Ask Patty: Jogless Stranded Colorwork
I’m strongly considering changing the name of my column to “Ask Patty How to Do that Thing Without a Jog.” We’ve covered: cast on, bind off, two-row stripe, single-row stripe, short rows, and even a Latvian Braid.
Time for jogless stranded colorwork.
I just read your Latvian braid article. You mention jogless fair isle in the round—if there isn’t an article about it, would you consider creating one? And how do I manage an increase at the beginning of the round/spiral?
Thank you Patty, I hope you can answer these (and more!).
My friend swears she just knits into the row below on the first st of every round, without moving the marker and her fair isle transitions look perfect. I just did a fair isle hat and tried that, and mine looks terrible—there’s a thick line of stitches. The color looks okay (not great, but okay). Is it just the thickness of my yarn? My friend does everything in really thin yarn and I was using worsted weight?
Dear Patricia and Kathy,
There are several tricks for hiding the jog in Fair Isle and stranded colorwork when dealing with a motif with at least one stitch of main color separating it from its neighbor—like diamonds or leaves. Some knitters shift the beginning of the round backwards or forwards around the motif. Meg Swansen perfected this trick—even adding a decrease and paired increase to make the nesting motifs stack perfectly. Other knitters keep the end-of-round marker in place and adjust the chart itself by shifting the portion of a motif that is split by the marker up or down so it visually lines up. This involves rewriting your chart which just seems like a lot of work.
Alas, when all your patterning is continuous, life gets a bit sadder.
Here’s a little sample from my Rhinebeck Cowl, where I did nothing and you can see the jog.
The portion of the motif to the right of the red line (the end of the round), is shifted up.
Which brings me to Kathy’s question. Why can’t you just work into the row below and not move the marker? Here’s a quick reminder of what that nifty trick does for us in stripes and why we must move our end of round marker. Stick with me, this is going to help us understand the fair isle trick. Come on, you know I gotta build up a little suspense!
First we knit one full round of the new color:
Now, we remove our marker and insert our RH needle back to front into the row below and lift that loop up onto our LH needle:
Next, we knit that that first stitch again, by working into the row below:
Finally, we replace the end-of-round marker. If you look at the picture you’ll see why. Visually it still looks like we only have one white stitch. The first stitch of round 2, now becomes the last stitch of round 1. When we work the next round, that stitch will be worked yet again.
When you work into every row below, it does bring up the color and slightly correct the jog, but it doesn’t look awesome. Here I have worked into the row below on the first stitch of every round and I get a thick elongated line of stiches:
You are right that in fingering weight yarn, you might not notice the thickened row of nested stitches, but it’s still basically like working Fisherman’s rib or Brioche on every row.
And now for the how.
Just as with the single round stripe, I used the brilliant row below trick as my jumping off point. In order to not mess with changing the chart, shifting a motif or moving the marker, we are going to flip the script and address the last st of the round rather then the first.
Set up: Work your first round of Fair Isle or stranded colorwork as written.
Step one: Transfer the last stitch of the round from the RH needle to the LH needle (leaving the end of round marker in place) and knit that stitch again with the color of the first stitch of the next round. NOTE: When the last st of the rnd is the same color as the first st of the rnd, cross your working yarn underneath the other color.
Step two: Work the next round of the chart until you are one stitch before the marker. Lift up the stitch of the rnd below (the original last st of the previous round) and put that loop on your LH needle. Work the final stitch of your chart by working into the row below.
Repeat those two steps for your whole chart. Always transfer that last st worked back to the LH needle and work that stitch again with the color of the first stitch of the next round.
It takes a bit of practice to get the tension just right, but honestly, blocking solves all. And when in doubt, a little stitch tugging with the tip of a tapestry needle never hurt anyone.
And, Patricia, since this jogless trick is done in the last stitch of the round, your increase (or decrease) that starts your fair isle round is unaffected!
I recently knocked out a tam using left-over yarn from the Rhinebeck Cowl and used this trick. The pattern is not out yet, it will be soon!
Joglessness in motion.
I go into the why and why nots, so if you just want to skip to the how, use the timestamp links in the notes on the YouTube page to jump ahead.
Gentle readers, I’m sure you have a few knitting questions that don’t relate to something being jogless. Hit me with your best shot— firstname.lastname@example.org