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Adding stitches to a knitting stitch pattern

by Charles Voth

Wisteria pattern with added stitches

Wisteria pattern with added stitches

When a stitch pattern seems compact to you, or you don’t want an all-over effect, it’s a good time to add stitches to your knitting. The logical place to do so is in between the pattern repeats.

In the above swatch, I added a stitch between each 5-stitch pattern repeat. Then I faced another choice, should I make it a column of knit stitches on the RS, a column of purl stitches, or a column of garter stitch (k on both sides).

At first glance it’s hard to tell whether I used a purl column or a garter stitch column, as both tend to have the same familiar bump or horizontal strand across. A purl column actually recedes into the knitted fabric and the garter stitch column tends to lie flat, so in this case I chose the latter.

One thing I discovered by adding stitches is that you may get a ribbed look and that may not be what you’re going for. By adding a column of garter stitch, the fabric still lies relatively flat and doesn’t look like ribbing, but it also means that the right side and wrong side of the stitch pattern start to look quite similar. In this case, the fabric is practically reversible, such that I didn’t even take a picture of both sides.

To knit a scarf or cowl, I would suggest using this stitch pattern, you could even place 2 or 3 stitches between each 5-stitch repeat and work them in garter stitch. This would be a good project for a beginner who is ready to move beyond plain garter stitch and would like to learn some new stitches like the ssk and the yarnover.

Wisteria stitch pattern with garter stitch inserts

Wisteria stitch pattern with garter stitch inserts


Cast on a multiple of 6 stitches, plus 1 stitch for symmetry, plus 2 sts, one for each edge.

Row 1: S1 wyif, [k1, k2tog, yo, sl 1 wyif, s1-k1-psso] across to last 2 sts, k2.
Row 2: S1 wyif, [k2, pdblinc, k1] across to last 2 sts, k2.
Rows 3-20: Repeat rows 1-2.

Naturally, you could continue repeating rows 1 and 2 until you’ve reached the desired length.

k = knit
k2tog = knit 2 stitches together.
p = purl
pdblinc (purl double increase) = [purl, yrn, purl] all in next st together with yarn over
s1 wyif = with the working yarn in front, insert the right needle into the next stitch as if to purl and transfer the stitch from the left needle to the right.
s1-k1-psso = slip one stitch knitwise, then knit next stitch and pass the slipped stitch over.
yo = bring yarn forward and as you knit next stitch, allow to form a new stitch over right needle.
yrn = take yarn from front over right needle and return to front between needles (counter-clockwise).

Don’t miss the 1 essential tip about changing a knitting stitch pattern in tomorrow’s post!


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