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Knitting instructions for letters

Updated November 21, 2016

Knitting is a productive and enjoyable pastime for many. If you are just learning to knit, you may want to try lettering a hat or scarf with an initial or even someone's name. You do not have to purchase a special pattern for this. You can easily design your own letters and fit them into your hat or scarf pattern. If you are just learning to make letters, try to find a hat or scarf pattern in stockinet stitch (the front is all knit stitches) for the area where you want the lettering.

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  1. Draw your lettering out in pencil on the graph paper. Block letters are easy and may be constructed readily on a grid. For example, sketch around a 10-by-10 square grid on your paper. Then using the pencil impose a letter inside the square. For example, if you want to make a B, draw the letter around the inside of the square. Make the letter take up the entire 10-block-grid in each direction. Then colour in the squares around the letter until you have a block letter B that you like. Proceed in this manner until you have all your letters designed. Remember to leave a blank space or two between letters. If you are knitting a long word, make sure there are enough stitches in your work for them all to fit. A long word may take up the length of a scarf rather than the width.

  2. Locate the area of your knitting pattern where you want to place your letters. If the edges of your hat or scarf are knitted in a ribbed pattern, you would want to place the letters above the ribbing. Count the number of stitches from your letter design and divide by two. If you are making one letter and the letter takes up 10 squares, then you would start the letter five stitches from the centre line of your project.

  3. Make the letters in purl stitches on your stockinet background. Some people refer to these as "mystery letters" or "hidden letters" because they are visible by texture instead of bold colouring.

  4. Work the project up to the point where your lettering begins. The last stitch before the letters will be a knit stitch. Then purl the number of stitches indicated on your design layout. Knit the stitches between the letters, then purl the number of stitches for the next letter. Continue in this manner until all the letters on your project have a first row. If you are turning your work, knit the purl stitches and purl the knit stitches. If you are using circular knitting, continue to knit the knits and purl the purl stitches indicated in your lettering design.

  5. On subsequent rows, you will need to check your design to locate knit your knit and purl stitches. If working in a separate colour for the letters, you may just pick up and drop the letter colours as you go. You may need special instructions for twisting the yarn between colours and for carrying the unused colour yarn behind the work.

  6. Continue following your lettering design until all your letters are complete. Finish project according to pattern directions.

  7. Tip

    Successfully knitting letters in a separate colour may require detailed instructions not included in this guide.

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Things You'll Need

  • Graph paper
  • Coloured pencils or markers
  • Knitting needles
  • Yarn
  • Hat or scarf pattern (or design your own) in stockinet stitch

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