How To...

Published on January 5th, 2014 | by Erika Knight


How to knit “Cheat’s Fairisle” by Erika Knight

Great for plaids, snowflakes, Reindeer motifs…why not customise your own festive sweater or hat? You can achieve a Fairisle look in a quarter of the time using Swiss Darning.

Swiss darning is a form of embroidery made to look like knit stitches. Using a blunt-ended sewing needle and yarn, you can sew small areas of colour over the top of knitted stitches to add decorative detail without having to use the tricky technique of knitting with multiple colours. But do make sure when you are Swiss darning over the top of the knitted stitches, not to pull the embroidered stitches too tight as this will pucker the fabric.

TIP! Always work from right to left and bottom to top

Step 1

Step 1

Step 2

Step 2

Step 3

Step 3

Step 4

Step 4

The finished product!

Close up!

1. To work a horizontal row of Swiss darning, work from right to left across the knitted fabric. Bring the needle through from the back of the fabric at the base of the stitch, then take it under the two loops at the base of the stitch above.

2. Insert the needle back through to the back of the fabric where it first came out at the base of the lower stitch and take it across to come out at the base of the next stitch to the left.

One Swiss-darned stitch is complete.


This is an example from my book Simple Knitting –¬†Project 18 Rose Tea Cosy. The diagram can be found here.


tea cosy

©Yuki Sugiura



About the Author

Erika Knight is a renowned knitwear designer and respected consultant to the fashion and yarn industry. Originally from a fine art bakground, her trend-forecasting work re-ignited her passion for the handmade. With her "simple" ethos, Erika has a unique interpretation of craft: her mission is to simplify and communicate her passion for knitting and crochet with accessible yet enticing projects in order to inspire everyone to experiment and above all enjoy creating.

Last updated: January 6th, 2014.

3 Responses to How to knit “Cheat’s Fairisle” by Erika Knight

  1. Rita J Brennan says:

    Brilliant idea.

  2. SUSAN EMERY says:

    I love your ideas, my Grandmother taught me to embroider like this, but have always use fair isle or stranded work (as it as become known) but your work looks lovely

  3. jenna says:

    in the US, “duplicate stitch”.
    I guess we’re just “brass tacks” kind of folks. ;D

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