Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Embossed Knitting

I was in John Lewis Sheffield on Saturday, looking for a pair of smart trousers, and saw a very nice crew neck jumper in the John Lewis Collection.

It has an all-over design in reverse stocking stitch on stocking stitch - the reverse stocking stitch areas are raised, so that you get an embossed effect.  The jumper I saw was cream, but the John Lewis web site shows it in red, too.  (But what about the half-tucked-in look?  I read about that in The Guardian fashion column a while ago, and didn't really believe it.)

Here's a close-up of the jumper, showing the stitch pattern.

I don't know what this kind of stitch pattern should be called - I thought that it was brocade knitting, and looked in Mary Thomas's Book of Knitting Patterns to confirm.  But in the brocade patterns she shows, the raised areas are alternately knit and purl. i.e. moss stitch, not reverse stocking stitch.   And many of the stitch patterns used in ganseys are of this 'brocade' type.

So I'm going to call it embossed knitting. until I find out that it already has a name.  It seems worth experimenting with - a easy way to get a lot of texture without making the fabric thicker, unlike cables for instance.  And in fact, I did knit a thick jacket for myself three years ago with what I'm now going to call an embossed stitch pattern, for exactly that reason - I wanted some texture without the extra thickness of cables.  There seems potentially a lot of scope for interesting new designs, as in this John Lewis jumper. I should do some swatches.

And I did find some smart trousers too - a successful trip all round.

(Attentive readers may remember that this has happened before - last year, shopping in John Lewis Sheffield for a pair of jeans led to experiments with two-colour moss stitch.)


  1. It's very nice - whatever the stitch. John Lewis is one of the few places in London to buy yarn - long may they sell it!

    1. I guess it's one of the few places in central London anyway - and equally, John Lewis Sheffield is in the centre of Sheffield and has a good yarn department.

  2. I would call it a brocade pattern. The most famous brocade pattern of all -- King Charles, from a waistcoat worn by the unfortunate British king -- was double purl diamonds on a knit background.

    1. Yes, Mary Thomas shows the diamond pattern from King Charles's knitted silk vest in her section on brocade patterns, as well as charts for several of the other patterns on it - a beautiful piece of work. But the motifs are all done in alternate knit and purl stitches, not reverse stocking stitch. I wanted another term to distinguish reverse stocking stitch designs from brocade knitting.


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