Kaffe-along Helper: How to Catch Floats

By Kay Gardiner
January 17, 2020

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  • Thank you! Haven’t started color work knitting so I also learned you hold the two strands so one is in each hand.. grasping the possibilities. The Kaffe projects are stunning and inspiring! I’ve played with color so far by using Noro yarns 🙂

    • Kay, I don’t mean to generalize, but I have found that knitters love to share knitting tips.Thank you for sharing this! And if you ever need a (nearly) one-stop shop for knitting technique videos, I would encourage you and your readers to go to knitpurlhunter.com – hers are some of the best videos out there!

  • Such a great technique- dancing fingers and yarn!

    • Timing is everything! I just started my first ever stranded project and couldn’t remember how to catch the floats.

  • Excuse me, but it is not Bed, Bath, and Beyond. It is:

    And . . . BEYOND!!!!

    Think Buzz Lightyear.

    • Or as Ann calls it, Bed, Bath and Beyond Human Endurance. :)))

      • In our house, it’s Bad, Bath and Beyond, but I like Ann’s better.

        • Ours is Bed, Bath and Behemoth, but I like Ann’s better too!

    • I call it blood bath and beyond. Is it just me?

      • No, it is not 🙂 I always thought that was one of the most amusing background jokes the Simpsons ever had!

  • I learned from your book Knitting outside the Lines pg 64-65. I still recommend that!!

    • Glad to hear it! Lol that was my chapter of that book, pretty sure Kay never read it!

      • LOL she just looked at the pretty pictures!

        • I re-learned recently from and Arne & Carlos video. They were linked from here for something else.

  • This is brilliant. I was moving the ball of yarn over and stoppong periodically to untangle the mess. Thanks for sharing the great videp.

  • I love this project. I just found two more skeins of Rowan felted tweed in my yarn drawer. So enthused. I am working on the Coins scarf. But wow, I really need a 12” cable needle. Any suggestions on where I could get one?

    • I know of only one LYS in Los Angeles that sells a full range of sizes in 12” cables, so they’re often hard to find locally. But Amazon sells several brands. I have them in every size from 0 to 9 as I find them the easiest to use when knitting sleeves in the round…until I get to the cuffs on my grandchildren’s sweaters and then have to use dp needles to finish those tiny circumferences!

      • Thank you.

  • Oh, and thank you for the lesson on catching floats. I was almost doing it correctly. <3

  • I have saved a few articles to my account but they do not show up. Including this one. I was logged in, and poked the flag and it turned red.

    • Correction: this one did show up. Oops. Back to knitting.

  • I love Suzanne’s videos. I credit her for giving me the confidence to knit my first sweater (Mailin by Isabell Kraemer….an excellent learning project that turned out perfect) and every other skill I’ve acquired. I’m working on my second colorwork sweater now so I’ll definitely check out that one! I’m so happy to have found MDK, too. I read you guys every day!

    • I’m a big Suzanne fan too – especially because she’s a continental knitter like me. It does not matter for this video though!

    • Same! She has an excellent video on picking up stitches to avoid underarm holes. I was stuck at that point on my first sweater (Bottom Line by Isabell Kraemer), and this has been immensely useful. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8K-IsMdTHK0

  • Once again, mastering* colorwork is on my 2020 List of Knitting Goals, so THANK YOU FOR THIS! I already have the pillow form… I just need the knitting!

    *Or at least marked improvement: knitting a pair of mittens that turn out the same size would be a success!

  • I have relied on Suzanne’s video too. It’s fantastic.

  • This is helpful even if you are old-ish to colorwork! My time tested technique requires untangle sessions every few rounds. Especially impressive if you are sitting near me in a train or plane or even on the sofa.

  • I’m so glad I watched this! I’ve caught floats before, but I have no idea how I did it. Next time I’ll know what I’m doing…THIS!

  • I needed that. Thanks!

  • I’ve been doing stranded knitting for awhile now, but this technique looks much easier than mine. Maybe I won’t have to stop to untangle the balls of yarn with this! Suzanne Bryan does a great video on taking care of underarm holes in sweaters too – I highly recommend it.

  • Learned this technique from Andrea Rangel in Knit Stars 3 – a game changer!

  • This is a great video that clearly shows how to trap floats, but I think it’s missing one small detail: when to lay the yarn to be trapped over the ndl, and when to bring it under. This bit is important if, like me, you hold both colors in one hand (I hold both in my right hand). It’s the color that’s floating lower (and is typically more predominant on the RS) that gets laid over the ndl, and the color that’s floating higher (and recedes more on the RS) that is wrapped under the ndl.

    • This is the Philosophers Wool method and they have a really good video on their website that makes this clear. With contrast color in left hand and main color in the right: go under with the right hand yarn and over with the left hand yarn.thats the more complicated stitch.

  • I learned how to catch floats when I took a class with Andra Asars years ago. This was done with yarn held in each hand. To this day, I still repeat to myself: “wrap the one you don’t want; wrap the one you do want; unwrap the one you don’t want.” She was a great teacher – taught me both continental and colorwork knitting.

  • Thank you for this video. I knew how to catch the floats from the left hand but not from the right! This reduces my yarn juggling.

  • Uh, oh. Kay is going to Bed, Bath & Beyond Belief. She wants to get a pillow form. She is likely to leave with scented candles, a copper teakettle, a citrus zester, a taupe satin neck roll, guest soaps, a set of demitasse cups, an electric bagel tenderizer as seen on TV, a headache, …! (Great video!)

  • Easy peasy. Great video. I found that Suzanne Bryan has a lot of great videos on U-tube. Finally stopped watching as I wouldn’t be able to remember what she taught me.

  • Ooooo, very nice. The quiet, no-drama knitting style truly got my interest. Also, note how the work is spread a bit, to ensure the floats actually span what they must? I will be giving all a test run soon. Thank you for the post.

  • Thank you for the float catching video! I was going through contortions to catch the yarn held in the right hand, and this is a much smoother solution.
    Love the way knitters share!

  • Hello
    The easiest way to strand knit is to use the two handed method in the round that way there are no loops on the back.

  • Thanks for sharing this!!

  • At the risk of upsetting a lot of people and their long-held conviction that all floats must be caught, I believe catching floats is over-recommended in stranding. For super-long floats in excess of 10 stitches in some situations, I can see this feeling necessary as far as keeping tension goes, but the rounds of strands band together as they accumulate so that “catching your fingers” isn’t really an issue for most situations on the wrong side. They make a fabric of their own: just look at the backside of the pinwheel swatch in this post: Lovely and snag resistant unless you’re looking for trouble, and completely appropriate for the inside of a cushion. I make exceptions for kid’s clothing and really long floats at the ends of sleeves, but for the most part, knitters worry far too much about this. Suzanne’s method is the one I use when I DO catch, and endorse it for the insecure. The alternative of dropping and twisting I see a lot of knitters use just makes a mess both on the back fo the fabric and in their lap. End of screed.

  • This is awesome! Thank you for sharing this video.