Thursday, March 4, 2010


I first learned to knit from my Aunt Jane when I was eleven or twelve. She gave me big sticky wooden needles and wool yarn in deep rainbow hues. I struggled away at garter stitch for a year or two before I really caught on. I learned to make simple shaping from one of those Coats & Clark’s How-to-Knit books that were so popular in the 1960’s (and only 35 cents!). I still remember the excitement when I made my first mittens- out of really awful mud brown Wintec Orlon Plastic yarn that I got at Woolworth’s. As my skills developed I purchased the “Woman’s Day Knitting Book” Magazine Number 7 (a comparative splurge at 60 cents), and tried my hand at some real female garments.

I was working on this sleeveless aran cardigan (click photo to embiggen) in bright yellow wool when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon! The matching "flared and flirty" skirt was in rainbow variegated. The outfit came out looking great, I was so happy! When I proudly wore it to school, unfortunately I learned how hot and itchy cheap wool yarn is against the skin. What was I thinking?! Why would anyone WANT a sleeveless wool aran cardigan and a knitted miniskirt anyway? Gaaah! Fashion!

In the same magazine was this charming baby sweater with a sort of quilt or puff stitch. At that time I was about 16, and didn’t have any close contacts with babies, so I wasn’t motivated to struggle with this pattern. Many years and three babies later, I gave it a whirl, and loved it! This charming stitch pattern is known in Barbara Walker’s stitch dictionaries (my Bible) as Blister Check or Coin Stitch. It is very soft and versatile. Since it is based on a multiple of only 4 stitches, it adapts well to many patterns—hats, mittens, even socks! I have reproduced the two-color version for you, just scroll down below the photos.

Blister Check or Coin Stitch from Barbara G. Walker, A Treasury of Knitting Patterns, 1968. (Book for sale HERE)

In this pattern the drop-stitch technique is used to make a very attractive fabric with the double interest of color and texture.

Multiple of 4 stitches plus 1

Colors A and B. Cast on with A and knit one row.
Row 1 (Wrong side)-- With A, purl.
Rows 2 and 4—With B, knit.
Rows 3 and 5—With B, purl.
Row 6—With A, k2, *drop next st off needle and unravel 4 rows down, picking up the Color A st from Row 1 below; insert needle into this st and under the 4 loose strands of Color B, and knit, catching the 4 loose strands behind st; k3; rep from *, end last repeat k2.
Row 7—With A, purl.
Rows 8 and 10—With B, knit.
Rows 9 and 11—With B, purl.
Row 12—With A knit 4, *drop next st, unravel, and knit Color A st from 5th row below in Row 6; k3, rep from *, end k1.
Repeat rows 1-12.


  1. Thank you very much for the terrifically clear photos! Without seeing in 'in action', I'd never be as interested in doing it as I am now.

  2. Hi! I'm not sure you are blogging anymore. But do you know how to make nice decreases in the pattern?