“I'm a really slow knitter
without magic.”

Lesson Four: Three on the Sticks

This month, we're going to start playing with some basic increases and decreases. It may seem a bit frightening, I know, but it's really pretty simple. In fact, this basic pattern was the first thing I knit that wasn't garter, stockinette, or rib, so I know you can totally do this.

The Bramble Stitch

With large bumps on one side and a smooth-but-textured surface on the other, the bramble stitch is a great one for washcloths, as well as a general sort of texture. Also called the Trinity stitch or the Blackberry stitch, it's probably most often seen with Aran designs, as a sort of rest area between great, twisting cables, though it works perfectly well on its own. Here is the basic stitch pattern:

Knit in multiples of four:
Row 1: Knit 1, purl 1, knit 1 into one stitch; purl 3 together; repeat (wrong side)
Row 2: Purl all stitches (right side)
Row 3: Purl 3 together; knit 1, purl 1, knit 1 into one stitch; repeat
Row 4: Purl all stitches

Working Multiple Stitches in One

Knitting (and purling) into the same stitch multiple times is a quick and easy way to increase, and it's not as complicated as you might think. The key to it is to leave the stitch you're working into on the left hand needle. So, after you knit the first stitch, instead of letting the loop drop off the left needle, leave it there to work the next stitch — in this case, a purl stitch. Since you're making another stitch, you leave the loop on the left needle yet again, make your third stitch (a knit stitch), and then let the stitch you're knitting into drop off the left needle. It feels kind of similar to the Suspended Bind Off, with the stitch that's been worked still hanging out on the left needle.

A quick reminder: you're still going to want to move the yarn between your needles as you switch from knit to purl and back again. Hopefully the previous assignment helped you remember that, but it's good to be reminded every so often, you know? :)

Making Many Stitches One

When you're making a square, if you add stitches to a row, you're going to need to take the same number away, and the easiest way to do this decrease is to purl (or, more often in patterns, knit) stitches together. Since we've added two stitches, we're going to need to take away two stitches. To do this, simply insert the right needle through the number of stitches you're purling together — three — and work a purl stitch normally. You might find it a bit cumbersome at first to pull the yarn through the three stitches, but it gets easier with practice.

Knit-Two-Together Bind Off

Also known as the Russian Bind Off, the Knit-Two-Together (K2tog) Bind Off is something I first came across as a suggestion bind off for the tops of socks (which I love to knit), where you want something firm but really stretchy, too. It's also a good choice if you tend to work the Basic Bind Off more tightly than is ideal, or if you find passing stitches over each other a bit difficult. Also, I think — at least for me — that it can be worked a bit faster than either the Basic or Suspended Bind Offs.

And, as an added bonus, it gives you practice on another basic knitting technique.

K2tog Bind Off

To get yourself started, you need to knit one stitch. Next, slip the next stitch knitwise. What does that mean? It means you put your right needle into the first stitch on the left needle as if to knit, but instead of knitting the stitch, you slip it off the left needle and onto the right. Now, you have two stitches on your right needle. Insert the left needle, from left to right, into the front of the two stitches on the right needle. Now, knit those two stitches together. You've now bound off one stitch.

Continue slipping and k2tog-ing until all the stitches are bound off.

(If we're going to be technical about it, this is really the Knit-Slip-Knit-Together Bind Off, but that's kind of an awkward name.)

Knitting Terms

Check here for explanations of basic knitting terms that appear in the lessons.


About your professors

Click here to read about the knitting histories of your beloved professors.



If you've got a question about the class, the requirements, or any of the lessons, feel free to ask.