February 5th, 2013

Tuesday’s Tip: Easy Knitted Plaid

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This week, Sara Delaney shows us a clever and simple way to create beautiful plaid fabric with your knitting!


Knitting plaid fabrics can seem like a daunting task when you consider that they could involve not only two or more colors but intarsia work as well. And how do you keep the tension even in an intarsia section that is only one stitch wide?

Why not skip the intarsia all together with some cleverly placed purl ravines and the use of a crochet hook!

Work the horizontal stripes of your plaid normally and wherever you’d like to have the vertical stripes just work a purl stitch in that vertical column of stitches.

Once you’ve finished knitting the piece you can go back with your crochet hook, and slip stitch a line of stitches into the vertical purl ravine. The slip stitches will lie even with the surface of your knitting.

With this technique, it’s easy to create multi-colored plaid by changing the colors of your vertical stripes. You can stick to two colors, or get creative with as many as the color wheel can hold.

Easy to make plaid sweaters, cowls and hats…it’s addictive!

Check out our video tutorial for more details.

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Customer Service Liaison at WEBS - America's Yarn Store
I started working at WEBS in September 2010. I learned how to knit 5 years ago and have been crocheting since childhood. When I'm not knitting, I love to be outside with my Black Lab, Ellie.
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  • Claudia Kirkland

    I really love this idea, but I would need a simple pattern to get started. Can someone give me some ideas?

  • WEBS Yarn Store

    What would you like to make? Pillow, mittens, hat, sweater, scarf…?

  • Linda Hensens

    How COOL is this??? I have wanted to make some black watch plaid pillows and afghan for my home since I started knitting! I have the yarn to do it with but every pattern that I have seen for same is so overwhelming.. Thank you!

  • Marie Waterman

    Great idea!

  • Linda

    “with your crochet hook, and slip stitch a line of stitches into the vertical purl ravine” Is there a video that shows how to do this?

  • WEBS Yarn Store

    Not yet. But we might be able to do one.

  • CatherineS

    Wouldn’t knitting the intarsia actually be easier than adding an extra crocheting step? I love the look of the plaid, but carrying the color in the back on small knitting bobbins would be easier for me, since I don’t crochet….

  • msprudy

    This is a really great idea! I’ve seen a few different ways of faking plaid (like you’ve said, dodging the intarsia) but this one makes so much more sense! Thanks!

  • Michelle McMillen

    I would need that tutorial video, too, but I LOVE this idea!

  • Virginia S

    Great idea! I always use a crochet hook to fix simple “errors” or missed stitches so this would be easy!

  • scitchr

    Very cool – would love a video too!

  • http://www.facebook.com/SarahLaibleHollandsworth Sarah Laible Hollandsworth

    This is great for me because I was trying to figure out how to do a flat plaid scarf without having to make a tube in the round. Nice timing! Thanks.

  • Judy

    This is a great idea, and no messy backs!

  • WEBS Yarn Store

    We’ll be doing a video of this technique soon, but you don’t need to know how to crochet to do it. It’s as simple as picking up stitches from a dropped stitch with your crochet hook.

  • BlueLoom

    I couldn’t tell from the description whether you drop the purl st back or just pick up along the spaces that inevitably develop when you switch from knit to purl (or vice versa). Can you clarify?

  • Rachel

    May I ask a stupid question? How do you slip stitch the line of stitches into the vertical ravine?

  • WEBS Yarn Store

    Not a stupid question at all. Others are also wondering. We’re in the process of making a video of this technique and will post it on this page when it’s done.

  • WEBS Yarn Store

    We’re in the process of making a video of this technique and will post it on this page when it’s done. But I think you don’t drop the purl stitches back, but just slip stitch over them.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lynn.andrews.5036 Lynn Andrews

    Will there be some patterns available to use this technique. I guess it could be used with any pattern??

  • Sarah Christianson

    This is so cool!! I can’t wait to try this. If you do post patterns, my vote would be for mittens. If someone told me how to do that, I bet I could adapt it to anything flat, like a pillow or scarf. Although some tips on how this might affect gauge would be great. Would it shrink a swatch in one dimension compared to stockinette?

  • tiburonsaanz

    Love it!

  • Donatella

    I pinned your pic last year and finally put it to a good use! thank you so much – linked back to this post and to your video. :) xox,donatella


  • Nitterbet

    Thank you. Just made my friendship square using this technique so I won’t forget it. It was easy but fiddly to crochet into the purl stitches.