Celebrating Stripes

A Class Anniversary

Some years ago now I worked with one of my favorite editors, Kara Gott Warner, and the folks at Annie’s Craft Store to develop an online class, Colorwork Without the Work. The class covers simple ways to work with color in stripes: basic stripe patterns worked flat and in the round, helix knitting, mosaic knitting (stripes with slipped stitches to make patterns!), and vertical intarsia stripes. As a project-based class, it also includes tutorials on techniques like working from a temporary cast-on, grafting in garter stitch, reading charts, and three-needle join.

Colorful Striped Coasters

This week I’m celebrating the anniversary of the class release with a post on stripes, specifically three-color one-row stripes worked flat, something I didn’t cover in class. Work the swatch coaster and you will also learn how to work the e-loop cast-on and work a sewn bind-off.

Grab three colors of DK or worsted weight cotton and US 5-6 needles, and let’s make some stripes!

Normally when we knit flat we work in pairs of rows: out then back, odd row/even row, RS row then WS row. Working one-row stripes in two colors requires working with double-ended needles and using a special move called the slide. Add a third color, however, and there’s no special needles or moves required. The yarn you need to use next will always be waiting for you on the other side.

Have a read through the coaster instructions, and then scroll to the skills section to get started!

Use this project to stretch your color muscles! Pull out your color wheel and use it to select a color triad. Or choose a key color and its split complementary hues. Or make it a study in light and dark: choose a hue, and a tint and tone.

Colorful Striped Coasters

three-color one-row stripes

4-5 g each worsted weight cotton in 3 colors A, B, C
US 6 needles
tapestry needle, scissors

With A and using e-loop cast-on, cast on 20 sts. Leaving tail of B, join B and knit one row. Leaving tail of C, join C and knit one row.

Row 1: With A, knit.
Row 2: With B,  knit.
Row 3: With C, knit.

Repeat rows 1-3 until piece is square (check by folding one corner of the cast-on edge diagonally up to the needle; if it meets the end stitch then the piece is square), approximately 4 inches from cast-on.

Cut the last yarn used and the one on the far end, leaving 4-6 inch tails. Leaving a tail 3-4 times the width of the piece, cut the yarn for binding off and thread on tapestry needle. Using sewn bind-off, bind off.


E-Loop Cast-On

The e-loop or loop cast-on is not my favorite cast-on but it is the right one for imitating a one row stripe. Be sure to hold the tail tightly as you cast on the first few stitches as they tend to want to fall off the needle. Use the same caution when you work into those loops on your first real row.

Join B And C

Turn the work as usual at the end of the A cast-on. Leave a tail of B and with B, knit across the row. Turn the work. Leave a tail of C and with C, knit across the row. The working yarns for C and A will be at one end, and B at the other. As you continue working back and forth, use the yarn that is next in the sequence (A, B, C) and which should be waiting for you as you finish the current row.

Switching Yarns

When you get to the end of a row there will always be two yarns at that end, the one you just used and the one you need to use next. To switch to the new yarn, simply drop the one you just used and let it hang where it falls. Pick the new one up and take it to the back to begin knitting or to the front to begin purling.

Binding Off: Sewn Bind-Off

Leaving a tail 3-4 times as long as the piece is wide, cut the yarn you will use for the sewn bind-off and thread it through a tapestry needle. Hold the work in one hand and with the other, *insert the tapestry needle purlwise and right to left through the first two stitches, pull yarn through. Insert the tapestry needle knitwise from left to right through the first stitch, then slip this stitch off the knitting needle. Repeat from * , adjusting tension of the sewn stitches to match the fabric, until all stitches have been slipped off.

Want More Stripes??

Take a stripes class with me at STITCHES West 2020!

I’ll be teaching Stripes of the Circular Type on Thursday, February 20, 2020 from 9-noon. You will learn how to carry yarns up the inside, minimize “the jog,” try helix knitting, and make mobius stripes. I’ll also talk about principles of contrast and repetition, and strategies for creating your own stripe patterns. Let’s make stripes in the round! Learn more here.

Yarn Over Twice: Double the Fun!

Knitters can make any project lacy by working with needles much larger than what the yarn at hand calls for. The space in the center of any stitch will be the size of the needle, and the strands of yarn that form the loop will expand and contract as you stretch the fabric. But real lace, the lace we all ooo and aahhhh over, has intentional holes in patterns of openwork moving over the knit fabric, lines of compensating decreases snaking sinuously, crossing geometrically, or hiding surreptitiously among the eyelets. To work real lace you need to know how to make those decreases, and how to work a yarn over. Yarn overs make the lace knitting world go round.

