Stitchology 1 : Herringbone Stitch

Herringbone Stitch & Working with Charts

Herringbone Square angleHi!  My name is Bethany Dailey and I’m new here at Knitting Board Chat. I am so happy to loom along with you!  In this monthly column we’re going to be working on some exciting new stitch patterns, as well as a few new techniques thrown in for good measure.  My intention for our yarn play is to provide all the know-how for you to be able to work the new stitch; any charts, photos, or videos you may need; as well as a pattern to create an 8” x 8” square.  As we go along in our looming journey, we should be able to create lovely pieced afghans with our squares, as I like to know that we’re going somewhere while swatching, don’t you?  You can think of it as our Stitch Sample Afghan—a stitch dictionary right at your fingertips, keeping your legs warm, lol. 😉

The Ins and Outs of Chart Reading

First up is the Herringbone Stitch.  This is a nice and easy stitch involving repeating rows of knits and purls.  The slightly tricky part of this stitch will be to keep proper count while working the pattern.  To help us along in this process we can use a couple of aids…the first of which is a knitting chart.

Here is the basic stitch chart for this particular pattern:

Herringbone Stitch-chart

When reading a knitting chart, you will be starting at the bottom right and working your way up the chart, from row to row.

Notice how the numbers across the bottom are listed from right to left?  This is because you will be casting onto your looms first from left to right, then your first row will be worked from right to left, matching up each peg number with each of the numbers on the chart bottom.

The numbers which are running up the sides of the chart represent your row count.  As you can see, row number 1 will be worked from right to left, as that is where that row number is designated on the chart.  Row number 2 will be worked from left to right, as that is where you will find the number 2 listed.

By alternating the sides that the row numbers are listed, you are given the clue that this pattern is meant to be worked as a flat panel. If this was a chart that was meant to be worked in the round, you would see each of the row numbers all listed on the same side, because in the process of knitting in the round, you would always be starting each row from that same spot as you worked around the loom.

Knitting Chart Key with grey copy

Now that you know which direction to read the chart, it’s time to decipher what the chart is actually saying.  For this, we need to take a look at the Chart Key.  Here is where the symbols you see in the chart are listed in knitting terms, along with their abbreviations.  For each symbol on the chart, a corresponding stitch will be worked in that exact spot of your row.

The herringbone stitch is a simple one, containing only 2 stitches: knit and purl.  Where you spot a blank square on the chart, you will knit.  Where you spot a dot, you will purl.  It’s as simple as that! 🙂

Oh, I did mention a couple of aids, right?

The second aid that I love to use while knitting pretty much every project is a good set of stitch markers— or peg Notionsmarkers, as we who love to loom knit tend call them.  These can be pretty much anything that will fit over your pegs, but won’t get in the way of the creation of your stitches.  I love to use them to mark the first and last pegs used in a pattern, as well as any other helpful places that remind me of what I’m supposed to be knitting.   In the case of the herringbone stitch, a good place for them is at the start of every pattern repeat during the row.

Another essential-to-me aid for keeping my place in a pattern I’m working is a good reliable row counter.  This can be a store bought one, a cell phone app, or even something as simple as marking little chicken scratches on a piece of paper at the end of every row.  However you want to do it, a row counter helps avoid lots of frustration in the long run.

Herringbone Stitch Square

Herringbone Stitch

Items Needed

Loom: Authentic Knitting Board Adjustable Hat Loom: 2 rounded pieces + 3 peg connectors, with pegs in all holes for a 3/8” gauge.  The Sock Loom 2 or the All-n-One Loom could also be used.

Yarn: approx. 105 yards Worsted Weight (Sample uses Patons Classic Wool Worsted in Jade Heather)

Notions: Loom tool, yarn needle, scissors, measuring tape.  (Also helpful: peg markers, row counter)

Pattern Notes:

With the beginning of the school year and those chilly Autumn days, this would be a terrific pattern to use as a cozy scarf for both guys and gals!  Simply increase the number of Main Pattern Rows for the length required, then complete with the Finishing Rows.

When the pattern uses the term “knit” or “k”, please use the true knit stitch or the u-stitch, not the e-wrap.


Here is the entire pattern chart for the 8” x 8” square:

Herringbone Square-chart

Everything you need to know about knitting your square is included in the above chart.  Believe it or not, you can actually create your square without looking at another thing!

But, don’t worry…I am also providing you with the step by step instructions below. 😉

Repeating Pattern Rows

Herringbone Stitch-chart

Row 1:  k3, p2, k1, p2, k2

Row 2:  k1, p2, k3, p2, k2

Row 3:  k1, p2, k5, p2

Row 4:  p1, k2, p1, k1, p1, k2, p1, k1

Step by Step Instructions:

Cast onto your loom from left to right, using a total of 37 pegs. (Sample uses Chain Cast On)

Set Up Rows

Repeat the following 2 row pattern 3 times, for a total of 6 rows:

Row a: k37

Row b: p37

Main Pattern Rows

Repeat the following 4 row pattern 15 times, for a total of 60 rows:

Row 1:  k3, work Row 1 of repeating pattern to last 4 stitches, k4.

Row 2:  p3, k1, work Row 2 of repeating pattern to last 3 stitches, p3.

