Tag Archives: stranded colorwork

How to use yarn dominance to your advantage

I finished the quilted lattice band of the Heladas Hat that I’m knitting for the Indie Design Gift-A-Long, and moved on to the pinstriped body. The stripes are made with a combination stranded colorwork/slip stitch technique. But I noticed that the lovely stripes were sinking into the stockinette stitch so that they were barely visible. Hmmm.

I thought about yarn dominance in stranded colorwork, so I decided to change how I was carrying my yarns. I usually carry two colors in my right hand, and the position of the yarns doesn’t make much difference as long as they keep their relative positions. But it was making a difference in this case, so I switched. I had been carrying the main color in my favored (usual) throwing position, and the contrast color above because it doesn’t get used as often. Swapping them made all the difference. You can see that the first stitch of the contrast color stripe is kind of buried in the stockinette stitch, and above that they pop out. Yay!

heladas yarn dominance

I don’t particularly like carrying the MC in my non-favored throwing position; it’s a little more cumbersome. So for this project I’m carrying the CC in my left hand and picking it continental, which still puts it in the lower position, and lets the color pop.

Do you know about yarn dominance? It’s a fun fact and useful thing to know. Your particular knitting technique may end up making the upper yarn dominant instead of the lower; you’d have to check and see. But after you decide which one is dominant and like it that way, keep your yarns in the same relative postion as you knit your colorwork. Have fun!

And don’t forget that the pattern sale for the GAL ends on November 27 at midnight; the coupon code is giftalong2015. The knitting/crocheting/prizes continue until the end of the year.

Color work, two ways

I’m teaching two classes at Stash in Corvallis on Saturday. One is an introduction to stranded color knitting, and the other is slip stitch cowl design. Both techniques let you play with color, but in very different ways.

swish

Stranded color knitting involves carrying two (or more) colors across the row/round with you. We’ll talk about how to manage your yarns without a tangled mess, among other things. How do *you* manage your yarns? One in each hand? Drop and pick up the working yarn as you go? Two on the left? Two on the right? It’s a little different for everyone, so I’m curious what works for you.

I’m a thrower; I carry my yarn in my right hand. I took a colorwork class with Anna Zilboorg at Stitches way back in the 90’s. In preparation, I taught myself to knit continental style (hold yarn in left hand, pick with right needle) so I could carry one color in each hand. I was pretty pleased with myself, although it was a bit awkward. When I got to class, Anna showed me how to carry both colors in my right hand, which was a lot easier for me. That’s what I do now. Here’s a video tutorial, if you’re interested.

pdxknitterati knitting

Slip stitch knitting means you get to play with color, but you only work with one color per row/round. This can be a little more relaxing for the novice color knitter, and it’s very pretty. We’ll be swatching some of these patterns, and then designing our own slip stitch cowls. Here’s the one I’m knitting now:

pdxknitterati slip stitch cowl

Have you tried both kinds of color work? Do you have a preference? And please do tell me how you like to manage your yarns for stranded colorwork.

I think there’s still some room in class on Saturday, if you want to come play hands on!