With the publication of our Alabama Studio Book Series, we open sourced our beloved techniques that these living arts might be preserved for future generations. One of the things that we learned along the way is that people who are dedicated to one particular area of craft can also become converts to another area. The art of working with your hands seems to span all disciplines.

We have customers who are woodworkers, potters, scrapbookers, knitters, and crocheters. Particularly, knitters seem to find themselves at home making Alabama Chanin pieces. Perhaps loop-by-loop finds familiarity with our stitch-by-stitch method. Knitters Melanie Falick (my editor) and Mason-Dixon’s Kay Gardiner are now hand-sewing enthusiasts in the Alabama Chanin style.

To honor this growing conversation between knit and stitch, we continue a theme in combining yarn, knitting, crochet, and sewing with beloved knitter Suzan Mischer, known for her popular shop Knit Cafe in West Hollywood, California.

This beautiful Bloomers Knit Bandana was designed by Suzan and is the first of many projects to come that incorporate Alabama Chanin embellishment with knitting techniques. This bandana uses a simple knit/purl and finishes off with Negative Reverse Appliqué in cotton jersey.  Instructions for Negative Reverse Appliqué are found on page 99 of Alabama Studio Sewing + Design.

From Suzan:

“I love the sturdy raw quality and washed out colors of the 2nd Time Cotton Yarn.  It feels very compatible with the hand-dyed Alabama Chanin cottons.  It can be machine washed in cold water and dried flat.”

My daughter Maggie LOVES this piece and keeps asking me, “When can I have it?” I love that one skein of yarn makes two bandanas. One for her; one for me.

This project works up quickly so you might consider two more for the holidays: one for a friend, one for family.



Pair of US 7 knitting needles
1 skein 2nd Time Cotton 100gr/180 yards (1 skein yields 2 bandanas)

GAUGE: 4.2 stitches per inch, 7 rows per inch
NOTE: For best edge definition, Bind off (BO) purl wise on knit and purl rows.

Cast on 146 stitches.  (We used a cable cast on.)
Row 1: Knit entire row
Row 2: Bind off 28 stitches knit wise, knit to end
Row 3: Bind off 28 stitches knit wise, knit to end
Row 4: purl entire row
Row 5: Bind off 2 stitches purl wise, knit to end
Row 6: Bind off 2 stitches purl wise, purl to end
Repeat rows 5 & 6 until only 1 stitch remains
Weave in ends



Paper to make pattern
Paper scissors
18” transparent plastic ruler
¼ yard of 60” wide medium-weight organic cotton jersey fabric or a small scrap
Supplies for stenciling (see page 48 of Alabama Studio Style)
Bloomers Stencil (pull-out from Alabama Stitch Book or download from our Maker Supplies + Stencils page) *Note that any stencil can be used here.
Embroidery scissors
Hand-sewing needle
Embroidery Floss

After completing the knit bandana, make a paper pattern that fits just inside the edge of your knitted bandana (roughly 11 x 11 x 17).

Cut pattern from medium-weight cotton jersey scrap.

Stencil jersey fabric on the face of the fabric with your stencil and stencil transfer method of choice.

Pin the cut and stenciled cotton jersey to the face of your Knit Bandana. With 4 strands of embroidery floss and a backstitch, work around each stenciled shape, securing the cotton jersey to your Knit Bandana. Tie off after every stencil shape and move on to the next shape. Detailed instructions for Negative Reverse Appliqué are found on page 99 of Alabama Studio Sewing + Design.

We used a whip stitch to secure the smaller shapes in the bloomers pattern.

After completing all of your stenciled shapes, trim away all fabric outside of your stenciled shapes with embroidery scissors, making sure not to cut closer than 1/8” to your stitched appliqué line to ensure durability of your finished bandana.


Yarn – 2nd Time Cotton  – Claret
Cotton jersey fabric – Medium-weight
Cotton jersey fabric color– Ruby
Stencil – Bloomers
Appliqué Stitch – Backstitch
Knots – Inside


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Click to read 5 comments
  1. Denise

    I’ve been thinking alot about doing hybrid pieces like this one. The problem is.. dreaming it up doesn’t take much time.. where making it does a bit.. nothing slows you down like homeschooling 4 kids! And having contract knitting projects that eat up your recreational knitting time! But I will have to make myself one of these!!

  2. Claudia

    Ah, the meeting of two of my crafting obsessions – hand-sewing and knitting. A match made in heaven. Suddenly I feel like I actually want to make some gifts for the holidays this year. An excellent way to make a dent in the yarn stash.

  3. Amy Hall

    This would be a great idea for a knitted shawl or scarf as well. The negative reverse applique is perfect. Thanks, Suzan, for opening our creative minds even wider. I can see a paisley shawl..hmm.