Stitch patterning on our knitting machines is just short of miraculous. With a few settings, we can create the most beautiful textured and colorful fabrics as easily as knitting in stockinette. The possibilities are almost endless with the various techniques available to us – tuck, slip, fairisle, etc.
Want even more variety? What about combining techniques? Let’s take a look.
A fellow knitter recently asked about adding a block of texture within a stockinette piece. In other words, she wanted to create something like this.
She wasn’t clear about what technique she wanted to use, but let’s think this through a bit before sitting down to the machine.
4 5 methods of adding textured inserts
[four_fifth_last]COLOR INSERT Simply adding a coordinating or contrasting color for the accent is pretty straightforward using Intarsia. You don’t need an Intarsia Carriage to add blocks of color.
|✔ Hybrid Intarsia Methods 1 and 2|
[four_fifth_last]HAND MANIPULATED ACCENT Use “to scale” graph paper to chart the stitches and rows involved in the accent section.
- Hand manipulate and reform stitches every other row (for garter stitch)
- Reform every other stitch in the accent section (for seed stitch)
- Reform every row in the accent section (for reverse stockinette)
Using a garter carriage would make fast work of this, but remember you should knit the entire piece with the g-carriage to avoid a change in gauge between your K Carriage and the G Carriage.
[four_fifth_last]NEEDLES OUT OF WORK An easy way to add this accent would be to chart on “to scale” graph paper the stitches and rows involved in the accent section. Then transfer needles to out of work position to create the design.
[four_fifth_last]SLIP Most Slip Stitch patterns look best as “wrong side facing”. A creative design would be to use the purl side as the public side of the garment and add a bit of slip stitch in the accent area. BUT … read the tuck “considerations” below
[four_fifth_last]TUCK Tuck stitch is my favorite technique for adding texture to knitting. But for this example, tuck may not be a good choice.
Tuck and slip both knit up wider and shorter than stockinette.The swatches in the image below are all the same number of stitches and rows. The stitch pattern makes a BIG difference … and also will make a BIG difference when combining stitch patterns.
(Don’t believe me? Cast on 40 stitches and knit 60 rows in a heavy tuck stitch pattern. Cast on the same stitches and knit the same rows in stockinette. You’ll immediately see the difference)
|✔ Compare Stitch Types|
Back to our fellow knitter … It’s possible to create the insert shape that she wants , she just needs to be aware of the limitations.
In this unblocked swatch, there are wide diagonal tuck stripes. Notice how the stockinette sections appear to be rippled? This is because the tuck rows are shorter than the stockinette rows.[/one_half]
Because of the differences in both stitches and rows, adding an insert of a different stitch pattern can be a challenge.
Next time we’ll consider horizontal rows of different stitch patterns… stay tuned!