Sunday, 3 August 2014

Basic Intarsia Tutorial

Intarsia is a simple colorwork knitting technique that uses 2 or more colors in every working row. What makes it different than stranded knitting, is that the colors are worked in 'blocks' and almost no color is worked throughout the row, only at specific parts.

That means that we have 'columns' of stitches of different colors which we work by switching between yarns. The 'trick' to achieve this, without producing holes in our work, is to twist the yarns with each other. 

To illustrate this process we have the following example:
For clarity, we use only two colors, and a simple motif, a square. (all sorts of shapes can be knitted though). Our main color is MC: petrol and our contrasting color, CC: pink.

We begin by working a few rows in MC. When on the right side of work, we work a few stitches and then introduce CC. In this first row, there is no need for any special technique. 
After we complete a few stitches with CC, we begin to work again with MC, but this time, from a new yarn strand! If the stitches of the motif are only a few though, we can easily carry along the same yarn strand across and work with it the new stitches. Otherwise, as in this example, you will need a second strand.

On the next row (wrong side), we officially begin with intarsia. As seen in the pictures below, we knit normally with MC and when we arrive at the CC stitches, before knitting the first CC stitch, we cross the two yarns.

click to enlarge

The same is done when we are done knitting the CC stitches and move to the MC again. So, in this example we have to cross twice in each row. If we had more color changes, we would have more twisting of yarns.

Twisting can easily produce tangling, but with good yarn management this is easily avoided. Check out Helene Magnusson's excellent tutorial page on yarn management.

Next row is the right side, and we follow the same principle: work MC color, cross yarns, work CC, cross yarns, work MC.

After working a few rows, it might look like there is a vertical gap between the two colors, but that should close if in every row we keep twisting the yarns together.

When we are finished knitting the motif, we knit the next entire row with MC, but we remember to twist the yarns one last time during this row. This will help us take care of our yarn tails later. After a few rows with MC, the work should look like this:

Notice on the wrong side the 'purl' bumps that appear vertically around CC. This is the result of the twisting of the yarns. There is no need to pull the yarn too tight when twisting, maintaining the same tension is desired to produce a uniform and good looking result.

No comments:

Post a Comment