*Decorative Knitting*, by Kate Haxell and Luise Roberts, is a book about ways of embellishing and decorating knitting. Many of these are fairly standard techniques, but some of them are quite unusual. When I was flipping through the book, the moment I knew I needed to buy it and look at it more carefully was when I noticed the swatches of inlay.

My swatch here is exploring the use of dip stitches to couch yarn onto the surface of the knitting, but *Decorative Knitting* describes a multitude of ways to use contrast yarn as a decoration, as well as beads and found objects. I used some basic suggestions on their part to inspire a little play in my swatch.

The beading section in particular is quite comprehensive, listing a variety of methods of incorporating beads, feathers, grommets, and ball chain.

The embroidery section shows some standard methods, but also extrapolates from them in some interesting ways. I particularly like the French knots embedded in ribbing and the duplicate stitch in cables.

*Decorative Knitting* is a hardback book that appears to be out of print. I would recommend it for knitters or designers who want a book that will spark ideas for interesting embellishments.

Haxell, Kate, and Luise Roberts. *Decorative Knitting. *Trafalgar Square Publishing: North Pomfret, Vermont, 2005. ISBN 1570763062

Available used or through Interlibrary Loan.

]]>Here’s a stitch pattern of mine for you!

(It only works because of our idiosyncratic date format.)

]]>

The grey shawl is stitch patterns I designed myself, though not secret code. Its pattern is closer to being ready. The green shawl still needs blocking, as you can see! Two of the three stitch patterns in it (not all visible) are in Barbara Walker; the third is a concoction of my own based on the first two.

I’ve had good fun with both of them, even if I did end up knitting each of them twice (in two different yarns, because the first yarn in each case wasn’t suitable).

It will still be some time before the patterns are available: I need to get them tech edited and tested, and the biggest obstacle for me is that I need to arrange for photography. My current camera situation is not the greatest for sample photography, but I think that will change in about a month or two. (My iPad does perfectly well for taking swatch photos, but waving it around outside for photographing a model is really not ideal.)

]]>Here’s why I think that.

This kind of shawl is knit by casting on a smallish number of stitches and then knitting flat, adding three stitches at each selvedge every two rows. If you were to cut off the selvedges and just lay the shawl flat without any blocking, this is more or less what you would see:

Note that the cast on edge is at the bottom row. This kind of shawl is actually a point-up triangle with all the increases at the edges, and the cast off edge being the long one. *However*, once this shawl is actually blocked to suit the knitter’s desires (with its selvedges mercifully not cut off), the two selvedges make a gentle curve that becomes the top of the shawl as it is worn, while the last row curves around at the bottom.

The selvedges tend to be on the tight end of things because of the structure of the shawl, so they naturally curve on their own, but it is the blocking that forces the final shape, as shown in these very rough sketches. How well this kind of knitting stretches depends on a variety of factors: what stitch pattern is used, how many rows are knit, the fiber content of the yarn. Also, I’ve seen some designers suggest using a larger needle for the wider rows of this shawl, which would help those rows stretch around the outer curve more easily.

Anyway, it is my thought that the hump is formed when the initial rows of the shawl are pushed away from the rest of the knitting in the blocking. If the outer rows don’t stretch enough (as shown in the left sketch just above), then if their selvedges are forced into a straight line, they will push the shortest rows into the bump.

Having the outer rows of the crescent be knit in a stitch pattern with more give should help with that, as should knitting them with a larger needle. (Or having the design add extra increases evenly across the rows somewhere in the latter part of the shawl.) But starting with different numbers of stitches or different kinds of cast-ons probably won’t make much difference. I haven’t done a lot of testing of this guess, mind you. It’s based on lifelong experience working with textiles.

]]>I usually develop a complicated knitting stitch pattern for each word, but I also like to provide a basic chart for any craft that’s worked on a grid: beads, cross stitch, whatever. I also try to provide an image of the pattern repeated all over not as a chart. I use a bunch of filters and things to try to make it look interesting while retaining the encoded layout. It doesn’t necessarily look like a finished object for any particular craft, but I just want to give a sense of it.

This particular design would do well as a knit/purl design if rotated by a quarter turn. It also makes me think of patchwork quilts.

