It started as a fairly innocent swatching project. Mundane, even. I had some yarn for Branden’s scarf, and I wanted to figure out what to do with it. We’d bought three colors, and I wanted them to work together in interesting ways (not just stripes). I’d been through lots of stitch dictionaries, and hadn’t seen what I wanted, but Branden has always been fond of geometric patterns, so I thought that a mosaic might do quite nicely.

Thing is, I’d never knit a mosaic before, and had no idea if they were nicely reversible (they’re not). So, I needed to swatch.

As you can see, I didn’t get very far before realizing that it wasn’t what I was looking for. So I started playing aimlessly, just fiddling around to see where the yarn took me.

I’ve always loved linen stitch, so I tried a little bit of that.

I liked two-color linen stitch even better. That morning, we’d put a sample on the loom for my latest project (the Tosh yarn…it’s beautiful!).

I’m not sure how well you can see the pattern in that photo, but it’s coming out great. In terms of this story, it is only relevant because it meant that I had weaving on the brain.

And so, I started thinking. Linen stitch looks like plain weave, the foundation for many, many woven patterns.

And then I started wondering what a knitted twill would look like. (Your jeans are made of a twill fabric…all those diagonal lines are characteristic of a twill pattern.)

And so I played some more.

Interesting, but a little sloppy and not quite what I was looking for. Seemed like it needed a little more contrast.

And so, a twill was born.

Now, this might not seem like much if you’re not a weaver. It’s a pretty pattern, sure, but it might be a little hard to see why this is exciting beyond that. Twill is to plain weave what purl is to knit. Those two patterns are the basis for a huge majority of woven fabrics. Put together in the right ways, they can do amazing things.

And so I have begun to swatch. I’m not sure exactly where this will lead, and for now I am just focusing on learning the basic grammar of this technique. A simple twill.

A simple twill that changes direction every few rows to create a herringbone.

And now, something just a tiny bit more complicated, but still using only the basic twill structure.

The possibilities are endless, and I am very intrigued. I have a thousand ideas for ways to play with these basic patterns, and when I run out, there’s always this:

I have a sneaky suspicion that there will be a lot more of this on the blog in the months to come. I’ve never seen anyone else knit this way, and I am fascinated by all the things a knitter could do with this simple, simple idea. I bought a notebook. I’m swatching as fast as my fingers will let me. This could be very, very cool.