I posted a while ago about a blanket I was knitting using an unusual technique called knitweaving or inlay. I switched to other projects for a while, but I've come back to it and it's making me happy again.
Sometimes I discover that my brain has been thinking up things while I wasn’t looking, as it were. I love the way it does that. (Except when I’m overwhelmed by ideas.) This time, the back of my brain decided to combine a technique I’ve been playing with in swatches–k1long with inlay‘s ability to add a contrast color in a vertical colorwork design. This isn’t actually inlay, but merely borrows the idea of carrying a contrast color vertically up the wrong side of the knitting when it’s not in use.
I’ve only written instructions that show how to work this from the front, but I hope that it will be evident how to reverse the process from the wrong side. Please let me know if I’m mistaken and I’ll write this up. As it stands, it should be easy enough to work in the round regardless.
The first step is to consider whether the contrast color loop is leaning from bottom left to top right or from bottom right to top left. If the former, I’ve used a k2tog (right leaning) to secure the loop, and if the latter, I’ve used SSK (left leaning).
The instructions below are for the right-leaning version; the left-leaning version doesn’t require the slipped stitch to be worked first (if working in the round, anyway).
June Hemmons Hiatt also describes a different form of what she calls “inlay” in the Principles of Knitting. This one is the same technique that’s used for weaving in ends as you go or in stranded knitting for very long floats to make them shorter:
(Not my video; it just describes it well. Search for weaving in ends as you go knitting and you’ll find a bunch of instructions out there.)
The difference is that the yarn being carried across the purl side of the fabric is never made into a stitch going around the needle. It peeks through, sometimes more and sometimes less. The most obvious side is the reverse stockinette side, where most of what is visible is the carried yarn. I didn’t like the stockinette side at first, but now its subtlety has caught my attention. I like it.
Since learning about knitweaving, I’ve been curious about combining it with regular stranded knitting. All the projects I’ve seen have used one technique or the other (probably because knitweaving by itself can look better with doubled strands rather than single).
In this swatch I played around with two configurations. In the bottom section (variation 1), each column of dark stitches was worked using only one technique. The knitweaving sections therefore have little horizontal green bars while the stitches worked in dark green make a solid vertical stripe.
The upper section (variation 2) has the knitweaving and dark stitches worked out of phase with each other. This makes for a subtle knotted effect; the stitches worked in the natural color in those vertical lines disappear.
Yes, it’s a double-post day! I post every week, but my Patreon-funded posts are extra. The first of the month falls on a Monday this month, so two posts it is.
One of my patrons requested that I make stitch patterns for the word serendipity, so here we are! (If you subscribe, you may also make such requests; I take one a month.)
Something I learned from a random post that came across my Pinterest feed:
Knitweaving has other names aside from knitweaving and inlay. It’s also called “woven knitting” (no surprise), as well as Estonian Inlay and Roositud. Both of the latter refer to the traditional use of it in Estonia, where it is used to form vertical bands of pattern in accessories like socks and mittens. There’s a clever way of making the woven yarn go back and forth while the knitting is worked in the round. It’s shown in this video:
I’ve collected all the patterns listed for the technique on Ravelry in this bundle, because there’s not enough patterns there yet to make it worth requesting a new attribute.
Now for the usual sporadic list of links:
(If you follow me on Pinterest, you’ll have seen these already.)
- Unholy heel: another way of doing a short-row heel without wrap-and-turn.
- Homemade knitting thimble, for those who like to do their stranded knitting with both yarns held in the left hand.
- Chinese Waitress cast-on with crochet hook.
- Clever things you can do with purled i-cords.
- Hatch Stitch Edge makes a fancy, tidy selvedge.
- Long tail cross over cast-on.
- Twisted decreases for use with traveling stitches.
(Detailed instructions are for a knitting machine, but the principle holds: knit together the two stitches that are on either side of the gap, then increase a stitch.)
- Working with a stationary warping paddle.
- Warping a loom directly from a warping board.
- Patterned bands with a two-hole rigid heddle.
- Using a homemade nail loom.
- Deflected warp on four shafts.
- Lazy joins for nalbinding.
- a method for making a tidy loop at the top of a friendship bracelet.
- Making and reading patterns for friendship bracelets.
- Dealing with ease in sewing patterns.
- Making patterns from finished clothes.
P.S. I’ve had one suggestion on Patreon for a word to encode as a stitch pattern for September. If you’d like to suggest a different word, please support me on Patreon by the fifteenth of this month and comment on my activity page. I’ll do a randomized choice if you do. Or you could suggest a word by September 15…
(More recently I’ve been using the term inlay instead of knitweaving.)
I was browsing through Montse Stanley’s Knitter’s Handbook a couple of months ago, looking for information for a design project that’s still in process when I came across the entry for knitweaving (again; I’ve certainly browsed the book a lot). This time it intrigued me, and turned out to be a good method to use for a personal project, shown above. It’s going to be a stole made from a grey background yarn, decorated with handspun yarn received in a swap with the friends who spun it. The “back” of the fabric is in the top of the picture and the “front” is at the bottom. (I like both sides in different ways.)
I was telling my friends about the method and went looking online for more information to share. I was only slightly surprised to discover that the only discussions of the technique were from the perspective of machine knitters – I’d really only ever seen that one half-page of information in Stanley’s book and hadn’t ever seen any other non-machine-knitter using or discussing it.
So. What is knitweaving? It involves carrying a second strand of yarn (I’ll call it the weft, since that’s the weaving equivalent) across a row of knitting as decoration without ever working a stitch with it.
- Some yarns look better in the skein than they do when knitted up, right? I find that those yarns often look better in actually woven cloth because the yarn is stretched out in straight lines. This is a way to achieve a similar effect in knitting.
- Leftovers and swap yarns of varying thickness can be combined in one project without as much worry about gauge (within limits, obviously – I suspect that the thickest yarn used shouldn’t be any thicker than the knitting needles used for the project.)