Everybody has their little tips ’n’ tricks for knitting intarsia, so today I hope you’ll share tidbits that work for you. Here are my latest discoveries, now that I am what would be called an early intermediate intarsiaist.
Tip No. 1: Get a Decent Setup for Your Yarn
One of the major components of intarsia knitting is yarn management. With a lot of colors at work, I craved a way to keep keep my yarn tidy and visible. At first, I had a basket going with all my colors, but I found that life really pepped up once I stuck all my Felted Tweed into a flat tray.
Because I’m making up my own color pattern as I go, Yarn TrayTM lets me look at all the colors at a glance and scheme up new combinations.
I’m not anti-basket, don’t get me wrong. I am in fact pro-basket, bucket, tote, whatever. This is just what’s working for me right now.
Tip No. 2: Stop Worrying about Your Back Side
When I began my journey into this new kind of knitting, I cared a whole lot about the back side of my intarsia—more than the front, even. I worried that I wasn’t going to be able to weave in the ends tidily.
Once I saw Jen Arnall-Culliford’s video tutorial on this hot topic, I let go of my fears. Her little needle-wiggle weave-in really speeds things up—you’re going along the intarsia junctions for the most part.
It doesn’t require a ton of fiddling to crank through a bunch of ends. And I have grown to love the back side of my work. It’s textured. It shows that it was made by a person, not a machine. I am an artisan is what my back side is telling me.
Tip No. 3: Stow Ends at the Edge in Your I-cord
I can’t wait to finish my scarf and attach the I-cord edging. It is going to be the perfect place to stow a bunch of ends that have landed at the edge of my work.
This is not the I-cord edging—it’s just the supercurly edge. When I finish knitting, I’ll create the I-cord edging. (Instructions for this technique appear in Field Guide No. 13: Master Class and Field Guide No. 14: Painterly.) The tubular structure of attached I-cord means you can slide a tapestry needle into the tube and wow: your end has been slurped into an excellent container, no weaving required. Stay tuned for more coverage of this stupendous maneuver.
Tip No. 4: Increase the Length of Your Strands
Once I found peace with the tangle (see “The Full Ball Fallacy and Other Tangle Tips” for Kay’s exhortation on this topic), I started experimenting with longer and longer strands. I started with 1-meter strands, then 2, then 3. Now I’ll just spool out 5-meter strands and let it all pool on the floor.
I haven’t yet had a problem with this, because I periodically do a loosification of the tangle before it gets tight. Longer strands mean longer stretches of knitting: bonanza!
Tip No. 5: Don’t Worry about the Curly Edges
If you’re making a scarf, the curliness of stockinette may seem like a problem.
What I found with the Kites scarf I made a couple of months ago is that Felted Tweed blocks into a fluid, uncurly fabric. Maybe it’s the viscose? I don’t know. But I do know that the before and after on blocking Felted Tweed is one of the satisfying moments in one’s blocking journey. The garter stitch edging definitely helps.
For more on my Kites scarf project, it’s all right here.
For details on this latest project (the squares and triangles), here you go.
Come Zoom with Us on Monday!
Kay and I will be hosting a Zoom hangout on this coming Monday, January 11, at 4 pm Central time. We’ll be watching Jen Arnall-Culliford’s latest video tutorial and talking intarsia. Bring your knitting! We’ll have a link to the Zoom in Monday’s post, so we hope you’ll join us for conversation and show and tell.