Helical Stripes in Garter Stitch! And on DPNs!

By Kay Gardiner
March 7, 2017

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  • I’m going to try this on a sock (DPNs) soon. Your videos make the method much clearer to me, but I still think it will take Just Doing It to understand how it works. Every time I hear ‘slip 3 stitches’ I think ‘floats.’ But there are no floats…ouch, my brain!

  • I think I may have accidentally found an answer for you. I am on my fourth deliberate 2 color honey cowl, and I found by inching forward a stitch on every other purl row (trying to make the dashes created by the purl row contrast color “meet”), it disguises the seam row. After work tonight, I will take pictures of the current project and see if I can show you what I mean, by posting something in the Lounge. It’s unblocked and imperfect so far, but the seam is hard to find unless you are looking for it.

  • After I watched your snippets video on helical stripes—I immediately started a pair of socks! I LOVE this technique and the result it gives you !!
    Thank you !


  • This is so cool, Kay, thank you!

    I really wasn’t sure why you were so jazzed about this striping technique, and now I see. I do love 1 X 1 stripes …. and now I will love them more. XOC

  • Would this technique work for a sweater in the round? I have read you can’t use the non-jog technique unless there are at least two rows of each color.

    • I cannot think of any reason why it wouldn’t work for anything you are knitting in the round.

  • I CANNOT get my head around this!!

    • Me neither until I put the needles and yarn in my hands and did it and then POW! REVELATION!

  • In Jen’s instructions in the written pattern, for dpns, the first time you knit with the second color, you knit 3 needles. After that, you alternate knitting 2 needles of each color. Maybe it works to keep knitting 3 of each color as well? I haven’t tried switching, but two then two definitely works. Spiraling along. . .

    • I will never contradict Jen! But it works for me to do 3 needles.

      • In my head I had been thinking it was 3. But when I came to write the instructions, I thought about it a bit more, and I worked it out as 2 needles worth as you pick up the yarn when it’s 1 needle ahead of the old yarn, and you work around until it’s 1 needle behind the old yarn. So I think once you’re going it’s 2. But if it works, I’m definitely not arguing about it. 😀 😀 SPIRALS FOR THE WIN!!

      • Doesn’t knitting three needles bring you right up to where you dropped the first color–after the first round with A and an initial three rounds with B? If you then skipped a needle and knit three needles with A you’d be at the end of the third needle, which is where you dropped B.

        However: Whatever Works fir You!

        • or for, you, whichever you prefer.

      • If you knit 3 needles, you catch up to the next color yarn. It sounds weird, but the first of the 3 needles is the one you skipped. Really!

  • This is brilliant. Thanks! I have puzzled over this for years, in cowls, hats, socks et al. What a great solution. The videos are really good.

  • Very helpful Kay! Thanks.

  • I am loving my mitts on dpns – I’m even doing them on three, which turns out to work just fine! The best way I’ve come up with for conceptualizing the helical stripes in my head is to realize that I’m knitting two rows at a time, one on top of the other. (My engineering husband got it immediately, of course – took me a bit longer.)

    • I love that! Thanks!!

  • REALLY appreciate this post, because I didn’t get it after watching Jen’s. I do now! Thanks so much.

  • I think… (and I’ve not tried it – yet!) that you’d need to cast on either an extra stitch or 1 fewer stitches, and then just always work round 1 in the first ball of yarn and always work round 2 in the second ball of yarn. The change in stitch count would then “create” the alternate row stitch pattern. On top of that I would slip an even number of stitches at the colour change so that you’re always starting the round 2 pattern in the same place when you pick up that ball of yarn.
    The question is – who will be first to try it out? 😀

    • Oooh! I had thought of the 4 stitches thing but not the other thing. Somebody please try this asap!

      • It’s working. 🙂 Will take photos once I’ve knitted some more, but in the meantime my Ravelry project page is here: http://www.ravelry.com/projects/JenACKnitwear/honey-cowl

        • You are a genie-arse! (Another Belinda quote.) I can’t quite picture this yet. Need to try it ASAP!

