The Strip Tease Technique
Basically you will be making strips of knitting with eyelets along the sides. This can be as easy as joining stockinette strips to stockinette strips, or joining strips of all sorts of different stitch designs or all sorts of different yarns to each other.
It’s easiest if you join all stockinette and use the same yarn because then you only have to knit one stitch gauge. The more complicated you get, the more stitch gauges you need to make because you need to be sure you are picking up your rows at the same % rate.
Center Eyelet strip (Machine knit instructions) – Cast on and knit 4 rows. Take the stitch from the third stitch on the edge of knitting, and transfer to the second stitch from the edge. Keep the emptied needle in WP and knit 4 rows, then transfer 1 stitch again as before. You will be making eyelets on both edges of this strip. That’s all there is to this part. Just keep on going until you get the length you need for this section. Cast off on waste yarn.
Center Eyelet strip (Hand knit instructions) – Cast on and knit 3 rows. If you are knitting stockinette, row 1 is knit, row 2 is purl, row 3 is knit and row 4 is purl.
You want to create an eyelet 2 stitches in on each side of this strip on the 4th row and every 4th row. Purl 1 stitch, then purl 2 stitches together and yarn over. Purl to the last 2 stitches in your row. Make a yarn over, purl 2 stitches together and purl the last stitch.
Repeat making eyelets like this every 4 rows until you get the length you need for this section. You can put the open stitches on a stitch holder or cast off – depending on your pattern.
The second strip (Machine knitting instructions) Cast on and knit to row 4. You then pick up the eyelet strip, and with the wrong side facing you, take a 2-prong transfer tool and go through the first hole of the eyelet strip. Place the tool on the 2 edge stitches from the panel you are just knitting, and take these 2 stitches off onto the transfer tool. Manipulate the first panel over the transfer tool and rehang the original 2 edge stitches. They are now seamed together. Repeat up the strip being careful not to drop the edge stitches.
All the joining and eyelet making are done on the same row so it is only every 4 rows that you have to do anything at all. The result is a really pretty braid joining the panels together.
The second strip (Hand knitting instructions) Cast on and knit 3 rows. If you are knitting stockinette, row 1 is knit, row 2 is purl, row 3 is knit and row 4 is purl. . Purl 1 stitch, then purl 2 stitches together and yarn over. Purl to the last 2 stitches in your row.
Now it is time to join the first eyelet on the center strip to what you are knitting now. With the reverse stockinette side of the knit facing you, slide the first eyelet onto your right needle. Purl the next stitch and slip the center strip over the purled stitch. Purl the last stitch.
Continue knitting creating eyelets on one side and picking up the center stitch on the other side of this strip. All the joining and eyelet making are done on the same row so it is only every 4 rows that you have to do anything at all. The result is a really pretty braid joining the panels together.
Further instructions for both machine and hand knitting - you’d reverse the eyelet making and pick up edge to join a strip on the other side of the center strip. When you get to where the side seam strips will be used, you can make eyelets and join the sides, or you can use the seam technique you prefer to use for garment finishing. I prefer a mattress stitch seam on my side seams to give the garment some structural support.
The pictured vest was done as a sample to show different variations. It mixes different yarns and stitch techniques. One side uses reverse stockinette as the right side and some machine embroidery and a fancy Pom Pom yarn knit with it to create a long vertical look. The other side has a diagonal tuck stitch design with vertical bands of fair isle to add a punch of color and to create more vertical lines – something that I find to be figure flattering.
The Fair Isle strip on the left illustrates the braid effect you’ll get by following the above directions and the the one on the right shows a ladder effect.
Change the number of stitches on the edge.
Reverse the panels to mix stockinette with reverse stockinette. It will create some nice textural interest.
Use up lots of odds and ends of yarns in the strips.
Knit as many strips as you need for fit or to create an interesting garment.
Original article Strip Tease Knitting (c) copyrighted 1994 Diane Iati Miller
Revision (c) copyrighted 2004-2008 Diane Iati Miller – www.dimitysdrygoods.com