- Designers, please feel free to use these designs in your patterns. I’d like credit but won’t be offended if people don’t give it.
- If you like my posts like this, please consider supporting me on Patreon or donating with my Paypal tip jar in the sidebar. Thanks!

Each month, my Patreon backers have the chance to suggest words for me to encode as knitting stitches. A random number generator helps me choose the word of the month, and then I get to work, first turning the letters into numbers, then charting the numbers onto grids in various ways. Finally, when I make the chart into lace, I turn the marked squares into yarnovers and work out where to place the corresponding decreases. (I usually make lace; occasionally I make cables instead.) I also make a chart for any craft that uses a square grid for designing; this goes in a separate post.

- This is a stitch pattern such as might be found in a stitch dictionary. This is not a pattern for a finished object. You will need to add selvedges or some other form of knitted stitches to either side.
- A note about the purl columns: they were added in to eliminate the double yarnovers and to make the stitch pattern into a useful proportion of stitches to rows. The resulting stitch pattern should fit nicely into one of the standard crescent shawl shapes. The purl column can be changed into a knit column for ease of knitting, but at that point,
*Blossom*will lose any semblance of being a secret code. This isn’t necessarily a problem. *Blossom*is a multiple of 18+1 stitches and 24 rows.- I’ve made a stitch map for it.
- Designers, please feel free to use it in your patterns. I’d like credit but won’t be offended if people don’t give it.
- If you like my posts like this, please consider supporting me on Patreon or donating with my Paypal tip jar in the sidebar. Thanks!

- cdd: centered double decrease: slip the next 2 stitches as if to knit 2 together, knit the next stitch, then pass the 2 slipped stitches over the third.
- k: knit.
- k2tog: knit 2 stitches together as if they were 1. (Right-leaning decrease)
- p: purl.
- ssk: slip each of the next 2 stitches as if to knit, then knit them together through the back loop. (Left-leaning decrease)
- yo: yarnover.

Row 1 (RS): *p1, yo, k2tog, (ssk, yo) x 2, k2, p1, k2, (yo, k2tog) x 2, ssk, yo; work from *, p1.

Row 2 and all wrong side rows: k1, *(p8, k1) x 2; work from *.

Row 3: *p1, k1, yo, cdd, yo, k4, p1, k4, yo, cdd, yo, k1; work from *, p1.

Row 5: *p1, k2, yo, ssk x 2, yo, k2tog, yo, p1, yo, ssk, yo, k2tog x 2, yo, k2; work from *, p1.

Row 7: *p1, ssk, k1, yo, ssk, yo, k2tog, yo, k1, p1, k1, yo, ssk, yo, k2tog, yo, k1, k2tog; work from *, p1.

Row 9: *p1, k4, cdd, yo, k1, yo, p1, yo, k1, yo, cdd, k4; work from *, p1.

Row 11: *p1, k3, k2tog, yo, k3, p1, k3, yo, ssk, k3; work from *, p1.

Row 13: *p1, k2, (yo, k2tog) x 2, ssk, yo, p1, yo, k2tog, (ssk, yo) x 2, k2; work from *, p1.

Row 15: *p1, k4, yo, cdd, yo, k1, p1, k1, yo, cdd, yo, k4; work from *, p1.

Row 17: *p1, yo, ssk, yo, k2tog x 2, yo, k2, p1, k2, yo, ssk x 2, yo, k2tog, yo; work from *, p1.

Row 19: *p1, k1, yo, ssk, yo, k2tog, yo, k1, k2tog, p1, ssk, k1, yo, ssk, yo, k2tog, yo, k1; work from *, p1.

Row 21: *p1, yo, k1, yo, cdd, k4, p1, k4, cdd, yo, k1, yo; work from *, p1.

Row 23: *p1, k3, yo, ssk, k3, p1, k3, k2tog, yo, k3; work from *, p1.

The first thing I did was to turn the letters of *blossom* into numbers, using base 9: 02 13 16 21 21 16 14.

Then I laid out the numbers on a grid. Here’s how I do that. Each letter of *blossom *is two digits. I’m going to use each of those digits to count squares from right to left starting on the bottom row (following the direction of knitting). After counting enough squares for each digit, I’ll mark the next square to the left, though I’ll have to account for line breaks.

