Tag Archives: advanced

Advanced Intarsia Tips

Another blog entry from the NattyKnitter archives, this time from May 2009. I can honestly say that I am the master of most intarsia at this point. Fair Isle…now that’s a different story.

For the last few days, I’ve been working on an intarsia design and on my intarsia skills at the same time. I think I’ve finally cracked it, so here are some tips which might help you to crack that intarsia code too.

Intarsia Work

1. The yarn you’re knitting with needs wrapping together with the different color of yarn *only* if they’re in the same row. It sounds pretty obvious, but when you’re actually knitting, it can seem like a good idea to wrap the yarn around the loose end in the row below. This is not necessary. If you have a full row of one color, just knit right across, no matter what’s happening on the row below.

2. “Leave the Left Leaners”. If the line of the image is leaning left then don’t wrap the new color around the old color, of course when you turn the knitting, the left leaning line becomes a right leaning line. So you are only wrapping the yarn in every other row on a diagonal. This stops the knitting from looking pulled and pinched.

3. Avoid accidental wraps. Sometimes I find myself knowing that the yarn doesn’t need wrapping, but still reaching for the new color from underneath the old yarn. This is especially difficult to avoid when the color change is only needed for one stitch. Under these circumstances, I make a concerted effort to bring the new color over the old one.

and some other tips, reprinted from a previous blog entry

4. Learn how to make center pull bobbins, they are really easy and much more manageable than plastic bobbins or sprung wooden clothespins. Take the ball of yarn in your right hand but hold the end against your left palm with your left thumb. Now do the Vulcan salute or keep your little and ring fingers together and your middle and index fingers together (seriously this does work, just bear with me). Then wrap the yarn from the ball around these fingers in a figure of eight. When you have enough yarn on your fingers to make the bobbin, cut the yarn at the ball and slide the loops off your fingers. Fold the loops against one another and wrap the cut end tightly around the bobbin, tucking it under itself to secure. The end you knit with is the one you were holding with your thumb, it should pull out of the center of the bobbin really easily.

5. Don’t be frightened of knots. Knots are not usually a big part of knitting (ironically). Normally there should be enough tension in your work that you don’t need to knot a new ball onto an old ball, especially as you would only do this at the beginning of the row. However in intarsia, knotting in a new yarn color gives you something to pull against when you’re trying to establish tension.

6. Swallow your pride and admit that you’ll have to do some tension adjustment. I never have to do tension adjustment in ordinary stockinette stitch, but with intarsia you have to expect to be pulling on loose stitches to redistribute the excess yarn throughout the rest of the row.

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Advanced Short Row Shaping – How to Close the Holes

If you’re a knitter and you know my Natty Knits toys you’ll know that they’re all made using a technique called Short Row Shaping. This involves turning the knitting around before you’ve knitted to the end of the row, so making the knitted fabric 3 dimensional. However, when you turn the knitting, you leave a small hole. This blog post demonstrates how to close these holes to get a smoother finish on your knitting.

All my original patterns can be knitted without using this technique, if you don’t close the holes the knitting will look like this:IMG_3557

It’s a small hole and I’m actually stretching the fabric in this photo to make it look bigger. If you’re knitting in a natural fibre and intend to felt the finished item, then these holes won’t even show up.

But there is a way to close the holes so that it looks like this:

IMG_3561

Can you see where the two knitted rows merge into one? There’s no hole there now.

This is how you close those holes.

Every time you turn the work mid row to make a short row, you make a yarn forward and it makes a little loop under the stitch. Essentially what you will do is knit into this loop as well as the stitch above it.

When you knit back towards a short row end from a previous row it will look like this:

IMG_3622

There’s a very noticeable gap after the stitch with the loop under it. (It’s so noticeable in fact that I’ve knitted short rows by candlelight.) When you get to that last stitch before the gap you’ll need to find the loop under the stitch, use the right needle to pick up the loop from right to left and front to back, like this:

IMG_3623

Then with the loop still on your right needle, knit into the stitch above as normal, it’s almost like knitting two stitches together, like this:

IMG_3624

And that’s how you do it. Easy. This is obviously only the way to pick up the loop on a knit row, if you’re working in stockinette stitch it’s a different matter (I’m working on a second blog post about short rows in stockinette stitch)

So now you know how to make un-holey short row shaping, check out the patterns in the Natty Knits shop, they’re great to practice this method on.

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