Nine Men’s Morris: The Ordinary Knitter – episode 74

The Ordinary Knitter Podcast
Nine Men's Morris: The Ordinary Knitter - episode 74

Nine Men’s Morris

nine men's morris

Hello and welcome to The Ordinary Knitter, the knitting podcast that’s (mostly) about the projects, sponsored by Ecoflap home draughtproofing products including the Petflap draughtproof pet door. Find out more about the Petflap at the The Energy Efficiency Podcast is also available through Apple Podcasts, or at

My name is Heather and I’m @theordknitter on Twitter, @theordinaryknitter on Instagram and @ordinaryknitting on Ravelry. This time: knitting a nine men’s morris board, 5 ply socks, DK jumpers, and plans for Christmas knitting.

Ft patterns:

Nine Men’s Morris board

My daughter’s very interested in the Anglo Saxons so in the summer we went to the Brimingham Museum and Art Gallery to see the Staffordshire Hoard.  As part of the exhibition there’s a Nine Men’s Morris board, and we had fun at a few rounds of that.

I thought a Nine Men’s Morris board and counters would make a good Christmas present for her and then it occurred to me that I could knit one. I looked for a pattern as I thought charting it would be a nightmare, but I couldn’t find a pattern, so I had to chart it!

It was mind-bending, I freely admit, not least because it took quite a while for the penny to drop that the lines and blobs weren’t evenly spaced. Once I’d grasped that it all fell into place.

I’ve knitted enough wee mats and flannels to know that I needed a seed stitch border, so I wrote one of those in all round, and embarked on a test knit. I expected to use Aran so used some that I had already as all I wanted to do was test the mechanics of the pattern, not its beauty. It took me quite a while to finish as I couldn’t do it when my daughter was around, and it got quite involved.

One decision I had to make early was intarsia or colourwork. I started off with colourwork as I had great long stretches of a single colour, as in 60-odd stitches with just one or two of the second colour at the edges, and I could just carry the second colour vertically up the edges. That’s not appropriate for intarsia.

As the pattern gets more involved however there’s an argument for intarsia as the lines and blobs are closer together in the middle but there are longer gaps to the furthermost edge lines, so I ended up combining the two, partly also as I wanted to test the effect. I decided in the end that it’s not a bad approach although my god it gets complicated with all the bobbins and so on sprouting out of the back. It was absolute spaghetti, in fact it was more spaghetti than spaghetti is.

As I say, this was a test knit, and there were learnings. I realised early on that the seed stitch border was too short. As I got to the other end of the piece I extended the border to see how it behaved, and another three rows or so made all the difference. I’d realised as I’d gone along that the piece would look better with a smaller needles. This is particularly because there’s so much colourwork and therefore lots of places where the knitting can get a little bit slack if you aren’t really careful. With a smaller needles that’s less of a risk and less obvious if you do get it a bit loose.

What I need to do now is knit it for real with proper yarn. I’m going to choose a high wool content yarn. At this point I expect to use a cream background with brown lines and blobs. I suppose I really should get on with buying the yarn as I’ve got to get it made by Christmas. I looked in my local yarn shop but couldn’t find anything like what I wanted, so I’m going to go to my usual haunts online. I am so looking forward to that! I do intend to make the pattern available, or at least the chart, when I’ve proven to myself that the tweaks work and have had a chance to polish it up into a socially acceptable pattern. If anyone wants a copy of the rough and not-so-ready version just get in touch.

Music credit:

“Carpe Diem” Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License