CROSS KNIT LOOPING
Cross knit looping is one of many decorative finishes used on weavings here in South America. Here in Bolivia, it is used to join and cover the edges of certain woven pieces, such as chuspas. It completely wraps around the edge and so can be used to hide a less than perfect selvedge or, by working it in a completely contrasting yarn color, it can add more life and interest to a piece. I have used it purely as decoration, to edge a knitted vest where I chose not to use ribbing, to stabilize the flap of a woven shoulder bag where the corners had a tendency to curl and to reinforce the top edge of a woven tote bag.
This tutorial is for triple cross knit looping as taught to me by Hilda in Potosi.
I suggest learning this technique by working it flat rather than on an edge and I further recommend practicing it on card rather than fabric to start out.
I tried doing it with my thickest mercerized cotton but once the “stitches” were photographed up close , all clarity was lost under the fluffiness of the yarn. Yes, I know, you wouldn’t call mercerized cotton fluffy but believe me, in super macro view it is! So I have used a piece of leather instead-the kind that is sold to make necklaces and hope the steps will be clear for you using this medium.
All you need to get started is a piece of card, yarn and a sewing needle for your chosen yarn size. Choose a yarn that is smooth rather than hairy- this way it will be a lot easier to see the stitches while you are learning the technique.
You can see above that there are three rows of little knit stitches – hence the name triple cross knit looping. When working this on an edge, one stitch will be on the upper surface of the fabric. The middle stitch will sit right on the edge and the third stitch will be on the lower surface of the fabric. I pre poked holes in the card before starting which I recommend doing. Of course, this is not necessary on fabric! The holes are three to four tenths of an inch apart.
A COUPLE OF TIPS.
The first time you try to work this on an edge, make sure you use a yarn color that contrasts with the fabric color or it will be almost impossible to see the X s and loops. Once you have more experience with the technique, you can try it with other yarn colors.
When your needle is under an X in the position shown in STEP FIVE, try to remember to drag it and the stitch sideways before pulling the yarn through. This helps to stretch the stitches across the fabric and stop them from bunching up together.
I will leave you here with the web address for WARP – Weave A Real Peace- which you may like to check out.
And, here is a photo showing triple cross knit looping that I used to edge a knitted vest and a woven bag. I hope you find this technique useful for your own projects.I have also seen it worked around the tops and bottoms of braids.
I used a single column of cross knit looping to edge these pieces that I made with traditional motifs of Vietnam. In this case you would only sew one “X” to start and go looping through that.
Let me know what you think and if you use it! :-)