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Tricks to Knit Colorwork Patterns

Knitting colorwork patterns gives knitters a true opportunity to express their creativity. You can choose any colorwork technique. All you need is your knitting needles, yarn balls in various colors, and the willingness to take on a new skill. Be it a hand-knit sweater, a scarf, a hat or even socks, color knitting is the trick to get them all the more beautiful.

Here are some helpful colorwork knitting tips to get you started:

1. Choose contrasting colors.  

Contrasting colors stand out and they often bring a colorful project to life. Make sure one of your colors is relatively bright and one is relatively dark so that the pattern will show up. A trick for knitters is to take a black and white snapshot of your yarns together to see how well they contrast. Most phone cameras probably have a black and white filter option or let your imagination work.

2. Change Needle Size.

A lot of knitters work more tightly when knitting stranded colorwork. If you are new to color knitting, you might try using a knitting needle one size bigger than the one you would normally use for a regular stockinette. It’s important, however, to make sure that the change in needle size does not result in a change in gauge. Maintaining a gauge is important if you want your pattern to be the right size or dimension. In fact, many times changing the needle, switching from straight to a circular also does the trick. Circular knitting needles have the option to see the stitches clearly which brings us to the next point.

3. Spread out your stitches. 

While knitting colorwork patterns, regularly pause to spread out the stitches on your needle as you work and see the ones you just finished knitting.  This helps keep your strands evenly tensioned on the wrong side of the work so the right side of the fabric doesn’t look puckered. Using circular knitting needles, while knitting back and forth, will allow you to easily spread out and see the stitches on the cord that connects the needle tips. In fact, knitting with interchangeable needles works best as you have the option to change the cord length.

4. Use two styles of knitting 

Explore two knitting styles. Figure out which color is your background color and which one is used for the pattern. While it’s obvious from a picture of the pattern. If you are right-handed, hold the pattern color in your left hand and (use the picking / continental method to work the stitches in that color. Hold the background color in your right hand and use the throwing/ English method to work stitches in the background color).

If you prefer to hold both strands in the same hand, be sure the pattern color is consistently held below the background color. Doing this will make your pattern stand out from the background and make your colorwork look crisper.

5. Keep each ball of yarn on its own side.

Make sure you set the dominant pattern color yarn down on one side and the background color on the other. Yarn bowls and project bags can be handy for this - just use two instead of one! Take care to not let yarns get tangled up. If they get wrapped around each other, pause to unwrap them immediately to avoid frustration later.

Stainless Steel Circular Knitting Needles

6. Manually manipulate unruly stitches!  

Inspect your knitted fabric for particularly loose or tight stitches. Sometimes the first stitch after a color change will be a little funky, but you can use a pointy knitting needle to tug on the legs of those stitches, drawing more yarn from neighboring stitches into tight stitches or giving some slack from loose stitches to the stitches nearby.

7. Block your work before you judge it. 

Wet blocking makes a huge difference in making colorwork come to life. Soaking the project helps to even out the overall tension, allowing the stitches to settle in. Stranded colorwork, in particular, benefits from a good blocking. It evens out the stitches and makes a more cohesive fabric. If you are scared of the blocking process, refer to our guide for transforming your project with blocking tools, you can easily give your knitted project, extra love.

Knitting Accessories and Tools

We hope you take the plunge and give stranded colorwork a try. Whatever your knitting style or technique, we believe that the work will be even more satisfying when you work with the Mindful Collection of knitting needles and accessories. 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. The stainless-steel surface helps you see the yarn colors clearly. Indulge yourself with any of the Mindful Knitting Needle Sets, and you will be ready to tackle a variety of projects.

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

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