Herringbone Stitch & Working with Charts
Hi! My name is Bethany Dailey and I’m new here at Knitting Board Chat. I am so happy to loom along with you! In this monthly column we’re going to be working on some exciting new stitch patterns, as well as a few new techniques thrown in for good measure. My intention for our yarn play is to provide all the know-how for you to be able to work the new stitch; any charts, photos, or videos you may need; as well as a pattern to create an 8” x 8” square. As we go along in our looming journey, we should be able to create lovely pieced afghans with our squares, as I like to know that we’re going somewhere while swatching, don’t you? You can think of it as our Stitch Sample Afghan—a stitch dictionary right at your fingertips, keeping your legs warm, lol. 😉
The Ins and Outs of Chart Reading
First up is the Herringbone Stitch. This is a nice and easy stitch involving repeating rows of knits and purls. The slightly tricky part of this stitch will be to keep proper count while working the pattern. To help us along in this process we can use a couple of aids…the first of which is a knitting chart.
Here is the basic stitch chart for this particular pattern:
When reading a knitting chart, you will be starting at the bottom right and working your way up the chart, from row to row.
Notice how the numbers across the bottom are listed from right to left? This is because you will be casting onto your looms first from left to right, then your first row will be worked from right to left, matching up each peg number with each of the numbers on the chart bottom.
The numbers which are running up the sides of the chart represent your row count. As you can see, row number 1 will be worked from right to left, as that is where that row number is designated on the chart. Row number 2 will be worked from left to right, as that is where you will find the number 2 listed.
By alternating the sides that the row numbers are listed, you are given the clue that this pattern is meant to be worked as a flat panel. If this was a chart that was meant to be worked in the round, you would see each of the row numbers all listed on the same side, because in the process of knitting in the round, you would always be starting each row from that same spot as you worked around the loom.
Now that you know which direction to read the chart, it’s time to decipher what the chart is actually saying. For this, we need to take a look at the Chart Key. Here is where the symbols you see in the chart are listed in knitting terms, along with their abbreviations. For each symbol on the chart, a corresponding stitch will be worked in that exact spot of your row.
The herringbone stitch is a simple one, containing only 2 stitches: knit and purl. Where you spot a blank square on the chart, you will knit. Where you spot a dot, you will purl. It’s as simple as that! 🙂
Oh, I did mention a couple of aids, right?
The second aid that I love to use while knitting pretty much every project is a good set of stitch markers— or peg markers, as we who love to loom knit tend call them. These can be pretty much anything that will fit over your pegs, but won’t get in the way of the creation of your stitches. I love to use them to mark the first and last pegs used in a pattern, as well as any other helpful places that remind me of what I’m supposed to be knitting. In the case of the herringbone stitch, a good place for them is at the start of every pattern repeat during the row.
Another essential-to-me aid for keeping my place in a pattern I’m working is a good reliable row counter. This can be a store bought one, a cell phone app, or even something as simple as marking little chicken scratches on a piece of paper at the end of every row. However you want to do it, a row counter helps avoid lots of frustration in the long run.
Herringbone Stitch Square
Loom: Authentic Knitting Board Adjustable Hat Loom: 2 rounded pieces + 3 peg connectors, with pegs in all holes for a 3/8” gauge. The Sock Loom 2 or the All-n-One Loom could also be used.
Yarn: approx. 105 yards Worsted Weight (Sample uses Patons Classic Wool Worsted in Jade Heather)
Notions: Loom tool, yarn needle, scissors, measuring tape. (Also helpful: peg markers, row counter)
With the beginning of the school year and those chilly Autumn days, this would be a terrific pattern to use as a cozy scarf for both guys and gals! Simply increase the number of Main Pattern Rows for the length required, then complete with the Finishing Rows.
When the pattern uses the term “knit” or “k”, please use the true knit stitch or the u-stitch, not the e-wrap.
Here is the entire pattern chart for the 8” x 8” square:
Everything you need to know about knitting your square is included in the above chart. Believe it or not, you can actually create your square without looking at another thing!
But, don’t worry…I am also providing you with the step by step instructions below. 😉
Repeating Pattern Rows
Row 1: k3, p2, k1, p2, k2
Row 2: k1, p2, k3, p2, k2
Row 3: k1, p2, k5, p2
Row 4: p1, k2, p1, k1, p1, k2, p1, k1
Step by Step Instructions:
Cast onto your loom from left to right, using a total of 37 pegs. (Sample uses Chain Cast On)
Set Up Rows
Repeat the following 2 row pattern 3 times, for a total of 6 rows:
Row a: k37
Row b: p37
Main Pattern Rows
Repeat the following 4 row pattern 15 times, for a total of 60 rows:
Row 1: k3, work Row 1 of repeating pattern to last 4 stitches, k4.
Row 2: p3, k1, work Row 2 of repeating pattern to last 3 stitches, p3.
Row 3: k3, work Row 3 of repeating pattern to last 4 stitches, k4.
Row 4: p3, k1, work Row 4 of repeating pattern to last 3 stitches, p3.
Row b: p37
Row c: k37
Row d: p37
Row e: k37
Row f: p37
Bind off all stitches loosely. (Sample uses the Basic Bind Off) Weave in ends and trim close to work.
Block lightly to 8” x 8” measurement.
If you are intending this square to be part of an afghan, you may wish to make up to 3 or 4 additional squares. We will be sharing at least 12 of these patterns for you to use in your blanket. Use the following general measurements to decide how many of each of the 8″ x 8″ squares you will need, rounding up as necessary:
- Baby Blanket: 30″ x 36″
- Children: 42″ x 48″
- Lapghan: 36″ x 48″
- Twin Bed Afghan: 60″ x 85″
- Queen Bed Afghan: 90″ x 95″