Stranded Knitting: Post 8 - Adding New Colors and Finishing Old Colors (Video Episode 9)


Adding new colors

One of the biggest occasions for blank looks from students is when the chart indicates the addition of a new color. The truth is…that adding new colors can be just a simple as just starting to knit with the new color. Once a few new stitches are worked, you can break off the old yarn leaving a 3-4 inch tail. Yes, this can cause loose stitches at the beginning of the round… for now, just give the old and new yarn a tug to snug them up.

If you are interested…there are several ways to anchor the new yarn that help to maintain tension at the beginning of the round. Here are three…

The first is to thread a tapestry needle with the new yarn and weave the yarn through the purl bumps of a few stitches in the back of the work…making sure the end is towards the right and the working end is towards the left so it can be used.

The second is to tie a simple knot around the working yarn and snug the knot tightly to the last stitch created. Your new yarn is ready to work with.

The third is the one I sometimes use the first time I add a second color.

I am sure there are other ways…but let’s move on to how to end a yarn…either a color that is no longer needed or when finishing up a skein.

My favorite is to weave in the new yarn at the end of the round before it is needed. We will talk about this method after we talk about weaving yarns in general.

Finishing old colors

When you are finished with a color, you will need to decide whether it is best to break the yarn, leaving a 3-4 inch tail to weave in later and then reattach it if the color is needed again….or to carry the yarn up the back of the work to next round it is needed.

So let’s talk about this “carrying up” business. The distance the yarn is carried “up” depends on the knitter. Tension in stranded knitting is mostly about the horizontal tension…the tension between stitches, but when it comes to carrying up, it is also about the vertical tension…the tension between rounds. You’ll want to make sure there is enough slack in the strand carried up so as not to pull and distort the fabric. You will also want to make sure it is not so long that it creates too long of a vertical float to catch on fingers and such.

My preference is to carry up for no more than 3 rounds. The rest of the time I usually break the yarn and reattach…not wanting to risk the tension issues. After weaving in the old yarn…which we will talk about in a bit…I break the yarn leaving a 3-4 inch tail.

Ok…when it comes to carrying up…I will admit there is a “generally, but not always” corollary to the “no more than 3 rounds” rule. If I am running short of yarn, I will carry up to an inch...figuring it takes less yarn to carry up than it does to break and reattach. In these incidences, it is sometimes necessary to come back in the finishing stage and catch the float with a threaded tapestry needle.

You can also weave in the old color during the first few stitches of the next round...the first round it is not used. Again, we will talk about this during weaving yarns in general. (Don't hate me. I'm trying to be orderly about this.)

Question, comments, observations? Please leave a note in the Comments section below or email me directly.

Next time: Weaving in yarns to catch long floats.

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