I started in the bottom right corner because knitting starts at the bottom right corner. (This is entirely arbitrary, but I like to be consistent when I do these.) The first digit of *b* is 0, so I counted no squares and marked the next square to the left; in this case that means I have to mark the first square. (I know that’s a little weird, but it’s really the only way to account for zero in this method.) The second digit of *b* is 2, so I counted two squares, and then marked the next square to the left with black. The first digit of *l* is one, so I counted one square and marked the next square. The second digit of *l* is 3, so I counted three squares—well, I counted two square on this row, but then I ran out of room, so I jumped up to the next row and finished counting there. I continued on in this manner until I ran out of squares to mark. There’s four blank squares, but they don’t count for the code since there’s no black square to the left of them.

Then I mirrored the chart I’d generated, added the purl columns, turned the black squares into yarnovers, and worked out where to place the decreases so that I liked the end result.

]]>This month’s stitch pattern is a mosaic knitting chart made from Snug. I ran out of time to knit a swatch, but the nice thing about mosaic knitting is that the charts are similar to the final appearance of the knitting.

The thing about mosaic knitting is that it just looks difficult. It’s really easy to do! Basically, you’re knitting two row stripes, and slipping stitches from the row below to make the contrasting pattern. If you can knit stripes, you can knit mosaic patterns.

Here’s an article from Twist Collective about how it works.

When I looked at the chart below for *Snug* I saw that it could be made into a mosaic chart.

- Each marked square is above an unmarked square (a key thing about mosaic knitting is that a slipped stitch from one pair of rows cannot be slipped in the next pair of rows).
- There aren’t more than three consecutive marked stitches in any row.

Here is the code grid in question. It’s suitable for any craft: needlepoint, cross stitch, knitting (try working the black squares in purl stitch – this would actually be a very good chart for this!), crochet (this could be a filet crochet chart), and so on.

For my mosaic knitting chart, I started by making it into a slip stitch chart. Next I colored each square to match the color that the yarn would produce with the slipped stitches. That’s why the resulting knitting doesn’t look like the original code grid.

This is a Barbara-Walker-style mosaic chart for *snug*. Each row of squares in it represents **two** rows of knitting (which is why there’s a row number at each end). The square in the column to the right of the row numbers indicates the color of yarn being worked in that line. So in rows 1 & 2, all black squares are knit or purled, and all white squares are slipped with the yarn being held on the wrong side of the work. In rows 3 & 4, all white squares are knit or purled and all black squares are slipped.

- This is a stitch pattern such as might be found in a stitch dictionary. This is not a pattern for a finished object.
*snug*is a multiple of 16+1 stitches and 8+2 rows.- The non-slipped stitches in the second row of each stripe may be either knit or purled, as desired.
- Before starting any of these instructions, knit two plain rows in Color A, represented by the black squares on the charts.
- Designers, please feel free to use this in your patterns. I’d like credit but won’t be offended if people don’t give it.
- If you like my posts like this, please consider supporting me on Patreon or donating with my Paypal tip jar in the sidebar. Thanks!

- k: knit.
- sl: slip. For this stitch pattern, slip all stitches purlwise.
- wyif: with yarn in front. This means you should hold the yarn on the side of the knitting that’s facing you while slipping stitches.

setup rows: knit two rows in color A (shown in black squares on the chart)

Switch to color B.

Row 1 (RS): k3, (sl, k1) x 5, sl, k3. [17 sts]

Row 2 (WS): k3, (sl wyif, k1) x 5, sl wyif, k3.

Switch to color A.

Row 3: k2, (sl, k3) x 3, sl, k2.

Row 4: k2, (sl wyif, k3) x 3, sl wyif, k2.

Switch to color B.

Row 5: sl, k2, sl, k1, sl, k5, sl, k1, sl, k2, sl.

Row 6: sl wyif, k2, sl wyif, k1, sl wyif, k5, sl wyif, k1, sl wyif, k2, sl wyif.

Switch to color A.

Row 7: k2, (sl, k3) x 3, sl, k2.

Row 8: k2, (sl wyif, k3) x 3, sl wyif, k2.

Repeat rows 1-8 as desired, then knit rows 9 & 10.

