Twegen Afghan swatch (L: front, R: back)
Many years and miles of yarn have passed through my fingers since I first consciously wrestled with the issue of reversability. My sister had made a simple striped garter scarf, so one side featured the smooth, invisible color joins, while the other displayed the characteristic broken stripes. Unconstrained by convention, she wore the wrong side facing outward because it was the look she preferred, which for me was eye-opening.
Flashpoint Afghan (L: back, R: front)
My sister was clearly ahead of the curve, but over time the distinctions between right and wrong sides have evolved in the knitting community at large. These distinctions tend to blur even more when we as makers develop a richer appreciation for the varied patterns and textures different techniques create.
This swatch is a good example. Some people prefer the front, some prefer the back, but the majority find both sides attractive. What do you think?
Test swatch (L: front, R: back)
There are, of course, plenty of knitters who gravitate toward a narrow definition of reversibility. The only stitches that meet their criteria are exactly the same on both sides, an outlook some of you may share as well.
Dojeling Shawl (same on both sides)
Drumlin Afghan (same on both sides)
Through the years, a range of experiences have helped expand my personal definition of reversability.
When I swatch to test a new stitch, for instance, I'm surprised how often I find the backside as or more appealing than the front. The swatch below is a good illustration: Which side do you prefer?
Making items for non-knitters is also revealing. They admire, stroke and happily wear, use or display their handmade treasures ... with the wrong side facing out.
This annoys some knitters, but I've learned to embrace it. Our non-knitting friends see the fabric with fresh eyes, discovering possibilities we may not perceive. They're unconcerned with technicalities, so they simply pick the side that appeals to them most.
And when all is said and done, that's just how it should be. Right?
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