Lately I have been looking at a lot of different yarn for various projects. But it can be overwhelming. Which is one reason I love self-striping yarn. I can make a hat or scarf with self-striping yarn and let the yarn work it’s own magic without the hassle of changing colors.
But sometimes, colorwork is desired. While there are various methods of colorwork in loom knitting, one of the questions I have seen is How do I made the border of my afghan a different color from the middle? Well you are in luck! Making a flat panel with a different color border is not as hard as it sounds whether it be a scarf, afghan, dish cloth, or other flat panel. And even better, there are not a lot of ends to weave in either if it’s done correctly.
Let’s get started!
What stitch pattern should I use?
The stitch pattern used for the border and body can be whatever you wish.
If you don’t want the edges to curl, you do need to use a stitch pattern for the border that is a combination of knits and purls. The body or middle of the flat panel can be all knits or stockinette or any other stitch pattern.
You can even work the entire piece in one stitch pattern and just change the colors to create a border effect.
For more information on why the edges curl, please check out Loom FAQs: Why Do Knits Curl?
If you would like more information on the 3 simplest and most common knit/purl combinations that do not curl, please check out Loom FAQs: Is It Garter, Rib, or Seed Stitch?
But I don’t want to weave in a lot of ends or have to join the yarn ends!!
Oh I feel you! I absolutely despise weaving in ends, detest knots, and don’t like the floats or carried strands of yarn across the back of the work.
But you do not need to do any of those in order to create a border in a different color except for having a few extra ends to weave in.
But is it hard?
It is not hard at all to work the border in a different color. But you will need to work with 3 strands of yarn after finishing the bottom border.
Why do I need to work with 3 strands of yarn?
First let’s start our sample piece, then discuss why 3 strands are needed.
For our sample today, I will be working the border in garter with the grey yarn.
Then I will be adding the pink for the body in stockinette or all knits while working both side borders with the grey in garter before finishing the top border with grey in garter. This way the middle will be pink and completely surrounded by grey.
I will NOT be slipping the first stitch on each row. If you would like to create a nice chain border, you can learn more about slipping stitches in Loom FAQs: To Slip or Not To Slip? That is the Frequently Asked Question.
Here I have started my bottom border with the grey yarn on the Sock Loom 2 over 22 pegs and worked 8 rows (4 ridges) in garter stitch.
Side Borders and Body
Now I will work the right border over 3 pegs. Since I am working the border in garter, this row will be knit.
Join the yarn for the body which is pink for us here. Leave the grey working yarn without cutting it. We will pick it back up later.
How do I join the new color of yarn?
Some like to put the slip knot on the first peg of the new color. I prefer to just start my new color as follows:
Simply work the first stitch in pink like normal leaving a tail to weave in later. There really is not a need for a slip knot at all even on an anchor peg.
Won’t it leave a hole in that spot?
It will leave a hole if left alone, but you will close the hole when you weave in the end. More information on weaving in ends can be found in Loom FAQs: Why Not Knots?
For our sample, the body in the pink yarn will be 16 stitches. I will be working every row of the pink yarn in all knits. When the 16 stitches are complete, drop the pink yarn and join the second grey yarn.
Where do I get the second strand of grey?
If you are brave, you can pull 2 strands from one skein of yarn. One side border from the middle of the skein and the other side border from the outside.
Otherwise you will need 2 skeins of grey or whatever color you are using for your border.
If making an afghan, you will be using more than one skein for the border anyway so I would recommend using 2 skeins from the start.
Join the second strand of border yarn in the same manner as before when starting the body color.
Knit the last 3 stitches.
Now for the return row. This is where we will start connecting the border and body yarns together as we pick up the next color.
Since we are working the border in garter (still), purl the first 3 pegs on the return row with the grey.
Now we will connect the grey with the pink by twisting the 2 yarns around each other.
The easiest way is the bring the yarn you are picking up (the pink) around the back the yarn you are dropping (the grey)
so that they make a U, hooking them together.
Knit with the body color back across. Which for us is 16 stitches to the other border.
We will now connect the pink with the grey from the other side in the same manner as before by bringing the yarn we are picking up (the grey) behind the yarn we are going to drop (the pink)
making that same U to connect them. Then purl the last 3 pegs.
When twisting the 2 strands of yarn together, take care to make sure the twist does not slide to one side or the other. Keep your tension with the twist even so the twist is right between the pegs. Or you will get this at your join. You can see here where I was not careful to keep my twist centered between the stitches.
Then we repeat our last 2 rows connecting the yarns as we going on EVERY ROW.
Next Row will be as follows: Knit 3 with the first border yarn. Pick up the body color yarn. Twist the 2 strands together. Drop the border yarn. Knit 16 with the body color. Pick up the 2nd border color yarn. Twist the 2 strands together. Drop the body yarn. Knit 3 with the 2nd border yarn.
Next Row after that will repeat the purl border row from above.
But how do I keep my yarn from twisting together?
If you always connect the strands of yarn in the same way each time, the yarn will not get tangled since each row will unwrap the twist in the yarn from the previous row. This is why the yarn must always be wrapped by bringing the yarn you are ready to pick up and work with behind the yarn you just finished and are ready to drop.
How do I keep the loop where I started the new color from being too loose when I am working the next row?
When working the stitch on the same peg that you joined your new color, gently pull the tail to tighten up the stitch. Do not pull it too tight though. Just enough to close up the loose stitch when you go to weave in the end.
If I were to write it out like a “real” pattern, it will look like this after the bottom border.
Row 1: K3, drop border color, pick up body color, K16, drop body color, pick up border color, K3
Row 2: P3, drop border color, pick up body color, K16, drop body color, pick up border color, P3
Repeat rows 1 – 2 until the work reaches desired length.
The twisting of the yarn together will always happen but not be written in the instructions. Also the colors will most likely be abbreviated with the abbreviations at the beginning of the pattern.
After working my desired number of rows, I am now ready for my top border after finishing a row with purls for the border.
When you are ready to work the top border, you can cut the body color yarn and left side border yarn leaving tails long enough to weave in without cutting the right border yarn since this is the yarn we will use to work the top border. If you are working in the opposite direction from what I am demonstrating then just switch those sides. Just do NOT cut the side that you just finished the last row with.
Also you will need to start the border with the row of knit if using garter stitch.
I have now worked the top border with 8 rows of garter stitch to match the bottom border.
Bind off in your desired method, weave in those very few ends, and admire your work!
Now you are armed and ready to amaze people with your ability to loom knit an afghan with a different color border from the body. So get with it! *cracking whip* Amaze us!
But above all, have fun! Enjoy your work and let the loom knitting bring you joy and peace. Happy loom knitting!