit and tsp would be twisted stitch purl.
Jane Posted - 01/14/2013 : 05:31:09 AM
It does seem confusing, but I make sense of it this way: I think of it as "knit through the back of the loop" or "purl through the front of the loop" because that's what I'm actually doing. The abbreviations ktbl and ptfl are standard terms that the pattern's stitch glossary should make clear.


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