STITCH IT: KTANBITLE TCEL DOLTYHRISCKSIRT
Fig. A: The raw materials and equipment are easy, it’s Fig. B: Set up a page with your alphabet and some
finding the right song that’s hard. The gravestone design words that you use a lot. Fig. C: The “Dirt in the Ground”
on the back of the “1952 Vincent Black Lightning” sweater uses variegated yarns but the color change is
sweater frames and complements the lyrics. subtle, so it’s still easy to read.
surrounding chain design use a variegated yarn
from 21st Century Yarns (
7. Start knitting.
In terms of technique there’s nothing much to
know: it’s straightforward, plain knitting using a
Fair Isle technique with a stockinette stitch (apart
from the rib). Unlike conventional Fair Isle designs,
you aren’t repeating each color regularly, which
means that you’ve potentially got some rather long
floats of the text color yarn on the reverse. I try to
catch them with the background color yarn every
5 stitches on average, and I try not to leave one
longer than 7 stitches if I can avoid it.
8. Keep knitting.
Adding borders like the one shown in Figure C
introduces a third color, but it’s well away from the
text so it doesn’t really interfere — you might just
need to untwist the different balls of yarn occasionally. I usually knit the sleeves, cuffs, and neck in the
round, using double-ended needles to avoid having
a seam, but you don’t have to. This technique isn’t
recommended for the main body of the sweater,
as it will give a lot of extra stranding at the sides.
This isn’t a project where you can knit on autopilot
while doing 3 other things at the same time; every row
is different, so take your time and check regularly
for mistakes. It’s difficult to say how long the whole
sweater will take. Most of mine take 4 or 5 months,
but I’m pretty slow and only knit in the evenings.
10. Stand still.
As with any slogan-bearing shirt, you need to be
prepared to stop and stand still while people read
what you’re wearing. Do you want the words on the
front or the back? In other words, do you prefer to
have someone staring at your chest, or someone
you can’t see telling you not to turn around?
It’s really satisfying to create a unique garment
with connections to a song that you really love.
There are a lot of songs out there … what are you
Theo Wright is a technology manager by day and a knitter and
handweaver by night. See
more photos or contact Theo at