Creative Knitting Summer 2017, Lace Sampler

In this post we’re going to look at double yarn overs—at working two yarn overs in a row. If you have never worked a yarn over, check out this tutorial from last spring. Two of the stitch patterns in the Lace Sampler shawlette I designed back in 2015 (republished in the Spring 2017 issue of Creative Knitting Magazine, shown left) have two yarn overs in a row. Each uses a different way of working into the yarn overs on the following row, and we’ll look at both.

Swatch: Hourglass Lace (mult of 6 sts +8; 8 rows)

The Hourglass Lace pattern is used in the middle of the three Lace Sampler panels. The yarn overs and decreases form offset zig-zags in the shape from which it takes its name. The double yarn overs form the large open space at the bottom of each hexagonal motif.

Swatch: Mira Lace (mult of 8 sts +2; 16 rows)

The Mira Lace pattern is used on the outside panel of the shawlette. The pattern formed by yarn overs and decreases is larger in scale than Hourglass Lace, and more like diamonds than hexagons. The double yarn overs here are also the bottom of the motif.

Swatch It to Learn It

Cast on several repeats of the pattern, plus three selvage stitches each edge to work in garter stitch so the swatch won’t curl at the sides. Begin every row “k3, slip marker” and end every row “slip marker, k3,” with the pattern stitches worked as given below. I’ve placed ring markers so I know where the selvage stitches end and the pattern stitches start. Work a few rows of garter stitch to prevent the bottom from curling before you begin the pattern stitch.

Use the key if you are working from the charts. Note the double yarn over is just two single yarn over boxes next to each other. If you are working from the written instructions, the abbreviation 2yo is used for two yarn overs in a row.

Twice Around The Needle

Two yarn overs in a row, or “double yarn overs,” can be used to elongate stitches, make an extra-large space to work into multiple times, or worked as two separate stitches on the return row to make a large eyelet below. Both our stitch patterns fall into this last category, and as such each must be worked separately on the following wrong side row. As you’ll see below, there are several ways to do so.

To work a double yarn over, simply take the yarn twice around the needle. Make sure both yarn overs stay on the right needle as you work the next stitch or stitches.

Hourglass Lace: K1, P1 Into the Double Yo

I’ve got three on each side, plus 20 in the middle: 2 pattern repeats (12 sts) plus the extra stitches to visually balance the pattern (+8 sts) for a total of 26. Rows 3 and 7 have double yarn overs. Right over each in rows 4 and 7 are the instructions for what to do: knit the first one you come to, and purl the second one. Notice you are taking both needle and working yarn to the opposite side as you work the second yarn over. The video shows what this looks like for both those who hold the yarn in the left hand and those who hold the yarn in the right hand.

Row 1 (RS): K2, *yo, ssk, k2tog, yo, k2; rep from * to end.
Rows 2 and all WS rows: Purl across, working (k1, p1) into each 2yo.
Row 3: K2, *k2tog, 2yo, ssk, k2; rep from * to end.
Row 5: K1, *k2tog, yo, k2, yo, ssk; rep from * to last st, k1.
Row 7: K1, yo, *ssk, k2, k2tog, 2yo; rep from * to last 7 sts, ssk, k2, k2tog, yo, k1.
Row 8: Rep Row 2.
Repeat Rows 1-8 for pattern.

Mira Lace: P1, P1-tbl Into The Double Yo

As for Hourglass Lace, cast on a few pattern repeats plus three selvage stitches on each side, then work several rows of garter stitch. I’ve got the 3 selvages each side, plus 18 in the middle: 2 pattern repeats (16 sts) plus the extra stitches to visually balance the pattern (+2 sts) for a total of 24. Rows 1 and 9 have double yarn overs. Right over each in rows 2 and 10 are the instructions for what to do: purl the first one you come to, and purl the second one through the back loop (tbl). Notice that again both needle and working yarn move to the opposite side as you work the second yarn over. The video shows what this looks like for both those who hold the yarn in the left hand and those who hold the yarn in the right hand.

Row 1 (RS):K1, *k2, k2tog, 2yo, ssk, k2; rep from * to last st, k1.
Row 2 and all WS rows: Purl across, working (p1, p1-tbl) into each 2yo.
Row 3: K1, *k1, k2tog, yo, k2, yo, ssk, k1; rep from * to last st, k1.
Row 5: K1, *k2tog, k1, yo, k2, yo, k1, ssk; rep from * to last st, k1.
Row 7: K1, *k2tog, yo, k4, yo, ssk; rep from * to last st, k1.
Row 9: K1, *yo, ssk, k4, k2tog, yo; rep from * to last st, k1.
Row 11: K1, *k1, yo, ssk, k2, k2tog, yo, k1; rep from * to last st, k1.
Row 13: K1, *k1, yo, k1, ssk, k2tog, k1, yo, k1; rep from * to last st, k1.
Row 15: K1, *k2, yo, ssk, k2tog, yo, k2; rep from * to last st, k1.
Row 16: Purl across.
Repeat Rows 1-16 for pattern.

