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Guide to Duplicate Stitch

by Laura Bain

Duplicate stitch is the easiest way to add color to any knitting project made in Stockinette stitch. Duplicate stitch is embroidering an additional stitch, in a new color, over the knitted object you have completed. You can use almost any color work chart to add Duplicate stitch designs to hats, sweaters and more.

Here are a few free patterns from that use Duplicate stitch. More Duplicate stitch patterns are at the end of the page, under the instructions.

Compass Pillow
Knit in Super Saver
Compass Pillow Free Knitting Pattern LW3921
Sweet Argyle Dress
Knit in Anne Geddes Baby
Sweet Argyle Dress Free Knitting Pattern LW4157
Advent Calendar
Knit in Super Saver
Advent Calendar Gift Pockets Free Knitting Pattern LW3163

Duplicate stitch is worked on the right side of your project, with your work facing you.

Reading a Chart


Duplicate stitch designs are almost always accompanied by a chart. The chart is a visual representation of the design you wish to use to embellish your work. On the chart, each square is one knit stitch. Each knit stitch will be color coded to show which color you should add to your project. You may find it helpful to write in the numbers for any rows that are not labeled and the columns in the repeat.

Hint: Use a sticky note to cover up the rows you’ve already worked.

To begin working you Duplicate stitch, you will need a an object with a stockinette stitch field, a yarn needle, and about 2 yards of yarn in the color you will use for the Duplicate stitch design.


You will begin by working a field of stockinette stitch on which your Duplicate stitch will be worked (it would be a hat, blanket, sweater, anything really!). In my example I’ve chosen Red Heart Soft in Turquoise and Light Grey. For my example, I have cast on 26 stitches, worked a swatch with 20 stitches of 20 rows of stockinette (the rest worked in garter stitch). I worked 2 of the pattern repeats from the chart above.

Determine where your Duplicate stitch will be be placed.  Thread your length of yarn onto the yarn needle.  Bring the yarn, from the back to the front, through the bottom of the visible V on the right side of your work:


Follow the loop of yarn made by knitting stockinette under the stitch (the V) above.

This is how it will appear:


Take the yarn back through the bottom of the stitch (the V). Adjust the tightness of your stitch so that it covers the stitch below.


Repeat this for the each subsequent stitch.


And eventually, your pattern will begin to emerge.


Here are more patterns which you can practice using Duplicate stitch to make detailed finished objects.

Monogram Pom Pom Hats Free Knitting Pattern LW5253

Monogram Pom Pom Hats

Bat on a Hat Free Knitting Pattern LW4463

Bat on a Hat

Initially Yours Pillow Free Knitting Pattern LW5268

Initially Yours Pillow

Guide to Duplicate Stitch

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