The other kind of knitweaving

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.

I was just playing around with the technique in this swatch so I could get a sense of how it works. It is definitely another useful lesson in the value of blocking!

knitweaving swatch before and after blocking.

See? This shows how it looked before and after I washed it and laid it flat to dry. No pins or stretching; I agree with Kate Atherley that stretching while blocking is reserved for lace.

I used a fingering weight yarn for the stockinette and an aran weight for the carried yarn.

I’m not really taken by this method of knitweaving so much as the one I’ve been exploring in a variety of other projects, though I can see that it has its merits.

For one thing, if you want to show off a teeny bit of precious yarn, it’s all sitting on one side of the fabric, so it’s really visible. This might be a way to mitigate itchiness, too – the finer yarn could be soft and the showy yarn could be scratchy. (Though a little bit will always come through to the far side.) I also think that the stockinette side of the fabric would be a subtle way to show off a variegated yarn – it would peek through between the stitches. Like the other knitweaving, it’s not very stretchy, which is an advantage for some things and a disadvantage for other. Don’t ever make sock cuffs with this technique!

I like this method best with shorter floats. I also was happier when I realized that I could hold the carried yarn up for more than one stitch at a time.

From bottom to top, these are the patterns I used. I’m not going to describe what the white yarn’s doing; it’s just alternating rows of knit and purl, making plain old stockinette.

up means that I lifted the carried yarn up so it sat on my left-hand needle.
down means that I lowered it so it stranded across the back.

I cast on a multiple of 4+1 with 2 selvedge stitches on each side.

Different patterns made with a different kind of knitweaving.

Part 1
Row 1: *up 1, down 3, rep from *, end up 1..
Row 2 & 4: *down 1, up 1, rep from *.
Row 3: up 1, down 1, *up 1, down 3, rep from *, end down 1, up 1.

I didn’t like how sloppy the long strands looked, so I decided to try something shorter.

Part 2
Row 1: *up 1, down 1, rep from *.
Row 2: *down 1, up 1, rep from *.

Part 3
Row 1: *up 1, down 1, rep from *.

That’s better!

I thought I would try just two pieces of Part 1, to see if it looked better with more long strands.

Part 4
Row 1: *up 1, down 3, rep from *, end up 1.
Row 2: up 1, down 1, *up 1, down 3, rep from *, end down 1, up 1.

That’s okay, but I still don’t like it much. What about slightly shorter strands? Also, this is where I realized the yarn could stay up for a while before going down again.

Part 5:
Row 1: *up 2, down 2, rep from *, end up 1.
Row 2: down 1, *up 2, down 2, rep from *.

That’s pretty good, too!

Part 6:

Row 1: *up 2, down 2, rep from *, end up 1.
Row 2: up 1, *down 2, up 2, rep from *.