How to do the duplicate stitch in knitting

A step-by-step tutorial for the duplicate stitch knitting technique – a simple way to add color to a project

Colorwork can be a great way to personalize your knitting. However, most techniques (like intarsia or fair isle), can be a bit more complicated and better suited for more advanced knitters. That’s why I want to show you the super simple duplicate stitch. Perfect for beginners who want to embellish their knitting.

a swatch embelished with the duplicate stitch knitting technique

But even later on it can be a great technique. Sometimes you don’t want to (or even outright can’t) start a new intarsia color block for just two or three stitches in a different color. Then using a tapestry needle and a spare length of yarn can be both faster and neater.

Let’s show you to do it!

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Instructions: How to do the duplicate stitch

someone showing how to do the duplicate stitch in knitting with a blue swatch in cotton yarn

The duplicate stitch is a simple variation of the chain stitch and can be used to embroider knitting in a super invisible and seamless way. It's meant to be used on stockinette stitch.

Active Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes

Instructions

  1. Thread a spare length of yarn in a contrasting color on a blunt tapestry needle and tie a knot at one end.

    someone threading yarn on a tapestry needle
  2. Pull the tapestry needle through the whole right between the two legs ("V") of a knit stitch, coming in from behind.


    coming in from behind and piercing right through the hole between the two legs of a knit stitch
  3. Pull the needle through the two legs of the knit stitch two rows above.

    going underneath both legs of the knit stitch "V" two rows above
  4. Get out through the same hole you came in and pull the yarn all the way through to the back. Avoid pulling too tightly.


    getting out through the same hole to pull the tapestry needle all the way to the back
  5. From behind, go in through the adjacent knit stitch. Again, go right through the little hole between the two legs and avoid piercing the yarn.

    going through the hole between the two legs of the adjacent knit V
  6. Go underneath the two legs of the knit stitch one row above.

    going through both legs of the stitch two rows above
  7. And get out through the same hole you came in.

    going out through the same hole
  8. You can go upwards. In this case, come in through the duplicate stitch you've just created.

    going through the same stitch you've just embroidered from behind
  9. Again, go underneath the two legs of the stitch two rows above.

    going underneath both legs of the knit stitch two rows above
  10. And get out through the same hole.

    getting out through the same hole again
  11. You can even skip stitches. Basically you can go through any little knit stitch in your fabric as long as you stick to repeating steps 1-4.

    going through a hole further up the fabric with a tapestry needle from behind

Duplicate stitch for garter stitch

duplicate stitch on a swatch knitted in garter stitch

The standard technique is all fine and nice for stockinette stitch. But how do you add a duplicate stitch to a project knitted in garter stitch? Well, it’s almost as simple even though the results will be somewhat different.

Step 1: Come in from behind and go through the hole in between the two legs of a knit stitch.

coming in from behind right in between a knit stitch

Step 2: Pull the tapestry needle through the bottom purl bump one row above (it’s a tiny fraction to the right).

going through the bottom purl bump directly above from behind

Step 3: Go through the adjacent bottom purl bump from above.

going through the adjaent purl bump one row above from above

Step 4: Get out through the same hole you came from and pull the tapestry needle all the way through towards the back.

getting out through the sam ehole and pulling the tapestry needle through towards the back

Step 5: Repeat steps 1-4.

repeating these steps for the duplicate stitch on garter stitch

Personally speaking, I do feel that this technique is best used for weaving in ends. It can be a great option for lace shawls with a rather loose gauge where other methods fail.

If, on the other hand, you truly want to use it to add color to garter stitch, you will have to turn your work around after each row and then do the same process from the other side. It will take quite a long time and be quite a bit tedious. Using a simple chain stitch might be the easier and faster option.

Anyway, that’s how to do the duplicate stitch. Comment below if you still have any questions.

how to do the duplicate stitch a tutorial for beginners

3 thoughts on “How to do the duplicate stitch in knitting”

  1. Hi Norman! I’ve followed your YouTube channel since I started knitting a few years ago and I always go there whenever I need to look up something.
    This time you have saved the scarf I spent two years knitting!!
    I finished knitting this huge merino scarf in garter stitch the other week and then there was a split on the yarn near the beginning. I couldn’t figure out how to do the duplicate stitch on it to mend and reinforce the area and couldn’t find it anywhere else, when a kind person pointed me to this blog post. Now I can finally wear this scarf!!
    Thank you so much for this article!! You do amazing work 😀

    Reply

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