Two-color chain stitch?

And no, I don’t mean crochet… :smiley:

I have a pamphlet which was published by Old Sturbridge Village (a living history museum in Massachusetts) that has several historical knitting patterns. I have done a couple of them; the one I’m working on now is for a pair of muffatees (which are basically gloves with no fingers), and uses a pattern stitch which they call “two-color chain stitch”. I’m pretty sure that I have achieved the stitch, which is described in the pamphlet thusly:

“Use two colors of wool, one white, one colored. Cast on desired number of stitches. Knit alternating one stitch in white with one stitch of colored yarn. To achieve a chain-like effect, be sure to cross the yarns every stitch as one does in two-colored knitting. In succeeding rows, knit in white those stitches that had been knit with colored yarn and vice versa. The threads will periodically need to be untangled.”

As I said, I think I’m doing it correctly, and the result is a very attractive, tweed-like appearance. (I’m using charcoal-gray and white.) My question is this: I’m trying to teach myself to knit continental, using the videos on this website as my tutor. But so far I haven’t been able to figure out how to switch the yarns with my left hand as I was doing before with my right hand when I was knitting English. This stitch is rather more challenging than the Intarsia shown on the video at this website, as you must cross the yarns after EVERY stitch, so completely dropping one of the yarns is not practical, as it will have to be picked up again one stitch later.

Has anyone ever attempted this pattern, or something like it, while knitting continental? Has anyone ever even HEARD of this pattern, or is it something that has been lost to antiquity? (I did a search for “chain stitch” and all I got was lots of posts about crochet.)

BTW, it’s not that I’m less adept with my left hand; I’m actually a left-handed person. It’s just that I learned English first.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!


Many people, when doing multi-color knitting, hold one color in their right hand and one in their left. Since you’re adept at both styles, you could probably do that. Philosopher’s Wool has a demo somewhere, possibly on their web site. I know it’s in their book.

Thank you for the link, Ingrid!!

Alas, I watched the video clip at Philosopher’s Wool, but while that technique was fascinating, the point of what she seemed to be doing was to NOT cross the two colors so as to avoid entanglement, whereas this pattern DEMANDS crossing, and requires one to “untwist” (untangle) the two yarns pretty much after every row. The resulting fabric is as hefty as double knitting, and though you’re doing garter stitch, the crossed-over yarns create a much smoother, neater surface on BOTH sides than I’ve usually found with garter.

What’s so frustrating is that I had NO problem training the fingers on my right hand to exchange one yarn for the other, rotating always the same way, when I was knitting English. And, I mean, I didn’t have any instruction from any one as to the best technique to rotate the yarn, I just settled on something that felt comfortable for me. Now I’m trying to work out the same thing with my left hand, and it’s like my fingers are coated in butter! And I’m LEFT-HANDED!! :??

Garumph. Maybe I’m just still too clutzy at Conti to be attempting something like this. It’s just that I need to finish these muffatees soon, but I want to wean myself off English. Oh well… maybe it will have to wait until after the muffatees are done… I’ll be starting a project soon with more straightforward knitting which will be better on which to practice.

Maybe I will try and upload a picture of this pattern stitch (or my version of it) tonight and see if anyone on here recognizes it.

thanks for reading my ranting :blush:

The pattern sounds interesting…I would love to see how the resulting fabric looks if you get a chance to post it.

I think you could substitute the method at Philosopher’s Wool… It accomplishes the same thing that your pattern is asking for, but without the tangles.

Okay… I took a couple of pictures of the first finished muffatee:

I’ll have to look at that video at Philosopher’s Wool again more closely, KellyK… perhaps either “stitch 3” or “stitch 4” would work. Unfortunately, I can’t get the streaming video to to work on my home computer… I’ll need to wait 'til I get back to work.


“Stitch 3” was what I was thinking. I just like listening to that lady’s voice…

Mmmm… I’d like to have a tape of that lady’s voice for when I’m going to sleep. Makes you so calm…

Okay, well… I figured out how to view that video on my home laptop… so that’s a small triumph. :happydance:

I tried the third stitch on my muffatee! And while the stitch is fascinating and surprisingly natural-feeling, it doesn’t produce quite the same look I was getting before when I was purposely ravelling the two yarns… the twisting creates sort of a diagonal pattern, while this stitch creates more of a dash-dash-dash look… sort of Morse-codey if you know what I mean.

Don’t get me wrong… I’ll take no tangling over tangling any day, but since I already finished the first muffatee with my original method, and I like the look of the pattern, I think I’m going to have to stick with it for the second one and just plod along with my makeshift English method of rotating the yarns.

Wish I had video capability so I could show you how my fingers move when I rotate the yarn… but alas.

All that said, I’m now very intrigued by Fair Isle… I might try that “sample purse.”


P.S. I wound my first two center-pull balls today! Thank you, Amy! (And here I was thinking that I would have to invest in one of those ball winders like that at my LYS… pshaw! :wink: )