Ready to try some color in your knits? I love stripes! I love horizontal stripes, vertical stripes and lately, I have been in love with diagonal stripes. Stripes are a great way to use up all the odd bits of yarn left over from bigger projects. One look at my stash and I should probably dedicate a year of my life to knitting with stripes, oy! One of these days, I’ll take a picture of my stash room for you all to see–must organize it first, it is a mess! I seem to organize it every Spring and Fall but then in between, tornadoes hit that area of my house and everything explodes onto the guest bed. But, I digress, stripes, let’s tackle some stripes today–diagonal stripes to be me precise.
Diagonal stripes fall into the category of colorwork, fair isle to be more exact. It is one of the first and easiest ways to get you started with fair isle, only two colors, easy to handle and yet provides a beautiful design. When carrying the two yarns around, it is important to remember the order in which you pick up (PU) the yarns to knit them–this is called yarn Dominance.
A little bit about yarn dominance–no, this does not mean that your yarn will take over your entire house! When knitting with two color yarns, you will have one background color and one dominant color. The way in which you pick up the yarn to knit/work it will determine which color will be the dominant color and which will be your background color (I like to think of this as the filler). When picking these two yarns to work on them, choose the one that you want to be your dominant color and always pick up from UNDER the other color. Then for the background color, reach ABOVE the other color. For example, in our little project today, I have chosen the orangy/brown color to be my less dominant color, so whenever I reach for that color yarn, I grab it and make sure that my other yarn, the white color, remains below, so I reach above the white strand of yarn and grab the orange/brown and knit the two pegs. Once I am done with the orange color, I grab my dominant color, the white one, and make sure that I grab it from below my orange/brown strand. Keeping the same order throughout the project will provide you with a crisp and neat knitted fabric. So, if you were to remember anything from today’s little lesson, it is the following: Imperative to be consistent in the order in which you pick up the yarn you are using. Write it down on your pattern so you remember…just in case you happen to see a SQUIRREL!
Let’s try it out. You can either do a sample swatch or if you have enough time, join me in knitting this little hat–small enough but big enough to make it useful ;).
Get some yarn, two different colors, same weight and your loom. I am going to use my AllnOne knitting loom for my sample. Go ahead, cast on a multiple of 4 stitches (4, 8, 12, 16, 20, 24, 28, etc).
For your convenience, I have put a small chart on how we are going to do the colorwork.
How to read the chart: Start at the bottom-right corner and read towards the left. Then, move up to row 2 and again, read from Right to Left. Continue up to row 3 and then Row 4.
Some definitions before we get started:
Need to see it in action, here is a video that I created years ago in working with color. Move it to about 2:57 and it shows the bit about yarn dominance. You only need to watch about 1 minute of it, starting at 2:57. It will show you how to pick up the yarns. Now, go and try it out and then come and show me pictures of your hat or swatch.