So in knitting we have a collection of stitches/textures that most people are embarrassed to call by its proper name: faggoting (sometimes spelled fagoting). I get that. We live in a politically correct world and while humans still very much enjoy insulting each other, most of us try not to get called out for it. The majority of people that I know would never insult a homosexual male by calling him a faggot. But they might insult him over his food choices (bloodmouth = meat eater) or for his opinion on climate change (willfully ignorant f***stick = a term made popular by a CNN news anchor) or… well you get the idea. Some insults, for reasons that are often inscrutable to little ol’ me, are fun and socially acceptable. Faggot isn’t one of them.
Which leaves us knitters in an awkward place. More importantly it leaves me in an awkward place! I want to teach and talk about these stitches/textures but when I do, people feel uncomfortable.They make that I-just-ate-a-lemon face. I gave this problem some thought in an effort to come up with a pleasant solution. I can’t. So I’ve decided everyone should just lighten up.
Let’s Talk Faggoting
Faggoting is a collection of knit stitches. (There is also a technique in embroidery that goes by the same name, btw.) It is not a slur or a comment on the sexual preferences of certain individuals. It has nothing at all to do with what a man may or may not do with his naughty bits. It is about how to get a pretty open-work texture with yarn.
Faggoting is, in essence, the simplest of lace. In fact, if are new to lace knitting and want to try an easy pattern or two before trying “real” lace, faggoting is definitely the way to go. There are different versions and each makes a slightly different texture, but all faggot knitting is made up of this:
Yarn over, decrease the next two stitches into one. Repeat that to the end of the row/round.
That’s all there is to it. Make an increase followed by a decrease. The decrease is either k2tog (knit 2 together) or ssk (slip, slip, and then knit slipped stitches together). You will get a different effect depending on what you use.
- You can do faggoting on every row/round and get a very distinctive and lattice-like texture.
- Or you can knit or purl the wrong side row and only work faggoting on the right side. That will give you a more open texture.
Faggoting also works great as a border, since it lays flat. I’ve made use of that. Its also employed by some designers as a vertical insert. Whenever they need to visually separate one panel from another they might use a small section of faggoting.
Its a very handy knit texture to know.
And as I mentioned, faggoting is the gateway into knitting lace. You’ll get all the practice you need making increases and decreases without having to also keep up with a complicated pattern (or chart). You’ll also be re-claiming a word. It is our word really. I’m certain that we knitters (and embroiderers) were using it to mean yarn-y thing long before it was co-opted by the insult-loving crowd. I think its time we took it back.