The herringbone pattern impresses not only with its interesting appearance but also with its robust structure. In this tutorial you will learn step by step which little tricks are needed to create this extraordinary knitting pattern.

You’ve heard it’s difficult to knit the herringbone pattern? Have the courage to try it out for yourself! We will explain to you in detail and with pictures how you work the stitch combination. We also suggest solutions to common problems and show you a two-colour variant. You will see: As soon as you have internalised the necessary steps, the pattern will be easy for you to follow.

Material and preparation
With the herringbone pattern you knit pieces that are characterized by a dense and resistant structure. It is therefore a good choice for protective pot holders and coasters. It is also suitable for carpet runners, blankets and pillow cases or warming winter scarves.

The herringbone pattern is best shown off with thick wool from size 7. The characteristic structure is also created with thinner yarn. It is important that you always use needles that are at least two millimetres thicker than the manufacturer of the yarn suggests on the banderole. Otherwise, the stitches will become so firm that you can no longer pierce them. How much thicker the needle has to be depends firstly on how tight you tighten the threads when knitting. Secondly, the nature of your project determines how dense the finished knitted fabric will be. For example, a pot cloth must have a very firm structure in order to keep the heat away reliably. A scarf, on the other hand, should be soft and loose so that it fits comfortably against your neck.

When you knit a herringbone pattern for the first time, choose a medium yarn count, for example four. If the wool is thicker, you should use very strong needles. These feel strange to untrained knitters and would make it unnecessarily difficult for you to concentrate on the pattern.

You need it:

Wool of medium thickness in one or two colours
Pair of knitting needles, at least two thicknesses thicker than indicated

Knit a monochrome herringbone pattern
To knit the herringbone pattern, first strike any number of stitches. Then work a preparation row in which you knit all the stitches on the left.

Step 2: Knit both stitches together so that only one new stitch is created on the right needle. Leave the two knitted stitches on the left needle.

Step 3: Drop one of the straight knitted stitches from the left needle. Take the one closer to the point. The second stitch remains in place. Now stitch into this and the next stitch and the next pass begins.

This is how you knit the herringbone pattern:

For the actual pattern, repeat the two rows described below consecutively. The individual stitches in front of and behind the asterisks (*) indicate the first and last stitches in the row. The stitches in between are the herringbone stitches just explained. Knit them several times until only one stitch is left on the left needle.

1st row: 1 stitch right, *2 stitches right interlaced knit together, of which only 1 stitch dropped*, 1 stitch right

2nd row: 1 stitch left, *2 stitches left knit together, of which only 1 stitch drop*, 1 stitch left

Two-coloured herringbone pattern
The two-coloured herringbone pattern is knitted with two threads at the same time, making the individual bones particularly visible. The pattern becomes firmer and thicker than the monochrome version. It is therefore essential that you use an even larger needle size. How much thicker the needles have to be in order for the stitches to slip well depends on how tightly you knit. We have used ten thicknesses for a wool that is normally suitable for 3.5 to 4.5.

Cast on any number of stitches with a thread as usual. Now knot the second yarn and work a preparation row and the pattern rows as described for the monochrome version. Combine both threads so that each stitch consists of two loops in different colours.

Before unchaining, knot the threads, cut one off and finish the knitted piece with the other as usual.

Problems and solutions
1st problem: The stitches are much too tight so that they can no longer be knitted. > Grasp even thicker needles and make sure to leave the thread loose.

2nd problem: All stitches tilt in the same direction and the pattern does not look like herringbones. > You have knitted the stitches in row one not crossed. Remember to stitch the front link of the stitch, not the back link.

3rd problem: The number of stitches is no longer correct. > If it’s just one too many or too few stitches, you may have made a small mistake. If this is not noticeable in the pattern, it is no problem. If your number of stitches decreases or increases continuously, you have not yet understood the herringbone stitches correctly. Have a look at the corresponding part of the instructions and the pictures again. It is important that you knit a new one out of two stitches and let only one fall from the knitted stitches. The already knitted stitch, which is still on the left needle, together with the following stitch forms the next pair that you knit together to start the process from the beginning.

Possible variations
1st variation: You knit a striped herringbone pattern by changing the colour after every second row. Leave the thread you do not need on the side until it is your turn again.

2nd variation: If you find the two-coloured herringbone pattern difficult, you can use a yarn that is multicoloured from the start. Wool with a colour gradient also looks nice.

 

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