With the new year stretching ahead, many of us will be thinking about ways to improve ourselves or master a new skill. Your resolutions for 2021 don’t need to be painful promises, though – why not have fun with it and dedicate yourself to trying something new in knitting? The fantastic thing about the craft is that it’s always evolving, with passionate knitters developing exciting new stitch patterns and techniques all the time.
We’ve included a range of different techniques – some easy, some more challenging – so that there’s something fun for everyone. Have a look and see if there’s a technique that appeals to you – you might just discover a new favourite! Just remember that if you get stuck at any point during these patterns, you can check out our knitting videos and abbreviations for common knitting solutions and know-how.
Don’t be intimidated by how intricate the lovely framed ovals look in Jo Allport’s clever pattern, it’s actually really easy to knit! You are effectively working in stripes and reintroducing previous shades by slipping certain stitches. The pattern uses the soft and versatile DK yarn, Scheepjes Merino Soft, for lovely, cosy results. If a pink, tasselled scarf isn’t your thing, though, why not use the handy stitch pattern to make an alluring leopard print garment?
This lovely shell stitch is worked by wrapping the yarn around the needle several times to create elongated stitches, then increasing and decreasing to create the gathers. Once you’ve mastered the technique on your tension square, why not have a go at this fabulous vest by Sian Brown? The charming lacy pattern will keep you nice and cool in hot weather, and is perfect for both smart and casual wear.
Also referred to as a raspberry or blackberry stitch, the bramble stitch is a great way to add a distinctive texture to your knitted garments. The trick is to work a multiple of four stitches plus two, where you knit and purl into the same stitch multiple times on rows 2 and 4, creating a raised, bobbled effect. Tina Barrett has combined the technique with a moss stitch base, cape-style slit sleeves and an understated neutral yarn colour for a truly sophisticated garment.
Candle Flame Stitch
While Christmas dinners might be over for now, it’s always good to have a stylish table runner for family meetups, birthdays, next Christmas or just because. In her project, Georganne Cauchi has used the stitch pattern to create impressive candle motifs. The intricate cable and lace detailing is emphasised further by the sparkly lightweight yarn, which you can match to your décor. If a table runner isn’t your thing, though, you can easily adjust the length and width to make a scarf or placemats.
Honeycomb Brioche Stitch
In general, brioche knitting produces a textured, lofty fabric that is really cosy and perfect for winter accessories. Jo Allport has used the honeycomb brioche stitch to give this hat a lovely lacy finish that simulates the hexagons of a honeycomb. Knitted flat, the stitch is a great introduction to brioche knitting – just make sure that you knit quite loosely and that the stitches are in order to keep the pattern correct. Once you’ve mastered the stitch, you can even have a go at knitting a matching scarf or snood.
This fabulous cocoon stitch features raised shapes nestled between an undulating pattern. The repeating pattern involves reducing five stitches down to one, which can be done in a range of ways, but in this handy tutorial, Jo Allport shows you how to do it with a combination of ssk and k3tog – a much easier method to work with than others. This chunky knit cushion showcases the interesting effects created with cocoon stitch fantastically, but it’s worth practising the decreases before starting it.
If you’re a knitting expert or an improver looking for your next challenge, look no further. The intricate vine stitch pattern gives this hat and cowl a beautiful texture that looks like climbing leafy vines, but it’s a complicated one to pick up, so make sure that you read the repeating pattern and advice panel carefully. Kelly Menzies’ combo looks fantastic with neutral jackets or tops, with the rich burnt orange tones of the yarn giving relaxing autumnal vibes.
This cowl looks like it uses a very intricate colour pattern but it actually only uses one colour per row, while the other stitches are slipped. It’s a fantastic introduction to following a colour chart, as the surprisingly simple pattern is repeated throughout. Just make sure that as you go, you’re loosely draping the working yarn across the back or front of the slipped stitches, otherwise the slipped stitches will become too tight and your work won’t stretch.
While there are a number of different basketweave stitch patterns, all of them use knit and purl stitches to emulate the appearance of a charming woven basket. This fabulous textured effect can be used in a huge range of projects, and Jacinta Bowie has used the pattern to knit a flattering, versatile waistcoat. The long length adds drape and classic style, but you can easily change this by knitting fewer rows before beginning the armhole shaping.