Double Knit 101-Part IV – Color Changes

Change of Color with Stripes and Design

There are many patterns in our free pattern library that incorporate stripes and fun intarsia designs.  Here are a few designs that you may recognize from our afghan patterns.  Let’s go over the basics in working with color changes and creating designs.


Crayon Box Throw uses basic horizontal stripes.  These can be worked in any amount of rows, which will determine how thick the stripe will be.  The colors begin at start of a row and go to the end of the row.  Horizontal stripes can also be used to create a border at bottom and top of the knitted piece.

Vertical stripes are a bit different in that they are created with selected stitches and repeated on the same pins in each row.  With each row, the stripe grows longer.

They can also be used in just a few rows to create checker board designs.




Painted Desert Afghan, uses vertical and horizontal stripes for the 2 color design and the border.  We used wide stripes to create the side panels.  The 3 panels were sewn together with the invisible stitch.

Checkerboard is created with vertical stripes for several rows and groups of stitches in one color, and then, by shifting the rows to different stitches,  for  several additional rows.  They can be created with just 2 colors or many.  If you are just exploring this concept, I would suggest starting with just a couple colors.  Tangled yarns can be frustrating-but we can talk about ways to assist with this when we start Intarsia                                                         .



When we designed this large afghan, the New Daisy Afghan , we used a 2 color design by adding colors into the knit creating intarsia flowers.  The 2 color side panels were knit separately and all three strips were sewn together using invisible stitch.





In our Little Chickie Blanket, you can see how colors are used within the knit to create the ‘Chickie’.  Also vertical and horizontal stripes are used for the letters and the 2-tone stripe section.  This little blanket was knit is 3 strips, but the change of colors makes it look like squares.  The border was added as a separate piece and sewn on using invisible stitch.  This sewing stitch is illustrated in Part III tutorial.




So what does ‘Intarsia’ really mean? According to wikipedia, it means a knitting technique used to create patterns with multiple colors.  In single knit, the main color is traditionally dropped behind the peg of a different color as in a slip stitch.  So at end of color design, the backside is a maze of yarn colors.  In double knit, its a bit different as the color changes are made between the 2 rows of stitches, so they are most often not seen;  but, the really great thing about double knit, is that the color design is seen on both sides.  This is why double knit intarsia afghans and scarves are so beautiful.

Basic Horizontal Stripe: We are working with blue and want to create a white stripe.  Pull the white thru the 3rd stitch in center of loom, just under the last row.  Keep the blue yarn attached as we will only make the white stripe about 3 rows wide.  Then we will continue with the blue again.  You will see in the photos that the blue yarn is moved slightly with each row, so it doesn’t get caught up in the white row.

tie to 3rd stitch

tie and lay yarn down








weave the white row

Work 3 rows with white yarn.  Once complete, lay white aside and work rows with the blue.  By keeping both yarns attached, we will be ready when we want to start some vertical stripes.  If you plan to do more than 3 or 4 rows of a color stripe, it may be best to cut the blue, tie white to blue at 3rd stitch, and then work with new color.  Then lay both yarn tails down and continue.

Once you weave and hook over the desired number of rows with the white stripe, lay the white aside and continue with the blue yarn.

new row of blue on white

Continue with the blue knit for as many rows as desired, and maybe change back to the white for another stripe, or maybe tie in another new color.

For now, let’s work 2 rows of the blue.  Keep both colors attached, because from here, we will be able to go right into some vertical stripes.


Here is an example of a scarf with horizontal, vertical, and checkerboard.

In this scarf, it is the same process as with the blue and white yarns.  We have blue knit with a 3 row white stripe, and then 2 rows of blue.  Now, let’s create vertical stripes to match the vertical stripes in the Checkerboard Scarf.