Switch to color B.

Row 9: k3, (sl, k1) x 5, sl, k3.

Row 10: k3, (sl wyif, k1) x 5, sl wyif, k3.

I was instantly intrigued. I like my double-pointed needles, but sometimes I do get frustrated with them (most notably when they break or when I pull one out of my knitting by accident).

I like circular needles for things that fit on the circular needle exactly, but I don’t like the fussiness of the Magic Loop method, and because I usually knit without looking, the two circular needle method tends to result in both halves of the knitting on one needle in the form of a pretzel while the other needle suddenly has no stitches on it. I also don’t like having needles tip dangling down as far as happens with two circs.

One of my LYS has a really good needle selection, so I contacted them to see if they’d be getting the Flexiflips. They had ordered one set to try them out and for customers to test, so I went into the shop in November to see. The Flexiflips seemed to suit my hands, so I settled in to wait until I could buy some. Between one thing and another, that time finally came last week, and I decided I should write a review for the blog.

**Summary: **I like them a lot, but I seriously recommend trying before you buy unless you can return them easily. I’ve spoken to several people who’ve tried them, and other needle preferences do not predict whether people like Flexiflips.

So far I have knit a small tube (16 stitches around) and a big tube (60 stitches around). I’ve handed the needles to two other people to try, and they both liked them.

**How they work:** half the stitches go on one needle, the other half of the stitches go on the second needle, and new stitches are worked with the third needle. The stitches on the front needle get squished together while the other stitches are spread along the back needle, which is bent. The whole process feels very like working with bendy double-pointed needles.

One of my concerns was laddering at the gap between two needles, but I had no trouble with that.

**Something to keep in mind:** One end of each Flexiflip is blunt, while the other is pointier. I like blunter tips with some yarns, and pointier tips for most. I like having the choice, but it was too easy to get the wrong end until I found myself flipping up the end at the far side of my left hand, like this:

This meant that I’d consistently be knitting with the same end each time and wouldn’t have to remember to look each and every time I switched needles.

**Pros:**

- I like the way they feel.
- I don’t have to switch needles as often as with DPNs while knitting.
- It’s easier to work really small circumferences than with DPNs – it’s easier to keep things from flopping around in an uncomfortable way.
- It’s harder to pull out a needle by accident (or to have one fall out, if you’re a loose knitter).
- They come in a really nice case (at least in the US).

**Cons:**

- A set is expensive. This is reasonable: buying a set is like buying three circular needles at once, and the price reflects that. But just because it’s reasonable doesn’t mean I can afford to go out and buy all the sizes at once.
- They’re too short to knit a hat, so I’ll still need regular circular needles for the bottoms of hats. I know the Skacel website says they can be used for hats, but I can’t see how the number of stitches for an adult’s hat would fit comfortably on two of these needles without falling off. A newborn-size baby hat, yes, but not a hat for my 24 inch head.

]]>

I quickly sketched out about ten possible narrow word charts in my graph paper notebook, and found that a large majority of them were feasible as cables. Success! However, it’s still most practical for short words.

In celebration, here is *quip* as a cable, encoded in base 3 and then charted with my method 1.

- This is a stitch pattern such as might be found in a stitch dictionary. This is not a pattern for a finished object. You will need to add selvedges or some other form of knitted stitches to either side.
*Quip*is a multiple of 8+10 stitches and 44+2 rows.- I’ve made a stitch map for it.
- Designers, please feel free to use it in your patterns. I’d like credit but won’t be offended if people don’t give it.

- 1/1 LC: Slip next stitch to cable needle and place at front of work, knit 1, then knit 1 from cable needle.
- 1/1 LPC: Slip next stitch to cable needle and place at front of work, purl 1, then knit 1 from cable needle.
- 1/1 RC: Slip next stitch to cable needle and place at back of work, knit 1, then knit 1 from cable needle.
- 1/1 RPC: Slip next stitch to cable needle and place at back of work, knit 1, then purl 1 from cable needle.
- k: knit.
- p: purl.

