Two Methods For Working Single Row Stripes

Do you love the look of single row striped knitting, but wondering how to avoid cutting the yarn after every row? Many knitting references discourage knitting single row stripes, suggesting it’s best to work even numbered rows of colours with a minimum of two rows per colour. This is recommended so that the yarn can be carried up the side of the work, where the colour changes occur at the same side edge. The problem with making single row stripes is that you have to cut the yarn, and rejoin the contrasting colour at the opposite side. This approach leaves a mass of yarn ends to weave in; not an ideal situation which may result in a lumpy fabric. There is a solution; the following shows two methods of working single row stripes with two colours in stockinette stitch.

Working single row stripes with a circular needle

This method allows you to make single row stripes when knitting flat. The secret is to use a circular needle instead of straights. This method works well for hats, scarves and even garments.

In the following instructions, I use these abbreviations for the coloured yarns: green yarn is C1, and the blue yarn is C2. Before beginning with step 1, I worked two stockinette stitch rows in C1, so the right side of the knitting is facing.

The Steps

  1. Knit one row with C2.

2. Do not turn your work; slide the stitches to the other end of the needle. Knit one row with C1.

3. Turn work and purl one row in C2.

4. Do not turn work; slide the stitches to the other end of needle and purl one row in C1.

Repeat steps 1 through 4 for single row stripe pattern.

Working single row stripes in the round

This method is for making projects that are knit in the round on a circular needle. It’s a simple technique of crossing the previously worked yarn over the new yarn at the beginning of each round, which carries the yarns up the knitting. Where the crossovers occur, a beautiful line with no holes is formed on the inside or wrong side of the fabric. As with the latter method, this technique is for stockinette stitch fabric.

The Steps

  1. Knit one round in C1.
  2. Before knitting the next round, cross previously worked yarn (C1) over top of new yarn (C2). C2 is now behind C1; start knitting with C2. Try not to knit the first stitch of the next round too tightly, or the transition between the two colours will look a bit uneven.

3. These images show the right and wrong sides of the knit fabric. The right side reveals an even transition between colours. The yarns carried up the beginning of rounds form a kind of faux seam on the inside or wrong side. That’s all there is to working single row stripes in the round.

These two methods work well for knitting single row stripes in stockinette stitch with two colours, and avoids unnecessary yarn ends. Purl Soho has a few patterns available utilizing single row stripes knit in the round (Tiny Stripes Hat and Simple Stripe Pullover); both are shown at the beginning of this post. These methods are ways to achieve the visually interesting look of two colour single stripes without an unattractive mass of ends on the wrong side of your fabric.