Swiss darning: duplicate stitch knitting

Add small details to your knitting or fix minor mistakes in colourwork by duplicate stitching using this easy-to-learn embroidery technique

Swiss darning

Swiss darning, also known as duplicate stitch, is a great way to add small details to your knitting. It works by covering a stitch with an embroidery stitch the same shape as the stitch beneath it.

Some beginner knitting patterns use Swiss darning in place of colourwork, because it’s an easy way to add details without using more complex techniques such as intarsia knitting. You can also use it to fix small mistakes in Fair Isle and other colourwork knitting. Don’t worry about ripping back – just embroider over the error and no one will ever know it was there!

In this tutorial we’ll show you how to Swiss darn with a simple step-by-step guide. All you need is a tapestry needle and some yarn, and a piece of stocking stitch knitting to practise on. Try using an old tension square.

When you’ve mastered this technique why not use it to make our cute raccoon bag charm? Don’t forget that Swiss darning isn’t the only embroidery stitch you can use to embellish your knitting – take a look at our library of embroidery stitches for beginners for more inspiration.

Raccoon bag charm
Designer Louise Smith used Swiss darning to add the eyes to this raccoon bag charm.

Swiss darning tutorial

Swiss darning is easy when you know how! Follow our quick three-step guide to find out how it’s done.


You Will Need

  • Yarn
  • Tapestry needle

Step 1

Swiss darning step 1

Work from bottom to top, bringing the needle out at the base of the stitch at 1 .


Step 2

Swiss darning step 2

Take the needle behind the top of the ‘V’, in at 2 and out at 3.


Step 3

Swiss darning step 3

Take the needle down at 1 and bring it up at 4, at the base of the stitch above.

Continue in this way up the line of knitted stitches.


That’s all there is to it! Keep Swiss darning like this until you’ve covered the desired number of stitches, then fasten off your yarn.

More beginner knitting guides

Get to grips with the basics of knitting with our guides to the essential tools you need and techniques you need to know.

Knitting starter kit for beginners including needles, scissors and stitch markers