Get Ready to Experience the True Joy of Intarsia Knitting


The word intarsia is cited after a noun which relates to the art of decorating any fabric surface with inlaid patterns. Intarsia knitting is the one way of producing multifarious colorful patterns and designs amongst knitting. Just like a jigsaw puzzle, a legion of colorful yarns are incorporated within the knitting patterns itself. This style of knitting is very interesting and apparently not very tough to learn too. It is knitted in a simple stockinette stitch, with common knit ‘n’ purl hand gestures. Not too hard, not too tough, but just a little bit of attention and you will definitely get it right!

Definition of Intarsia Knitting

Have you ever seen a design or a picture knitted into any fabric or garment? Remember your little sweaters you would wear in your childhood with a little bunny or a cartoon character coined into it! This knitting type employs multicolored balls of yarns to form a host of knitted patterns, designs or pictures into a fabric/garment. For working out patterns with each separate segment of colors, every time a separate colored ball of yarn would be required. This part of intarsia art is the most confusing but an interesting character because one has to incessantly deal with a lot of changing colors. Also, there would be times when so many balls of yarns could get tangled while you are working with all of them at once. In such a case, many knitters use yarn spools made of plastic to wind every separate yarn around that tool. They are also termed as bobbins. One could comfortably use a clothes pin too in winding the yarn around. The art of intarsia knitting is intimately used in many knitting projects to produce shawls, scarves, sweaters, hand-gloves, socks, etc., etc.

What is the Technique

Alright, now as compared to a straight knitting, the intarsia artwork’s knitting technique is pretty simple. Intarsia functions on a stockinette stitch. It’s as simple as a knitting stitch, where every stitch is knitted on the fabric exteriors and every purl stitch is knitted on the fabric’s interiors. When you are ready to introduce a new color to the background color, tie a slip knot with that color and close-fit it on the needle to the working color. Whilst choosing the new color, keep wrapping the balls of yarns around each other such that there aren’t any holes in between the colors. Once you are done, ensure that you gently push the yarn in its proper place to earn uniform stitches.

By now you must have inferred the basic idea of creating intarsia patterns. Using two flat knitting needles, creating some block of colors with separate colored yarns constructs just one thick layer in a fabric. In intarsia knitting, there is one very popular form of knitting called ‘Fair Isle Knitting’. The only difference in this form is it produces thicker fabric and conventionally has two colors in a row. With this cognition, let me simplify my explanation to show you in steps as to how this knitting is traced out.

Instructions to Knit Intarsia

Before you start off with your knitting project, wind the yarns onto the bobbins so that you don’t tangle them in the middle of the process. Avoid stretching the yarn to the back of your knitted fabric, you will unnecessarily get a cockled design. Additional to your background knit-work, this is the first step to change the color in your knit row.

1. Step: Changing Color in a Knit Row
Keep knitting with the first color (call it yarn A). Until you want to change to the next color (say yarn B), pull yarn A to the left and bring yarn B in the picture. Now yarn A is under yarn B to knit the next stitch.

2. Step: Changing Color on a Purl Row
Initially purl with yarn A until you wish to change the color. Just like the knit stitch, place yarn A under yarn B to bring it to purl the next stitch.

3. Step: Tighten the Loose Threads
This is the simple yarn and purl stitch to start off with. Doing this notice the colors meet and resemble a side wise knitted row which crosses over the yarn. Tug gently on the yarn when the color changes and try to keep the tension loose. The yarn will definitely be loose in a few places. Tighten it by threading a yarn needle and weave the ends under the core of the purls, towards your backside of your work. This way the tension would be held tight.

Once you follow these few steps, take a quick glance on the backside of your work. You will have some dangling strands jutting out from your work. They will remain there as you knit your way till the end. The moment you finish your work, check the front and back end of your intarsia knitted design. The back will be as neat as the front side.

Well, wasn’t that easy?! Most of the intarsia knitting patterns are available on graph papers and charts for knitters to anticipate with. The only personal choice knitters have to decide, is the colors to expend in the knitting process.

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