I’ve been working on a project — which I’ll share with you as soon as it’s done! — that is a mostly plain hat with some colorwork. I’d been resistant on working the colorwork section, and once I started knitting it, I realized why: it needed to be worked as intarsia, which you can’t really do in the traditional way in the round.
Intarsia is also known as picture knitting, and it involves working a section in one color and another section in another color without stranding the yarn behind the work. So if you have a background color and an accent color, you have one ball of yarn for the background, another ball for the accent, then another ball of the background color to work on the other side.
The trouble with this when working in the round is that your accent color yarn ends on the incorrect side for using it to knit with on the next round. There are a couple of ways you can deal with that:
- Cut the yarn of every round and start a new strand.
- Leave a really long tail so you can knit the next round with the tail from the previous round (you’ll still have to start a new strand every two rounds this way).
- Work back and forth rather than in the round for that section, which requires joining the rounds together (described in this fun pattern from Knitty).
- Strand the yarn all the way around the work so that you can use the same strand throughout. Make sure you work really loosely if you do it this way.
Check out this great article from Abfabulies for the pros and cons of a couple of these methods, as well as great pictures of what the methods look like on the front and back of the knitting.
I ended up doing some kind of crazy hybrid of stranding and cutting, but when I write the pattern I think I’m going to suggest another method altogether: using duplicate stitch instead.
[Photo via Abfabulies.]
By Sarah White