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How to Knit the Wicker Stitch

How to work: German Short Rows

Welcome to Creative Knitting update with your Intrepid Knitwear Designer and Technique Enthusiast Meghan Jones!

How to Knit the Wicker Stitch

The featured pattern for this week's update is the Ava Messy Bun Hat knit pattern. This fun pattern features a wide band of wicker stitch pattern, also known as the basket weave stitch pattern. Although it looks complicated, this stitch pattern is a simple combination of knits and purls, cleverly worked out of order to create left-leaning slanted stitches on the knit rows and right-leaning slanted stitches on the purl rows. This left and right movement creates the illusion of the stitches being woven together like a basket when really they are worked on needles just like other knitting stitches. No cable needles are required for this stitch pattern even though stitches are worked out of order, which is similar to how cables are worked.

How to Work It

For this stitch pattern you will need to cast on a multiple of two. Choose a number of stitches that will get you between 4 and 6 inches of swatch width for best gauge measurement practices. Because the stitches slant to the right and left so dramatically this stitch pattern tends to pull in and be less flexible than regular stockinette. You may want to consider using a larger needle size than the yarn usually calls for, and a yarn with inherent elasticity like wool is the best choice.

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Begin by slipping the first stitch of the row purlwise with the yarn in back, then reach the right needle tip behind the work and insert it into the second stitch from the needle knitwise through the back loop. The second stitch will be worked first, and the first stitch will be worked second; it is this working out of order that pulls the stitches in the slanted direction, which creates the movement in the finished stitch pattern.

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Wrap the yarn around the needle and pull through; leave the stitches on the left needle.

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Bring the right needle tip to the front of the work.

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Insert right tip into the first stitch on the left needle knitwise.

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Wrap the yarn and pull through. You will have two new stitches on the right needle tip, and the two stitches you worked into still remain on the left needle tip.

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Now slip the two stitches that were worked into on the left needle tip off the needle; these are indicated by the tip of my left index finger.

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As you can see, the two stitches just worked are twisted with the first stitch crossing over the second stitch in a right slant.

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Repeat this technique across the row to the last stitch; knit that last stitch. This single stitch border (the slipped stitch and the final knit stitch) is not strictly necessary and can be left off if desired, but it does smooth and firm the edge of the work.

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Turn the work to begin working the wrong-side row. The crosses on this side are offset by one stitch; this means that the stitches are crossed with their other neighbor on this row. Begin the wrong side by slipping the first stitch purlwise with yarn in front, and then purl the second stitch.

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Keeping the yarn in front, reach the right needle tip in front of the work and insert into the second stitch from the needle purlwise.

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Wrap and pull through leaving the first two stitches on the left needle tip.

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Insert the right needle tip into the first stitch on the left needle purlwise.

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Wrap and pull through. Once again there are two newly created stitches on the right tip and two stitches just worked into on the left. Drop the two stitches from the left tip (these are again indicated by my index finger). Continue working across, twisting the stitches to the last two stitches, purl 1 and knit 1.

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Repeat the last two rows for the remainder of the pattern. If your stitches are turning out in a wiggly column of two stitches that don't seem to be intertwining or weaving, then you are missing the offset stitch at the beginning of the wrong-side row.

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