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How to Knit Intarsia Colorwork

Colorwork knitting is a beauty. Every maker once they clear out their basic love to knit with colors. And, why not, it can be done with any pair of knitting needles (straight and circular) you own and a multi-shaded yarn. There are so many ways to introduce colors to any pattern. Learn about how to knit colorwork patterns with our previous guide. Intarsia knitting is one of the interesting colorwork techniques. The knitting method is loved by knitters for making shapes and designs. Different sections are worked in different colors without carrying the unused yarn behind the project. You simply drop yarn and bring the new color up twisting the two colors to close the gap between the two.

Intarsia like most colorwork knitting is all about mastering tension to ensure colors pop out in knitting patterns. Whether you are looking to add a simple motif to your knitted fabric or are embarking on a full free form of many motifs, you'll want a knitting needle that works with you to keep that perfect tension. Another important matter is so to manage the different yarn balls.

When starting with your first Intarsia project, the sheer amount of choices can be overwhelming. Much like other projects, you have to choose the pattern and knitting needles. Given its intricate colorwork, you need to spend time choosing yarn and figuring out your ideal color palette. Before we get straight to the topic, it’s important to understand and visualize the Intarsia patterns. Think of each stitch as a box and then imagine it. Our guide to understanding knitting pattern charts will help you in simplifying the pattern and help you plan your own designs. It’s best to go for a knitting needle set with a range of sizes. The Mindful collection offers reliable, quality sets sure to have the right needle along with smooth cords of varying lengths and accessories.

Introduction to Intarsia knitting 

Intarsia Knitting

Intarsia is a popular method to knit with multiple colors. The colorwork technique creates blocks of color using separate units of yarn. Unlike stranded colorwork knitting and other methods, the yarn is not carried over on the back of the knitting project but one color is dropped while knitting with a new color, twisting the yarns. Each yarn color is usually held on bobbins or in small balls. You can refer to the tricks to knit colorwork patterns and see them bloom in your Intarsia knitting patterns.

In this blog, we detail Intarsia knitting and how to work on this interesting stitch pattern.

1. Choose Right Knitting Needles  

Mindful Collection Knitting Needles

Many knitters prefer circular knitting needles for colorwork we have kept their requirements in mind. Also, Intarsia is best for back and forth knitting but then again as you advanced in your craft you can work on round knitting patterns too. That can be easily be done with one pair of knitting needles…the range of circulars. Refer to our guide on knit flat on circular needles. Pointy tips and smooth cords are a major requirement of knitting Intarsia colorwork. Your circular needles need to be managing many colors of yarn. When changing colors you will need a pointy tip to clearly see the yarn and twist them. Also knitting with circulars helps evenly distribute the weight of your project across the entire cord. This ensures an even tension and consistent floats all around.

2. Choose the Right Yarn 

Yarn for Knitting

The yarn for Intarsia knitting needs a special discussion. Fuzzy yarns work the best as they hide little issues in the pattern. It is recommended to go with a forgiving fiber like wool. For these yarns, stainless steel knitting needles are a good choice. In fact, many tension issues such as gaps and ladders even out of a wool knitted project with wet blocking. Other common fibers like alpaca, cotton, linen, or acrylic do not have the elasticity and are much more challenging to keep a consistent tension with.

3. Knit a Gauge Swatch 

For Intarsia knitting or any other colorwork pattern, it is important to start with knitting a gauge swatch. In fact the gauge is the most important part of your knitting. This is because you must understand how the yarns behave. You also need to know how the knitted sample will look like. If you are following a pattern, try and match your knitted gauge with the instructions. This will give an idea if you need to go down a size or a size up.

4. Keep Uniform Tension 

All knitting projects require you to hold even tension across stitches, but it’s especially important to keep your gauge consistent for Intarsia. Pulling your yarn too tightly will shorten the floats and leave you with a puckered knitted fabric. Uneven color changes and failing to cross over your old yarn with your new yarn will give you an unsightly ladder-like border. Try out the various methods of tensioning the yarn.

5. Consider non-needle tools to keep your tension consistent 

Knitting with multiple yarns may inspire you to use tools you have not encountered before, like bobbins and stranding guides. Yarn bobbins are typically used in intarsia to hold the small amounts of yarn used between color changes and strand guides help separate different working yarns.

6. Weaving in Yarn Ends with Darning Needle 

Intarsia knitting will leave you with many yarn ends. All these floats on the back of the knitted project looks extremely messy. It is important to weave in each yarn end carefully. Make sure to leave at least 6-inch floats so that you can easily thread the darning needle and bury the ends. Many times these long floats can be joined together neatly and woven in.

7. Blocking Your Pattern 

All colorwork knitting patterns bloom after blocking. While the yarn dictates your blocking method, the blocking tools from the Mindful Collection assist with a beautiful finish. The knit blockers precision tips as well as the blocking mats help you block projects both big and small.

With this guide, get ready for Intarsia knitting pattern. The smooth stainless steel knitting needles of the Mindful Collection are certainly of great help. When you think of colorwork knitting, neutral shades of knitting needles, smooth surface and reliable circular knitting needles make them the perfect choice for the Intarsia Colorwork knitting method.

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