Midweek Masterclass: Pick a perfect pocket type

Faye Perriam-Reed details three ways to add pockets to your knits: the afterthought, forethought and patch methods in this week's Midweek Masterclass!

30th March 2016

The afterthought pocket

This is a great way to add a pocket to a piece of knitwear at a later date, and the result will be neat and quite hidden.

(1) Locate the spot where you’d like the top of the pocket to be, and count how many stitches wide you want it to be. Cut the yarn in the middle of this space. It is important you don’t cut where the top corner of the pocket will be, as there won’t be enough yarn to weave the ends in. Unravel the yarn each side of the cut until the pocket is the width you’d like it to be. This will become the pocket opening.

(2) Pick up the new stitches formed by the unravelled yarn over three double-pointed needles (DPNs) as shown, with the bottom stitches over one needle and the top stitches split over two needles. If you prefer to use circular needles and the Magic Loop method, you can pick both rows of stitches up on two ends of a circular needle instead. There will always be one stitch less on one side than the other.

(3) With a new ball of yarn, purl across the bottom needle of stitches (to create a fold line) and then begin knitting in the round.

(4) Continue knitting in the round until the pocket is the desired length. Finish by working a three-needle cast-off to join both the top and bottom rows of knitting. There will be one stitch left when you reach the end - this can be cast off by itself.

(5) This sort of pocket always creates little holes at the corners where the stitches have been picked up, so you can tidy these up a bit when weaving in your yarn ends.

The forethought pocket

(6) Worked in the same way as the afterthought pocket, this method takes a little forward planning. After deciding where you want to place the pocket, work to this spot using the main yarn. At the point where you’d like the top right corner of the pocket to be, begin working across the desired amount of stitches on a DPN the same size as the main needles and using waste yarn.

When the required number of stitches has been worked, slip them to the other end of the DPN and work them again in the main yarn. Continue to work the rest of the piece, ignoring this row until you have cast off. Then work steps 2-5 of the afterthought pocket method, unravelling the waste yarn, rather than cutting a hole in the fabric.

The patch pocket

Patch pockets are a practical addition to a garment, and have more of an impact on the overall look of the garment than the other two methods detailed here. This pocket can be worked on an existing project, using a set of DPNs the same size as the garment needles and some matching or contrasting yarn, depending on your style.

(7) Decide where you would like the pocket to lie, and determine the height and width required. You can pick up stitches by using yarn at the back of the work and pulling it through to the front, or by holding the yarn at the front, folding the work and pulling the yarn through for each stitch.

With your method of choice, pick up the required amount of stitches down the right side of where the pocket will be, across the bottom and up the left side. Use a different DPN for each side of the pocket.

(8) Using a new ball of yarn and a fourth DPN, slip the first stitch on the bottom needle, knit across the stitches until you get to the last stitch, then SSK this stitch together with the stitch at the bottom of the DPN that’s holding the stitches on the left side of the pocket.

Turn the work, slip the first stitch, purl across the bottom stitches to the last stitch and then purl together the last stitch with the stitch at the bottom of the needle on the right side of the pocket.

Continue in this manner, working across in rows and joining the side stitches at each end, until all the stitches are used up. Cast off neatly, making sure the tension matches that of the garment.

Pocket types

About Faye

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