Inlay or Knit-weaving

Hi Socks with knit-weaving pattern for instep

This type of manipulating stitches has a few different names: inlay, weave, knitweave, knit-weaving, Roositud. It looks like running stitch embroidery. But instead of using the sewing needle, it is made with knitting needles. Inlay is worked with two yarns – one is for knitting and second is for weaving. The second yarn (weft) is never used to make new stitches, but is moved between the stitches front and back. Both sides of the fabric are attractive. Don’t confuse inlay with a weaving in technique which is normally used to fix the long strands of yarn in stranded knitting: the floats are caught by the working yarn and are not shown on the face side.

Inlay is often used as decoration to create a pattern. Sometimes inlay is worked for warmth and strength, or to add an elastic thread. The inlay technique is widely used by machine knitters where weaving can be made manually or automatically. Roositud is an Estonian inlay technique in which groups of stitches are wrapped with a contrasting colour yarn, following a charted pattern. Here is a beautiful example of Roositud pattern on the Talvel Fingerless Mittens.

In A second treasury of knitting patterns by Barbara G. Walker there are two inlay patterns. They are the most simple stitch patterns in this technique – the additional yarn is passed back and forth between the needles every other stitch, while the knitting is done with main yarn. Swedish Weave (2) is done in every row, Woven Polka (1) in every second row (with doubled yarn), alternating the position of the weft yarn in staggered style. To receive vertical stripes, the weave pattern is repeated in every row at the same place to create the columns of stacked bars (3).

I came across with inlay technique while looking for the patterns that are vertically compressed. An idea emerged: why not use only one yarn instead of two? Could the knit-weaving then to be a solution for my project? I knitted a few samples and found out that – it is! Because the basic Hi Socks use only one yarn, the knit-weaving is made using the slip method technique: knit all stitches in the first row, in the second row, simply slip all stitches, weaving the yarn between them. Here are the same stitch patterns (as 2 and 3) but worked just with one yarn 2a and 3a.

To discover more about inlay knitting, I read a few books and found some articles on the internet. For example Naomi Parkhurst wrote a number of key posts showing interesting studies and new inlay samples. She has put together patterns from Ravelry which use the inlay technique – this is an inspirational collection for this easy but very effective technique.


Barbara G. Walker A second treasury of knitting patterns, 1970 (pp. 46, 48, 90)

Montse Stanley Knitter’s Handbook, 1986 ( pp. 152, 168, 173)

June Hemmons Hiatt The Principles of Knitting, 1988 and 2012 (pp. 344-349)

Margaret Radcliffe Colour knitting techniques, 2009  (pp. 258-259)

String Geekery Knitweaving: a less well-known technique

Paulabethl Inlay knitting

Unikatissima Hand Knit-Weave