Updated September 22, 2023.
If you’ve been needlepointing awhile, you’ve probably encountered some stitches that look like knitting. Two popular ones are Diagonal Knitting and Kalem.
My problem with them is that they seem too big for the tiny sweaters I often find on my needlepoint.
As a result, I often use a Tent Stitch variation I call Tiny Knitting. In it, columns or rows of Continental change direction. It gives the look of knitting, called stockinette (pictured below). Because the direction of the stitches changes in a regular way, you can change colors, making patterns and stripes.
You can also change from horizontal to vertical, making the sleeves horizontal and the body vertical as is often the case in real sweaters.
You also can easily add the ribbing you find at the bottom of a sweater as I did in the bunnies pictured below. The narrow ribs are done in a slightly darker color and slant one way. The wider ribs are stitched in the same threads as the body and slant the other way.
By varying the width of the rows, you can make all kinds of ribs in your stitched sweaters.
Generally, you’ll make your rows of Continental so they are perpendicular to the bottom of the sweater for the body and parallel to the cuff of the sleeve. You can also use any thread for your needlepoint knitting. On a current project with two sweaters, one is in a cashmere blend and the other is in cotton.
The more I think about this, the more I think of ways to make “knitted” needlepoint. How about creating an ornament in this style? Use charted knitting patterns, such as Fair Isle, and stitch in Tiny Knitting. Finish it into a self-finishing ornament.