Lateral Braid: A Little How-to

I recently knit these:

They are fingerless mitts from a pattern called “Treads“.  I made them as a Christmas gift, so when I initially blogged about them, I didn’t include much detail.  I knitted them with cashmere, and wow was it nice to knit with.  So soft.  I hope they hold up well! I learned two new really neat stitches:  the linen ridge stitch, and then the lateral braid.

When I blogged about them, I talked a little about the lateral braid.  It creates a really neat sideways knit stitch.  It was a little tricky to learn, and I never really found much on the internet in the way of tutorial help.  Ever since I wrote that blog post, I’ve noticed that probably 4 or 5 times a week, someone comes to my blog as a result of their search “lateral braid”.  So I thought I’d try to provide a little explanation of how I did this.  I hope it helps.

The pattern describes the Lateral Braid as a Estonian technique.  The author of the pattern first encountered the technique in a Nancy Bush pattern called Fox Faces Socks.  (You can find some description of how to do the lateral braid there too.  In my knitting, I usually find going to several explanations can help me finally figure out how to do something.) In her pattern she also refers to the fact that there are more detailed instructions for this ‘Vikkel’ braid in Folk Knitting in Estonia (1999, Interweave Press) on page 50.  I’d like to find that book.

Anyway, I thought I would include some pictures that I hope will clarify a little bit on how to do the braid.  I thought about doing a video, but I found myself stumbling around and messing up.  Plus it’s not easy with Davey on the loose, not to mention a curious Siberian Husky.  So I am going to try to describe it just with some photos and written details.

I knit these mitts in the round on double pointed needles.  So when you start the lateral braid, you do a make 1 at the very beginning of the round.  I did a M1R because that is what the Treads pattern said to do.

In the photo below, I have picked up the bar between the first stitch on the left hand needle, and the last stitch on the right hand needle.

So I make the stitch.  It then is sitting on the right hand needle.  Put this stitch BACK onto the left hand needle.

Now.  Knit into the BACK of the second stitch on the left hand needle.   Like in the picture below:

Ok after you knit into the back of the second stitch,  immediately knit into the front of the FIRST stitch on the left hand needle.  (This is the stitch that you made a few minutes ago, and then slipped back to the lefthand needle.)

After you knit into the front of the first stitch, then you will slip both these first and second stitches off the lefthand needle.

Ok here is where I kept messing up at first, and I was getting this big ole bunched up mess.  You will  have two new stitches on your righthand needle.  Put the leftmost stitch – the first stitch on the righthand needle – back on the lefthand needle.

Then you just repeat this.  Knit into the back of the second stitch on the lefthand needle, then into the front of the first stitch on the lefthand needle, and then slip both of these off the lefthand needle.  Always remember to take that leftmost stitch (from the righthand needle)  and move it back to the lefthand needle.

And here is what begins to emerge.

When you finish the end of the round, you are going to have one extra stitch, because you did that increase at the very beginning.  So to get rid of it, just slip the first stitch of the next round (on lefthand needle) back to the righthand needle, and pass the last stitch of the round over that stitch – like if you were doing a bind off. )  Take the last stitch on the righthand needle (the one on which you just did the pass over) and move it back to the lefthand needle.  Now you are back to your original number of stitches and are good to go.

I hope this helps.  Leave me a comment if you need additional help!


21 thoughts on “Lateral Braid: A Little How-to

  1. Thank you so much for posting a visual tutorial of this stitch! Now I’ll be able to continue my knit project today! You absolutely ROCK! 🙂

  2. Your instructions were great. Wanted to make the same pair of fingerless gloves. Was stumped on their instructions and the german video made no sense to me. Thanks so much for your help. Great work!

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  4. Just “happened” across your site and wanted to say what a FANTASTIC instructional break down in explaining the Lateral Braid process. Some people can truly teach, while others are just not meant to, for they “assume” too much (ex.: “Well, of course you’re suppose to transfer that stitch back to the left needle, how else can you knit into the back of it if you don’t?”). They fail to remember that newbie knitters could be part of the “audience” (I am no longer a newbie, but appreciate a detailed breakdown when learning a new technique, anyway).
    THANK YOU for taking the time to do so, AND include demonstrative pics. Your efforts are greatly appreciated.

  5. p.s. Not referencing the designer in my comments above, but actually others who’ve tried to explain this technique. Some of the so-called “tutorials” can be a nightmare. :::shudders::: 🙂

  6. Ah! I’m in the process of knitting a pair of these, and I just got to point where I need to make a lateral braid. The instructions provided in the pattern didn’t really make sense to me, and the video just made me more confused; but your instructions are a lot clearer–and it’s especially nice that you included pictures. I’m still working on trying to get it down because as of now I still have just a clump of stitches instead of a nice looking braid, but I think it will get better with practice (unless I’m doing it wrong, haha). Thanks so much for this!

  7. My difficulty lies in the actal physical knitting after the back knit into second stitch on left needle, it just won’t work, so maybe i’m knitting incorectly into the front of the first stitch, but so fat have not found any info or better yet pictures on HOW to knit that second step of the lateral braid.

  8. Thank you, Thank You! I figured it out and your directions Did help!
    I was not slipping both complete stitches off, so there was no room to work.
    I also apologize for my previous typos to all who attempt to read my last comment. Senior moments, I think….

  9. Thank you for this!! I was so confused, but I was missing the last bit about slipping the last stitch back on to the left needle. Thank you!

  10. This tutorial is just what I needed. I am designing a hat (first time) and needed to find an easy braid-type stitch to add interest, dimension, and separation between designs. I am getting out some yarn and knit along with the tutorial.
    Many Thanks!

  11. thank you so much! i tried another tutorial before this one, and i was having trouble in the same spot as you! so thank you for the clear tutorial. very helpful indeed!

  12. Love your pattern, and like the fingerless mitt much better than the one from Treads…did you just BO after the last braid above the fingers?

  13. Great, clear instructions. Thank you. My only question is, if knitting in the round, when you take that first M 1 stitch to the last needle and slip the last st on last needle over it, isn’t the count for that needle now correct, as well as the count for the first needle of the round. I’m not quite sure I understand why that M 1 st has to be put back on the left needle if you are not going to be doing any more braids. All the instructions I have seen for the lateral braid in the round say to do it as you have done it, but I’m not sure why. If you added the st. to the first needle and then took it off again by deleting it on the last needle, why put that st back on the left needle? Won’t it disrupt the original count for that first needle?
    Maybe I’m being picky, but as a volunteer, I am going to be teaching this to a small group in January and want to make sure I am doing it right.
    Thanks so much.!!!!

    • Sorry to be so wordy about ending the round of the Vikkel braid. I have now done it and see that YES, it is necessary to move that stitch back to the left needle. So forgive my wandering/wondering. I love this stitch and now feel prepared to teach it to some knitting friends this January. Thanks again for your clear instructions and excellent pictures.

  14. I think I read this a few years back, and started adding it to my Barbie dresses as a pseudo-belt. Recently I’ve been looking for a knit way to make the knob on top of a hat, for the Lego look. I think this may be what will work…. making 2 to 3 rows of the braid at the top (crown), holds the cylinder shape better than just working even a few extra rows. (Patterns I’ve seen for the Lego cap out there, knit the cap, then crochet a knob and sew it on)

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