Treatment: decorate or reinforce fabric using duplicate stitches
Problem addressed: lack of visual interest or areas of weakness in fabric
Ideal fabric type: stocking stitch (plain knit), of any weight
WHAT DOES IT INVOLVE?
A needle is threaded with yarn and used to create stitches which follow the structure of the knitted fabric, working row by row. The new yarn sits on top of the old.
WHAT COULD IT LOOK LIKE?
- A contrasting colour to stand out or a matching colour to blend in
- A complex graphic design or a simple square or rectangle
- Use multiple colours to add variety
Here are some examples:
HOW DO I DO IT?
There are some great instructions for swiss darning available on YouTube, such as:
- Duplicate Stitch by Knit Purl Hunter (for decorative swiss darning)
- Sock darning – Swiss darning, part 1 and part 2 by Knit Picks (for using swiss darning to reinforce worn areas of fabric)
If you’d prefer instructions in a book, guidance on decorative swiss darning is included in The Handknitter’s Handbook by Montse Stanley (p281). Instructions on swiss darning as reinforcement can be found in the fantastically-named Don’t Just Think About It, Mend It! by Maureen Goldsworthy (p51-5).
HOW DO I DESIGN IT?
For a decorative design: count the stitches and rows you wish your design to cover, then plan it out on knit graph paper.
- Because the new yarn is sitting on top of, rather than replacing, the existing yarn, it can be hard to achieve a solid colour
- Unless you have the original yarn to darn with it’s difficult to make the swiss-darned section blend in completely
- Print generic knit graph paper to create a design here, or create paper to your exact gauge here
- If a hole has formed in the fabric, it must be darned (not swiss darned). See Darning: Repair, Make, Mend by Hikari Noguchi for detailed guidance
- Feeling confident? Swiss darning can be used to reinforce more complex knitted structures by following the path of the original yarn
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Also, please note that these instructions are in beta mode; feedback is most welcome. Email comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.