Can you think of any other way to work into sequential yarn overs? Try them and see if they work!

Now Make Something!

The pattern for the Lace Sampler can be found in the booklet Plug & Play Cowls as well as in the Spring 2017 issue of Creative Knitting Magazine. The booklet contains instructions for over 50 for stitch patterns and edgings as well as directions on to design your own cowls. And there are five other cowl designs showcasing different cowl construction possibilities.

After the magazine came out I ran a knit-a-long/design-a-long with then-editor Kara Gott Warner. Want to try making your own version of the shawlette? Check out the #KnitWithBeth Lace Sampler post for resources and inspiration.

Finally, I want to share with you one of my favorite tools for visualizing the fabric produced by the k1, p2s of stitch patterns. I’ve written about Stitch Maps before, but JC has added a ton of new features in the last few years, from collections to super-wide cable crossings. I put the group of stitch patterns I used in the design-a-long into a Lace Sampler Collection for you to browse: try changing how many row or stitch repeats are displayed, highlighting sections, and using column guides. Awesome.

Until next time…

Scribble Lace Stripes

Back when I first began working in this crazy wonderful world of things to do with string, one of the recently-published books I just HAD to add to my library was Debbie New’s Unexpected Knitting. The title alone was intriguing—so unexpected. When I saw the cover, I immediately bought the book. It contains chapters on topics such as free-form, swirl, sculptural, cellular automaton, ouroborus, and labyrinth knitting.

And there is something called scribble lace. The name alone intrigued—scribble lace. It conjured images of authors and artists thoroughly absorbed in the rush to get their ideas down on paper. How would a knitter scribble ideas down with yarn?? Fascinating.

Left over fine mohair and Colinette Point Five

Scribble lace is actually a simple technique for placing squiggly thick yarn stripes across a diaphanous background of fine weight yarn. It is worked with needles of the size appropriate for the thick yarn. The hardest part is getting used to working the rows between the squiggles with the fine yarn on those fat needles.

I had quite a lot of short-ish lengths of Colinette Point Five (A) left after finishing the Big Blocks Afghan. While rummaging through the lace yarn section of my stash, I found a good bit of an unknown fine mohair (B) that seemed like it would make the perfect background for the stripes. And the pattern below was born. I hope you enjoy it!

About Scribble Lace

For a firm start and finish, the pattern begins and ends with an A row. For the cast-on, A and B are held together to make a temporary slip knot, then separated to work a long-tail cast-on, thereby making the first A and B rows.

When not in use, the A yarn is carried up the side edge. While working Rows 1-6, when A and B are on the same end, work as follows:

When you reach Row 7, both yarns will be at the same end. Leave B hanging, and knit across with A. Row 8 is worked with B. To get to where B is, slide the stitches to the other end of your double-ended needle: voila, you are ready to work the next row, alternating knit and purl stitches.

Why is Row 8 worked in a 1×1 rib pattern? To put the tops of the A loops on both sides of the fabric, alternating across the row. Repeat rows 1-8 until your scarf is long enough (or you are close to running out of yarn, like me!). Work the final row with A, working in rib pattern as you bind off.

As you work with the finer weight yarn, be careful to separate stitches on the left needle. They have a tendency to bunch up and you may think there is one when there is two. I’ve also had them jump in front/behind each other, appearing out of order. Spread the stitches out as they move up on your needle end.

As for combining yarn colors: there are many pleasing combinations! Choose colors to make foreground or background stand out, use similar hues for both A and B, or choose high-contrast brights. Once you get the hang of scribbling, experiment with more or fewer rows between “scribble stripes.” Try varying the relative weight of the yarns used (always use the needle size recommended for the thicker yarn, or even a size larger!). Have fun scribbling!

Scribbling Square Stripes Scarf


  • 65 yds #6 (super bulky) wt thick and thin yarn (e.g. Colinette Point Five or Malabrigo Gruesa), A
  • 230 yds #2-4 (fine to worsted) wt kid mohair/silk blend (e.g. Rowan Kidsilk Haze, Crystal PalaceKid Merino, Malabrigo Lace), B
  • US 15 [10 mm] circular or long double-pointed needle


Holding A and B together, tie a temporary slip knot and put on needle. With A over thumb and B around index finger and using long-tail cast-on, cast on 24 sts, not counting slip knot. At end of first Row 1 below , untie slip knot.

