How to knit argyle patterns

Updated April 17, 2017

Argyle, a knitwear pattern that features solid-coloured diamonds and diagonal bisecting lines, originated in Scotland. Some say the pattern has existed for centuries, but Robert Pringle made it popular in the early 19th century. His textile company, Pringle of Scotland, introduced the argyle pattern shortly after opening in 1815. Argyle remains a popular knitwear pattern--and for knitters, argyle is the holy grail of sock patterns. If you know how to knit and purl, you can knit your own authentic argyle pattern using the intarsia colorwork method. Intarsia knitting allows you to knit blocks of colour from different lengths of yarn. Unlike stranded colorwork, where you must carry idle yarn behind the knitting yarn, it allows you to create a single-layer fabric.

Chart your argyle pattern. Use graph paper, and allow each box to represent one stitch. Your pattern should feature solid diamonds in two different colours; diagonal lines in a third colour should bisect the solid-colour diamonds and form off-centre diamond-shaped outlines. Colour in the solid diamonds and mark where the diagonal lines will fall. You'll follow this chart when knitting your argyle pattern.

Cut a length of yarn for each argyle block you will knit. If you are knitting small diamonds, a length of yarn that measures twice the distance from your nose to your outstretched hand should suffice.

Knit the solid-coloured diamonds. Work rows from side to side, knitting on the right side and purling on the wrong side.

Twist yarn to connect the solid diamonds as you knit. When you get to the last stitch in a block of colour, knit or purl it and allow it to hand to the left. Wrap the next colour around the back of this yarn, from the left side to the right side. This should catch the hanging strand of yarn and create a strong join.

Leave a 6-inch yarn tail at the end of each intarsia block; you can use this yarn to duplicate stitch over mistakes. Correct mistakes and weave in the end as you finish each intarsia block or you can wait until you finish the entire piece.

Use duplicate stitch (see Resource) to make the diagonal lines. Use your pattern chart to determine where your duplicate stitches should fall.

Things You'll Need

  • Graph paper
  • Coloured pencils
  • Yarn in three complimentary colours
  • Knitting needles
  • Scissors
  • Tapestry needle
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