Knitting the Twisted Stitch

An example of the twisted stitch in knitted mittens!

A note from Kathleen: One of the things that keep knitting interesting and fresh is learning new techniques and stitches. In Interweave Knits, we bring you inspiring designs, but also lots of new learning opportunities with each issue, such as the twisted stitch.

One of those opportunities in the Fall 2010 issue is Meg Swanson’s in-depth article about twisted stitches. This type of knitting is made up of traveling stitches and cables, using just one stitch crossing over another. The catch is that knit stitches are worked through the back loop, creating tighter stitches that stand out more from the background stitches than regular cable and traveling stitches do.

Fall Knits features three patterns that showcase twisted stitch knitting, the Bavarian Tulip Mittens and Alpen Socken by Judy Alexander and the Proverbial Cap by Meg Swanson.

Here’s Knits editor Eunny Jang to tell you more (and show you more in a video tutorial!) about this technique:

Twisted-Stitch Knitting by Eunny Jang

Another example of the twisted stitch in knitted socksI have always loved twisted stitches — those intricate, delicate motifs of curving and crossing knit columns. There is something so satisfying about them — a logical, tidy order to their beauty. In the Fall 2010 issue of Interweave Knits, we featured several little twisted stitch projects — great samplers for the technique.

But how do you knit them? Treating them and knitting them as 1/1 cables is cumbersome and inefficient, especially with the fine gauge and high stitch count of your typical twisted stitch project.

Enter Meg Swansen, knitting publisher and knitter extraordinaire.

Hat knitting pattern that uses the twisted stitch methodWay back in February of this year, I received a copy of Schoolhouse Press’s new translation of the classic book Überlieferte Strickmuster (Twisted Stitch Knitting) by Maria Erlbacher, a catalog of nearly 200 traditional motifs. Meg and I decided that the Fall 2010 issue of Knits was the perfect place to run the definitive article on twisted stitch technique, with instructions and little tricks to make knitting twisted stitches easy and efficient.

In the article, Meg outlines twenty-four different combinations of movements and stitches — all the way from working the stitches carefully without a cable needle to working them in one quick, efficient movement.

As a bonus to the article with full instructions, I demonstrated some of the movements on the new series of Knitting Daily TV. Check out the exclusive preview below:

Twisted Stitch Basics

Twisted-stitch knitting can be used to create a wide variety of beautiful patterns in your knitting projects. You can twist your stitches to the right or left and manipulate them to create decorative ridges throughout your knit fabric. They’re especially useful for creating faux cable knits without the use of a cable needle. Be sure to read Meg Swansen’s comprehensive twisted stitch guide in the Fall 2010 issue of Knits to become an expert in the mock cable stitch. In the meantime, here are a few simple steps that you can use to get started with this fun stitch.

Right Twist Stitch

  1. Insert the working needle into the second stitch on the main needle.
  2. Wrap your yarn around the working needle.
  3. Leave the stitches on the main needle while you pull the working yarn through the stitch.
  4. Insert the working needle into the first stitch.
  5. Wrap the working yarn around the working needle and pull it through the stitch.
  6. Slide the two stitches off of the main needle.

Left Twist Stitch

  1. Insert the working needle into the second stitch on the main needle through the back loop.
  2. Wrap the yarn around the working needle.
  3. Pull it through the stitch without pulling the stitch off of the main needle.
  4. Insert the working needle into the first stitch through the front.
  5. Wrap the working yarn around the working needle and knit the stitch as usual.
  6. Slide both of the stitches off of the main needle.

Get out your needles, your yarn and grab a copy of Interweave Knits Fall 2010 to try out this gorgeous technique — it’s easier than you think!

Interweave Knits is all about giving you the knowledge and tools to make beautiful things — make sure you don’t miss an issue.

Happy Knitting,
Eunny Jang signature

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