  • I haven’t played with this yet, but it ALMOST makes sense to me. This weekend, I have to try it, because I think hands-on will make it make perfect sense. (Of course, that will take time away from my Hadley – I badly missed my goal of joining the 3 tubes on March 1. I’m still not quite done with sleeve #2)

    • Ahem I’m sure you’re not the only one delaying Hadley to mess about with helical fun. I’m up to the short rows on the back neck….the phrase “short rows” always slows me way down for a day or two.

  • I understood the “slip three stitches at the end of a circular needle” method right away, and have been thinking about it ever since. The dpn method confused me though. However, after watching your excellent video twice (listening for the yip), I think I’ve got it now. Thanks! (Oh, and I must admit that “working blue” made me think of comedians’ definition of the phrase!)

  • I’ve worked this for socks on both DPNs and using magic loop, working all the way around the round with each color (i.e., not stopping after 2 of 3 or 3 of 4 needles, or a few stitches early and slipping them on magic loop), so that I actually am changing colors at the same point in each row. It works just fine, in that there’s no jog. But the tension can be a bit harder to control right at the color switch–for me, it’s looser just before the switch, and tighter after it–which can be visible if you look closely. If you have better control of your tension, it might be invisible for you.

  • Very exciting these helical stripes! And, I love your videos, Kay. (Still jealous of your hands, though).

  • I did this with three colors! A friend offered up some leftover yarn bits at our weekly knitting group. I had just discovered this method on Ravelry and used the leftovers of yarn to try it out on a hat. What was interesting was not just how well the colors blended when striped in single rows, but how simplyl the method worked. If you look at my horrible photos you can see I photographed it inside out as well. It’s a very fun technique with almost magical results.

  • oh THANK YOU!!! For some reason seeing you do it again in your videos is making it click a bit more! I am excited to try this soon!!!!

  • I just can’t wrap my head around this. I’ve watched the videos and obviously it must work but it’s really impossible. How is there not a jog? How can you skip a whole DPN and then keep knitting and there is not a huge gap? What is happening?!!

    I know I have to do it to understand it and I am planning my own hell-to-the-no-this-cannot-work fingerless gloves to figure it out. I have knit a zillion hats in the round (and socks and fingerless gloves) and this makes no freaking sense.

    (I am on my second honey cowl too. Love that pattern.)

  • Oh wow, I’ve been looking for a reason to start a new honey cowl. But then again, love the look of the one row stripes. Also loved hearing Olive advocating magic loop; she’s such a sensible, modern dog

  • would this technique work for 2-row stripes as well? I’ll give it a try!

  • I’m wondering if this method could be used to eliminate both the garter jog and stripe jog simultaneously when working garter in the round and creating stripes that are more than one row wide. Any ideas?

  • Looking forward to trying helical knitting.

  • I am making a solid color hat that has 4 rounds of purl, followed by 5 rounds of knit. Would this technique work with that as well – would you need to slip the 3 stitches EVERY round, or just the first (or second) round of each knit and purl section? I am struggling with seeing a jog where I change from purl to knit, and any help would be greatly appreciated.

  • Hi,
    I am new to knitting and saw this lovely pattern and bought it and am now stumped at the bery beggining.
    I jave learnt all the basic stitches and am familiar with both garter and stockingette, but the pattern calls for “narrow garter” and “wide garter” and no amount of googling has helped. Your website came upa s a possible result however, alas, I think google grasping at straws picked up on the word “garter” from your informative article above.
    If you know what is meant, or perhaps a better way of finding out – please could you let me know. I would hate to fall off the knitting horse on only my second proper project.
    here below is an excerpt of the pattern referencing this…
    Back and front (work both the same)
    Using 4 mm (US 6) needles and yarn A cast on 88(96:104:112) sts.
    Work 8 rows in narrow striped garter st edging patt setting sts….
    Work these 8 rows 4 times more….
    Change to yarn A and work 16 rows in wide striped garter st and st st
    patt setting sts .
    also, as well, what are setting stitches???
    Hope you or one of your readers can help:-)