Wednesday, December 29, 2010


These past weeks as I was madly churning out knitted Christmas stockings, I began to think about how useful good old duplicate stitch has been to me. There is the obvious application, of course, of embroidering names and dates on the stockings. I actually used to do these with fair isle technique, but switched to duplicate stitch because it looked better, wasted less yarn, and could be easily removed and done over. For a brief tutorial of duplicate stitch, look HERE.

One of my knitting friends actually found herself in the unfortunate circumstance of needing to remove the name of an ex son-in-law from a stocking, and replace it with the name of the new son-in-law. Because the name wasn't done in removable duplicate stitch, there was nothing for it but to chop off the top of the stocking and re-knit. Or maybe marriage counseling.

The way in which I find duplicate stitch most useful, though, is for darning in ends. In this case you sew in S-shaped duplicates on the wrong, bumpy side of your knitting, not biting in too deep with the needle. This hides the end of the yarn securely, invisibly, and most important- it is elastic, so it won't pull out. For a tutorial on this technique, look HERE.

Some other really great ways to use duplicate stitch is for fixing things:

MOTH HOLES: With matching thread, use duplicate stitch to cover over a moth hole. There are two repairs in the photo at right- the darning job on the right hole is not quite so skillful as the one on the left.

COLORWORK MISTAKES: Did you goof up the color of a few stitches? Cover them up with duplicate stitch! Want to add those sparkly blue eyes to Santa's face without having to carry the blue yarn in your tangle of intarsia?-yup, duplicate stitch them in.

CABLE GOOFS: Uh oh, the beautiful cable knit sweater is finished, and then you discover a cable crossed the wrong way! Cover it up with duplicate stitch, and no one will be the wiser. I've used contrasting yarn for this illustration, but matching yarn would be less visible.

Anyone remember this amazing cable goof on the cover of Vogue Knitting Magazine? (Click photo to enlarge) Should have duplicate stitched it up!

Duplicate stitch is awesome!!!!