SPOTLIGHT ON: Basket Weave

SPOTLIGHT ON: Basket Weave

As part of a continuing series, I'll be highlighting different special stitches and motifs. You may also want to read my previous spotlights on the Horizontal Chain Stitch, Cable Stitches, Bobble Stitches and Increasing and Decreasing Stitches.

Basket weave is a very common and popular texture for blankets and other textiles. In the case of blankets, this texture is typically simulated by changing the direction of the stitches, rather than by actually weaving.

The concept of basket weave knitting is fairly simple: Your goal is to create the look of stitches that intersect perpendicular to each other, with the yarn travelling over and under the opposing strands, in a manner that resembles the weaving of a basket.

Like actual basket weaving, there are actually many unique looks you can create, simply by varying the thickness or direction of your weave, or by varying your weave pattern. The stitches that you use (knit, purl, etc.) to create the look of your weave will also change the overall look. 

Here are some examples of different basket weave patterns:


Checkerboard is the simplest of basket weave styles. The width of the woven sections is approximately equal, and knit and purl stitches are used to create the directional lines of the weave (with knit stitches creating the vertical lines and purl stitches creating the horizontal lines).

checkerboard knit checkerboard knit checkerboard knit

You can increase or decrease the scale of your checkerboard by increasing or decreasing the number of rows and columns of stitches, but the goal is that the squares should be approximately the same size.

Examples of patterns that include checkerboard basket weave: Checkerboard Blanket, Checkerboard Cable Blanket, So Squared Mug Rugs, Sampler Style Baby Throw Blanket.

The tiniest scale of checkerboard basket weave is actually the seed stitch. To create this texture, you alternate knit and purl with every stitch:

seed stitch 
Patterns with seed stitch: Seed Stitch Blanket Checkerboard Blanket Sampler Style Baby Throw Blanket, Knitted Mug Rugs, Lace Leaf Baby Blanket.

Asymmetric Basket Weave

Varying the width of your woven sections is a great way to create unique looks with more intricate weaving. For our Fancy Basket Weave Blanket Pattern, we alternated between narrower and wider sections :
Fancy Basket Weave Blanket Pattern Fancy Basket Weave Blanket Pattern
There is really no limit to the variations you can add, although you may find that adding two many different widths causes you to lose the look of basket weave. Repeating a set pattern is what really gives it the look of true basket weave. 

Diagonal Basket Weave

Basket weave doesn't have to just be vertical and horizontal! Shifting your pattern diagonally allows you to use criss-cross stitches to create really crisp woven designs!
Like the seed stitch above, you can create a basket weave using single stitches  on the diagonal - in this case by alternating right and left criss-cross stitches like in our Criss-Cross Blanket:
Criss-Cross Blanket Pattern
The nice thing about diagonal basket weave patterns is that they look even more like a true basket weave, with the stitches alternating over and under each other.
Just like the straight basket weave patterns above, varying the thickness of your sections will create different looks. Our Diagonal Basket Weave Blanket Pattern alternates sections of three strands of yarn in a diagonal checkerboard pattern:
Diagonal Basket Weave Blanket Pattern
Another way to change the look of your diagonal basket weave pattern is to play with negative space. Our Chunky Basket Weave Blanket Pattern uses double-wide strands which are spaced a few stitches apart. We've used knit stitches for the background, but you could also use purl stitches for a higher contrast.
Chunky Basket Weave Blanket Pattern
If you want to try a more advanced pattern, our Amazing Entrelac Basket Weave Blanket Pattern emulates a classic traditional knitting style which combines rectangles of yarn perpendicular to each other. As you can see from the in-progress image on the right below, it's not a true basket weave, but rather the yarn is knit in a way that creates a woven look.
Amazing Entrelac Basket Weave Blanket Pattern entrelac
While my loop yarn Entrelac pattern tries to more strictly emulate the way traditional Entrelac is knit (in a continuous fashion, building row to row), if you're looking for a less complicated way to emulate this look, Alize Puffy has created this video tutorial:
Basket weave is a great classic style that never goes out of fashion, and there are great designs suitable for any level of loop yarn knitter. It's a great style to play around with and create your own unique designs!
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