Fancy A Portuguese Knitting Adventure?

Let me present Evora, PKA. What does PKA stand for? Portuguese Knitting Adventure!

evora pka beret3
evora pka hot water bottle cover
evora pka beret2

Named Evora for one of my favourite singers, Cesária Évora, this pattern features two main patterns: a beret and a hot water bottle  cover.  At first glance this may seen like an odd  combination, but really, they are both meant to keep you warm, so that makes sense. You wouldn’t necessarily use them at the same time, but you could!

What ties these two things together is the similarity of construction and techniques used. They both feature a beginning where you can practice basic single colour knitting in the Portuguese style, as ribbing or stockinette.  Both have increases and decreases, and both feature a bold geometric colourwork which is suitable for men, women, or home decor.  

So in knitterly terms, they are related.  

The gorgeous sample, shown on the right, was made by one of my student’s in scrumptious Lettlopi pure Icelandic wool. Divine!

This design was created for a ‘Learn to Knit in the Portuguese Style’ class.  

Getting the mechanics of Portuguese style of knitting is pretty straightforward once you get the hang of using the pins, more about this in a moment!  

A four week class was too long for just the basics, and to be honest, Portuguese style knitting shines brightest when doing colourwork in the round!  My students all remarked on how fun, easy, and even their  colourwork knitting was using this technique. 

What’s the difference between Portuguese knitting and ‘regular’ knitting, you ask?  There are two key differences: how you tension the yarn, and the primary stitch. 

To tension the yarn, a special Portuguese knitting pin in used. This takes the strain off the hands and makes purling really slick.  That is important, since the primary stitch in Portuguese knitting is the purl.  This means that the main side of the work happens on what Continental or English knitters would consider the ‘wrong’ side of the work. Increases, decreases etc. are worked backwards. It’s not as hard as it sounds, really!  The ease of which the purl stitches are made, more than makes up for the little bit of mental gymnastics. 

Portuguese purling is smooth, and fast, and easy, especially for colourwork in the round. You’ll need two pins for this, one for each colour.  The background colour is held in the right hand and the contrast, or ‘design’ colour is held in the left hand. This allows for colour dominance to be respected and consistent (more about that in another post). 

The Evora PKA pattern is  not a full-on tutorial for learning how to knit Portuguese style, rather, there are annotations and remarks on how to adapt a ‘regular’ pattern to this style of knitting.  I will be making some helpful video tutorials in the near future.  The pattern is fully charted and explains how to work the stitches  used in the Portuguese style. 

Actually, you don’t have to make this set using Portuguese knitting, it works just as well for any other method of stranded knitting you prefer. The pattern is charted with notes, not fully written out. 

The pattern is carefully crafted to use two 100g (100m) skeins of yarn (200g, 400m total). This amount of yarn will make a beret and the cozy.  Chose two high contrast colours to make it easy on yourself and to get the most impact from the colourwork design. My favourite workhorse yarn, Cascade 220 is ideal for this. 

The pattern is now available to purchase on  Ravelry, the link is here: Evora PKA

Oh, and did I mention there are bonus instructions for making a cowl or toque if you prefer those! 

As always, 

Knit with joy!


On the right is pair of knitting pins, and to the far right, a sample of student work from the Learn to Knit Portuguese Style class. First project!

A pair of gold tone Portuguese Knitting pins.
A pair of gold tone Portuguese Knitting pins.
Student work in lovely shades of green.
Student work in lovely shades of green.

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