Tips and tricks on knitting pockets
This blog post is a part of our series on knitting techniques, inspired by our resolution to keep learning and teaching new techniques. You can find more posts with tips and techniques on our knitting blog.
Pockets are both beautiful, cozy and practical. Pockets on knitted cardigans and jackets, are almost indispensable, and our hands automatically reach into them for coziness and warmth.
Seen from a designer's chair, pockets are also a great opportunity to put his or her mark on a design. Pockets can add a feminine detail, enhance a minimalistic expression or add a fun contribution to a design.
4 Different types of knitted pockets
Today we will discuss the technique behind four different types of knitted pockets:
1) Patch pockets
2) Seamless inset pockets
3) Slanted pockets
4) Afterthought pockets
1) Patch pockets:
As the name suggest, these are pockets, that are mounted or patched onto the finished knitwear, after you have finished knitting it. A patch pocket can be constructed by knitting a square and sewing it on, or you can pick up stitches on your cardigan / sweater, where you want the pocket, and knit back and forth over the stitches, and finally sew the pocket to the sides. It gives a slightly better finish.
The good thing about patch pockets is that they can add an extra detail to your design. Another benefit is that you can simply skip the pockets, if you do not want them, as they are not an integral part of the pattern. An example of a patch pocket can be seen on the Beatrice cardigan.
2) Seamless inset pockets are integrated into your knitwear and can be constructed in several different ways. Copenhagen cardigan from PetiteKnit is a good example. Here, you decide where the pocket should sit, and then you knit 'a long strip' over approx. 10 cm stitches, fold the 'strip' and knit it together with the cardigan's stitches again. It can be hard to imagine - but Kimmie Munkholm explains it nicely in the video below (in Danish, but you will get it by just watching).
You can also make an inside pocket by using auxiliary yarn. Once you have figured out where to place the pocket, switch to the auxiliary yarn and knit with this yarn over e.g. 10 cm's. Put the stitches back on your left needle and now knit again with the original yarn. Then loosen the two rows with auxiliary yarn, put the stitches on a needle and knit the pocket.
A good example of such a construction can be found in the lovely Bernadette sweater.
3) Slanted pockets come in many variations, but common for them all is, that they are knitted as an integral part of the pattern. Typically this gives a very elegant design, where the pockets are part of the overall design. Now, these patterns can be slightly more difficult, but are really worth it, as it is so interesting to watch the construction grow while knitting.
4) Afterthought lommer is an expression for a pocket that you can add to any piece of knitwear, after it is finished - as an afterthought. It is a good technique to master, if you for example have a cardigan that is too tight around the waist, as a big pocket can add some width visually - or when you just find out that your life isn't the same without a pocket somewhere. River City Yarns has a very instructional video below that illustrates this technique
Useful videos on knitting pockets
In this video Kimmie Munkholm shows you how to knit a seamless inset pocket in your sweater. This pocket technique is used in e.g the popular Copenhagen Cardigan by PetiteKnit. (This video is in Danish only, but very well demonstrated visually 🤞🏽)
In this video River City Yarns show you how to plan and knit a afterthought pocket onto an already finished project.
Inspiration for knitting projects with pockets
Beatrice is a gorgeous, long cardigan with a pretty smock effect on the yoke, sleeves and pockets. Beatrice is the most beautiful and warm cardigan / jacket - in this Beatrice knitting kit we knit it in our own soft and sustainable Önling No 2, 100% merino wool.
The Zipper jacket is designed by PetiteKnit and is one of her most popular designs. It is also the 3rd design in her 'Zipper' collection. The zipper jacket is intended as an oversize jacket with a raw zipper, and it is incredibly soft and beautiful in our Zipper Jacket knitting kit consisting of Önling No 1 plus silk mohair. The jacket is worked from the top-down on needle size 5 mm, and has gorgeous inset pockets.
Pygmalion is a beautiful, long sweater in half fisherman's rib with pockets and collar knitted together in the most interesting way. There are countless opportunities to play with the colors on this sweater - it is just as beautiful in a solid color as with colored details on the sleeves and collar. See for instance our Pygmalion knitting kit in the original Önling No 20 Shetland wool here.
Bernadette is one of our very popular basic sweaters; a pretty and basic raglan sweater, which can be varied endlessly.
Work it in a solid color, or add some color by giving it stripes, colorful contrast edges etc. Here it is shown in a single color version with edges in a contrasting color. Find the knitting pattern for Bernadette sweater here.
Bella cozy cardigan is a beautiful, long cardigan with a pretty cable pattern on the back. In the Bella Cozy Cardigan knitting kit, we knit in the softest Önling No 1 yarn, which is 75% merino wool and 25 angora. The cardigan is oversized and fun to knit. Use it as a smart seasonal jacket or an indoor cozy cardigan - the possibilities with this classic are many.