Knit Easy!

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Knitting Intarsia In The Round Way

Knitting intarsia in the round is very much the same as knitting it flat.   If you're not familiar with knitting intarsia flat, click here for an earlier tutorial.  Both of these lessons are from my Intro to Colorwork class, available at Rhinebeck, Toronto's Creativ, and other festivals this summer and fall.

The best way to do this is to just do it.  We're going to make a quick swatch.  You'll need two circs of the same size, and three colors of yarn in a corresponding weight.  Cast on 15 stitches in color A on one circular needle.  Cast on 15 stitches of color B on another circular needle.  Now, holding the needles together with A in front so the working yarns both come from the right side,* twist the 2 yarns together.  Knit across A with A.  Do not turn.  Purl across B with B.  Turn.  Twist the yarns together once.  Purl across A with A.  Do not turn.  Knit across B with B. Turn.*   Repeat these two rounds.

As you can see, essentially you’re working  each color as you would on straight needles.  The only change is that you need to twist the yarns together at the end of each row, just like you did in intarsia.  Several rounds of this process produces a tube which is one color on one side and a different one on the other.  The same basic technique can be used to achieve simple intarsia patterns in the round that don't end at the end of a needle.  You just work the same technique one color at a time.
Now let’s introduce a third color.  On the A color side, let’s knit every second stitch in color C, and keep everything else the same.  When we turn the work to purl, we’ll work the A stitches with C, and the C stitches with A.  You are building a tiny checkerboard pattern, which will be a little tighter, and twice as thick, as the fabric on the other needle.  This technique can be a practical benefit when done on only one of the two needles.

This type of color combining creates a beautiful effect in socks, mittens, hats, sleeves, and any other knitting in the round.  Spice up a single colored pattern, or reinforce palms and soles of the feet.  By adding a second yarn to the “wear” side of a garment, you’re adding life by adding durability.  And it’s always nice to do it in color.

Of course, if you wish, you can perform this two color technique on each needle.  When working in this way, each color needs to stay on its own needle, so even if you wanted to use color C on the front and back of the work, you would need to be working from two separate balls of C, just like you would in flat intarsia. 

Work this swatch until you create neat, firm, closed seams between colors that do not pucker.  The only way to even out your tension at the color changes is to practice.  Once you have it, it's like riding a bike - you'll never forget it!


Stranded Intarsia Knitting Method

‘Stranded intarsia’ method

  1. Knit in the round until you’ve done the last row before the intarsia starts.
  2. Start working the contrast colour, but: instead of using a separate strand of yarn every time you change from contrast colour to main colour, use only one strand per colour. When you’re not using the second colour, carry it around in the back every two or three stitches, as you would for stranded knitting.
    Note: Don’t pull your yarn too tight, it’ll take the stretch out of your work. Don’t leave it too loose either, or you’ll create holes in your work. To maintain a nice stretch, make sure that you can still spread your stitches on your needles as you would when working with one colour only. It may take some practice, but you’ll get there.
  3. When you’ve reached the end of your row, cut the contrast colour yarn if you haven’t done so already. Make sure to leave a long enough tail to weave it in once you’re finished.
  4. Continue knitting in the round, adding the contrast colour to each row when you need it, carrying it along the back of your work until you’ve reached the last stitch on that row.
  5. Repeat steps 3 to 4 until the whole intarsia part is done.
  6. Continue knitting in the round as you would normally do.

How to knit intarsia in the round

When you try to find information about knitting intarsia in the round on the internet, most of the time you’ll be told that it’s not possible. The big problem when you try to do it: your yarn ends up at the end of your row, while you need it to be at the beginning.
If you don’t like bending the knitting rules, you’ll have to learn how to live with it: knitting intarsia in the round cannot be done. If, on the other hand, you don’t mind a little experimenting, there are actually two methods to solve this problem:
  • the yarn over method
  • the ‘stranded intarsia’ method
Both methods are explained below.

Yarn over method

  1. Knit in the round until you’ve done the last row before the intarsia starts.
  2. Use your main and contrast colours as you would when knitting intarsia flat, until you get to the end of the row.
  3. Turn your work, so the wrong side is facing you.
  4. At the beginning of the row, do a yarn over.
  5. Since you’re working on the wrong side of your work, purl the rest of the row as you would when knitting flat, but do not work the last stitch of the row yet.
  6. Purl the last stitch of the row together with the yarn over you made in the beginning of the row, seaming both sides together while doing so. Pull tight enough.
  7. Turn your work, so the right side is facing you again.
  8. At the beginning of the work, do a yarn over.
  9. Since you’re working on the right side of your work again, knit the rest of the row as you would when knitting intarsia flat, but do not work the last stitch of the row yet.
  10. Knit the last stitch of the row together with the yarn over you made in the beginning of the row, by knitting through the back loop of these two stitches.
  11. Repeat steps 3 to 10 until the whole intarsia part is done.
  12. Continue knitting in the round as you would normally do.


Saturday, 3 May 2014

Knitting: A Step by Step Skill

Knitting could be a tiresome activity, doing patterns such as large cardigans may be boring and could eat up your time. Knitting is not an expensive hobby either. Try recycling the yarn from your good old sweater and cardigans. Or you could even purchase a second hand knitting needle if you want. If you have enough time, you could invest your time in learning how to your own yarn.
Some have their own knitting styles and techniques. Some go with the English knitting method [also known as right hand knitting], where the yarn is carried in the right hand while the others prefer left hand knitting or the Continental Style. It is where the yarn is held in the left hand and the needle is held on the right hand. Others argue that continental knitting is the best style to pick when knitting, since the yarn is in the left hand and with a slight movement of the left index finger, you could just pick the yarn to form a stitch. Unlike the English knitting that is the opposite of continental knitting; it holds the yarn in the right hand and throwing it over the needle to form the stitch.
But as for beginners, they may need to know first the basic knitting stitches, the proper way of holding the knitting needle, various knitting needle sizes, and knitting needle conversion charts before they can start knitting. It may take them a little while to learn different patterns and techniques to improve and ease their knitting. But most of the knitting enthusiasts suggest that for a novice, it is best that they should start from simple patterns before gradually increasing the difficulty and learning their own technique. So here's the breakdown of the knitting skills that will guide you in the process:
Beginner level usually concentrates on basic knit, purl stitches and minimal shaping. Usually, beginners were advised to do projects such as scarf, dishcloth, or coffee cozies since they are mostly in rectangular shape and use basic stitches.
Easy [Advanced Beginner] level usually concentrates on projects using basic stitches, repetitive stitch patterns, simple color changes, and simple shaping and finishing.
Intermediate explores variety of stitches, such as basic cables and lace, simple intarsia, double-pointed needles and knitting in the round needle techniques, mid-level shaping and finishing.
Experienced/Expert/Advanced level usually using advanced techniques and stitches, such as short rows, fair isle, more intricate intarsia, cables, lace patterns, and numerous color changes. This means more challenging patterns, colors and may involve tricky and complicated shaping and finishing touches.
Each of the knitters goes through this each level of difficulty. So as a novice, don't be intimidated with the lavish and tricky patterns that you'll encounter.
Yarn Bazaar brings you some of the most beautiful knitting patterns for babies and gives you a handy knitting needle conversion charts to help you get started with your knitting career. Of course, you'll also need to have the knowledge of the knitting needle sizes to get hold of your desired patterns. Yarn Bazaar would surely meet those needs of yours.
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