How to embroider with duplicate stitching
Have you ever thought about jazzing up your knits with cute embroidery, pom poms, tassels or a gorgeous crochet edge? Adding extras to your knits is a fun way to get crafting without having to invest loads of time. Sandra Nesbitt of The Feminine Touch Designs is here to show you how. Last time around, she showed us how to accessorise knits with DIY tassels – this time she’s looking at ‘duplicate stitches’, a method of embroidering pictures on to your knits.
Duplicate stitching is perfect if you have a plain knitted accessory or piece of clothing from Folksy that you fancy making a bit more playful. It works particularly well for children’s clothing, as you can add pictures to the front of a child’s sweater, the back of a knitted jacket or even add their initials to their knitted outfit.
What is duplicate stitch?
Duplicate stitching is a sort of embroidery worked with a darning needle, so you don’t even have to know how to knit to create it. If you love sewing or cross stitch, then this is an ideal technique for you. It’s all about covering existing knit stitches with a different coloured yarn to create a picture, initials or words.
What you’ll need
- Your knitted accessory or item of clothing.
Find or buy a knit that needs jazzing up or personalising. I chose a white speckled blue sweater as it was crying out for either moon and star shapes or swimming fish.
- Yarn or embroidery thread
NOTE: If you’re using yarn, choose a yarn that’s the same size as the knitting itself but in colours that will stand out on the knit. Sewers can use embroidery thread. I’d suggest using one strand over lace-weight knitting, two strands over DK, three strands over Aran, four strands over chunky and five strands over super chunky.
- Darning needle
- A picture or cross stitch pattern to copy from
- Knitter’s graph paper
- Coloured pencils
Duplicate Stitch Tutorial – step by step
Follow the steps below to create your own duplicate stitch embroidery…
1. Draw your picture, initials or words on to the knitter’s graph paper. This special charting paper is designed to mimic the shape of the knitted stitch (they aren’t square). Copying your design on to this paper helps ensure you’re happy with the overall picture.
2. Thread your darning needle with the first coloured yarn.
3. You will be working from the bottom right of your picture. Insert your darning needle through the bottom of the first stitch you want to cover, from the back to the front of the work.
4. Insert the darning needle from right to left through both loops of the stitch above and pull gently. You will now see the right side of the stitch covered.
5. Bring the needle down and through the same place as your beginning stitch. You now have one stitch covered. Don’t pull too tightly or leave too lose – it needs to lay flat over the stitch below.
6. To work the next stitch horizontally, insert the needle through the stitch to the left of the original stitch and repeat the process.
7. To work the next stitch above, insert the needle through the stitch above the original stitch and repeat.
8. Repeat the whole process with another colour, if required.
9. Once finished, turn your work over and thread each loose thread back on to your darning needle and weave them into the work, making sure they don’t show on the right side.