Everything you need to know about knitting the Latvian braid – flat or in the round
Do you want to know how to create this beautiful horizontal braid in the colors? Is there a secret technique involved? Fear not, knitting a Latvian braid is actually remarkably simple and you certainly don’t have to knit horizontally. Basically, you only have to weave in a tail as you go intentionally twice.
It’s really that simple. For the Latvian braid, you are really just knitting a row with two colors and twisting them around each other on the right side. That’s it. Let’s show you how to knit it.
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- Join in a new color (color B) and knit one stitch.
- Knit one stitch in color A.
- Continue knitting across the full row - always alternating between one stitch in color A followed by one stitch in color B.
*k1 color A, k1 color B*
- Turn around and knit one stitch using the same color as the stitch appears (if you've cast on an even number of stitches, this will be color B).
- Pick up color A from below and knit one stitch. This will trap color B in between the working yarn and your project.
- Pick up color B from below and knit one stitch. This will trap color A in between working yarn and your project.
- Continue repeating steps 5-6. Always knit every stitch in the color it appears and always pick up the yarn from below. Both strands stay in the back of your work.
Aside from forming the bottom half of your Latvian braid on the right side, this will twist your working yarn A LOT. Don't worry, it will naturally untwist in the next row.
- Turn your work around, bring both yarns to the front, and purl one stitch in color A making sure you trap the color b.
- Pick up color B from below and purl one stitch.
- Pick up color A from below and purl another stitch.
- Continue purling across the full row, always picking up the yarn from below and alternating the colors.
You should notice how the tail end of your yarn slowly untwists.
- Continue according to your pattern.
If you are working across a long row of 50 or more stitches, you will notice that the yarn twists a bit too much and it's getting hard to work new stitches. In this case, I recommend pulling out quite a bit of yarn from your ball before you start the round. And then, after every 10 stitches or so, move the twist as far down the yarn as possible by sort of pushing it away from you.
If that, too, doesn't help, you can untwist the yarns. You will have to do it twice since you won't naturally untwist the yarn in the second pass of the Latvian Braid.
If you want your Latvian braid to point in the other direction, you simply have to pick up the yarn from above!
So, on both the wrong side and right side, whenever you switch colors, you pick up the next color from above. This will twist the yarns in the other direction and if you do this consistently on both sides, the braid will point towards the right instead of the left.
Latvian Braid in the round
You can also work the Latvian bride in the round. It’s just as simple. There are only two minor things you need to switch.
Step 1: Knit across the first round alternating between colors A and B.
Step 2: Slip 1 stitch purlwise with yarns held in back (move your beginning of the row marker by one stitch), then purl across the second row alternating between color A and B. Keep both yarns in front of your work. And always pick up the next color from above.
Step 3: Slip 1 stitch purlwise and move your beginning of the row marker one more stitch, then purl across the third row maintaining the alternating color pattern. Keep both yarns in the front but this time always pick up the next color from below.
The only difference between the Latvian braid in the round compared to flat knitting is that you don’t switch between a purl and a knit row. Instead, you switch the way you pick up the yarn.
Just like when working flat, you can also switch up the way you pick up a new color. If you do it from below in the second row and from above in the third row, the braid will point in the other direction.
You will also notice that, despite slipping the first stitch of each new round, you will end up with a visible jog where the start of your braid meets the end. You can close the gap with a tapestry needle.
Step 1: Simple thread your tail on a tapestry needle and go out through the last stitch of your braid, right through the last purl bump in the same color as your tail is.
Step 2: And then follow the partial braid, get out through the exact same hole. JJst look at your knitting. See where the braid should enter and exit the fabric and retrace this path with your tapestry needle once.
Step 3: Pull the yarn through to the wrong side and weave in the tail any way you like.
Even with that trick, the join will still be a bit visible. I recommend placing it where it’s least noticeable (so maybe not on the very front of your sweater, etc).