Herringbone Stitch All The Things!
I am soooooo flippin' excited for November 13! The first two shawls in the Sisters Not Twins collaborative between Brittany Garber (@knotbadbrit) and myself will be published! Eeeep! and Squwee! and happy cartwheels in my imagination! The Freia Shawl is the knit sister to the crochet Fenna Shawl. This project was supported by Sprigs and Stone Yarn and I can't rave enough about the beautiful colors Alisha creates on her MerYak Fingering base. Be sure you are following me on Instagram and Facebook so that you don't miss out on the super fun things going on this week: like a giveaway! and great sale from Alisha! - even more reason to squwee! Am I right?! I know. I'm right. ;)
Herringbone stitch adds an interesting dimension to knitwear as the stitches lean to the left and right, appearing to be woven. It is super fun, partially cause it looks so fancy and hard to figure out but is actually quite simple. Because we all learn in different ways, I also created is a video demonstration of the herringbone stitch on SDK YouTube. If you want to be sure not to miss out on future demos, be sure to subscribe!
Before we dive into the mechanics of the herringbone stitch, lets first go over a few important things to remember:
Herringbone in the round is a bit different than herringbone in worked flat but the basic concept is the same. This tutorial is in support of the Freia Shawl, and is there for focussed on the herringbone stitch when working flat.
Herringbone is TIGHT. For example, knit in fingering weight yarn, Freia Shawl suggests a US 6/ 4mm needle to and that is what is used for the stockinette portion. The herringbone section requires a US 10.5/ 6.5mm needle! It seems so crazy to be working with big honkin' needles and fingering weight yarn! Its true. But because of extreme slant to the stitches, you will find that the stockinette still puckers where the two fabrics meet unless aggressively blocked.
It can be tricky if we make a mistake, there are few options but to go back and fix it if we are more than just one row above. And tinking herringbone is a pain in the bum-tooshy. While I will not be demonstrating tinking herringbone or fixing it in this tutorial, rest assured both are possible and you can count on a future blog post about them. If you are stuck on your own project consider attending one of the Studio classes and get some help with your dropped herringbone stitch.
However, there is a fantastic flip side of tricky to fix bit in number 2. Due to the nature of the stitch, you will never drop a stitch and have it run away from you deep into all your hard work. If you drop a herringbone stitch it just hangs out there, abandoned and waiting for you to return to it and make it right. Or, perhaps as I have been known to do, let it be. Maybe it didn't want to get worked in with its neighbor and who am I to force them to play together nicely? That is a pretty way of saying sometimes I just leave it and make a stitch later where it wont show (shhhh-don't tell anyone).
Okay then! Are you ready? First I'll share the basic idea of what we do to create the herringbone stitch and then I'll show you some pictures and we will break down each step. To get those right and left leaning stitches, we work two stitches together (imagine knitting two together in your mind) but then we only drop the front stitch off the needle (can you see it in your imagination?). The different directions that the stitches lean are dependent on how they are worked together. We have four options: knit two together, knit two together through the back loop, purl two together or purl two together through the back loop. Again, no matter which of the four stitches we work, we only drop the first of the two worked together off the left needle. And that last bit right there is where all the magic is.
A good thing to remember, when working herringbone flat, is that if we want the stitch to lean to the the right, we knit (from the right side) or purl (from the wrong side) two together through the front loop just as we would when instructed to knit two together or purl two together. EXCEPT! Remember the magic part? We only push the first of the two stitches we worked together off the left needle.
To get that stitch to lean towards the left, we have to work through the back loop. From the right side we will knit two together through the back loop and from the wrong side we will purl two together through the back loop. But, just as in the right leaning herringbone stitch, we will only drop (or push) the first stitch of the two we worked together off the left needle. In the third picture below, you can clearly see the stitch I have just dropped off the needle leaning to the left.
And that, my friends, is the secret! You are now free to run out into the world and herringbone all the things! If you do make sure you tag @SunDaughterKnits on social media so I can see and cheer you on! If you want to be super supportive add a heart to this little blog post!
Happy Herringbone Knitting!