Row 3:  k3, work Row 3 of repeating pattern to last 4 stitches, k4.

Row 4:  p3, k1, work Row 4 of repeating pattern to last 3 stitches, p3.

Finishing Rows

Herringbone SquareRow a:  k3, work Row 1 of  repeating pattern to last 4 stitches, k4.

Row b:  p37

Row c:  k37

Row d:  p37

Row e: k37

Row f:  p37

Bind off all stitches loosely. (Sample uses the Basic Bind Off)  Weave in ends and trim close to work.

Block lightly to 8” x 8” measurement.

Afghan Notes:

If you are intending this square to be part of an afghan, you may wish to make up to 3 or 4 additional squares.  We will be sharing at least 12 of these patterns for you to use in your blanket.  Use the following general measurements to decide how many of each of the 8″ x 8″ squares you will need, rounding up as necessary:

  • Baby Blanket: 30″ x 36″
  • Children: 42″ x 48″
  • Lapghan: 36″ x 48″
  • Twin Bed Afghan: 60″ x 85″
  • Queen Bed Afghan: 90″ x 95″


19 thoughts on “Stitchology 1 : Herringbone Stitch

  1. I love this stitch. I have to wait until after I go to the craft fair in October but I can’t wait to see all the stitches and make some of these squares. Thank you!! 🙂

  2. Congratulations on your new column Bethany.
    Look forward to seeing more Stitchology

  3. Bethany, Congratulations to you and I guess to all of us who follow you.
    This is exciting! I love this stitch and look forward to learning more
    techniques and stitches. Hurray!

  4. Congratulations, again, Bethany! This is a wonderful article and lesson. Thank you! Although I have done this before you have made it much easier for me to break down the chart and pattern.I really have to work to get back to my looming. I also think I am going to have to start another notebook for your columns!! Well done!! Looking forward to your future articles!!

  5. Great article, Bethany! And the Herringbone sampler looks fabulous! I’m looking forward to seeing the next stitch pattern.

  6. If I wanted to do a hat on a round loom, would I have to change any of the instructions? I’m new at this.

  7. Hi Deena 🙂

    In order to make a hat using these instructions, you would first of all be working in the round in a clockwise direction. This would change the way you would read the chart to every row starting from the right to the left, rather than alternating directions.

    Also, you would need to use only the 10 peg repeating stitch pattern chart, rather than the square pattern chart, because you wouldn’t need the borders of garter stitch.

    Because the stitch pattern uses 10 pegs, your hat would need to be knit using a total number of pegs divisible by 10…ei: 30, 50, 70, etc.

    Hope this helps! I’d love to see a photo of your hat when you’re all done! 🙂

  8. Can I use the cable cast on method or will this make it more difficult to stitch my finished panels together?
    Thank you for the expert explanation of charts and including both charts and written directions. I am looking forward to looming along/ learning along with you thru all the panels. I am starting this weekend, as soon as my daughter returns my loom! Hum.. maybe I’ll get her one for Christmas. Thanks for taking the time.

  9. Hi Cindy! 🙂

    The Cable Cast On is a bit loose and lacy, and also might be a tad different than your bind off, which will always create a bit of a difficulty when attempting to create true squares. If you are using the mattress stitch to seam the squares together, it might not matter, except that you would end up with looser stitches on the back sides of the seams. 😉 Having said all that, my favorite cast on, and on the one that most matches the Basic BO is the Chain CO, sometimes referred to as the Crochet CO.

    I am so happy you’ll be looming along with us! 😀

  10. I haven’t loomed much and never from a chart. Do I slip the first stitch of every row after cast on? If yes, and the chart has that first stitch noted as a knit stitch, does the slip stitch count as a knit? Would the start of row 8 be slip, knit, knit, purl, purl? Sorry but I won’t learn if I don’t ask. Thanks

  11. Don’t be sorry! It’s a good question. 🙂

    Nope…no slip stitches at all. Just do what each square on the chart tells you to do. When you’re making an item to be seamed together with other items, it’s usually better to not slip the first stitch of every row. 😉

  12. Thank you for helping me with my slip stitch question Bethany. I am 7 rows from completion of my square. My gauge is a little less but I figured as long as all my squares are the same number of stitches and rows it will work. I’ll just make more squares if necessary.

    My question is, can I use the bind off method that is done on the knitting board as opposed to the crochet hook bind off? If I remember correctly, Isela had a simple on the board bind off. I have done the one they teach on the KB tutorial site but mine always ends up to tight.

    Thanks for your help. I am looking forward to the next square.

  13. Hi Cindy! You’re very welcome for the slip stitch tips. 🙂

    As for the bind off, I like to use the Basic Bind Off, which is I believe, the one that Isela demonstrates. I feel it matches best with the Chain Cast On and it creates a really nice edge, without any pulling on the panel.

    Yay for square making! I’m excited you’re looming along! As for gauge, some of the squares will use a different number of pegs and rows, due to the differences in the stitch style itself, but as long as you follow exactly, your squares should all match, even if they’re not 8″ X 8″. 😉 I know the square for October uses fewer pegs and rows, as it’s a looser kind of stitch.

    Talk with you soon!

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