2 rarely used stitches to spice up your knitting

Okay, so you’ve used garter stitch a lot and graduated to stockinette, or reverse stockinette, and maybe you’ve tried combinations of knit and purl to create texture, or even cables, but 10 to 1 you haven’t tried using wrapped stitches or the knot stitch in your knitting. To spice up your knitting with new textures, try these two stitches that we’ll look at today.

Let’s start with the knot stitch. I know what you’re thinking: “Why would you want to add knots to your knitting?”  Well the knot stitch is actually not a knot (say that out loud 10 times quickly), but it does raise the surface of your knit fabric by adding a bump.  Now, if you put enough of these bumps in the right places, and with a little planning, you get a very unique look to your fabric.  For those of you who don’t want bobbles or even rosettes (like the ones we looked at a few days ago), the knot stitch is a simple alternative to making your knitting have some interest.

Planning knotted stitches to add texture to your knitting

To make the knot stitch, you can use any two stitches on the left needle. In the swatch I made, I chose to knit a [k2, p1] ribbing, and the columns made by the k2 were the perfect location for the knot stitches to be added. I thought of 3 different positions for the knotted stitch (see pencil sketches above).

But I chose to swatch the first one so that there would be lots of knot stitches and we would be able to see the way the ribbing would really take on a new life of its own with the added texture. There’s nothing wrong with arranging the knotted stitches more sparsely or even in a mock argyle motif.

Knot stitches

As you can see in the swatch above, the knotted stitch makes the ribbing almost look like a cable, but there’s no cabling involved, so some may be inclined to call it a mock cable. Food for thought.

At any rate, to make the knot stitch you have a four step process: Knit the 2 stitches you want “knotted”; wrap the yarn from back to front of work by bringing it over the right needle and return it to the back between the needles; pass the first of the 2 knit stitches over the second and the wrapped yarn; wrap the yarn again in the same manner; pass the second knit stitch over both wraps—which become 2 stitches. There’s the knot.

Wrapped stitches

The second technique I’d like to show you to add texture to your knit fabric is the wrapped stitch. I put these 2 techniques together because to a degree, in both cases, you’re choking stitches with yarn. Okay, that’s not a nice image, although we all know that sometimes our knitting issues make us feel like throttling our yarn.

So let’s go for a gentler word…these two techniques involve swaddling our stitches with yarn….hmmm, maybe you have a better term for this.

To wrap stitches you want to establish which ones ahead of time. With this lace and texture combination, I chose to wrap the 3 center stitches of the diamond motif. When you’re at the spot where you want to wrap the stitches, you place them on a cable needle.

Place stitches on a cable needle

The next thing to be aware of is whether or not you’re going to knit or purl the first stitch after the wrapped ones. In this case I’m going to purl it, so I need to wrap the yarn around the stitches on the cable needle in a counter-clockwise manner so that after the third wrap the yarn ends up forward, to the front of the work. If I were to knit the first stitch after the wrap, I would wrap the stitches on the cable needle in a clockwise manner and the yarn would end up at the back of the work.

Three wraps

Once you’ve wrapped the stitches, you can pass them from the cable needle to the right needle and continue knitting.

You may wonder how tight to wrap the stitches. That depends entirely on your taste, but mostly on your stress levels at the time and whether or not you have too much family over for the holidays. To maintain an even wrap consistency from spot to spot where you wrap your stitches, you need to wrap and then set your work down and compare to other wrapped stitches so that you can see if your stress is showing or whether you’ve just come from your yoga class and the wrapped stitches are too loosey-goosey.

Slipping wrapped stitches to right needle

If you look at the stitch diagram stitch key, you’ll notice that the symbol for wrapped stitches look ingeniously like a single wrap. You may want to see what it would look like with one strand, but in general 2 or 3 times around produces the nicest results. Most charts will indicate the number of wraps the designer intended, as you can see here.

Chart for Wrapped Stitch Lace texture pattern

Wrapped stitches and knot stitches really do add a beautiful look to the surface of your knitting. Ombre or variegated yarns look really good when the wraps are a different color than the wrapped stitches. I’d like to encourage you to try these stitches on the cuffs of sweaters or mittens, or in a cowl or a scarf. I hope these rarely used textured stitches won’t be rarely used any more. And as my son, who is studying film production, would say, “That’s a wrap!”

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Gisela December 5, 2015 - 10:17 pm
I really enjoy trying new stitches, Charles you are so talented, thank you for your article!
Charles Voth December 16, 2015 - 1:31 pm
Thanks. New stitches are addictive to me.
Carol December 3, 2015 - 6:03 pm
I think I might have to give this idea a try. thanks for the chance to win.
Lorna LePoidevin December 3, 2015 - 8:15 am
I love to try new stitches.
Charles Voth December 16, 2015 - 1:31 pm
Lorna, I know! Isn't it great! What new stitch have you tried recently?
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