Latvian Braid Tutorial and other such stuff

So my new mitten pattern should be going up in a few days. Memento Mori Mittens if you have not yet seen them. I am just fine tuning the pattern and making it pretty. In the pattern, I use a technique that I had never done before, which is possibly my new favourite mitten cuff stabilizer, the Latvian Braid. So much more attractive than basic ribbing in a colourwork heavy mitten in my opinion!

Basically, a Latvian Braid is inside-out colourwork. You purl with the yarn (I use two strands in the example, but you can use one, or three, or whatever you want) on the outside, using one strand each stitch to knit, and floating the other in front which creates the braid. Does that make sense? Don’t worry, I took pictures.

I’ve used this a few other times now, and this is how I like to set up a Latvian Braid cuff. This tutorial is going to go through how to make a left-leaning braid, and explain how to use these same steps to make a right-leaning braid.

First, cast on however many stitches you need.
Row 1: Knit across
Row 2: Purl across
Row 3: Knit, alternating your colours (in my case, it was red, white) to the end. This is important, because these stitches show up in the braid, and you are going to be purling into them with the same colour. If you are doing something other than alternating two colours, set up for it in this row.

Row 4: Bring both strands of yarn in front to purl. Make sure the first yarn you want to purl with is on top of the other. Make sure you bring the same colour yarn on top as the stitch you are about to purl into.

Then purl while floating the other yarn (in this case the red) in front. You’ve now done the first stitch! Everything gets easier from here.

Continue doing this throughout the row, always bringing the yarn you are about to purl with OVER the yarn you are going to let float. Make sure to purl with the same colour as the stitch you are knitting into. That stitch makes the little bump you see in the middle of the braid, so if you use the wrong colour, it won’t look quite right. The direction you bring the yarn controls which way that row of braiding leans. When you are done, you should have a row of left-leaning diagonal stripes with a little bump on top.

Row 5: In this row, you are going to do the same thing as the previous row, except you are going to bring the working yarn UNDER the float (in this case, the red yarn goes under the white).

Then bring that yarn up over the needle and purl, holding the float (the white yarn) in front. Repeat this action throughout the row, alternating colours, making sure you are purling into the same colour you are holding. In this step, you are creating right leaning diagonal lines.

When you are done the row, it should look like this:

At which point, you can continue on in your pattern. To make a right-leaning braid (as the mittens call for) you reverse the two rows so. You bring the yarn under in the first braid row, and over in the second. Easy-peasy as Jamie Oliver would say.

Other than the mittens, I’ve been busy, the boys and I went to the library today where I picked up Selbuvotter. So excited. I cast on Annemor #10 (this is one of the first photo results I found searching for it – here is the Ravelry page for the pattern if you can see it.) immediately in grey and black. This is my first glove attempt. I am optimistic! B got a book about the toilet. He loves books about toilets. O mostly slept. Ooh! I finally finished the Manda Ruth hoodie for O. I finished all but the sleeves in just under a week, and then did one sleeve a month ago, and finished the other yesterday. What is it with me and sleeves? It’s a good thing I did finish it, because it’s a lot smaller than I thought it would be and fits him now instead of in the winter. Which is ok. It’s adorable!

Tomorrow we go to the Farmers’ Market. I am excited. Mostly for the perogies. They make them with New Bothwell cheese, and also have Mexican and Pizza Perogies. So good. And the bread made with apple cider, oh my! And I hope to finish up the mitten pattern to post up by Sunday or Monday, depending on how much life intervenes.
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  • Beth2

    Thank you so much for this wonderful tutorial!
    Beth2 on Rav

  • Iontach on Rav

    As a New Year’s Day resolution, two of us decided to learn the Latvian Braided Cast On. We had a look at several tutorials which confused us hopelessly, and then found yours, which was clear and concise and *works*! Thank you so much, and happy 2011!

  • Km

    Thanks! Just what I was looking for….

  • confused

    I am knitting your True North Mittens but am confused as to the instruction for the thumb gusset. The pattern/graph in the fall 2011 Interweave shows you knitt the mitten to row 17 but then do you join with the gusset that I believe you make separately then join with the mitten – is this correct. also where would you attach the gusset to as the mitten is knitted on the round. Help what am I missing