Row 1 (RS): k1, p1, 1/1 LC, p2, *(1/1 LC, p2) x 2; work from *, 1/1 LC, p1, k1. [18 sts]

Row 2 (WS): p1, 1/1 LPC, p1, *k2, p1, 1/1 RPC, 1/1 LPC, p1; work from *, k2, p1, 1/1 RPC, p1.

Row 3: 1/1 RC, p1, k1, p2, *k1, p1, 1/1 RC, p1, k1, p2; work from *, k1, p1, 1/1 RC.

Row 4: p1, 1/1 RPC, p1, *k2, p1, 1/1 LPC, 1/1 RPC, p1; work from *, k2, p1, 1/1 LPC, p1.

Row 5: k1, p1, 1/1 LC, p2, *(1/1 LC, p2) x 2; work from *, 1/1 LC, p1, k1.

Row 6: p1, k1, p1, 1/1 RPC, *1/1 LPC, p1, k2, p1, 1/1 RPC; work from *, 1/1 LPC, p1, k1, p1.

Row 7: (k1, p1) x 2, 1/1 RC, *p1, k1, p2, k1, p1, 1/1 RC; work from *, (p1, k1) x 2.

Row 8: (p1, k1) x 2, *p2, k1, p1, k2, p1, k1; work from *, p2, (k1, p1) x 2.

Row 9: (k1, p1) x 2, 1/1 RC, *p1, k1, p2, k1, p1, 1/1 RC; work from *, (p1, k1) x 2.

Row 10: p1, k1, p1, 1/1 LPC, *1/1 RPC, p1, k2, p1, 1/1 LPC; work from *, 1/1 RPC, p1, k1, p1.

Row 11: k1, p1, 1/1 LC, p2, *(1/1 LC, p2) x 2; work from *, 1/1 LC, p1, k1.

Row 12: p1, k1, p1, 1/1 RPC, *1/1 LPC, p1, k2, p1, 1/1 RPC; work from *, 1/1 LPC, p1, k1, p1.

Row 13: (k1, p1) x 2, 1/1 RC, *p1, k1, p2, k1, p1, 1/1 RC; work from *, (p1, k1) x 2.

Row 14: p1, k1, p1, 1/1 LPC, *1/1 RPC, p1, k2, p1, 1/1 LPC; work from *, 1/1 RPC, p1, k1, p1.

Row 15: k1, p1, 1/1 LC, p2, *(1/1 LC, p2) x 2; work from *, 1/1 LC, p1, k1.

Row 16: p1, 1/1 LPC, p1, *k2, p1, 1/1 RPC, 1/1 LPC, p1; work from *, k2, p1, 1/1 RPC, p1.

Row 17: 1/1 RC, p1, k1, p2, *k1, p1, 1/1 RC, p1, k1, p2; work from *, k1, p1, 1/1 RC.

Row 18: p2, k1, p1, *k2, p1, k1, p2, k1, p1; work from *, k2, p1, k1, p2.

Row 19: 1/1 RC, p1, k1, p2, *k1, p1, 1/1 RC, p1, k1, p2; work from *, k1, p1, 1/1 RC.

Row 20: p2, k1, p1, *k2, p1, k1, p2, k1, p1; work from *, k2, p1, k1, p2.

Row 21: 1/1 RC, p1, k1, p2, *k1, p1, 1/1 RC, p1, k1, p2; work from *, k1, p1, 1/1 RC.

Row 22: p1, 1/1 RPC, p1, *k2, p1, 1/1 LPC, 1/1 RPC, p1; work from *, k2, p1, 1/1 LPC, p1.

Row 23: k1, p1, 1/1 LC, p2, *(1/1 LC, p2) x 2; work from *, 1/1 LC, p1, k1.

Row 24: p1, 1/1 LPC, p1, *k2, p1, 1/1 RPC, 1/1 LPC, p1; work from *, k2, p1, 1/1 RPC, p1.

Row 25: 1/1 RC, p1, k1, p2, *k1, p1, 1/1 RC, p1, k1, p2; work from *, k1, p1, 1/1 RC.

Row 26: p2, k1, p1, *k2, p1, k1, p2, k1, p1; work from *, k2, p1, k1, p2.

Row 27: 1/1 RC, p1, k1, p2, *k1, p1, 1/1 RC, p1, k1, p2; work from *, k1, p1, 1/1 RC.

