Vertically stranded colour work

I chanced upon this method while preparing to knit Linda Marveng’s Cambridge Cardigan – it is a beautiful oversize cardigan with a plaid motif. The pattern recommends crocheting the vertical strands – as a pretty poor executor of duplicate stitch, however, I knew this wouldn’t work that well for me. True, the duplicate stitch would add a texture that stranded work, whereas horizontal or vertical, does not have, but still I thought this would be a small price to pay considering the alternative (by which read “botched job”).

So I bought Lorilee Beltmann’s DVD and I think it is worth every penny – beside working very well for this kind of pattern, it opens up loads of possibilities to add interesting colour work to any pattern.

Swatch for my version of Linda Marveng’s Cambridge Cardigan, with the variant of using vertical stranding instead of duplicate stitch.

Below is a summary of how it works, taken from Lorilee Beltmann’s website

Need: a foot of yarn for each inch of vertical colourwork

Contrary to standard stranded work, you keep main colour in the left, and contrast colour in the right hand (or anyhow MC to the left of CC).Vertical stacks start at minute 20:15 of DVD.

For column stitches, you knit them in the back loop.

For stitches moving to the right, you knit through the back loop.

For stitches moving to the left, you knit normally.

To go to Lorilee’s recap click here.

I find the result very neat – the advantage is also that the vertical strands trap long floats at the back, should you have any:

Standard stranded colour work and vertically stranded colourwork, the Wrong Side

Catching long floats: ladderback-jacquard for hand knitting

neat technique to catch very long floats

I have learned this technique first from Grete Jenssen‘s pattern Heartbreaks, used as a “warm up” for Linda Marveng‘s Cambridge Cardigan. In Grete’s pattern there is a float that extends over tens of stitches (a maximum of 106 in my case), but the techniques makes it all rather tidy at the back:


It is in the same spirit as double knitting, with the difference that only one column of stocking stitch is worked on the WS of the work.

I have later learned that it is a technique commonly used in machine knitting, and in a 2014 thread in Ravelry where Brigiet reverse engineered it, though maybe someone else did also had figured it out earlier. I’ve also found a more recent tutorial by sockmatician here. I suspect it has even older origins.

It is easy to use, and rather practical. I am also contemplating using it to do the embroidery part of the Cambridge Cardigan, let’s see!

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