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How to Knit Colorwork Patterns?

Knitting with color is an art and one that, with practice, can be mastered by every knitter who is willing to try.  All you need is the right knitting needles and yarn in variety of colors, plus a willingness to learn some new techniques.  With patience and tenacity, many beautiful options are yours for knitting. From sweaters to shawls, cowls to scarves to humble dishclothsto socks and more in multiple-shades – the options are endless. As  the accomplished painter, Wassily Kandinsky said: "Color is a power that directly influences the soul." As a knitter you can knit colors and make your patterns stand out.

Colorwork is one of the fun knitting techniques that is challenging, creative and above all mindful. A secret to getting colorwork done right is smooth knitting needles (circular needles with cords or straights) with all kinds of yarn, pack of stitch markers and other accessories. Besides, the method remains the same cast on, knit and purl stitches and bind off but with colowork knitting, you have stripes, alphabets, designs and more. The variety of color knitting techniques makes even the basic knitting projects a lot more interesting.

How to get started with knitting colors?

Knitting with multicolored yarn is not a colorwork technique but the easiest way to bring color into your projects. There is no need to learn a new technique but continue knitting as normal with variegated or self-striping and hand-dyed yarns! In this blog post, we’ll take you through some knitting techniques for colourwork patterns.

Let’s get started

Duplicate Stitch

One of the easiest ways to use color in your knitting. Complete your knitting pattern as normally you knit. After the project is complete, thread a darning needle with a contrasting shade of yarn, trace over already knitted stitches.  In effect, this duplicates an existing stitch with a new color overlay. This is useful for small patches of color or for letters like those used in a monogram. For a beginner, it is the best way to get started.

Stranded Knitting  

Stranded Knitting

You often see this type of knitting in colorwork patterns. It is achieved by carrying two or more yarns at the same time and following a chart. The unused colored yarns are simply carried behind the work when not in use, creating floating strands that can be seen on the wrong side of the work. Stranded knitting tends to produce warm fabric as each stitch is two layers of yarn.

Fair Isle 

Fair Isle is a specific kind of stranded knitting that originated in the north of Scotland, specifically the Shetland Islands. Fair Isle knitting uses only two colors per row, and the yarn is carried behind the work for a limited number of stitches. The design is usually depicted on a chart. Fair isle knitting often contains specific historic designs that have been used by generations of knitters.

Intarsia Knitting 

The colorwork knitting creates a variety of shapes or pictures. Different sections of each row are worked in different colors. In this technique, the unused yarn is not carried behind the project, but instead drops the old color and brings the new color up twisting the two colors to close the gap between the two. This continues until the next color change or the end of the row. Just make sure to your yarns are tangle-free as you twist them. Some knitters like to use bobbins to hold the various colors and to help them keep the various yarns from entangling.

Mosaic and Slip Stitch Knitting

Mosaic knitting is a relatively easy method of color knitting that results in a geometric or mosaic tile look. The mosaic technique requires you to work with two colors by slipping a specific number of stitches per row.

The mantra for slip stitch knitting using a light and a dark color: When working a row or round in a light color, you simply “slip” the dark stitches by transferring a dark stitch from the right to the left needle, without knitting it.  On the following row, you do the reverse - you slip the light stitches and only knit the dark ones.  The result will be an alteration of color that creates a design similar to mosaic patterning.  Most often 2 colors are used at a time.

Double Knitting 

Double knitting describes a knitting technique where you knit two separate pieces of fabric on one needle. This is usually done using two different colors and it results in a double thick knitted material.

Double Knitting

Hopefully, this post has helped define the different types of colorwork knitting. Video instructions can be found online by simply googling the technique name.

Whatever your knitting style or technique, we believe that the work will even more satisfying when you use The Mindful Collection needles. The stainless-steel tips work well with all types of yarn and the inspirational words found on each set of needles will help you stay focused and relaxed. Also, the stainless steel surface helps in seeing the yarn colors all the more clearly. With a knitting needle set from the collection, you can easily tackle multiple projects.

For mindful knitting, tips, techniques and everything to do with knitting, browse through our blog.

Happy knitting!

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