Many of you already know about picking up gusset stitches the pretty way. As I’ve mentioned, I discovered this technique as a happy accident, though the instructions can be found in a number of Nancy Bush books.

I think the result is decidedly feminine, which suits grandma’s Traveler’s Stockings perfectly:

left gusset

Knitting the slipped stitches through the back loop creates a sort of hatch, which effectively closes up any little holes along the gusset.

right gusset

The two gussets look slightly different, but I find that’s the case no matter how one picks up the stitches.


With Traveler’s Stockings nearing completion and the Melon Scarf threatening to become the only WIP, my thoughts shift to Fair Isle projects.

In particular, the Bea Ellis Kristen hat kit I received from Ashley has now been expanded into a hat and mitten set, thanks to Eunny’s newest creation, Anemoi Mittens. That, and the fact that Ashley herself knit a hat and mitten combo which exudes nothing but warmth and coziness.

I picked up some SandnesGarn Lanett in colors matching the Dale of Norway Heilo included in the hat kit. Lanett is new to me – the colors were right, I thought it felt softer than Baby Ull, and 213 yards for $6 is not too shabby by any standards. More thoughts once I actually start knitting with it…

Also on the radar:

Some combination of the mitten pattern you see on the left (from Charlene Schurch’s Mostly Mittens), the Komi Cap in Ms. Schurch’s Hats On!, and a variety of blue and gray yarns, possibly Lanett if I can get the right colors. Allow me a few moments (weeks?) to think this project through before I tell you more…


34 thoughts on “Stranding

  1. Ashley

    Those are some smashing gussets.

    OK–you’re upping the ante! I’m going to have to knit some matching mittens to keep for myself now.

  2. Heather

    Those look perfect! I usually pick up and knit stitches, and on the next go-round knit tbl. That way, I don’t have to wrestle with the slipped-stitch loops, which don’t always have as much give as I think they will. Is that what you are doing? I can’t recall where I read that method, but it was somebody’s sock pattern, and now I use it all the time.

  3. Expat knits

    Oh! I used that exact shade of Lanett in my recently finished Flower Basket Shawl (scarf size took 1 1/3 ball! It’s amazing how far that yarn will go). I loved it. It’s soft like Baby Ull, but seems a little stronger (takes frogging/tinking better than Baby Ull).

  4. Sarah

    The socks are looking lovely. I’ve been following your “pretty” way of picking up gusset stitches for quite some time now, and I’m quite pleased with the results. I usually find, however, that I get holes not in the areas where I picked up the stitches, but rather right where the instep stitches meet the gusset — namely, the first instep stitch gets stretched out and makes a little hole. Any thoughts on how to remedy this?

    Can’t wait to see what you choose to fair isle! Eunny’s mittens are delicious, but I think I might want to wait a bit until I tackle them (I’ve only just done my first fair isling this weekend).

  5. Nadia

    The socks look great! The gusset decreases add a firm border for the twisted stitch pattern.

    I’m using the same pattern right now for gloves, but I’m still at the top with the twisted stitches. It’s nice to see the next step — it’s keeping me motivated!

  6. Sarah

    I love Hat’s On! It is such a great book. For more inspiration, you might want to check out Stranded: The Colorwork Challenge.

  7. j a r e d

    i LOOOVE me some Charlene Schurch – both books are great. I’ve been wanting to knit the Komi cap for awhile.

    The socks are beautiful, really.

  8. Emily

    I haven’t used lanett, but I really like the SandnesGarn worsted weight wool yarn. It is a good, high quality, long-wearing basic yarn.

    I also really like the Mostly Mittens book. I’ve made a couple of hats from patterns in that book and really like them.

  9. gail

    Your grandma’s socks are fabulous. I think I need to purchase that sock book to get the pattern–it’s the only sock book I don’t own. and, the patterns you have selected for your hat and mittens are from my two fave books!! I plan to knit every hat and mitten in those books before I die!

  10. Karen B.

    Perfect gussets! I’m of the “pick up and ktbl” school myself. I don’t recall reading how to do that anywhere. It just seemed to make sense.

    As for stranded knitting, I know you’ll do a bang-up job! I seem to recall some lovely and intricate leggings in blue and maize…

  11. Joanna

    Hmm… just a thought on how to get perfectly-mirrored gussets… on one side, instead of “scooping” the half-stitch from the outside and Ktbl, you could pick it from the inside-out, and then K through the front loop. That would twist it in the opposite direction. It’s probably too much work for such a small detail, but if you really want to be a stickler for symmetry, that’s one way to help. 🙂

  12. Jess

    What is it with stranded knitting lately, is it something in the water? I’ve been slightly obsessed with it for a couple weeks, myself.

    Loving the socks!

  13. knittingphilistine

    Flawless gussets, you lil’ perfectionist you (a girl after my own heart). And, really, who *isn’t* Fair Isling these days? Oh, right, me…that endeavor will have to wait until I get back from the UAE. Until then, it’s more socks for me (easy and packable and MUST use up some of my Sundara stash).

    PS: Thanks for the comment on my Hederas! And I don’t know what I’d do without Monk’s and Nodding Head…they’re my lifeways in this here city. And, I should add, Fergie’s and Grace Tavern, too. Heart. them.

  14. Barb outside Boston

    I have my Anemoi pattern (LOVE IT!) right here in front of me–and some Mora yarn in red & white in my stash, but now I’m starting to think that blue & white might suit the pattern better, hmmm…..

  15. Angela

    What great mittens!

    I read your old post about ‘picking’ up stitches. And many of the comments saying the FIRST time people picked up stitches they did it that way. Um…that’s how I’ve always done it and I had no idea this was not the ‘normal’ way. Cheers to learning something new!

  16. Gabriele

    Thank you for the encore on “the pretty way”. I tried it right away on a charcoal plain ribbed man’s sock and even there it does look and feel better than picking up through the whole loop.

    Love to read an learn from you,


  17. Faith

    I was taught to pick up stitches on the heel flap the same way, and was so relieved to see you do it too (now I don’t feel like I’m doing it “wrong”). However, I almost always have a hole at the top of the “V” of the gusset that I need to go back and tighten up or else just sew up. Do you have a trick to keep that from happening in the first place? I’d love to share it with my podcast audience in an upcoming show.

  18. kristiface

    Thanks for the links! I saw your pretty way a while back but forgot to bookmark… I just finished knitting my very first heel flap and am looking forward to finally “picking up and knitting” your way 🙂

  19. V

    Nice “pretty way” pick up there! And those eunny mitts….I think they’re taking over the world….as they should! 🙂

  20. Beatriz

    I love your close-up pics…gotta be the new camera. And I’ve done about three pair of socks the pretty way…love that, too. I read it on your blog first before finding it in Nancy Bush’s book (Never mind that I had that book a year). Thanks and Happy Holiday knitting.

  21. June

    Hey Kathy, do you know the difference between the “Mostly Mittens” and the “Knitting Marvelous Mittens” books? They have the same cover art, etc. Is one an abridged version of the other?

  22. Gina

    Gorgeous Gussets! Thanks for the tip. I’d hate to tell you what I did as a beginning knitter when the pattern said….change to larger needles =)

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