Slipped stitch patterns come in two flavors. First, simple slipped stitch. This kind mostly has a certain amount of contrast color and generous amount of the main color. The second kind are more complex patterns, often called "mosaic knitting." Complex patterns generally have roughly equal amounts of both colors.
SIMPLE SLIPPED STITCH color knitting:
A couple of decades ago, my mom made a multi-colored vest. While gearing up to write this series on color knitting, I dug it out. Mom never learned to knit with two colors at the same time, so I was curious how she'd made it. Looking carefully, that vest was made using a slip-stitch pattern--stitches from the row below (and sometimes, 2 rows below) were slipped up into the current row and left there. This created rows with two colors, although only one color was ever knitted at a time.
Below is a charted example: in this chart, row 4 is to be made by knitting the stitches shown in blue, and slipping the pink stitches indicated by the red arrows.
red dot. (Below.)
red dot) remain in the fabric in their slipped positions. (Below.)
* * *Simple slipped stitch patterns are probably the easiest of all methods for creating colored knitting. However, they're nothing to sniff at. As the French philosopher Descartes implied (commentary to his third rule) when something is fine just as it is -- simple and evident -- it need not be wrapped in complications to make it seem more desirable and important.
See for yourself: this illustrations shows an super-simple slipped stitch pattern; next to it is the quite gorgeous fabric it makes.
One thing: slipping stitches distorts the fabric (bunch it up, lengthwise), so these fabrics are denser than regular one-color knitting -- sometimes a LOT denser. Good for boxy winter garments, not so good for fitted summer clothes.
One more thing to take into account: if you want to make two color slipped stitch fabrics working back-and-forth, it will sometimes happen that your two colors of yarn will wind up on opposite edges of the fabric. This is more of a surprise than a problem--the solution is laid out in the green paragraphs about "out of phase yarns" in this post (scroll down for the green text).
- they are generally geometric
- they generally feature rather equal amounts of both colors
- the stitches are more frequently (but not always) slipped over more than one row.
Mosaic knitting--whether in motifs or in all-over fabric--creates a firm, not very stretchy fabric, more like fabric woven on a loom than fabric created with knitting needles. (This is because the high number of slipped stitches take most of the "reserve" out of the normally loopy knitted stitches--more info at this link.)
All-over mosaic fabrics; heck, any mosaics, have a retro look. They are rather thick and heavy -- best for outerwear or sleeveless garments. How 'bout this dapper gent's vest pattern from Vintage Purls? (VP, posting from Kiwiland--New Zealand --collects vintage patterns and puts them on the web for free. Thanks VP!) How 'bout those colors in the fabric sample knitted from the pattern? 70's appliances, no?
Heads up: sock patterns are sometimes written in mosaic patterns, but even in thin yarn, they'd be pretty stiff and thick--more hiking than dress up.
--TECHknitter (You have been reading TECHknitting on: Slipped stitch color knitting)