Welts: The Good Kind!

The Lory Shawl by Bristol Ivy

When I get a new knitting book or magazine, I'm amazed at how much I learn. There's always some new technique or construction, tool or yarn.

In the Fall 2014 issue of Knitscene, I learned about knitting welts. Welts are a raised tube or fold of fabric; sort of a horizontal rib, if you will.


Welted Infinity Scarf;
get the free pattern!

I've made scarves that are considered welted, where several rows of stockinette are alternated with several rows of reverse stockinette. I very much like this stitch pattern—I even designed a knit infinity scarf pattern that uses this technique!

In her Lory Shawl, Bristol Ivy uses a different welting technique, one that's very similar to the welts used in sewing. But in knitting, one row of stitches is knit together with another, which makes decorative welts.

The Lory Shawl has several carefully placed welts, flowing from the middle of the scarf outward, the welts add so much depth and texture to the beautifully natural yarn and simple silhouette.

Here's how Bristol describes the welting technique.

Into the Fold: All About Welts
by Bristol Ivy

The swatches below were knit in stockinette, in two colors to best show where to pick up your welt row, but welts can be worked in however many or few colors you choose. For the purposes of this article, we'll discuss welts worked in stockinette stitch, with the right side facing and the yarn to the right of the project. You can work a welt in a variety of fabrics, but this is the easiest for demonstrating.
Swatches showing WS and RS of welts in two colors.
To make a welt, pick up a stitch the prescribed number of rows below your current row and knit that stitch together with its corresponding stitch on the left needle. In most cases, you will not include the row currently on the needle when counting rows.

There are two methods: picking up and welting one stitch at a time (which is shown in this newsletter), or picking up as many stitches as the pattern specifics, then welting them in sequence. The most important thing for both methods is to pick up the top of the stitch in the welt row.

Reverse stockinette is comprised of convex loops (the tops of stitches) and concave loops (the joining threads between stitches). Always pick up the convex loops. This will ensure that your welts are straight and don't torque to one side and that your stitch counts are identical across both working row and welt row.

In the first and last stitches of a row, the convex top of the stitch may not be as apparent, but use your best guess. The edges are forgiving! Lastly, pick up stitches in your normal knitting orientation-a twisted stitch can add tension and inelasticity to the welt, causing puckering.

Here's how to work a welt, picking up and welting one stitch at a time:

Figure 1 Figure 2
The first technique is to work one welt stitch at a time with its corresponding working stitch. With the right side of the work facing, and using your right needle, reach down the prescribed number of rows and insert the needle through the top of the stitch in the same column as the working stitch (Figure 1). Place the welt stitch next to the working stitch on the left needle so that it isn't twisted and knit them together (Figure 2). Repeat as needed across the row.

—Bristol Ivy, from Knitscene, Fall 2014

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P.S. Have you used a welting technique in your knitting? Did you enjoy it? Tell us about it in the comments!

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