6 Ways to Turn Your Stripes Knitting from Basic to Fabulous

Stripes knitting - basic to fabulous

If you find knitting stripes a little dull, try some of these ideas to spice them up

I love the look of stripes. Sometimes, though, I don’t love knitting stripes.

Let’s face it. Aside from the “jog” problem (see this post for help with that), a problem with stripes knitting is that it can be a little boring. That’s especially true if you’re knitting plain vanilla stockinette stitch stripes.

Fortunately, there are several fun ways to spice up knitting stripes. Today I’d like to introduce you to some of these ways. Also, I’ll offer a few free knitting patterns that use some of these techniques.

With some of these, though, you don’t even need a pattern to do it. Just add the technique yourself, in any way you want!

Spice up Your Stripe Knitting: Easy Ways

1. Vary widths. This is probably the easiest way to add pizzazz to the knitting of stripes. Who says all the stripes you knit have to be the exact same number of rows or rounds? Make some stripes 5 rows and make others 8. Make a few others 3 and a few others 10.

You get the idea. This is a super-simple way to make the stripes you knit more interesting, both to you and to others.

Patterns using this technique:

Strib Hat
Golden Pear Hat
Top Down No-Math Hat: the Manly Version
Doctor Who Scarf

2. Throw in some texture. An easy way to do this is to separate stripes with a row or round of purl stitches. But you can do this in other ways too, by making certain patterns (like hats or socks) entirely ribbed, or by using moss or seed stitch in every other stripe.

Patterns using this technique:

Blue Stone Ridge Cowl
Scrap-Happy Celebration Hat
Kebnekaise Socks
Swirled Ski Cap
Ballband Dishcloth
Ritalin Cowl

3. Get zig-zagging. Wavy or zig-zag stripes are some of my favorites to knit. A little more technique is involved here — it’s not quite as easy to change a plain-striped pattern to a zig-zag one.

Fortunately, there are more zig-zag striped patterns on the Internet than I could possibly fit into one article!

Patterns using this technique:

Jaywalker Socks
Chevron Baby Blanket
Zig Zag Hat
Zig Zag Fingerless Gloves
Electric Boogaloo Cowl

4. Go diagonal. Slanting stripes usually are formed by knitting on a bias, which means some increasing and decreasing. It’s a subtle change that can really add a lot of flair to stripes.

I’m also a big fan of mitered knitting, which can also create diagonal stripes that form a V shape. This is usually done by starting with two long sides and gradually decreasing until you come to the end of the project at a point.

Patterns using this technique:

Lanesplitter Skirt
Diagonal Pinstripe Scarf
Ridge Washcloth 

Spice Up Your Stripes Knitting: Challenging Ways

5. Jump up and down. We’re getting into some more serious colorwork when we talk about vertical stripes, but if it’s adventure you want, vertical stripes can be the way to go.

Patterns using this technique:

Vertical Stripe Watch Cap
Vertical-Striped Woman’s Poncho
Vertical Stripes Hat
Vertical Stripes Knit Snuggle for Pets

6. More colorwork! Feeling even more adventurous? Have the preceding suggestions made you yawn? Then you’re ready to take on the challenge of colorwork stripes.

The patterns that follow use charted variations on stripes to create truly unique and distinctive stripes — some of which barely resemble stripes at this point! If you bore easily, this is what you need.

Patterns using this technique:

Geek Socks
Playground Shawl
Wherever It Points Hat
Molly’s Magical Socks
Lizard Ridge Dishcloth (not charted, but still extraordinary colorwork)
Mishigos Cowl
Change It Up II Socks
From Where You Were Plucked Baby Hat (also not charted, but intriguing colorwork)

Have you ever tried knitting stripes in one of these unique ways? Which of these ways is your favorite or do you find most intriguing? Let me know in the comments!

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