A simple way to knit one-row stripes flat!

Adding stripes to knitting projects is a great way to add some color and interest! It’s easy and leaves few ends to weave in.

When knitting flat ( back and forth) it’s all sunshine and rainbows as long as we knit stripes with an even number of rows. Just pick up the new color and knit.

Then we get into trouble…

The trouble starts when we try to knit stripes flat with an uneven number of rows, eg one-row stripes. Because that’s when we discover that the color we want next is at the end of the row and not at the start… What should we do now? Cut the yarn and reattach it at the other edge?

I thought cutting and reattaching was the only way for years, and because of that I avoided to knit one-row stripes flat. I have even knit projects in the round and made steaks to avoid knitting one-row stripes flat. Luckily I know better know 🙂

Let’s explore how to knit one-row / single stripes flat without trouble!

How to knit one-row stripes without cutting the yarn

This is a simple but effective trick that uses a circular needle instead of straights. (But don’t worry, we will still be knitting back and forth!)

You could also use two double-pointed needles, as long as one of them can hold all your stitches.

So what’s the magic with the circulars?

The fact that the stitches slide can along the cable from one tip to the other on a circular needle makes all the difference when knitting one-row stripes.

Simply because this makes it possible to slide the stitches over to the side where your next color is and work from there. This means we will sometimes work on the same side for two rows, or more if you’re using more than two colors.

So imagine you have knit a stripe and the yarn you want to use now is at the end of the row and not the beginning where you need it.

All we need to do now is to slide all the stitches over to the other side instead of turning the work over. Now we can knit with the yarn we left at the beginning of the last row. Isn’t that clever!? I cant believe it took me years to realise this… 🙂

For example, this is how we would do it when knitting one-row stripes in colors A and B in stockinette stitch:

  1. Right side: Knit the row with color A. Slide the stitches over to the other side.
  2. Right side (again!): Pick up color B and knit the row. Turn the work.
  3. Wrong side: Pick up color A and purl the row. Slide the stitches over.
  4. Wrong side (again!): Pick up color B and purl the row. Turn the work and repeat the steps.

In the example I use stockinette stitch, it’s a common stitch pattern and it does a good job showing of the stripes.

But of course you can use any stitch pattern you like, just keep track of when you work on the right side and when you work on the wrong side so you don’t mess up your stitch pattern!

Knitting video tutorial:
How to knit one-row stripes flat

In this short video, you can see me use this trick to knit stripes in stockinette stitch.

If you the video and want to see more videos like this, please subscribe to my Youtube channel!

A bit confusing at first

This trick is easy to perform when you have put it to practice a couple of times. But, it can be a bit confusing at first before we get the hang of it.

There are two things that can get us off track here. The first is that we slide the stitches over for some rows instead of turning as we are used to.

The other is that we work two right side rows after each other, and then two wrong side rows.

Always remember that you want to start where your next color is will help until you have gotten used to this knitting style. Another tip is to pay extra attention to if you’re on the right or wrong side of the work. The habit of knitting a row, turning, and purling a row is strong 🙂

More circular needles!

If you have been here before you may have noticed that circular needles in one of my favourite topics!

And if you have made it to the end of this post (Thank you!) I think these links on circular needles may intrest you as well! Happy Knitting!