Vertical Stripes: Start vertical stripes by weaving the blue around 2 stitches, skip 2 stitches, blue for 2 stitches, skip 2 stitches, and continue to  the end of the piece.  See below example of full circular.  The row is worked in stockinette stitch, skipping the pegs where the white yarn will be worked in. The white yarn will fill in the stitches that were skipped.

start of verticle


full weave of vertical





Now add the white yarn in stockinette stitch.

You can see the previous row is already done.  By repeating this row with both colors, you will have vertical stripes growing with the knit.


white stripe:blue:verticle



Now, you may be wondering if we could do these vertical stripes with the white yarn in b/b stitch (back to back weaving).  When you are working only 2 stitches of a color, that is a good option also.  Or you may work the blue in b/b, and then weave the white in stockinette.  I think you are beginning to see how this can be expanded into multiple color designs.


checkerboard with knit



Checkerboard Design:

To create a checkerboard design, work the vertical stripe like above for 3 or 4 rows, the white loops over white, and blue over blue. Then alternate colors.  Now do 3 or 4 rows of blue where the white stitches were, and the white where the blue ones were.  See photo.  This will shift the vertical stripes into checkerboard like on the brown scarf above.  But lets look at how the weave will be different if we use some b/b stitches for clarity.

bb white w:blu


As you can see, the white stitches in back/back stitch look pretty much the same as stockinette only a little looser.

The best time to use the b/b weaving is within a piece of knit creating a small design.

Weave the white over b/b, 2 stitches, move across to next white stitches until all white stitches are covered.

b:b 2

Weave over the white stitches in stockinette in blue for a  full circular so that all pegs are covered.  Hook over.  Repeat.  Remember in doing any design, be sure to cast on amount of stitches to complete the sequence.  Here, we just want even amount of stitches, so the 2-stitch vertical stripe or checkerboard design comes out even.

blue over bb1

compkete blue over bb







When doing a knitted piece with a small design in it, you will tie on the color of design, close to where the stitches begin.  Work the color stitches in that row in b/b stitch.  Lay yarn down, and pick up main color and work in stockinette stitch. Work each row, one at a time, using the color sts when required keeping the yarn attached until the design is complete.  Tie to working yarn and cut. Weave in the color yarn tail.

We will dive into intarsia with graphs and multiple colors in another tutorial.  Next month, we will shift focus and see a few new double knit stitches that everyone of all skill levels can enjoy.

Double Knit Tutorial Series: Part I      Part II       Part III


4 thoughts on “Double Knit 101-Part IV – Color Changes

  1. Thank you for the great tutorial on double knit color change. My daughter and I were trying (with limited success) to change colors. I saw your Advent creations and they looked beautiful but I was afraid to try them. Now I have worked up to the second color change of the checkerboard and it looks great. I’ll be trying some of the Advent projects this fall! Thank you for teaching us. I had just two questions: in double knitting when one changes color is there a need to “twist” the yarns ? Secondly, what is back to back weaving? Thank you for the great instructions.

  2. Hi Cindy, So happy that you and your daughter are enjoying colors in your knitting. The back to back or b/b weave is shown and explained in Part 1 and the link is at bottom of this tutorial. But this is also shown in this tutorial where the weaving is front to back rather than the stockinette. Thank you for asking about twisting the yarns, as it is important in color change. If you are working in stockinette where one color is across the weave of the other, you do not need to twist the yarns at the junction of 2 colors meeting. This is because the stockinette will lock the knit together. If, however, you are working in color blocks with 2 different yarns that are not woven over each other, you will want to twist them where they meet. Otherwise, the sections will not be connected in finished knit and will need some ‘sewing’ to connect them. You may find that if you are adding a small amount of a color in your design, it makes twisting easier to cut a small amount of yarn for that section rather than working with 2 large skeins of yarn.

  3. I am doing some work on my loom but we use the same colour on different rows we see a line of colour where it not meant to be. We have look all over the you tube to find how to stop it.
    I would be grateful for any ideas.

  4. “We will dive into intarsia with graphs and multiple colors in another tutorial.” Did this tutorial ever get done? If so, what is the link for it?

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