Rows 1-6 with B and carrying A up the side it is on , knit.
Row 7 drop B; with A, knit; drop A.
Row 8 slide stitches to other end of circular needle where B waits, with B [k1, p1] 12 times.

Repeat rows 1-8 to desired scarf length, ending on a Row 6 row. Cut B; with A, work in [k1, p1] patt as you bind off. Fasten off last st.

Weave ends. Stretch scarf to “block” and open up lace. Cut and attach fringe if desired; sample has 9 lengths folded and attached to each end.

Yarn Over Season: Feather Faggoting

If you are a systematic person you might expect yarn over season to conclude with a stitch pattern that combines a yarn over with a left-slanting purl decrease, aka SSP (slip, slip, purl two together through the back loop). Try a few stitches-worth of [yo, SSP] and you’ll understand why it is not listed in stitch dictionaries or used in patterns—it’s awkward, with a capital AWK! We’re going to conclude yarn over season with Feather Faggotting, a pattern showing how to use faggoting repeats in combination with other stitch patterns. In Feather Faggoting, 2-stitch columns of garter stitch are combined with 2-stitch columns of Purse Stitch.

Yarn Over Plus Purl Two Together Plus Garter Stitch

Looking at the stitch instructions below, note that this pattern requires no selvage stitches. The pattern repeat is written to place one of the garter stitch stitches at the beginning and one at the end, making them next to each other as you work the repeats. The maneuvers for “yo, p2tog” are the same as for Purse Stitch (for a refresher on it, go back one post).

Feather Faggoting (mult of 4 sts)

All rows *k1, yo, p2tog, k1; rep from * to end.

Cast on 20 or so stitches (some multiple of 4, that is). Work a couple of rows in stockinette  or garter stitch to give yourself a nice base. Then work the first row as written above.

When you get to the last few stitches, remember to end “p2tog, k1.” You shouldn’t have any more stitches.

When you turn the work the pattern begins as for Purse Stitch. You’ll see the stitches on the left needle are, from right to left: a purled final stitch (technically half of the garter pair), a right-slanting knit decrease stitch, and then the yarn over strand. After working half of the garter stitch pair, you begin with “yo, p2tog,” knit 1 to finish the repeat, and continue with the next repeat.

The fabric produced incorporates the characteristics of garter stitch you might expect: a more condensed row gauge and fewer stitches per inch than Purse Stitch. The yarn overs twist the same way over each other, but because the rows are more condensed they have less of a “herringbone” quality than in Purse Stitch. The columns of garter and faggoting create vertical textural design elements, making an intriguing fabric that lies flat.


This week’s project is the same as last week’s, albeit with two more stitches in order to meet the repeat requirements of the stitch pattern. Note the gauge difference: more stitches per inch in pattern. Even with two more stitches cast on, this version is not quite as wide as the Purse Stitch version.

Finished measurements 15 inches around x 9 inches deep [38 x 23 cm]

Claudia Hand Painted Yarns Drama (100% linen; 270 yds/3.5 oz [247 m/100 g]): small amount of 1 skein (~40-45 g)
US 6 [3.75mm] needles or size to get gauge
Same size 24 inch [60 cm] circular needle for 3-needle join
F/3.75mm crochet hook
Tapestry needle

Gauge 15 sts and 34 rows = 4 inches [10 cm] in Feather Faggoting, before blocking

LOOSELY cast on 28 stitches. Work Feather Faggoting until piece measures 18 inches [45.5 cm]. Bind off: k2tog, *k1, slip sts back to right needle, k2tog tbl; rep from * to last 2 sts, one on each needle; bind off 1 st, fasten off.


Picking up stitches
Picking up stitches

With RS facing and circular needle, pick up and knit 1 st for every 2 rows along side edge to an even number of stitches.

With WS together, fold work at halfway point and pull out cable so needle tips face in same direction. Holding needles parallel,* knit 1 st through both front and back needle; knit second st through front and back; bind off 1 st; repeat from * until all sts have been bound off. Leaving tail, cut and fasten off. Repeat for other side. Weave in ends.

Joining the side edges

With yarn held double and crochet hook make a chain 30 inches [145 cm] long. Working about 1½ inch [4 cm] from top and beginning at side edge, thread drawstring through mesh, overlapping ends at side. Tie ends together.

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