Row 28: p2, k1, p1, *k2, p1, k1, p2, k1, p1; work from *, k2, p1, k1, p2.

Row 29: 1/1 RC, p1, k1, p2, *k1, p1, 1/1 RC, p1, k1, p2; work from *, k1, p1, 1/1 RC.

Row 30: p1, 1/1 RPC, p1, *k2, p1, 1/1 LPC, 1/1 RPC, p1; work from *, k2, p1, 1/1 LPC, p1.

Row 31: k1, p1, 1/1 LC, p2, *(1/1 LC, p2) x 2; work from *, 1/1 LC, p1, k1.

Row 32: p1, k1, p1, 1/1 RPC, *1/1 LPC, p1, k2, p1, 1/1 RPC; work from *, 1/1 LPC, p1, k1, p1.

Row 33: (k1, p1) x 2, 1/1 RC, *p1, k1, p2, k1, p1, 1/1 RC; work from *, (p1, k1) x 2.

Row 34: p1, k1, p1, 1/1 LPC, *1/1 RPC, p1, k2, p1, 1/1 LPC; work from *, 1/1 RPC, p1, k1, p1.

Row 35: k1, p1, 1/1 LC, p2, *(1/1 LC, p2) x 2; work from *, 1/1 LC, p1, k1.

Row 36: p1, k1, p1, 1/1 RPC, *1/1 LPC, p1, k2, p1, 1/1 RPC; work from *, 1/1 LPC, p1, k1, p1.

Row 37: (k1, p1) x 2, 1/1 RC, *p1, k1, p2, k1, p1, 1/1 RC; work from *, (p1, k1) x 2.

Row 38: (p1, k1) x 2, *p2, k1, p1, k2, p1, k1; work from *, p2, (k1, p1) x 2.

Row 39: (k1, p1) x 2, 1/1 RC, *p1, k1, p2, k1, p1, 1/1 RC; work from *, (p1, k1) x 2.

Row 40: p1, k1, p1, 1/1 LPC, *1/1 RPC, p1, k2, p1, 1/1 LPC; work from *, 1/1 RPC, p1, k1, p1.

Row 41: k1, p1, 1/1 LC, p2, *(1/1 LC, p2) x 2; work from *, 1/1 LC, p1, k1.

Row 42: p1, 1/1 LPC, p1, *k2, p1, 1/1 RPC, 1/1 LPC, p1; work from *, k2, p1, 1/1 RPC, p1.

Row 43: 1/1 RC, p1, k1, p2, *k1, p1, 1/1 RC, p1, k1, p2; work from *, k1, p1, 1/1 RC.

Row 44: p1, 1/1 RPC, p1, *k2, p1, 1/1 LPC, 1/1 RPC, p1; work from *, k2, p1, 1/1 LPC, p1.

Repeat rows 1-44 as desired, ending with

Row 45: k1, p1, 1/1 LC, p2, *(1/1 LC, p2) x 2; work from *, 1/1 LC, p1, k1.

Row 46: p1, k1, p2, *(k2, p2) x 2; work from *, k2, p2, k1, p1.

If you don’t want to knit cables on wrong side rows, here’s a chart for a variation with only knit and purl on the wrong side:

It is twice as tall because I’ve added an extra row between each cable row; it will stretch the effect vertically. I’m not including written instructions.

The first thing I did was to turn the letters of *quip* into numbers, using base 3: 122 210 100 121.

Then I laid out the numbers on a grid, like this:

Rows 1-3 are the letter *q, *starting at the bottom: 122. Rows 4-6 are the letter *u*, continuing upward: 210, and so on for 100 and 121. Then I divided the resulting grid up, because each 1/1 cable cross requires 2 stitches and 2 rows (the wrong side rows are hidden in this explanatory chart, but implied by the row numbers). Finally, I mirrored the chart and repeated it so I could put in the appropriate repeat borders. (I also mirrored it vertically, but I didn’t show that here to save space.)

All encoded letters are indicated in the final chart with 1/1 RC and LC cables – the spots where knit stitches cross other knit stitches. Once that was all done, I incorporated 1/1 RPC and LPC cables to tie everything together in an interesting pattern; these cable stitches are not part of the code.

]]>